Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino, Cairo
Tel: 20 2 2728 3000
Concierge.com's insider take:
With 1,089 rooms, this Marriott on the Nile island of Zamalek is Cairo's largest hotel. The centerpiece of the property is a palace built for the French empress Eugénie's 1869 visit, when she came to inaugurate the Suez Canal. Sadly, you can't stay in the beautiful old structure, but you can wander through its gorgeously restored hallways, ballrooms, and mezzanines. You can also explore the palace's green, palm-studded gardens, home to a terrace café that's a popular local hangout. There are 14 bars and restaurants on site, including Egyptian Nights (serving regional fare) and JW's Steakhouse, but if you want to get out of the complex, several dining and drinking options are just a short walk away, in the upmarket residential district surrounding the property. Unfortunately, the guest rooms are housed in rather soulless modern buildings; furnishings were restored in 2007 in a red, green, and gold modern Egyptian Revival style in an attempt to evoke the historic palace setting.