Sofitel Staycation

I really wanted to surprise Peter with a weekend staycation where we could relax by the pool, have juice in the hotel gardens, and have a nice breakfast buffet that we didn’t have to cook the next morning! I chose the hotel based on the pool (obviously!) and the Marriott in Zamalek was at the top of the list. I mean just look at this pool!


The hotel was built in 1869 as a Palace for Ismail Pasha, but was later converted into a hotel. It still preserves its royal atmosphere, and the grounds are absolutely gorgeous.

I told Peter to keep his Friday afternoon free, but other than that he had no idea what we were doing. Much to his surprise, instead of flagging down a taxi on the main street in Zamalek, we continued on foot…to the hotel just 10 mins away. Peter was thrilled about the surprise and I was thrilled that I pulled it off!

We checked in and walked to our room through the gardens. But there was no pool. How could there be no pool!? I looked around in disbelief since the pool is literally the center of the gardens, and it was completely drained and was under construction. A bellboy passing by confirmed that the pool was closed due to construction, and I was absolutely distraught. There’s no way that we are spending the entire day in a hotel room just 10 minutes from Peter’s actual apartment in Cairo. The whole point of this weekend was the pool! So I called down to the front desk, asked for a refund, and we checked out within 5 minutes.

In an attempt to salvage the weekend, Peter suggested we check into another hotel. So we flagged down a cab and drove to the Sofitel in Zamalek. As it turns out, the pool was even more gorgeous than the Marriott’s (even not under construction) as it overlooks the Nile. We checked in only 20 minutes after checking out of the Marriott and even got an upgraded room that had an incredible view of the Nile.


We basically spent the next day and a half relaxing by the pool overlooking the Nile…with absolutely no regrets of how the weekend turned out.

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