Anne Hunt's Qype reviews
Abdel Hamid Badawy St,, 114 Rawda Al Sheraton - Heliopolis, Cairo
Anne Hunt wrote on 3 December 2011 (updated on 16 December 2011)
I was about to review my November 2011 annual jaunt to the exciting thoroughbred horse-racing carnival, the great Breeders Cup held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky – which like many events in the USA, from boxing to baseball, is called the ‘World Championship.’
Great ego boosting American hyperbole, but it seems to work on the natives in a country that has to be number one in all things. But that is the American psyche.
However, as I was later diverted by events in the Middle East, to wit, ‘The Arab League’s Summit’ on what to do with that miscreant state, Syria, coupled with violent protests in their own Tahrir Square, Cairo, and those oh so democratic elections the Egyptian people have long craved for. Here I am instead doing a review on the hotel I was saddled with in that famous ancient city of smells, scents and the most adorable permeating body odours one could write home to Mum about.
Four days at the Radisson Blu, Cairo Heliopolis; exposed me to the entire spectrum of all possible intake of proboscis highs and lows.
A wonderful expression that came out of World War 1 and created by a forgotten English soldier, but reminiscent of the glorious, descriptive phrase out of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, ’Something’s Rotten in the State of Denmark’ is another equally compelling expression, ‘Something Smells in Cairo’ which now seems to be long forgotten, or perhaps seldom used these days for fear of repercussions on visiting infidels like myself.
All that aside – and without going into whether I think the ‘Brotherhood of Islam’ will win the elections, or if it will be the Vatican’s Representative Party; known as the ‘Little Sisters of Remote Hope’ who are currently running ‘stone-motherless-last’ (Even after the Pope shipped in 50,000 ‘Hail Marys’) my real aim here is to tell about the Radisson Blu and my ’orrible experience there.
Radissons all over the world have a reputation of quality and I have stayed at my fair share. Sadly, somewhere along the line, that message never seeped up the glorious Nile or down the busy Suez, cause The Radisson Blu, Cairo never blew me away for a second.
The façade is superb and the staff are quite friendly and they even speak several languages. At that point all eulogies stop dead!
The bathrooms are smelly, the beds only slightly softer than the back of a dromedary that takes tourists to the ‘Valley of the Kings’ and anyone suffering from haemorrhoids would be well advised to make contact with a reputable surgeon before spending even one night there.
As for the hotel’s Italian restaurant, if it was located in Rome, I am sure it would have weekly visits from the Fire Brigade. In other words, it could bring the worst out in latent arsonists.
Wonders of wonders, there is a rooftop swimming pool. It’s extremely eye-catching and looks even Vegas-quality. Like many areas in Egypt where water is scarce, I can’t vouch for the purity of the aqua pura within. After a day in my smelly room, I was starting to think my pool – as lovely as it looked – was really there so that guests could have an alternative to jumping off the roof to death or drowning themselves instead.
So you ask, why did I even stay there? Well, frankly, it was far enough from the centre of Cairo – 10 clicks – and very close to the airport, because if things got out of control in Tahrir Square, and the Army turned really nasty, or the enraged citizens and protesters saw wandering infidels as an easier target than armed troops, a quick exit was possible for yours truly.
To be remembered in history as just a ‘Mummified Journalist’ would hardly be ‘Tomb Shattering!’
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