Visiting the cradle of civilization, we were extra careful about choosing the right hotel for the 6-day visit. As it happens, Four Seasons has two of the best hotels, if not the two very best hotels in Cairo, and choosing between Four Seasons Cairo Nile Plaza and Four Seasons Cairo at The First Residence can be a bit tricky. Location, room size, and dining were overall big factors that made us choose Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence.
Although some interior decoration feels slightly outdated, we still fancied its charms.
Four Seasons Cairo at The First Residence does perhaps not offer quite the same level of luxurious indulgence that we have found in other Four Seasons properties reviewed by BusinessClass.com. This includes the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane or the new london property at Ten Trinity Square. However, the whole food experience, the generous size of the rooms and the location, are all elements that made our stay in Cairo a good one.
Also worth mentioning are the agreeable rates, compared to Four Seasons properties in most other big cities of the world. Given the good value for money in Cairo, we opted for a fantastic suite at a rate which would have given us an entry-level room in London, making our stay super comfortable.
Overall score: 8
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at First Residence is located at the west bank of the Nile, in Giza. That means it’s closer to the legendary pyramids and the Sphinx than any of the other top hotels in Cairo. For us, the location was ideal, as we wanted to spend time over several days at the pyramids complex. It is still roughly a 45-minute drive to the pyramids, depending on traffic. We also found that although the hotel is a bit further away from the city center than for example the sister hotel Four Seasons Hotel Cairo Nile Plaza, it was not more than 15 minutes longer by taxi. Taxis are by the way very inexpensive as well as Uber that we found useful most of the time.
The property is placed right between the Nile and the Botanical Gardens/Cairo Zoo and right on the main highway, making the city noise a slight drawback. We recommend requesting a room high up, to get some distance to the traffic below and to enjoy views of the pyramids. Interestingly, there is a three-story luxury mall, the First Mall, that is connected to the hotel, with quite a few luxury brands represented. There is also a casino in that complex, run by a major Las Vegas operator, with roulette-, poker-, and blackjack-tables presented, along with the usual slot machines.
We opted for the City Suite, (115 m2 /1,230 sq.ft.) for more space, luxury and facilities, as well as better views than the entry-level categories. Being accustomed to the quite steep rates on luxury hotels in many other parts of the world, it was a pleasure to choose this suite at what we consider attractive levels for its size. The City Suite allows for a large living room with a separate space for a dining table. The living room also has a desk that was used frequently during the 6-day stay. The bedroom is also very large and from both the bedroom and the living room, there is access to a good-sized balcony. From here, you can enjoy fabulous views of the pyramids a bit off, in the distance. However, during our visit in the winter and with the traffic below, there was not much use of the balcony.
Out of the two marble bathrooms, the largest is the one connected with the bedroom. It has, as expected, a bathtub and a separate shower. We enjoyed the lavender herbs for the luxurious daily bath, as well as the generous supply of bath-salt. Beds are ultra-comfortable, Four Seasons-style. Fresh ice cubes were however not brought to the room every day, unless requested, as is customary at the other Four Seasons properties we have reviewed in the past.
We found the service to be satisfactory throughout our stay, and the staff is friendly. We did on a few occasions need to remind the staff to replenish certain items, like the capsules for the Nespresso machine. Overall, the service was mostly good, even fantastic, as it always was at breakfast.
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence is a classic, opulent hotel with a homely feel, despite an impressive architectural scheme. It offers more of a boutique feel to it than the other Four Seasons hotel in the city, the Nile Plaza. The 269 guest rooms including no less than 50 suites are richly appointed in the French Empire style. Soothing interiors feature gold, green and red tones and gilded, empire furnishings. Room interiors, as well as the style of the Lebanese restaurant Aura may feel slightly outdated, while it still feels all right.
A very large open-air pool on the fourth floor is surrounded by loungers and private rooms intended for chilling and smoking a water pipe.
Food & Drink (10)
Dining at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at First Residence is a fabulous experience. In fact, if you dined there every day of your Cairo-stay, you would thoroughly enjoy it. Another guest told us that a visit to the Lebanese restaurant Aura was one of their better dining experiences. We also enjoyed it much, and actually returned a few times. We also had dinner from Aura brought up to the City Suite. Try the hot & cold mezze before continuing on to the delicious Arabian specialties of meats and seafood.
Breakfast is extraordinary, in every sense. In beautiful and somewhat intimate surroundings, you get both a delicious buffet with various Egyptian specialties, and there is the usual á la carte made to order as well. The staff is lovely and go out of their way to treat you well, offering local dishes prepared especially for you. They even bring small gifts.
There is the First Boat as well, right on the Nile, next to the hotel, with a nightclub and restaurants, offering Brazilian and Asian food. Unfortunately we did not find time to try these. Next time, for sure, because we do intend to return to ancient Egypt, and to the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence!
Who is the hotel suited for?
The hotel is perfect for upscale leisure stays in Cairo.
* Location, if discovering the historic sites
* The Lebanese restaurant Aura