When it comes to your Cairo hotel choice, think location. Travelers who plan to focus on the pharaonic sites of the Giza Plateau, a 45-minute drive from the city center, on the west side of the river, may prefer the Mena House, an updated and recently refurbished colonial-era hotel across the street from the Great Pyramid. Fans of Islamic Cairo, with its mosques and souksalong with the 19th-century Europeanized downtown, known as Paris on the Nilewill find an east bank river location more convenient. Privacy seekers, meanwhile, should consider the Sofitel, isolated at the southern tip of Zamalek island, a cosmopolitan enclave favored by embassies and expatriates (and a pleasant walk or short taxi ride to the Egyptian Museum), or the Four Seasons at the First Residence, in a nontouristy neighborhood on the Nile's west bank across the street from the Cairo Zoo. Wherever you choose to stay, remember that Cairo is Africa's largest metropolis, with a population of more than 16 million people, 3 million cars, and epic traffic jams.