After a decade of uncertainty, one of the world’s most unforgettable destinations is back in business.
We've arrived back from a country that has given us some of the happiest moments to date. The enigma of Egypt as a travel destination is so entrenched in our outlook of history and the inception of civilisation, that it has adopted an almost mythical appeal. Egypt is rightly labelled the gift of the Nile, the world’s longest river spanning 11 countries in Northeast Africa. The Nile is really now the gift to Egypt, as it acts as a place to escape, a chance to breathe in the chaos, and is the least populated space in the country’s capital Cairo.
The Great Pyramids of Giza
There were obvious reasons to stay away from Egypt after the Tahrir Square revolution in 2011. Tourism dwindled, and just as it was getting itself back on its feet, Covid threw the country into more chaos. However, surely but slowly, cruise ships are being recommissioned, people are trickling back into hotels and onto flights. The country, it appears, is making a comeback.
The Hot Air Balloons of Luxor
From Aswan to Luxor
If you’re looking to travel to Egypt for the history, we would recommend doing the four-day Nile Tour. We flew from London to Cairo and then transited to Aswan, where the tour begins. Most perceive Cairo to be the destination – but it’s really all about the ‘journey’ when in Egypt. It was essentially four full days of bliss in a relatively untouched part of the world, we found. Everything you hear about Egyptians being disrespectful to women and the terrible haggler – is all extremely untrue. Egyptians are some of the warmest and most hospitable people, and it was an absolute delight to be one of the very few foreigners touring around. Southern Egypt is very poor, and tipping culture is an expectation in most activities; so be sure to have small change with you at all times. The Wifi is also atrocious outside of your hotel, so unless you opt for purchasing a sim card at the airport, switch that phone on airplane mode and just embrace being disconnected for a few days. The Nile cruise is the best way to see the sites and discover Egypt’s temples of Philae, Kom Ombo, Edfu, Luxor, and Karnak. You spend three nights on board at Aswan, Edfu, and end in Luxor.
The Four Seasons Cairo Nile
In the heart of Cairo on the banks of the River Nile, the Four Seasons is just a stone's throw away from the discoveries of Egypt’s 5,000-year-old ancient history. The iconic property is situated between the Nile river and Tahrir square in the Garden district. Waltz into the lobby from your five star airport limousine and into the marbled grande dame, and the lobby is an oasis, eons away from the chaos outside on the Cairo streets.
Set just off the main drag, the Four Seasons Cairo Nile has been showing the other hotels around the Nile how it’s done since it opened. It might not be the most cutting-edge place in town but there’s a timeless elegance to the interior with its glossy white-veined marble lobby peppered with red details – my favourite features being the cascading chandelier and flower arrangements – and corridors lined with oversized prints from the Vogue archive. Formal but with unpretentious friendly service, a destination spa with stunning views of the Nile and a strong dining offering – it all feels impressively effortless and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
The Four Seasons Hospitality
We stayed in the Corniche Suite during our time at The FS Cairo, which comes with a fantastic king-sized bed, sofa – which doubles as a second bed – and the option of a cot for families. It is a little sanctuary, with views of the Nile and the island of Zamalek in the distance from the room balcony, and fresh chocolates delivered daily. The marble bathroom came with L'occitane amenities and those deliciously plush FS bathrobes we love so much.
If you’re wondering about the other guests; there’s an international clientele; a mix of smartly dressed business travellers, friends enjoying the spa, your Four Seasons regulars, and diplomatic guests. It is a very sophisticated crowd. The city’s culinary offering is fairly limited, and by local standards, the hotel’s dining options are progressive, extensive – there are eight restaurants and lounges – and well-regarded. Venues include Milan-born Bullona and Egyptian restaurant Zitouni, both of which have great Nile views – the latter also provides the setting for breakfast, an international buffet with Egyptian fare interspersing. Restaurant 8 is a firm local favourite, considered the best Chinese restaurant in Cairo. It was slightly peculiar to dine with live smokers, and it could be quite overpowering for diners that are no longer accustomed to the habit. One night a man at a bar in London once told me, "Luxury lies in the very genuine personal attention you get from people who are truly kind." This was very true for the people and experience that we had in this beautiful country, from our tour guides throughout the trip, the local Egyptians, and the friends we made on the Nile tour. I cannot recommend a visit to this glorious country enough, it truly has my heart.
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, 1089 Nile Corniche, El Nil, Cairo Governorate 11519, Egypt | +20 2 27917000
Book your stay at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza