Sofitel El Gezirah, Cairo $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Renovated in 2007 in an elegant, minimalist style by the French luxury-hotel chain, this round tower at the southern end of Zamalek island offers panoramic views from its 433 rooms. An oasis in the middle of the city, the hotel is isolated from the chaos of Cairo traffic and sits next to King Farouk's Old River Palace and its now public gardens, a ten-minute walk from the modern Cairo Opera House. The lobby lounge has the atmosphere of a vast private villa and leads to a floating river bar; an outdoor infinity pool that gives swimmers the impression they are dipping into the Nile itself; and El Kebabgy, an alfresco Nile-side restaurant popular with upper-class Egyptians for Friday lunch, and which serves some obscure dishessuch as megadera, a puree of black lentils and rice, and Om Hassan, a dessert of rose-flavored milk pudding with fresh fruit and grenadine syrupamong Egyptian and Lebanese favorites. The spa offers thalassotherapy and Moroccan hammam treatments with Egyptian aromatic oils. The newly opened Cairo Buddha Bar adds an extra splash of global cool.