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The kind of accommodation you choose will depend largely on where you are as much as your budget. It’s advisable to reserve in the winter months (the high season), and over major Islamic holidays.
Language: Arabic | Currency: Eygptian pound (E£) | Local time: UTC | Avg. Flight time: 5 hrs
Major international hotel chains, such as Marriott, the Four Seasons, the Grand Hyatt and Sofitel, have branches around Egypt but predominantly in Cairo, with the most impressive luxury options set along the banks of the Nile. Zamalek is an upscale residential area on the island of Gezirah where many of the foreign embassies are located; the selection of hotels found here is not vast, but on the whole the standard is high.
Those looking for cheap accommodation should head for the lively downtown district in the centre of modern Cairo; it’s convenient for transport links as well as key tourist sites such as the Egyptian Museum, Old Cairo and Khan Khalili Bazaar. A family-run bed-and-breakfast tends to be on the basic side when it comes to amenities but gives visitors the chance to interact with local life. You may be tempted to stay near the Great Pyramid of Giza, but there’s very little else to do around there, particularly at night.
The Red Sea and Sinai coastal areas of Egypt, such as Hurghada, Marsa Alam and Sharm el-Sheikh, offer a fantastic selection of resorts, many offering good value and featuring international restaurants, spas and swimming pools. From here, you can arrange any number of excursions, from snorkelling and diving to camel and horse riding.
Alexandria, on the Mediterranean coast, features a number of colonial-style boutique hotels on the Corniche that overlook the sea.
Many tourists opt for a multi-day cruise down the River Nile, stopping en route to explore ancient sites like the Valley of the Kings and Karnak in Luxor, as well as the islands of Aswan. If you choose to stay on land you’ll have no shortage of options either, with Luxor offering some seriously swanky options on the banks of the Nile.
For something different, stay overnight in the desert. Trips from Dahab on the Sinai Peninsula involve an overnight stay in a Bedouin camp, and the Western Desert area is also a popular place for overnight trips. Eco-lodges are a relative newcomer to the hotel scene in Egypt, but there are some impressive environmentally friendly options, often in secluded desert locations and designed to blend in as seamlessly as possible with their surroundings.
As you’d expect, hotels are significantly cheaper in the low-season summer months, but there’s good reason for this: it’s swelteringly hot. Booking ahead generally means better prices, as does considering booking a package tour that includes flights and a hotel.