Last January, we spent three days in Cairo exploring the Pyramids of Giza, Coptic Cairo, and a day trip to Alexandria before heading to Aswan for a Nile cruise. We decided to stay at the InterContinental Cairo Semiramis due to its proximity to the Nile and the Egyptian Museum. While the hotel has some great restaurants and amenities, our stay overall was less than stellar. Here’s my review of the InterContinental Cairo Semiramis.
Booking the InterContinental Cairo with Points
The InterContinental Cairo can be booked with IHG points. When we stayed last year, a rewards night cost 25,000 points. Nights are now worth 15,000 points likely due to lack of demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. We booked four nights for 75,000 points thanks to the fourth night free benefit for IHG credit cardholders. At the time of booking, our stay was worth $733.33.
InterContinental Cairo Location
The InterContinental Cairo is located in the city center near the Egyptian Museum and overlooking the Nile. We ended up only leaving the hotel with our tour guide so location and walkability didn’t end up being important. Still, it was nice being able to see the Nile from the hotel.
One thing that was a surprise to us was the level of security. When approaching the hotel by car or on foot, all visitors were stopped at the entrance of the driveway. Car trunks were searched before being allowed to proceed to the front door. All visitors had to go through a metal detector before entering the hotel. I’m thinking this may be standard in Egypt as most tourist sites we visited required the same.
Dining and Amenities
The highlight of the InterContinental Cairo is the high quality restaurants. We rarely dine at the hotels we stay at, but after a long day of sightseeing, it was easier to eat the hotel. Cairo is pretty chaotic and we didn’t feel like navigating on our own. Luckily, there was no shortage of options at the hotel.
- Cafe Corniche: A 24-hour a day cafe with coffee, tea, and light bites.
- Birdcage: A Thai restaurant open for lunch and dinner. We didn’t get a chance to eat here but heard good things.
- Pano Vino: An Italian restaurant overlooking the Nile. The restaurant also has a terrace.
- Sabaya: A traditional Lebanese restaurant with hot and cold mezza and larger entrees.
- Sushiramis: A sushi restaurant open for lunch and dinner.
- Tea Garden: Located in the lobby offering teas, coffees, and pastries.
- Nile Terrace: An outdoor eatery with blended drinks, pastries, and appetizers.
- India Along the Nile: An authentic Indian restaurant open daily for lunch and dinner.
- Ambassador Club: A classic cocktail lounge open until midnight.
- Night & Day: An informal restaurant with live cooking stations.
- The Grill Restaurant and Lounge: A classic restaurant overlooking the Nile.
We ended up eating at Sabaya and India Along the Nile. Both were delicious, especially Sabaya.
Other amenities include a full-service spa, fitness room, and swimming pool.
The hotel was also connected to a corridor with several shops. This was extremely convenient when we needed to get something from a drugstore!
The lobby of the InterContinental was expansive with several of the restaurants and cafes located off the lobby. There was also a staircase that led to the mezzanine where some of the other restaurants were located.
The lobby was always crowded. This made for a slow and inefficient check-in process. It took us 30 minutes to check-in. We had requested a non-smoking king room and they were unable to accommodate us. Instead, they upgraded us to a room with two beds and a partial Nile view on the Club level. Despite the upgrade, we didn’t actually get lounge access. They also said we could change to a king room after the first night, but no one ever followed up with us on changing rooms. For our welcome amenity, we were offered two free drinks or points. We chose the drinks and later found out this only included tea or juice.
InterContinental Cairo Superior Room
When heading to the guest rooms, the elevator bay on each level had a great view overlooking the Nile. The hallways were bright and updated.
The room was a good size but didn’t have a luxury feel. There were some small Egyptian touches to the decor, but nothing that really set the room apart.
One issue with the room was that the Wi-Fi was slow and often didn’t work at all. The room was equipped with two complimentary bottles of water and a coffee maker.
At the foot of the bed was a dresser, TV, and writing desk.
Next to the bed was a chair and the door to the balcony.
The balcony was large and had a partial view of the Nile. Unfortunately, the main view was of the condemned building next door.
To the left upon entering was a short hallway with the closet and a door to the bathroom.
Complimentary tea and coffee pods were provided along with a hot water heater.
Underneath the hot water heater was a minibar with a random selection of drinks and snacks.
Next to the minibar was a closet with robes and slippers.
The closet also had a few shelves and a safe.
Across from the closet was the bathroom with a toilet and a bidet.
The bathroom was pretty plain in terms of decor. The vanity featured one sink and few toiletries.
There was also a shower bathtub combo. Not my favorite, but at least it was a door instead of a curtain!
I really wanted to like this hotel, but we had several issues that led to an overall unpleasant experience. While the service at the restaurants was great, service from the hotel staff was slow and left a lot to be desired. The hotel has all the amenities you could need, but the room itself was nothing special and the lack of functional Wi-Fi was a big drawback. If we were to return to Cairo, I would likely check out one of the other hotels along the Nile before returning to the InterContinental.