It is always with great anticipation that I return to Egypt. A stay at the Holiday Inn in Maadi, the city where I once lived, satisfies a longing to re-visit a home I loved. I am already familiar with this particular hotel, but it is especially nice to see the renovations that have taken place, giving it a new look while adding to its comfort and convenience. It is located on the Corniche el Nil, a busy boulevard that travels along the banks of the Nile from Cairo to Maadi, about 9 kilometers south of the city center. Once designed to be a garden oasis of villas and gardens, Maadi, in spite of many changes and its rapid growth, still offers a greener, quieter experience seemingly far from the intensity of the city itself.
Fifteen stories high, many of the hotel's light-filled rooms face the Nile, with unobstructed views of the river. From some of the rooms, the pyramids can be seen on the clearer days. Otherwise, there is a haze that hangs over the city, which can be disappointing at times but still adds to its mystery. Cairo reveals herself slowly as the morning haze lifts, and by evening a view of the sun setting reflected in the Nile is an unforgettable sight.
Dining at the hotel at the end of a day of business meetings or sight-seeing offers a choice of fine Italian, local Egyptian or continental fare. The main restaurant, on the same floor as a terrace swimming pool, overlooks the Nile and is a pleasant place to enjoy a drink in the evening breeze while watching the feluccas sail languidly on the river, an unchanging and soul-restoring scene. And to experience this timeless moment to the fullest, simply cross the Corniche and hire a felucca for a private sunset sail.
A breakfast buffet greets you in a river-view dining room filled with sunshine. Pastries, fresh fruit and yogurts, warm continental dishes for both meat lovers and vegetarians, made-to-order omelets, and loaves of fresh bread – all making the final selection somewhat of a challenge.
But the best part of my stay is the warm, friendly, courteous manner of the staff. The Egyptian welcoming smiles always brighten my day and remind me that I have come home once again.
Holiday Inn Cairo Maadi
29 Nile Corniche ~ Ma’adi 11431, Cairo, Egypt
View from Holiday Inn ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson
All images and reviews copyright 2019 by Ginda Simpson