Review: Le Meridien Cairo Airport

Introduction
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Le Meridien Cairo Airport
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My Cairo layover was a bit interesting. I was landing from Abu Dhabi at 3AM, and was departing the next afternoon at 1PM. So I had 34 hours in Cairo total.

I decided it made the most sense to book Le Meridien Cairo Airport, since it looked gorgeous, and was reasonably priced. I had aspirations of seeing things, though when I landed at 3AM my top priority was being close to the hotel, rather than having to deal with a transfer to the city.

As a result, Le Meridien Cairo Airport was an obvious choice, and at ~$110USD per night, it was quite a deal as well. Since the revolution, tourism in Egypt has more or less ceased to be a thing, so hotel prices are pretty low across the board.

I decided to book the hotel for two nights (including the night before I arrived), because I wanted to be sure I could check in upon my arrival at the hotel.

I knew Le Meridien was connected to Terminal 3, though I was arriving from Terminal 1. So I reached out to the hotel before my arrival to ask about getting from Terminal 1 to the hotel, and to my surprise they said they’d have someone waiting for me in the arrivals hall.

Sure enough, when I arrived at 3AM there was someone waiting for me with a Le Meridien sign. They weren’t a Le Meridien employee, but rather worked for the contract company that handles their ground transportation. He drove me to the hotel, which took less than five minutes.

Upon arrival at the hotel my bags were screened and I went through the metal detector, at which point I was greeted my Mohamed, the front desk associate who checked me in. He was an absolute delight, perhaps too much so for 3AM.

He had me checked in quickly and then escorted me to my room. Not only was he escorting me, but the bellman insisted on helping with my bag, so I had a double escort to my room.

Le Meridien Cairo Airport is less than a year old, and feels totally fresh in every way. The lobby is spacious and gorgeous.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport lobby

As we walked to the room, Mohammed pointed out some of the features of the hotel.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport lobby

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport lobby

The elevators were at the far end of the hallway, and we passed the Latitude Coffee Bar, which is open 24 hours a day. Y’all know how much I bitch about the lack of easy access to coffee at many hotels, so I loved the fact that they had a 24/7 coffee bar. And funny enough, basically the only time I ever saw another guest at this hotel was at the coffee bar at 3AM.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Latitude Coffee Bar

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Latitude Coffee Bar

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Latitude Coffee Bar

Near the coffee shop were the escalators that take you to Terminal 3. Of course that’s not useful in the least if you’re flying out of Terminal 1, since the terminals aren’t connected.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport walkway to terminal

We took the elevator up to the fifth floor, and once out of the elevator we turned right and walked to the far end of the hall.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport hallway

I was assigned room 501, a 1,700+ square foot Panoramic Suite I had been upgraded to as an SPG Platinum member.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport room entrance

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport floorplan

I’ve gotten some amazing suite upgrades in my life, though I think this may have been the most impressive.

There was a large entryway, with a guest half bathroom on the left.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite entryway

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite entryway

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite second bathroom

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite second bathroom

Then across from the half bathroom was a rather large kitchen.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite kitchen

The living room was ginormous. Not only was it ginormous, but it was gorgeously furnished — it wasn’t overdone, but also didn’t feel sterile.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite living room

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite living room

Near the entrance was a dining room table with six chairs.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite dining room

Waiting on the dining room table was a welcome amenity consisting of some snacks and fruit.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite SPG Platinum welcome gift

Behind that was bottled water, a teapot, and an illy coffee machine.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite living room

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite illy coffee machine

Behind that was the massive living room. I mean, you know the living room is big when there are 14 decorative pillows.

Then behind that was the desk, which was huge, and had a conference call style telephone.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite living room desk

Here’s the most awesome/puzzling part of the room. The room had SO MANY PLUGS. Usually I’m frustrated by the shortage of plugs in hotel rooms, but this one had an irrational number of plugs. Not only were there plugs everywhere, but they always have five next to one another. I started counting how many plugs there were, and gave up after I got to 50.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite plugs

Yet here’s the crazy part — there wasn’t a single plus within a cord’s length of the desk. Totally minor, but I did find that odd.

Anyway, past the desk was the door to the huge balcony, which featured a table with four chairs along with two lounge chairs.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite balcony

It overlooked the road leading up to the airport.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite balcony view

As if the living room wasn’t big enough, a set of double doors led to the bedroom, which was bigger than many junior suites I’ve been in.

The bedroom featured a super-comfortable king size bed.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite bedroom

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite bedroom

And then my bedroom had a living room as well. That’s right, I had a bedroom living room. Not to be confused with Flea Market Montgomery’s “living room, bedroom:”

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite bedroom

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite bedroom

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite bedroom

Then behind the bed was a closet along with a vanity mirror.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite bedroom

From the bedroom, a set of double doors led to the bathroom, which featured double sinks, a tub, a walk-in shower, and a toilet.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite bathroom

The walk-in shower was huge, and featured both a rainforest shower head, as well as a handheld one.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite shower

The toilet and bidet had a glass partition, separating them from the rest of the bathroom.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite toilet

And then there was what was intended to be a bathtub, though it was more of a shower/tub combo.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite bathtub

The toiletries were Cinq Mondes branded, and in addition to the standard toiletries they had all kinds of other “necessities” available.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite toiletries

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Panoramic Suite toiletries

All-in-all it was a gorgeous room. Simply stunning. When I first booked I was a bit worried since the room description indicated it was a smoking room, though that isn’t the case.

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This is actually the first non-smoking hotel in all of Cairo.

The hotel’s club lounge was also located on the opposite side of the fifth floor as my room.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge

It was a fairly small lounge, though at most there was only ever one other guest there. Most of the time I was the only person there. For that matter, most of the time I felt like I was the only person at the hotel, period. I rarely saw other guests, and I sort of got the feeling that they don’t see a lot of SPG Platinum members (and that was reflected in the excellent elite recognition).

So the lounge has plenty of comfortable seating, and even some nice views of the pool and surrounding area.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge view

The food spread itself wasn’t all that impressive. Breakfast in the lounge consisted of what can best be described as a decent continental spread.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge breakfast buffet

The buffet consisted of toast, bread, croissants, pastries, yogurt, cereal, cheese, salmon, veggies, etc.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge breakfast buffet

There was also a hot egg dish and some meat, though I didn’t try it.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge breakfast buffet

And a selection of “serials.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge breakfast buffet

On demand illy cappuccinos were available throughout the day, and were excellent.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge cappuccino

The evening food spread was rather lackluster, and consisted of a few tasting spoons, dessert, and a hot option. Definitely not a dinner substitute. But then again I almost felt like the spread they did have was wasteful, since no one seemed to be using the lounge.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge evening buffet

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge evening buffet

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge evening buffet

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport club lounge evening buffet

Margaret, who worked in the lounge, was a delight. She made suggestions on what to see and had lots of fun information to share about Cairo. She was awesome.

After spending the first day touring the Giza Pyramids (more on that below) we had lunch at Mezze Restaurant, which is one of the hotel’s restaurants. We were the only ones there, and had about five people looking after us. It was sort of surreal.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Mezzah Restaurant

The food was extremely reasonably priced by western standards, and spectacular.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Mezzah Restaurant lunch

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Mezzah Restaurant lunch

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Mezzah Restaurant lunch

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport Mezzah Restaurant lunch

The hotel also has a good fitness center on the ground floor. The entrance is near the coffee shop. It’s a fairly large gym with good equipment.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport gym

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport gym

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport gym

Then the hotel also has an outdoor pool. The temperatures in Cairo were downright pleasant, much to my surprise. Despite that, there wasn’t a single person at the pool. It was a beautiful space, though.

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport pool

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport pool

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport pool

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Le Meridien Cairo Airport pool

So, as a total coincidence my friend Tiffany also had a Cairo layover which overlapped slightly with mine. She had arrived the day before, I was arriving at 3AM, and she was leaving at 4PM that day.

By the time I settled into the hotel it was 4AM, by the time I checked my email and was ready to sleep it was 5:30AM, and we had arranged a tour for 8AM. Tiffany already wrote a guest post about our tour, entitled “Visiting Cairo On A Stopover.”

The only thing I’d add is that I felt incredibly safe the entire time I was in Egypt. Tourism has literally just stopped in Egypt, due to the impression the world seems to have about the condition it’s in. Going to something like the Pyramids of Giza and being the only people there was totally surreal.

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I wouldn’t hesitate to return, and actually would go out of my way to plan a longer layover next time.

Le Meridien Cairo Airport bottom line

What an absolutely lovely hotel. In terms of my expectations going in vs. what I received, this hotel blew me away more than any other hotel stay this year. The elite recognition was excellent, the staff were all extremely accommodating, and the hotel was gorgeous and in great shape.

And even though I only got to tour it for a day, I love what I’ve seen of Egypt as well, and can’t wait to return.

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Comments

  1. Thanks so much for such a great post. I even emailed the link to my parents.. As they are worried about our Travels to Africa.. Let alone Egypt. We are staying at the JW marriott when we go in Feb. Rates are unbelievable for club level! We are going to try and use your guide as well. Keep the posts coming, PS- I’m still waiting for Iceland ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hold on, Ben, you say the hotel is connected to T3, and you’re arriving from T1, but then the escalators connect to T1 and “not useful if you’re flying out of T3”. So, which is which?

  3. @Melissa – I wouldn’t recommend JW Marriott as it’s a little bit too far from really anything and it isn’t very glamorous. Trust me, if you’re going for the points, I suggest the Cairo Marriott Hotel, which is absolutely fabulous and conveniently located. If you’re not, shoot for maybe the Four Seasons Nile Plaza (pricey) or the Kempinski (also pricey). Cairo Marriott Hotel is super nice, though!

    @Ben – There’s a people mover that works between T1 and T3 v.v.
    Did you know: T2 was built before T1, and by the time T1 was finished, they closed T2. When they decided to build one more terminal, they named it T3, and therefore there’s only T1 and T3 now, and in the 70s and 80s, there was only T2.

    And Ben, please, make sure you have this trip done before you start your father’s so that we can possibly be able to follow your father’s birthday trip more “live”

    Have a nice day!

  4. The US State Department doesnt have any travel warnings for Egypt currently which is probably a sign that they consider the situation to have improved (considering they do have one for Israel). Still a good place to be careful and probably dont want to visit the Sinai but it seems like the Pyrmaids should be safe.

  5. Since you have been flying business class long haul, what difference does it have at 3am? if you were really tired after flying, perhaps, there is little value in flying J. why didnt u stay in a cat 1 in cairo as you need to go out anyways.

  6. @ Alan — Why was I tired?

    1) I had a 14 hour delay
    2) I had a 10 hour flight with a five hour layover connecting to another four hour flight
    3) I was jetlagged after having flown from the US a couple of days prior
    4) One of the things I do for a living is review airlines and hotels, so while I might otherwise go straight to sleep on a plane, in my case I stay up and try to review as many aspects of the products as possible
    5) The flight had wifi and I chose to work on it, since it was partly during US business hours
    6) My friend was flying out of Cairo Airport at 1PM the day I was arriving, so it was most convenient for us both to be near the airport so she could leave right away after the tour

  7. Hey Ben,

    Staying in Cairo at the Le Meridien Pyramids for 3 nights in May (thanks to your award booking services)– after reading this I think I’m going to change our last night to this hotel since we have a 6 AM flight to Sharm El Sheikh. Looks like a great place and it will probably save me a couple hours of sleep!!

  8. Ummm, you do realise there is a monorail at CAI that links terminals, including a stop for the Le Meridien?

  9. @ Lucky – if/when QR starts flying A380 to New York and publishes a cheap F fare ex-CAI, this is where we are going to hold a reader meet-up, right? LOL

    P.S. It’s a little bit spooky to see Egypt so empty. There are touristy areas like all inclusive resorts outside of Cairo that should be doing a little bit better, I think.

  10. Another very nice airport hotel is the Fairmont Towers. Service is impeccable and the hotel is physically beautiful. I was once also upgraded to a suite there — it wasn’t as huge as yours, but was quite impressive also. And the bath amenities really stood out. I can’t remember the name of the brand, but it was British and just fantastic!!

    You gotta feel terrible for these hotels, though, having to put out such spreads in the lounges (and buying so much food for the restaurants) when they know that the hotel is empty. ๐Ÿ™ They must be really hurting.

  11. Ben, awesome review. I just booked this hotel, going to Cairo for a week so hope no Easter terror or political violence occurs.

    Can’t wait and thanks for great detailed review! Have you been back since 2014?

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