With its golf course and luscious spa, the Westin Cairo is all about wellbeing. And it’s perfect for a staycation away from the city.
When I check in, the clerk gives me a map of a three and five-mile jogging route through the leafy hotel grounds. Four different chocolate balls greet me when I enter my room, along with a leaflet about their nutritional benefits.
I get a good look at the property as I walk to the breakfast buffet the next morning. It’s too bad I didn’t pack my running gear. The grounds at the Westin Cairo are sweeping and green with the laid-back vibe of a seaside resort.
I quickly forget that I’m in the city and that the Ring Road is nearby. I smell young jasmine bushes, freshly planted, and I spot a hoopoe bird with striking black and white wings on a grassy lawn.
The hotel’s 135 guest rooms and suites are generously spaced and give the property an airy feel. I imagine taking a jog through the massive grounds, anchored by a 27-hole championship golf course of verdant fairways and meandering lagoons. I imagine moments of solitude surrounded by trees with yellow blossoms. My lungs refreshed by the brisk run.
But first I eat breakfast at a buffet smaller than those at downtown’s high-rise hotels but focused on quality. There are superfoods like salmon and quinoa, and an array of freshly squeezed juices and foods prepared with healthy cooking methods. There are also pastries and more decadent options, but I opt for the foods that I normally get at Cairo’s health stores.
All about wellness
After breakfast, I tour the state-of-the-art fitness studio, where I learn you can rent running shoes and other gear. As I play a round of golf with the hotel’s instructors, I’m already thinking about how to describe my experience. Certain things come together — the nutritious chocolate balls, the two jogging routes. The superfoods at the breakfast buffet.
Is this a health hotel? Though using the loaded H word to describe Westin Cairo doesn’t seem right.
“Healthy” means different things to different people. It can be an ugly word when it’s associated with punishing workouts and strict diets. It can mean long lists of things to avoid and lifestyles we’d love to have but can’t maintain. An endless game of trying to be good and then cheating with cheesy pizza.
There’s no self-deprivation of that kind at Westin Cairo, and nobody minds if you load up on pastries and skip the golf course to lounge at the pool. It’s not about the things you should avoid.
But it’s about indulging in the good things — the fresh air, invigorating games of golf or chocolate balls.
Westin is focused around six pillars of wellbeing like working and sleeping well. And I think “wellbeing” is a better word to describe it all than “healthy.” After a lunch of smoked salmon overlooking a lagoon, other words come to mind – like indulgent.
The Heavenly Spa
If mouthwatering grilled fish, a room overlooking bushes of white flowers and an invigorating morning swim is healthy, then that’s what Westin is.
I finish my stay with a treatment at the 3,000-square-meter Heavenly Spa, which boasts 10 therapy rooms in a sleek, minimalist setting. As I lay on the massage table, a therapist rubs away the knots in my back and there’s a bowl of fresh, white flowers underneath. The room is airy with light coming in from a window that overlooks a small garden. My thoughts wander and it feels miles away from the city.
The day begins with a breakfast buffet and coffee, then a short but indulgent line of half-hour treatments offered for problem areas like the neck, shoulders and upper back. These areas are often tense on anyone who spends most of their days on a laptop, and my masseuse tells me a few times to relax because I’m unconsciously tensing my shoulders.
The treatment does wonders – I can turn my neck again without resistance or cramps.
Afterwards, a tour of the spa and lounge areas showcase the open-air feel and bright lights that fill the spa. Even in the jacuzzi there are tall windows and a door into a small garden filled with palm trees and sunshine.
It’s an end to an afternoon that feels like a mini vacation.