The Best High-End Hotels
- Adrere Amella (Siwa; tel. 02/2735 1924; www.adrereamellal.net): Gorgeous local scenery meets gorgeous local architecture in this high-end, high-concept, all-inclusive ecolodge. Bask by the pool, eat local foods, and pamper yourself in the palatial bathroom, all with an ecofriendly peace of mind.
- Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria (399 Al Geish Rd., Alexandria; tel. 03/5818000; www.fourseasons.com): The only criticism you could make of this re-creation of a classic Alexandria hotel is that it's just a little too perfect.
- Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence (35 Giza St., Giza, Cairo; tel. 02/35731212; www.fourseasons.com): It says it all that the only hotel in Cairo that competes with the Four Seasons (below) is another Four Seasons. The First Residence is a little out of the center, but it makes up for it by having the greenest view of any hotel in the city -- it looks out across the Giza Zoo.
- Four Seasons Nile Plaza (1089 Corniche el Nile, Cairo; tel. 02/27917000; www.fourseasons.com): It's hard to get any more central or stylish than the smoothly modern Four Seasons Plaza. From the cutting-edge collection of Egyptian art on the walls to the beautifully designed pool and dining facilities, you can rest assured that nobody's staying anywhere nicer tonight.
- Hotel Al Moudira (West Bank, Luxor; tel. 095/2551440; www.moudira.com): This is a lovingly put together boutique hotel on the edge of the desert. The individually designed and decorated rooms are spread through a splendidly understated garden, and the pool is a tranquil work of art. The food, though, tops it all.
- Mena House Oberoi (Pyramids Road, Giza, Cairo; tel. 02/33773222; www.oberoimenahouse.com): Beautiful period furniture in an authentic 19th-century setting, Oberoi service standards, and the best Indian food in town -- oh, and did I mention the view of the pyramids on the Giza Plateau from your room?
The Best Midrange Hotels
- Bab Inshal (Midan el Souq, Siwa; tel. 046/4601499): You can't get much closer to the ruins of the old city than the Bab Inshal -- it's literally built into the ancient walls. Combine this with gorgeous, traditionally constructed rooms and fantastic food in the rooftop restaurant, and you've got your desert base sorted out.
- Cosmopolitan (21 26th of July St., Cairo; tel. 02/25752323): Take a step back about 50 years to a quieter, cleaner Cairo, a Cairo where the brass handles on the lifts gleamed unobtrusively and the wooden banisters were polished to a mirror finish. It's still here, faded in places and needing some modern plumbing in others, but basically intact.
- The Badawiya (Gama Abdel Nasser St., Farafra; tel. 092/7510060; www.badawiya.com): Accommodation in the middle of nowhere doesn't get much better than this. Big rooms made out of local sandstone, deliciously comfortable beds, and endlessly friendly and accommodating staff make this a desert home away from home.
- Shali Lodge (El Seboukha St., Siwa; tel. 046/4601299): Tucked out of sight amongst the palm trees, this comfortable little hotel combines the smooth lines of traditional Siwan architecture with the best of casual, warm, and efficient Bedouin service. Kicking back in the pool in the heat of the day and watching the palm trees wave gently in the breeze is pretty close to heaven.
- Sheraton Luxor (Khalid Ibn el Walid St., Luxor; tel. 095/2274544; www.starwoodhotels.com): This big, secluded hotel at the southern end of Luxor delivers resort-style accommodation and quick, efficient service at a midrange price. Watch the Nile roll slowly past from the riverside pool, or relax in comfort with a beer on the terrace.
- St. Joseph Hotel Luxor (Khalid Ibn el Walid St., Luxor; tel. 095/2381707): Friendly service, comfy rooms, and a view of the Nile from the rooftop bar make this widely copied expat favorite the best value for the money in Luxor. Toss in a good location, with restaurants and bars within walking distance of the front door, and you have champagne accommodations on a beer budget.
- Talisman (39 Talat Harb St., Cairo; tel. 02/23939431): If you want to get away from the cookie-cutter chains and see the real Cairo, but you don't feel ready to kip with the backpacker crowd, head to this downtown boutique hotel in a renovated 19th-century flat. Every room is different, and the hallways are an antiques collector's dream.
The Best Budget Hotels
- El Karm Ecolodge (Sheikh Awad, St. Catherine, Sinai; tel. 010/1324693): This is the only budget hotel that's a destination as well. Classic Nabatean-style rockwork combines gracefully with simple architecture here in the middle of the Sinai. This is a clean, quiet getaway for those willing to rough it a little.
- Dolphin Camp (Mashraba, Dahab; tel. 069/3640081; www.dolphincamp.net): Grass huts, a sea breeze, and a laid-back attitude are what make Dolphin Camp the place to go hang, hang, and then hang some more. If you feel like splurging, they have rooms with air-conditioning, but if you want to stretch the budget into another week of, well, hanging, then take a hut and let nature keep you cool.
- El Salam (101 Corniche el Nil, Aswan; tel. 097/2302651): This deceptively large hotel is quiet and takes you back to basics. Compromise the rooms without the en suite, and get a big balcony with a stunning view up and down the Nile. If you remembered to go to duty-free at the airport, it's the perfect place to put your feet up and toast the end of the day.
- Mina Palace (Corniche el Nile, Luxor; tel. 095/2372074): Who says you get what you pay for? This is a $10-a-night hotel with a $300 view across the Nile. Plus, it has a killer location across the street from the gory-yet-fascinating Museum of Mummification and is halfway between Luxor Temple and the must-see Luxor Museum.
- Nakhil (Gezirat al Baraat, West Bank, Luxor; tel. 095/2313922): This is a lovely little getaway in the back of the tranquil West Bank. The Nakhil has mid-level rooms for a bottom-end price. About the only thing it lacks, in fact, is the noise and hassle of the East Bank.
- Nefertiti Hotel (Al Sahabi St., Luxor; tel. 095/2372386; www.nefertitihotel.com): Jammed into the heart of Luxor's tourist souk, the Nefertiti is a travel agent, social hub, pool hall, and Internet cafe all rolled into one affordable package. Oh, yeah, and some comfy rooms and hot showers are thrown in there as well.
- Union Hotel (164 26th of July St., Alexandria; tel. 03/4807771): This has long been the preferred hideaway of expats on a weekend pass and archaeologists passing through town on their way to work. The Union plays out the classic budget formula: clean sheets, hot water, and a friendly, honest staff. And if you lean way out from your balcony, you can even see the sea.
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.