Cairo's accommodations seem to lie at extreme ends of the spectrum. You'll either find cheap backpacker places of dubious cleanliness or high-priced, high-rise, tourist-class hotels that are often heavy on glitz and light on actual deliverables. There are a small number of decently priced, clean, basic hotels, but by focusing on a few key areas, you'll find some good deals.
Downtown and Garden City -- Downtown is where the action is; its hustle and bustle and street life are part of what make Cairo a special place -- whether you want to stay here is a different question (some people find the sheer press of crowds, the traffic, and the constant din a bit much). The hotels listed below all offer a quiet refuge, and some (like the Four Seasons or the New Garden City) are located well off to the side. Others, like the Talisman or the Cosmopolitan, are right in the thick of the action.
Garden City is a small neighborhood to the south of downtown proper. Built by the British as their administrative center, it now molders in quiet, boring respectability. Other than a number of embassies (including the American, British, and Canadian), it has one restaurant and two or three hotels worth noting.
Mohandiseen -- There isn't much to attract a tourist to Mohandiseen, but the neighborhood is between Giza and downtown and has good access along the 26th of July corridor in both directions, making it a convenient place to stay. There are a number of midrange hotels here, but nothing either at the higher or lower ends of the scale that are worth considering.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.