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Hotel check: Marriott Mena House

BEST FOR: Spectacular views of the Pyramids

DON’T MISS: The courtyard gardens with their tranquil water features and outdoor pool

PRICE: Internet rates for a traditional room start at $132.

CONTACT: Marriott Mena House Cairo, 6 Pyramids Road, P.O. Box 12556, Giza, Cairo, Egypt. Phone +00-202-33-77-3222.

VERDICT Proximity to the Pyramids and modern guest rooms make this a distinctive hotel option in the Egyptian capital. Marriott’s new involvement in this legendary property is measurably elevating its stature.  Ramsey Qubein

BACKGROUND  The Mena House is a historic gem that dates back to the mid-19th century. Standing in the shadow of the Pyramids, and with a guest book that ranges from Winston Churchill and King Farouk to Frank Sinatra and Charlie Chaplin, this hotel connects to history both ancient and modern. Today this property is a prize in the Marriott portfolio.  

WHERE IS IT?  Can you be any closer to one of the world’s great wonders than this hotel? This historic hotel keeps you front and center when it comes to visiting Egypt’s most famed tourist attraction.

WHAT”S IT LIKE?  Spread across perfectly manicured grounds in a series of interconnected low-rise buildings, the property sprawls with trickling fountains and a sparkling swimming pool. Even when it is full, it hardly feels that way. The retro-style lobby features regional latticework on the walls and ceiling and numerous historic photographs of the hotel over the past several decades.

ROOMS  The property’s 331 rooms and suites show off their recent redesign featuring colorful fabrics and regional artwork. Marriott’s signature bedding is in each room along with flat-screen cable TVs, coffee makers and bottled water. Marble bathrooms stock Acca Kappa toiletries and excellent water pressure. Club rooms provide access to a newly opened lounge with a regional breakfast spread and evening snacks and cocktails. Some of the most prized rooms are the 36 Grand Deluxe rooms or Mena Garden Suites with excellent views of the Pyramids. Many of the garden view rooms come with balconies facing the serene courtyards.

FOOD AND DRINK  The lobby’s Sultan Lounge is a popular spot for cocktails with views of the Pyramids, and there’s room for social functions on the outdoor lawn. 139 Pavilion offers all-day dining from an international menu with plentiful Egyptian favorites. There are also tasty pan-Asian and Indian choices although many travelers save their appetites for traditional afternoon tea in the lounge. Alfredo serves traditional Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner.

MEETINGS  Extensive meeting facilities are a hallmark of the hotel, which hosts groups in spacious conference rooms and outdoor reception areas. Al Khalifa ballroom is famous for its traditional décor and massive chandeliers.

LEISURE  The outdoor pool is set in the stunning gardens. For those who want to exercise at any hour, the modern fitness center offers the latest equipment plus a roster of spa services.