If you are intending to make a last minute trip to Cairo and/or trying to find a Nile Cruise between November 2017 and end of Feb 2018 my best advice is that you complete and confirm your booking immediately. Over the last few weeks I have been refusing bookings for some dates for my Cairo with Mara package, Cairo tours and Nile Cruises as well as our 9 night package which includes Cairo and Cruise.
That is as frustrating for me as it is disappointing for those refused. If you don’t believe me try some of the online booking engines and see how many boats/hotels are sold out and selling out as you browse. Cruises especially are in high demand and many boats have been scrapped now leaving a shortage of boats as the tourism industry experiences a sharp revival. There has been an influx of visitors from China – much welcomed and this week the Japanese and French have resumed weekly flights so I expect the situation regarding good hotel rooms in Cairo to worsen in the coming months.
HOTEL SECTORS IN CAIRO
Let me explain the situation with hotels in Cairo. There are 3 types of accommodation available here as anywhere else in the world:
- Expensive top end hotels
- Mid-range hotels (VERY limited)
- Lower end – you don’t really want to go there!
TOP END HOTELS IN CAIRO
Since 2011 up to Dec 2016 it has been relatively easy both for me and late minute travellers to find accommodation in the top end hotels at a lower than normal rate for hotels of that standard. In Dec 2016 these hotels could not meet the demand for late bookings and the trend has continued. It is not just that tourism in Egypt is on the increase with people wanting to see the ancient monuments. It is also the fact that Cairo is an amazing metropolis even without the Pyramids etc. Cairo is a great place for doing business, conferences etc. etc. for international and global companies. Now add on to this the influx of wealthy visitors from throughout the Middle East – suddenly the top end hotels in Cairo are booming.
These are the hotels you really want to stay in if you are in Cairo –
- DO NOT LEAVE BOOKING YOUR HOTEL IN CAIRO UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE – you will be left room-less and frustrated.
- DO NOT LEAVE BOOKING YOUR PACKAGE THAT INCLUDES CAIRO WITH ME UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE – we will both be disappointed.
MID-RANGE HOTELS IN CAIRO
When I use the term ‘mid-range hotel’ I refer to hotels with a mid-range price bracket – higher in price than the ‘flea-bag hotel’ class but significantly lower in price than the top-end class BUT maintaining a high standard of comfort and service. Between 2011 and Dec 2016 the low rates charged by the top end hotels left the mid-range and lower end with virtually no business or income. Prior to 2011 there was a shortage in Cairo of mid-range accommodation – now there is even less available and where it is available, many have not had the cash needed to sustain their usual level of maintenance for property, staff or standards.
LOWER-END HOTELS IN CAIRO
As I said – for a variety of reasons, you definitely want better on a holiday. If you don’t believe me, think again and this time please bear in mind there is a distinct possibility that there is a world of differnce between what you consider an acceptable standard in a ‘hotel’ and what is considered acceptable by people providing a bed for low budget travellers coming in off the street.
DOES THIS ADVICE APPLY FOR ALL MONTHS?
I don’t know. Traditionally, prior to 2011 the months May to Oct were considered low season to which this advice might not apply. Which is kind of crazy when it comes to travellers from Europe etc where school holidays is best time for hotels catering for family travel. However, it is an idea that grew because of the perceived problem of heat I think. These days the idea of Egypt being too hot in summer is outdated and irrelevant – as long as you plan for it. Everywhere you travel in Egypt now is air-conditioned. Plus it is a dry heat which is far more bearable, especially for visitors from humid climates.
Back to the question. Taking into account that a major reason the top end hotels are so busy is the increasing volume of wealthy Middle Eastern visitors my advice is still to book early in advance especially if your heart is set on an Egyptian Honeymoon or Egypt for a special occasion.
My advice to book early most definitely applies to the months of Nov 2017 to end of Feb 2018 which is traditionally peak time since… forever.
This trend may continue – it may not. The question is “do you want to find out at the last minute that you are struggling for even a basic clean room and good bed?” Check out any of the online booking websites now – search for a hotel room for tomorrow night in Cairo. If you find one note the price for tonight the check the same hotel for price say…..6 weeks from now. Remember the point of this post was to say “don’t leave booking your accommodation in Cairo (or a Nile Cruise) until the last minute”.