Conrad Cairo is somewhat dated, but has great views of the river and delicious food. Here’s my hotel review on how to enjoy your stay.
With its stark facade jutting out from the rows of skyscrapers along the corniche, the Conrad Cairo doesn’t make a warm first impression. But inside it’s different. There’s a twirly fountain, indoor palm trees and a swirling staircase in the spacious reception area. The clerks do a quick check-in from a counter lined with landscape paintings of the Nile River.
Conrad Cairo hotel review
I’m here for a weekend getaway, and I arrive just in time to catch the sunset. My room overlooks the Nile River on the left, with its waterfront villas and restaurants lining the riverbank. On my right are skyscrapers and the bustling streets and mechanic shops of the working-class neighborhood of Boulaq.
Those views keep drawing me back. I unpack quickly and return to the balcony to savor the cool evening breeze with a warm mug of Nescafe. The Conrad has earned many great reviews for its panoramic Nile views, and the shimmering river is visible from most rooms and spots through the hotel like the breakfast buffet and the terrace.
Conrad Cairo restaurants
There are six different restaurants and lounges at the Conrad.
My favorite is Kamala. The cozy South-East Asian eatery is the highlight of my stay and one of my top picks for Asian in Cairo. The decor is mostly dark wood and black with pops of bright fuchsia, which gives Kamala an elegant yet intimate feel.
The restaurant serves up simple and authentic Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian dishes. My starter of Vietnamese rice paper rolls is fresh and delicate, with subtle flavors and just a hint of spice. The Malaysian classic salmon sambal, or salmon with sambal wrapped in banana leaves, is brilliant with bursts of ginger, a topping of tomatoes and just enough heat to tease the tongue. No two bites of this dish are the same, and that’s the appeal. A plate of exotic seasonal fruit is a light and refreshing end to the meal.
Conrad Cairo nightclub
Later that night, I head to Stage One, where a sleekly-dressed party crowd has gathered to sip cocktails along to the pounding music while the Nile waters sparkle darkly outside the windows. I ask for my usual Stella beer, but the bartender convinces me to try the Stage One Martini, the specialty.
The martini is a sweet and spicy concoction that includes vodka with hibiscus, cranberry juice, sparkling wine and cinnamon infusion. The vodka numbs the mouth while the cinnamon wakes it up again. (I tried this recipe later at home, but no such luck).
I don’t stay long – I’m getting old and I prefer a movie and tea in bed these days.
Breakfast, pool and dinner
I’m up early the next day for the breakfast buffet at Solana Restaurant, a delectable smorgasbord of American classics like pancakes, oriental standards like hummus, omelets and sunny views of the Nile in the background.
I spend the afternoon with a novel by the swimming pool, surrounded by greenery and daisies with a nearby terrace and wide-sweeping Nile views. Children take swim lessons and families relax in lounge chairs. It’s quiet and laid-back, even though we’re in a bustling neighborhood downtown.
That evening, I have dinner at the elegant Oak Grill Restaurant.
The tiger prawn ravioli, with roasted red bell pepper and rocket leaf coulis, is creamy and rich. The main of sea bream fillet is juicy and contrasts nicely with the earthiness of the mushrooms, although the vegetables on the side seem like an afterthought.
For dessert, I love the creme brulee contrasted with tart compote and forest berries on the side. Though I have to remind the waiter, after a good 15 minutes, that I’m still waiting for my take-away box.
Jayda Nile Terrace is more of a shisha lounge than a restaurant, or at least at that time of night, and I head there later for a beer. The crowd is into their water pipes and the place is a cozy spot to take in more Nile views. Though it’s one of the hotel areas that could use a refresh: the pillows look thread-bare and I leave after finishing my Stella.
Ramadan at Conrad Cairo
Check-out is slow the next morning, but I leave with a good impression. This hotel, a staple in the city’s skyline for decades, is more enjoyable than its stark facade would suggest.
And for those of us who live in Cairo, the Conrad offers two top-notch restaurants and a lively nightlife spot, along with a pool and Nile views that make it perfect for a staycation.
The Conrad Cairo is also one of my favorite spots to spend those long summer Ramadan nights.
There’s an iftar buffet complete with all the classics and an array of traditional Ramadan drinks. Shisha and live oriental music make it a comfortable lounge where you can spend an unhurried evening. Perfect for unwinding after a long day with the cool Nile breeze drifting in and the air filled with the sweet scent of grilled corn, a popular street food that’s prepared at the hotel just for the holidays.