INTRODUCTION

The Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa is located in the Giza district in Cairo (well, technically next to Cairo).  It is a category 1 property in the Starwood chain, meaning that a point redemption will only cost 3000 points per night.  With cash, the hotel can be had for around 40 USD per night, which is great value.

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It takes around one hour to get to the hotel by car from Cairo International Airport.  I would highly recommend pre-booking airport transfers from a reputable company to protect yourself from scams, touts and ripoff merchants, which I found to be aplenty in Cairo.

I apologise in advance as this will be a very negative review, as my stay was actually the worst experience I have ever had at a hotel, let alone a chain property.

DO NOT STAY HERE!!!

You have been warned…


CHECK IN

I arrived at the hotel at 12pm local time and went to the check-in desk.  The front desk had a sign stating that check-in starts at 2pm.  I decided to try checking in anyway to try my luck, as my partner and I were both exhausted from a long flight and commute.

There was only one person in front of me in the queue and the front desk was staffed by about four to five agents.  All seemed to be busy doing something.  It took 15 minutes to get served, despite being next in line.

I was attended to by a check-in agent called ‘Marwan’ who seemed very flustered by the whole experience.  I had actually booked two rooms in two separate reservations, but they were unable to be combined for some reason, which I knew would have ramifications for points/stay credit posting.  It took 30 minutes from first lining up to putting the deposit on my credit card.

After this check-in experience, we were informed that we would have to wait five minutes for the room keys to be prepared.  Off we went to the nearby lounges to wait the five minutes out.

After 15 minutes, no one had attended to us and no keys were forthcoming.  I went to the front desk again and after about five minutes, managed to get Marwan’s attention.  I was told to ‘wait a minute’ to get the room keys.

After repeatedly waiting and chasing up the progress of the room keys, we finally received the keys to one of the rooms 1.5 hours after arriving at the hotel.  We were told the keys to the second room would be provided later.  But that was not the end.  We were then told to wait again for the bellman to take us to our room, as the hotel was apparently suffering from IT issues!  It would have been useful if they had told us this from the beginning, so we could have some food, as we were absolutely famished!

Nevertheless, after yet more waiting, we were escorted by the bellman to the room, which was in the SPG wing of the property.  This essentially means it is a 200 metre walk from the elevators.

But that’s not all!  Upon entering the room, we discovered that the king room we had booked had turned into a twin room.  We told the bellman who told us that we would have to get the room changed later due to the IT issues.

Nevertheless, onto the room review.


THE ROOM

The room itself seemed to be recently refurbished and had a decent hard product.  The beds were a little on the firm side but the linen a little lacking.  You may as well have not used the pillows as they provided absolutely no support, even when stacked on top of each other.  There was no pillow menu.

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There were a few odd stains here and there on the carpet and the sheets, but nothing too revolting.  The way the linen had been repositioned (I hope they had been changed) indicated a very rushed and careless job.

Nevertheless, the work desk was quite large and practical for bashing out emails and other duties.  A standard armchair was also available with an accompanying coffee table.

The hotel participates in the ‘Make a Green Choice” SPG program, which provides 500 Starpoints per night you refuse housekeeping.  I opted for this for the second room booked.

A complimentary Culture Centre pass and beverage coupon was also provided in a useful sleeve on the bed.  The in-room menu also featured attractive rates by Western standards.

The wardrobe was quite sad with only three hangers and an in-room safe.  The mini-bar was also completely empty.  However, complimentary tea, coffee and one bottle of water was provided.

The standout feature of the room however is the stunning view of the Great Pyramid and the Pyramid of Khafra.  One can spend a long time just admiring the history which is just a stone’s throw away.  Simply amazing.

The pool, pool-side bar and cafe is also directly below the room.

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BATHROOM

The bathroom was also quite nice being clad fully in marble, if a little on the minimalist side.  However, I noticed mould growing on the edges of the shower area, which really should not be so noticeable in a newly renovated room.

The shower amenities were the standard Le Méridien offering, which I dislike.  However, housekeeping were extremely tight with refreshing these amenities, and did not replace them if a bottle was half full.  For such a small bottle to be shared with two people over two days is unreasonable and unnecessary.

The toilet had a bidet adjacent to it.  There was also a very basic and uncomfortably thing cotton bathrobe (think t-shirt thickness), which had an amusing tag imploring me to enjoy the “luxurious” bathrobe and reminding me that they are available to purchase.  Apologies that I did not take a photo for your amusement.

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SERVICE

After waiting such a long time to check in and being told that we would have to wait to change to the king room we had booked, my partner and I decided to get some food in the hotel restaurant ‘Latest Recipe’.  I can assure you that the ‘latest recipe’ was definitely not used for anything here.

We were told by the restaurant attendant that the buffet breakfast would cost about 15 USD per person, which is very reasonable.  However, the food was basically inedible and I gave up having more after just one plate.  Think bland spaghetti with tomato sauce and fried rice.

Moreover, despite there only being one or two other tables eating and there being about four waiters, the buffet area was filthy.  There was also food residue on the cutlery, as well as stuck inside the gauze table matt beneath the plates.  Absolutely disgusting.

What’s more, I could not find any drinks at the buffet area, so asked the waiter for some water.  We were brought a 1.25L bottle of water and when it came time to pay, we realised it would be about 2 USD for the bottle.  Now, I have never in my life been charged for soft drinks at a buffet, let alone water.  I was quite furious by this stage, but thought I would let it slide, as 2 USD is not a lot in the grand scheme.

After lunch, we returned to the room, after walking 200 metres from the elevator to the supposed ‘SPG Preferred’ room.  However, the room keys were not working.  Great!!!

Housekeeping would also not let us in the room for security issues, despite showing them my room key and ID.  They told us we would have to go back to reception to sort it out.  Even after protesting that we did not wish to wait another 30 minutes to get served at reception, we were left with no choice.

I was then determined to make a complaint about the issues we encountered.  I ended up speaking with ‘Sara’, an Assistant Manager, at the concierge desk.  After running through the issues, we were invited for a complimentary dinner, which I refused as I was concerned about the hygiene levels in the restaurant.  Sara apologised and advised me that the keys to the second room would be available soon, and that I would get a room change after we had the opportunity to get some sleep.  She also informed me the lunch buffet was actually for a Chinese Christian tour group and wasn’t actually for public use.  Great!!!

After returning to the room and sleeping not more than 30 minutes, Marwan from reception called and woke me up to let me know that we could change rooms.

Infuriated and after getting some more sleep, I spoke with the Night Manager and explained the story and requested 6000 Starpoints in compensation, equal to one night’s accommodation for the two rooms booked.  I told them I did not wish to raise the issue with Starwood Corporate for the hotel’s benefit.  I was told that the General Manager would get back to me the following morning.

The following morning, no one contacted me regarding my complaint, so I lodged a formal request with Starwood Corporate requesting 10,000 Starpoints.  Soon after, Sara got back to me saying that the 6000 Starpoints in compensation would be posted as a gesture of goodwill.  I’m sorry, but goodwill?!  Anyway, I did not chase the issue up further, but it definitely left a bad taste.

After staying two nights, I checked out early as we only had one more night in Egypt, which was the end of our vacation.  I hoped to salvage whatever good from the holiday which we could!

Indeed, once we had received the key to the second room, we also discovered that the second room was a twin-bedded one, when a king-bedded room was booked.  Absolutely hopeless, but I decided not to pursue the matter further.


FACILITIES

The hotel has quite a functional gym with quite a few strength machines, but is nevertheless very heavy on the cardio.  The problem is it is located at the very end of the main hotel wing, which takes probably takes about 10 minutes to reach.  It’s a pity as it could be better located for convenience.

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The despicable service standards at this property also flowed onto the nasty state of the hotel, with an odd mismatch of public amenities.  For example, one of the sofas in the waiting areas seemed to have been dumped on the road before being retrieved for commercial use by a frugal hotel staff member.  The floor numbering of the elevator buttons were also comical.

All of these service failings point towards a hotel which is very poorly managed and run.  Incidentally, I also spoke with a Chinese guest who experienced similar issues.  Similar sentiments can also be found on the internet.


OVERALL

The service issues I encountered at this property was absolutely despicable, which is a real shame as the hotel would have no doubt invested heavily in renovating its rooms.  However, no matter how good your hard product is, if the service is not at least acceptable, all the hard work put in will go to waste.

Le Méridien hotels are marketed as an upmarket and chic, yet sophisticated brand in the Starwood chain.  This hotel fails on all accounts, such that it is disgraceful that it continues to be associated with the Starwood brand.

I implore you, save your money, time and sanity and stay elsewhere.  I will certainly not return.

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