Not many times this happens that the morning sunshine will gently descend on your eyes to wake you up in the brand new sunny day and you will be greeted with “a very good morning” by the Great Pyramids of Egypt. Reads like exaggeration but happens every day to those smart travellers to Egypt who decide to stay in the arms of the magical monuments of the ancient world. Put differently, if you are visiting Egypt for business, stay in Cairo. But if your sole mission is to see for yourself the Pyramids, then without an iota of doubt you need to set up your den at the Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa. Just a 5 minute drive away from the site of the Wonder of this World – this hotel gave Team OneTimeFashionista the perfect week long launchpad to explore at our own convenience and comfort – the Great Pyramids of Giza, Saqqara, Dahshur, Memphis, a day out in Cairo and also the remote White Deserts in the Bahariya Oasis.
We have graduated long time ago from being an ordinary tourist. As seasoned voyagers, we considered a few factors of the destination country – Egypt in this case – before we agreed to rest our wings at a place to stay. On the day of Christmas itself, we arrived past midnight in Cairo and thus had a very late check-in during the wee hours at 3am. The staff at Reception were efficient to process our welcome and hand over our room cards. We saw that the hotel entrance had already put up some Christmas decorations and was also gearing up to usher into the new year. A massive Christmas tree was set up next to a beautiful staircase in the lobby. Given the time of our checking-in, the lobby was literally empty so we felt as if the entire lobby and the hotel was at our service to welcome us generously!
While we were doing our homework, the main advantage we found of staying at Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa was its vicinity to the main points of attraction. Just 5 minutes drive to both the entrances of the Pyramids, it costed around 35EGP in a taxi from the hotel. While returning, we took a taxi from the street which costed us no more than 20EGP. The easy travel from the hotel to the Pyramids meant that not only we could save valuable time by avoiding the chaotic Cairo traffic but also we could make more than one visits to the Pyramids. For example, we could have the breakfast at Le Meridien and then go for a day tour at the Pyramids. We could then return to our “Starwood Preferred Guest” room to freshen up and go back again for the Light & Sound show which is held at 7pm local time at the entrance of the Sphinx Gate.
At any time of the day, we found the room service to be very efficient and rapid in bringing the service requested at your door front. Especially the night we checked-in, when it was already very late, the room service was available to bring us some delicious, warm dishes so that we don’t go to bed unfed. During a later phase of our stay, when we returned late from our exceptional excursion of the White Desert at Bahariya Oasis, the Room Service was available to bring us some late dinners. So no matter when the hunger monger strikes you, rest assured you can always dial the Room Service of Le Meridien Pyramids to get some warm and delicious food served within 30 minutes sharp.
We conducted OneTimeFashionista’s official, thematic, formal photo-shoot at the Pyramids on our 2nd day. Then we went back on the 3rd day to conduct an intensive photo shoot and exploration. Finally we went to the Pyramids for the 3rd time on 31st December just before sunset to catch the ravishing rays of the last setting sun of 2015. All this was possible and doable since Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa gave us the comfort and convenience because of its priceless location just a stone’s throw away from the majestic monuments.
After location, the experience that made our stay at this hotel was the very sight of the Pyramids from inside the premises. Curtains open and we could see the monk-like monuments in eternal meditation. Take a dip in the warm and clean waters of the pool, and we could still see them standing there agelessly – day in day out.
For us, the experience to have the breakfast in the sunny balcony with the Pyramids in sight was a wonderful one. Certainly we never ordered the Pyramids in the breakfast, but their sight is offered complimentary every day, as long as you are the valuable guests of the Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel. We were also pleasantly delighted one evening when we found that Mr. Fouad, the night shift manager, went out of his way to surprise us with a fruit hamper nicely kept in our side-table. Certainly the staff knew how to make small gestures to have a big impact on the guests.
After a long day’s excursion, you will want to return to some comfort back in your room. The Hotel provided ample facilities inside the room which we found to be of international standard. Neatly done beds, elegant furniture and the soothing effect created by the light and the false ceiling inside the room were all very much welcoming. Powerful shower and toiletries were all that we needed to wash off the dust and dirt that you will be certain to get a truckload of almost every day of your adventures in Egypt.
The hotel certainly could have provided a small little fact-sheet or guide book on the neighbourhood or interesting facts on the Pyramids to keep the avid readers content and prepared before the excursion.
The hotel provided such a pleasant sense of space, and a lot of it. Artistically designed, softly-lit corridors and the sheer amount of space inside the compound gave a feeling of exclusivity and vastness. This is something which you will badly miss especially when in Cairo– a craving for some space and tranquillity. This is only possible certainly away from the city madness, in the calm proximity of the Pyramids, may be while you are sipping an Egyptian coffee by the Le Meridien Hotel poolside.
Like a fish out of water gasping to breathe, our lives are unthinkable without reliable connection to the internet. Le Meridien Pyramids provided us two options to quench our wifi thirst. First, there was a free wifi network available in the lobby and ground floor restaurants.
We also had the option to buy usage-based internet packages for use from within the comfort of our rooms. Certainly not as fast as it is on home soil – but given the infrastructure in Egypt, we think the hotel did just fine to provide this essential service. No doubt that if they invest more in increasing the speed of internet atleast for the paid connection – the ‘word of mouse’ will take them to places online!
For the gourmands, the Hotel has a number of restaurants to keep the culinary conquests addressed at all times. We personally loved the grand seating arrangements at the Latest Recipe Restaurant hosted inside the Hotel. This is the same venue where they serve the daily breakfasts. Just next to the restaurant, before you head to the Sheesha lounge, there is the stylishly designed bar where you could settle down to sip some Egyptian Sherazade wine. Great attention had been paid to design the details of the seating, the lighting and the colour combination to put guests at ease.
There is a Lebanese restaurant next to the pool. Interestingly, we preferred to have the mouth-watering Lebanese dishes which were served to us (on request) couple of times inside the Latest Recipe Restaurant. In the end of the day, its the same hotel and we had the liberty to choose, sit and eat as per our own desire – which was fantastic.
The restaurant staff were so welcoming and eager to serve that except only couple of meals, we had all our dinners in the same restaurant during our week long stay!
The staff at entrance were also very warm and welcoming, so much so that there was some confusion in terms of usage and context of the salutation “Welcome”. No wonder the Hotel management trained their staff so well that there were moments when they ended up responding “Welcome back!” to a “Thank you”, instead of just stopping at a plain and simple “Welcome”. English grammar aside, the genuine interest to serve and satisfy was written all over their gesture and service. So kudos to them.
A facility which we did not find previously in any hotel we stayed around the world was that of a 24/7 bank which made sure that we could always exchange any home currency. This really helped as we could exchange just about the right amount of British pounds to obtain its local equivalent. £1 = approx. £11.50 Egyptian pounds. The bank is situated in a small boulevard of shops selling wonderful souvenirs from where you could get some artworks on papyrus or some fridge magnets for example.
Done with dining, exchanged money, did some shopping and thinking to just relax and chill? There is an inviting sheesha lounge in the hotel where you can simply spread yourself and evaporate the flavoured tobacco.
If that is not enough, you could book yourself a relaxing massage session at the state-of-the-art spa to rejuvenate your senses. The twirling and spiral staircase will lead you down to the basement where you can recharge your senses in style. You can always take the elevator to go down but the spiral stair certainly will add some spin in your head before you look forward to some peace and pacification down there.
Shehzaad went for a 30 minutes head massage session to get him back to today’s times from the Pharaoh days. Surely he took the surroundings too seriously. Similarly, Tanusree went to get her hair curls done twice in the Beauty Parlour & Salon. She found the hair stylist to be very efficient and professional. The only snag found in the Beauty Parlour was the accepted smoking in public spaces which was literally suffocating. Certainly, the smoking rules in Egypt are different than in the UK. But the amount of passive smoking that you may have to endure, even when you are getting your hair curls done in the Beauty Parlour, was unaccounted for. Wish the Hotel could address the plight of non-smokers – that would score some brownie points for them surely.
After we were done with our daily excursions, we used to take the path next to the pools to walk back to our room. Not even once we forgot to look above the boundary walls of the hotel to see if the Pyramid peaks were visible. Surely not – the evenings meant that the darkness took over, but we always knew that the first thing we will see when we wake up next morning will be the riveted, ravishing trio at the same place. This total immersion into the Egyptian ecstasy was made possible certainly due to the hotel’s location, ambience and ofcourse the top class service. One of the staff also let us conduct our photo shoot in a secret location up in the top floor of the hotel from where the views of the Pyramids before sunset were simply sensational. Goes without saying that this access is not for everyone, we were given this exclusive access since we were conducting the photo sessions, and we were really privileged to have seen the view of Pyramids exclusively.
It was coincidental that the 1st day of the New Year was the last day of our week long stay here. So we made sure that we were part of the sumptuous NYE party that was arranged by the Hotel for its guests. Lavish and delectable buffet dishes from all parts of the world were there for us to dig into. Loud rhythms and the popular Arabic tunes were played by the DJ which was followed later by a free lance singer and lastly the swirling belly dancer came on stage to keep the audience warm in the cold December night.
So if you are planning your next trip to see the Pyramids, learn how to sing and Walk Like an Egyptian so that you can excitedly roam inside and around this gateway abode to the jewels of Egypt. Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa should be your temporary address in Egypt in care of the Great Pyramids. For best rates and offers, we suggest you check out their website and contact the Hotel directly at this email address. We can happily say that although this is a collaborative post on this wonderful hotel, views and experience expressed here are not biased, are very personal and consciously made. We sincerely want to extend our special thanks to Dina Naeem Mostafa for inviting Team OneTimeFashionista to come and stay at the Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel. She, along with her team, was prompt in responding to our queries and we are grateful they recognised how we could be the best guests they could have in the last week of 2015!