There are two Four Seasons hotel in Cairo. I ended up choosing the First Residence because this one is suppose to have a pyramid view. My understanding is if the weather/smog permit, you are suppose to be able to see the pyramids. While I don't regret choosing this particular Four Seasons, I would be interested to stay at the Nile Plaza next time to see the difference.
I was told that First Residence is closer to the Pyramids while Nile Plaza is closer to the Egyptian Museum. Given the traffic in Cairo, it may make a big difference between which hotel you go with. If you want to see more of the downtown Cairo, I would pick Nile Plaza. Otherwise, I think First Residence is a good choice.
The impression I have is that First Residence is the more suburb Four Seasons of the two. Their website shows two high-rises on a podium. One is next to the Nile while the other one is further away. The one next to the Nile is the condo building hence the name First Residence. The structure behind the condo building is the one that will have the Pyramid view on a good day and is the hotel side. The podium that both structures sit on is a mall. I was told it is perhaps the most luxurious mall in Cairo.
The hotel has a very small lobby area. Essentially there is a check in area and that's about it. With that said, it's well decorated with lots of flowers with typical Four Seasons arrangements. In order to go inside the hotel, you have to go through a security screening. There is another door that lead to the mall. Mall entrances also have security screening thus once you go through either the hotel or mall security screening, you can move through both places without additional security screening. It is a bit odd to have a mall attached to the hotel as we don't see that often in American Four Seasons. However, I think this type of set up is more common in Asian Four Seasons.
I believe some of the hotel rooms have been refreshed. It didn't feel like everything was completely gutted and built anew. The renovation feels more like things are updated but certain things are just repainted. Given what had happened since the Revolution in 2011, I think it was smart for this Four Seasons to update their rooms without costing them an arm and a leg. The suite I had was lovely; while it looked traditional, clearly everything was reupholstered, repainted, and things like curtains were replaced. The only gripe I had was that the road in front of the hotel looks like a major thoroughfare thus if you want some quietude, you must ask for high floors. Get as high of a floor as you can. I believe all the windows were at least double if not triple pane but you can definitely hear traffic noise especially if you are on a lower floor.
I would say service level is typically Four Seasons good. Everyone was friendly and staff were on top of their games. It was lovely to stay at this Four Seasons since I have been staying at Sofitel at both Luxor and Aswan. At the end of the day, you know what you are getting yourself into as Four Seasons typically has an uniformly high level standard compare to most other brands no matter where you are.
The spa was a bit of a trek as it wasn't in the hotel side of the building but at the condo side. To access it, essentially you walk across the roof top of the mall which is where hotel swimming pool is at. They also have the Egyptian food restaurant next to the pool. I had a fine treatment although I would say the spa wasn't particularly memorable.
I ended up going to an Italian restaurant inside the mall. In fact it was in the middle courtyard of the mall which I had hope would be at least eatable. To my surprise, my pasta was actually quite good. It was cooked the way I like it; al dente. Everything was tasty and service was good. Again, I think I came with American preconception of mall foods in general is bad. But here in Cairo, like in Asia, some of the best restaurants are inside of malls! I would not hesitate to come back here to eat.
Apparently Four Seasons First Residence also own a large docked structure that looks like a boat on the Nile right in front of the condo side of Four Seasons. On this boat you can have either Brazilian food or Chinese food. Under the Chinese restaurant, there is a discotheque/ bar that also serves finger bite Chinese food. It's all so confusing. But the funny part is their Chinese restaurant actually serves pretty good quality dim sum! Who would have guessed!
Overall I was happy with my stay at this Four Seasons. I thought food selection was good, staff are all very courteous, and suites look quite lovely and in good shape. If looking at a pyramid out of your window is important to you, then I would stay here. But just remember you can only see the pyramid on a less smoggy day which would usually be Friday and Saturday as these two days are weekends in Egypt. I would not hesitate to recommend a friend to stay here.
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