New Year in the Nile
After a 3 night Nile River Cruise between Aswan and Luxor in late December 2019, we traveled back to Cairo, Egypt to visit the local sights. We chose to stay at The Nile Ritz Carlton in Cairo at the end of our trip, for 2 nights and only 35,000 points per night – just in time for the new year.
Arrival at the Ritz Carlton Cairo
When we arrived, we found enhanced security of both the vehicles and their drivers. It wasn’t intrusive, but certainly appreciated – we felt very safe with the precautions they had in place.
The Ritz Check-in
Upon check-in, we were told there was no possibility for an upgrade given the holiday – that they were fully booked. The room was comfortable nonetheless. We inquired about complimentary breakfast, a typical titanium amenity, but was told breakfast wasn’t included. Having stayed at only 1 other Ritz Carlton property previously, we were not particularly familiar with their brand rules. After a bit of convincing, the check-in person took pity on us and ended up giving us the complimentary breakfast after all. I’ll admit, we were certainly disappointed that it wasn’t a given.
The Ritz Breakfast
We arrived at the hotel quite late that first evening, but the lounge was closed anyways due to an Egyptian holiday. The following morning, breakfast was quite good – there were many options and quite a variety of both hot and cold dishes. Everything from eggs made to order, fresh cheeses, pastries, fresh mango juice and even sushi.
During the day, we had a scheduled tour of the pyramids in Cairo and Giza, and enjoyed a large and delicious lunch of local delicacies with our tour guide. While we were out, we received a plate of handmade chocolates shaped in the room. We’re not sure if all rooms received because it was New Year’s Eve, or because of the platinum status.
We had previously booked a pre-fixe New Year’s Eve dinner at Vivo for the evening, but as we were so stuffed from lunch, we decided to stay in. All of the hotel bars in the location were completely filled up. Despite New Year’s Eve not typically a holiday in the Muslim world, it was certainly celebrated and led to a packed house.
Instead, later in the evening as we started to get a bit hungry, we decided to order room service. Burger for one, halloumi wrap for the other, with a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate. Both dishes were very good and the price was quite reasonable for room service – particularly given the cost of eating out on a holiday.
The next morning, we again enjoyed the breakfast spread, and then went to the Egyptian Museum right next door. Note that when we purchased the tickets, we had to pay in cash. They don’t accept cards, but there is an ATM within the gates. [Note that this will soon be out of date as a larger museum is scheduled to open near the Giza pyramids.]
After the museum, we ate lunch at the Italian restaurant Vivo ordering chicken and fish. The food was good and we left satisfied, ready for our trip back home.
The Ritz Send Off
The Ritz granted us a late check-out, so we left the hotel at 2:30pm to head to the airport.
Upon leaving, there were 5 staff members waving us off, each holding a sign “We appreciate your stay with us Mr. Matthew.” Never before have we seen such a gesture!
Overall it was a pleasant stay, and for the number of points used for a top-tier brand at new year’s, we can’t complain. As frequent travelers, you come to appreciate the upgrade, but know it’s not guaranteed. We were glad to receive the breakfast. That would be a definite miss versus other properties, and would likely cause us to choose another if that’s the ongoing policy. If we travel to Cairo again, next time we’ll try the St. Regis. It’s finally open!
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