Four Seasons Cairo at The First Residence
The quieter and more intimate Four Seasons First Residence opened in 2000 as part of a luxury residential complex. It sits on the Giza side of the Nile, with rooms facing the river or toward Cairo’s zoo and botanical gardens. The main entrance resembles that of a fancy apartment building more than a hotel’s. The columned marble lobby has a seating area to one side and a grand staircase on the other. You have to go upstairs to find the reception and concierge desks along with the main salon, a confection of French opulence, from its elaborately painted ceiling and crystal chandelier to its gilt and velvet seats. The muse here was not Cleopatra but Marie Antoinette. There’s also a mahogany-paneled library that looks as if it were plucked out of Belgravia. Probably because many wealthy Gulf Arabs love London and Paris, those city’s luxury landmarks were an inspiration for the property. The 269 guest rooms and suites continue the motif, with rich damask and silk complementing the baroque reproduction furniture. The best rooms are on the highest floors and have views of the Nile. The outdoor pool area sits between the tower of hotel rooms and its twin residential tower, so it does not face directly over the river, but it does provide a sunny sanctuary where waiters will deliver lunch or snacks. A few steps from the pool is the first-class fitness, spa and wellness center, which offers such Egyptian treatments as the Queen Cleopatra milk and honey bath. Favorite hotel restaurant: Aura, the Lebanese one, which serves some of the most delicious mezes in the city. Rooms from $440.
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