By Islam El Shazly
There hundreds of hotels of different classes and classifications in Egypt, and that is not much of a wonder for a country heavily reliant on tourism. Hospitality comes with turf.
Picking the right hotel for a specific budget becomes paramount with such a large number of hotels, and choosing the right one is not always a straight forward affair, since the quality of service sometime fluctuates from one visit to the next, depending where you’re staying.
In a previous post we picked the top 11 luxury boutique hotels in Egypt, and in this one we have the top 12 mid-range hotels in the country. While these hotels might lack the luxurious indulgences of the previous eleven, they are comfortable, cosy, clean, and some of them even qualify as a home away from home.
The hotels are listed from North to South, and based on customer reviews on TripAdvisor. The description is edited from the respective hotels’ website unless noted otherwise.
1. Alexander the Great Hotel, Alexandria:
This qualifies, as with some others on this list, as a bed and breakfast and not a hotel. The owners live on site.
It has a central location, which means a short walk to down town and a stroll to the beach, in a historical Greco/Italian neighbourhood. The staff is multilingual – including Greek according to the hotel’s site – and friendly, and the whole ambiance has a familiarity about it.
2. Le Metropole, Alexandria:
Another centrally located hotel in Alexandria, Le Metropole is located in Raml area downtown, and its façade overlooks the Mediterranean.
The hotel has a long history, for start it is built on the original site of the Cleopatra Obelisk that now sits in Central Park New York having been given as a gift to the US in 1879 in hopes of increasing relations between the two countries. The hotel was built by Greek and Italian architects in 1902 with outstanding 19th century flare, and it still retains its old world glamour.
3. City View Hotel, Cairo:
TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice® 2012 Winner: Bargain, this hotel is centrally located within the Tahrir area, famous worldwide for the January 25, 2011, that removed Hosni Mubarak from power. It is short walk to the museum and a hop and a skip to several cultural and historical sites in Cairo.
According to several reviews on TripAdvisor, the hotel staff is very friendly, multilingual, and in tune with their customers’ needs. One drawback would be the level of noise due to its location. It might be the least glamorous on this list, but it got everyone’s attention with it’s level of customer service.
4. Talisman Hôtel de Charme, Cairo:
Another hotel in the heart of Cairo, this one tucked away on Talaat Harb Street, off of Tahrir Square. According to Lonely Planet author Terry Carter, it is “The one and only hotel of its kind in Cairo”.
For a mid-range boutique hotel, it is charmingly and luxuriously decorated, and each room comes with a different colour theme and are exceptionally comfortable. Unfortunately, due its location the level of noise can still manage to get inside, even with double glazed windows, and the entrance is through and alleyway so you might miss it altogether!
Read a more thorough review at Lonely Planet.
5. Albabenshal, Siwa:
Ranked at the top of the list in the B&B Category on TripAdvisor, and described as “Quirky, delightful and truly odd” by one of the reviewers, Albabenshal is not your average, standard, run-of-the-mill lodging, it is built within the ruins of Old Shali, in the heart of Siwa, made up of several restored abandoned and dilapidated homes to create, a village-hotel established for travellers of diverse origins, means and interests.
Siwan master builders led the restoration of these structures using kershef, a traditional building material of mud, sand and sun-dried salt harvested from the oasis’ salt lakes, while other Siwan craftsmen provided furnishings and decorations.
Staying there is an experience to be savoured.
6. Swisscare Nuweiba Resort Hotel, Nuweiba, South Sinai:
TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice® 2012 Winner: Best Service/Bargain, and awarded the Quality Seal from Small Elegant Hotels (SEH), Swisscare is independently owned and distinguished by its friendly ambience and personalized service.
The hotel has only small number of rooms and suits, and offers lots of amenities; they have a dive centre on site that offers PADI instruction, and great snorkelling right at your doorstep. They also offer excursions into the mountains for an extra charge and a rate freeze on the rooms till the end of September 2013.
7. Dahab Paradise, Dahab, South Sinai:
TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice® 2012 Winner: Best Service / Bargain / Relaxation & Spa, the Dahab Paradise hotel manages to mix in a friendly staff, great customer service, and the laid-back ambiance of Dahab to give you a wonderful experience by the Red Sea, and all for a bargain. Something you will never see further south in Sharm Al-Sheikh.
The hotel is very popular with families with children as well as solo travellers, and the fact that it’s a 10-15 minute drive into town it can be more relaxing and less noisy. Its close proximity to the Blue Hole doesn’t hurt either.
8. Alf Leila Boutique Hotel, Dahab, South Sinai:
Inspired by 1001 Arabian Nights, this boutique hotel offers individually themed Arabian-style rooms, with a Mooresque courtyard featuring a dipping pool and a lounge area with free WiFi.
Alf Leila has only seven rooms, which translates to almost personalised service, something very apparent in the online reviews, and the good news is; this level of service doesn’t break your bank!
Another winner on the list, Mara House is TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice® 2012 Winner: Bargain / Best Service. This unassuming hotel is located off the beaten path in the middle of a residential neighbourhood, and is best described in their own words: “Mara House is not on the Tourist Strip. We are the only tourist business behind the train station in a truly Egyptian neighbourhood. We live among the tradesmen, carpenters, electricians, craftsmen and their families.
You will see the children playing in the street, men and women chatting on the doorsteps, early morning calls to prayer, and if there is a wedding in the neighbourhood you are welcome to drop in!”
The hotel offers several extra services, some at no extra cost, like early check-in, and the owner, Mara, along with her staff promise to do everything they can to make your stay an experience to take home with you.
10. Desert Paradise Lodge, Luxor:
TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice® 2012 Winner: B&Bs and Inns, the Desert Paradise Lodge is located on the west bank of the Nile, tucked away in the countryside away from the noise and crowds, with the Theban hills and the majority of Luxor’s great sites at your fingertips.
The hotel has several amenities, such as a pool for those hot summer days, and it only has nine mini suites, which makes for a relaxed, least stressful stay, and more attention from the hotel staff.
11. Philae Hotel, Aswan:
TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice® 2012 Winner: Bargain, and from reading some of the online reviews they seem to have a consensus on the owner’s courtesy, clean rooms, friendly and helpful staff, and good food.
The hotel is located right on the cornice overlooking the Nile in the centre of Aswan, with 15 rooms 11 of them are with balconies directly facing the Nile, great for an evening cup of tea. The outside of the building needs some work, and overlooking the street can be a bit noisy at times, but Aswan is not Cairo, and it won’t interfere with a good night sleep.
12. Bet El Kerem, Aswan:
TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice® 2012 Winner: B&Bs and Inns, its name translates to house of generosity or house of hospitality. It is ran by a husband and wife team, Adel, a Nubian ex tour guide, and Ellen, a Dutch national who worked for a ministry at The Hague.
A relatively small hotel overlooking the desert and the Tombs of the Nobles, with just nine cosy rooms, and a beautiful garden, in the middle of a Nubian village. Its rooftop terrace overlooks the Nile.
Bet El Kerem offers a refreshing alternative to mass tourism and big resorts.
When we started this site our aim was to promote Halal vacationing and travelling, unfortunately, a large number of hotels in Egypt will offer alcohol, and some even have casinos, both of which are not permissible in Islam. However, if you are a Muslim traveller you can ask for the alcohol to be removed from the mini bar (if there’s one) and just steer clear of activities that are not allowed. From experience in travelling with my family, I found that having an exceptional vacation and having it be Halal is not impossible to achieve.
Enjoy.Tags: Alexandria, Aswan, Budget, Cairo, Comfort, Dahb, Egypt, Featured, Kershef, Luxor, Mid-Range, Nubia, Nuweiba, Siwa