This is part three of a five part trip report from my travels to the UAE and Egypt. This report includes my review of the Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa.

Arrival

Upon arriving to the car entrance of the hotel, you’ll immediately notice two things – an amazing view of the Giza Pyramids and a security checkpoint. The checkpoint includes multiple security guards, an explosive sniffing dog, and tire spikes. The check was quick, the guards checked under the car and in the trunk, walked the dog around, and then looked inside and waved at us.

Booking & Check-In Details

The Le Meridien Pyramids is a category 1 Starwood property, allowing for some great cash and award redemption rates. At the time of our stay, our choices were 57 Euro per night (75 USD) or 3,000 points per night. I was sharing the room with a friend, so at $37.50 per person per night, we went with the cash option. With Cash & Points redemptions now being available for category 1 properties outside of the US/Canada & Asia Pacific regions, you now have a third option at this hotel which is 1,500 points and $30.

Our rate put us in a classic city view room with two single beds, but as a Platinum member I was hoping for an upgrade with a view of the pyramids. The all male front desk staff were friendly and helpful without being warm. We were told that for the first night they could upgrade us to a double room with a pyramids view and for our remaining nights we could be upgraded to a renovated Royal Club room with a pyramids view. We would be given lounge access regardless of our room selection. Normally, I wouldn’t want to switch rooms mid-stay, but I figured it was better to experience two room types anyway. Speaking of renovations, wow the hotel is in two completely different eras! There is a renovation project underway and all rooms, some common areas, and parts of the lobby are being redone in phases. During my stay, the only area completed were a few of the Royal Club rooms. WARNING – there is a huge difference between the upgraded rooms and the “modern standard” rooms which you’ll see in more detail below. At this point in time, I believe that all room renovations are complete besides the classic rooms, though check with the hotel to be sure. The lobby too was a little dark and stuffy and more reminiscent of the 70s (it reminded me of the Le Meridien N’Fis in Marrakesh).

There was no Platinum amenity selection card but I was told that we would have free breakfast in the lounge or the downstairs in the Latest Recipe restaurant and that additionally I would receive 500 welcome points.

The Rooms

Again, walking to our room it was clear that the hotel could use some updating, but we were excited to get to our room and see our pyramid view. We were escorted by one of the bellmen even-though we mentioned that we were fine carrying our bags on our own…tip was of course appreciated.

Despite what we were told downstairs, the room we were brought to was actually surprisingly semi-modern (no flat-screen but who’s sitting in the room watching TV in Giza) and did seem like parts of it were recently renovated (the carpet at least). However, it was missing one big thing…a view of the pyramids.

On to another room, this one less renovated (carpet was new but everything else seemed old). Again, though the view barely allowed us to see the pyramids.

After another call downstairs, we finally were given a room with a great view, though it was in its original state (probably not updated in 20-30 years).  But…when in Egpyt why not wake up with a view like this!

The bathroom reminded me of a Courtyard by Marriott bathroom…

On our second night we were moved to a Royal Club room and the differences were pretty noticeable, this is the Le Meridien I was used to!

We even ran into a couple from Santa Monica who were quite happy with their recently renovated suite at only EUR 140 per night:

Pools, Views, and Other Things

One of the best parts of the hotel, which is probably also one of the saddest, is that you have an incredible view of the pyramids while lounging poolside or having a drink at the swim-up bar. Once you get outside, it’s unbelievable just how close they are to the hotel.

Cairo can be absolute chaos and the hotel provides a very nice oasis away from the craziness.  One of our favorite days was when we woke up early to do some early morning sightseeing (pre-crowds), headed back to the hotel for a midday swim and some drinks, and then headed out again for additional touring. The pool is well maintained and there are several servers circling to help with anything you might need. Additionally, there are lifeguards on duty while the pool is open.

The hotel itself is a very short 10-15 minute walk or 5 minute drive to the main entrance to the Giza Pyramids. If you don’t want to walk, there are plenty of other options that will be hawked at you upon leaving the hotel gate (camels, tuk tuks, “tour guide walkers”, etc.).

Breakfast starts at 3am for those with early morning flights or those heading out for sunrise viewings. The buffet breakfast included mostly pastries, though there were some hot dishes including scrambled eggs, french toast, potatoes, and an omelet station. The food was fine, nothing horrible or great, though some of the pastries were a bit hard.

Speaking of food, there is a Tex-Mex restaurant on site. Yep, you read that right. Our first night we arrived very late and were starving so we gave it a try. Let’s just say that guacamole tastes quite different in Egypt!

Our favorite meal close to the hotel was at the Moghul Room, which is a fantastic Indian Restaurant located at the Oberoi Mena House (Oberoi gave up control of this property as of January 1st but the name is still being used). You can walk from the Le Meridien or it’s a very short taxi ride.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay because of the views and the pool. The hotel feels old and is in need of renovations. In fact, everything but the pool area felt run down. Management is clearly working to refurbish parts of the hotel, but it seems like most of the changes (outside the room updates) are minimal at best. The front desk staff were helpful when directly asked questions, but no one was overly friendly or guest oriented. Overall, it won’t feel like a Le Meridien to you, but how many Meridiens are category 1 properties that can be had for next to nothing with amazing views of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

Posted by Adam | 22 Comments

22 Responses to “Trip Report – Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa”

  1. [...] Trip Report – Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa [...]

  2. Dan says:

    I can understand a reluctance to pour money into renovations in a country that is barely holding itself together. I also imagine if they were trying to get financing for the renovation an international bank may ask a lot of questions before giving a big loan to a hotel in a country that may soon be in a state of civil war.

  3. Danny says:

    That’s some awesome view from your room. I was there last week, but didn’t have hotel room view like yours.

  4. Joey says:

    what a view! wow!

  5. Mike S. says:

    What sort of transportation did you take from Cairo airport? Thanks.

    • adam says:

      @Mike S. – As you exit the airport you’ll see several car service / limousine desks with SET rates. There are also standard taxis outside. We went with one of the standard limos for a price of 80 Egyptian Pounds or about $12 USD. The taxis may appear cheaper but you never know about the meter and they have unrealistic expectations with the tip. The car service had tip included and there was no haggling. Alternatively, the hotel offers a shuttle bus that you must pre-arrange for 140 Egyptian Pounds or $20 USD p/p.

  6. Brad says:

    I stayed here in June of 2011 and they were still in the middle of renovations. Looks like they area really taking their time with those guest rooms. Fortunately, we had a nice upgrade to a pyramid view/pool view room in one of the renovated areas of the hotel. I am thankful the pool was redone as it is awesome to lounge in the water while viewing the pyramids.

  7. Tony says:

    On my visit there two years ago the staff member escorting me to my room made small talk and then tried to sell me a “special” guided tour of the pyramids.

    Don’t know if this happens often but I did find the whole process unprofessional.

  8. KG says:

    I stayed at the Mena House on March 22nd – March 24th! Had the Carter suite, could touch the Pyramids (well, Cheops) from my balcony and of course had dinner in the Moghul Room. Thanks for the review of Le Meridien, I drove past it and wondered what it was like as it looked a tad rundown from the outside.

    • adam says:

      @KG – Jealous, how was your stay there? it looked fantastic …though we only really saw the lobby and the restaurant.

  9. KG says:

    Adam, stay was excellent. The hotel is a bit old fashioned and in need of a renovation. Rooms were nice, bathrooms a bit worn. Oberoi tried to get the owners to invest but in wake of the situation in Egypt they have no appetite, hence Oberoi decided to stop the management of the hotel. I believe Starwood has shown interest. Having said that, the service was impeccable.

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  11. stacey says:

    Hi Adam,

    Did you spend time in central Cairo at all or just the Pyramides? How far out is the hotel from central Cairo?

    Looks like an amazing trip – it’s on my list!!

    • adam says:

      @stacey- we did spend some time in central Cairo. It should have only been 20 minutes but with the chaotic traffic it took us about 45 minutes. The way back took almost an hour, also with heavy traffic.

      • stacey says:

        Ah, got it. Did you consider staying in central Cairo or did you definitely want to stay out by the pyramides (which I didn’t even know was an option!) And did you feel perfectly safe walking around and touring around central Cairo on your own?

        Thanks again for the tips!

        • adam says:

          @stacey – Once we saw pictures of the view from the the hotel we couldn’t imagine staying anywhere else. We did visit the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, a few other sites, took a boat ride, and had several meals and drinks in Cairo. The traffic was annoying but worth the commute for us. On the other hand, instead of sitting in traffic to the Pyramids, we walked! In terms of safety, I felt fine but as a female I would say you are in a different position…especially if you are on your own. I personally saw several foreign girls stared at and later approached. Nothing horrible, just uncomfortable stares and some words, but it could have escalated. Feel free to send me an email if you have any other questions, happy to help.

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