Nile Hilton, Cairo $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Built in 1959, this blue-and-white 430-room hotel on the Nile's east bank just north of Tahrir Square has a convivial ambience and an unbeatable location next to the Egyptian Museum. The grand lobby maintains a retro air of pharaonic kitsch; Nile-facing rooms have balconies perfect for sipping minibar beers while watching the sun slip behind palm trees, felucca sails, river bridges, and the flashing neon of Cairo's modern urban core. The new alfresco rooftop El Mojito bar (opened in 2007) and the Latex nightclub attract young Eastern and Western hipsters. Recently restored in a Belle Époque style, the glassed-in Rotisserie Belvedere serves French food and has impressive 360-degree city views. Car, horse cart, and pedestrian traffic along the Nile Corniche can get a bit noisy at night, but one of the hotel's enduring charms is to make guests feel the beating heart of Umm Al-Dunya, the city the Arabs call "mother of the world." Fitness fanatics will appreciate the in-house squash and tennis courts and the half-Olympic garden pool, ideal for cooling off after a hot day's sightseeing.