One of the oldest civilisations in the world, Cairo jars with the modern world. A contradictory puzzle with one or two missing pieces, it’s chaotic, smelly and dusty – but it’s also very beautiful. Dampen the sound of beeping horns and tune into the city’s cacophony of the muezzins’ call to prayer, the rattle of donkey carts and the bellowing River Nile.

The capital was subject to a political uprising in 2011, but unrest has now ebbed. As a lasting result of more turbulent times, it’s never been cheaper to visit the place Egyptians call “Umm El Donya, the “Mother of the World”.

Villa Belle Époque

Located in Maadi – home to the majority of Cairo’s expats – Villa Belle Époque is a short drive from the centre of the city and a welcomed reprieve from the hustle and bustle. Colonial in style, the hotel is all Egyptian glamour – think swimming pool flanked with a symphony of palm, lemon, mango, olive and guava trees. Planning an excursion? The concierge service offers some great tailor-made tours, like high tea by the Nile or visits to Cairo’s opera house.

The President Hotel

With slick, modern interiors and balconies facing the Nile, The President Hotel has an executive air about it. Well-located in Zamalek, one of the most walkable, central districts in Cairo, you’ll also find some of the city’s best bars, shops and restaurants here. This is a good launchpad for those eager to explore.

Hotel Longchamp

Located in swish Zamalek, Hotel Longchamp is neighbour to a melting pot of restaurants and cafés, old villas and gardens. Decided quaintness aside, the hotel is a practical base for a Cairo excursion, given its centralised Gezira Island positioning. Sweetening the deal, breakfast is included.

  • + 202 27352311
  • Go to Website
  • 21 Ismail Mohammed
    Abu Al Feda
    Zamalek
    11511

The Gabriel

A hotel in a shopping centre doesn’t sound particularly chic to us, but The Gabriel circumvents expectation. Positioned in a suburb of Cairo, close to the airport, it not the best base for tourist trappings but is well equipped with swimming pool, gym, beauty salon, hairdresser and gourmet restaurant. If you’ve a redeye to catch, this trumps an airport hotel any day.

  • +202 26960700
  • Go to Website
  • Suncity Mall
    Autostrad Road
    Sheraton Al Matar

Le Riad

Tucked away on an alleyway off the historic Khan el Khalili market, Le Riad oozes old-school charm. Its 17 suites are each decorated in rich colours complemented by local artists’ paintings. Beds sport the most punchily patterned duvet covers you’ve ever laid your eyes – or body – on. Those who enjoy a tipple should note that Le Riad doesn’t serve alcohol due to its proximity to El Hussein mosque.

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