The first Four Seasons Hotel to open in the Middle East, almost 20 years, Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence has maintained a unique aura of luxury, especially through its customer service standards – among the highest across the entire global chain of the Canadian chain.
Today, there are very few Four Seasons property around the world which do not count Egyptian staff who started their career at the Four Seasons Cairo at First Residence. Beyond any corporate HR standards and trainings, Egyptians have a genetic inclination towards providing the most heartfelt and genuine service. There is also a deep sense of pride for them to be part of the team of this iconic hotel.
From the moment I was greeted with a warm smile at the airport to my departure, I could not feel more at home. It was one of those rare stays I felt I wouldn’t want to leave. From being recognised by my name, remembering my preference for the breakfast table and favourite dish, to the room temperature – were all provided in a most effortless way. The Spa, the Concierge, housekeeping, guest relations and dining – service was simply flawless!
The hotel’s 262 rooms and suites – some of the largest in Cairo – offer a variety of vistas to the outdoor pool area, Botanical Gardens, Nile and bird-eye views of the Pyramids. Rooms and suites were upgraded in 2017, with soft furnishings, fabrics, wallpapers, light fixtures, carpets and floor-to-ceiling curtains. The Hotel corridors have been enhanced with marble flooring outside the elevator landings, with new carpeting leading to all guest rooms and suites. All rooms and suites are beautifully decorated in French Empire style with a new colour palette of soft pastels creating a soothing luxury experience.
What struck me was the incredible construction quality standard of the building – very solid – considering it was built almost 10 years ago. Despite its two decades since openings, essentials are functioning impeccably – indoor and outdoor sound-proofing, AC which works both as cooling and heating with automatic control, high-speed internet as well as water pressure.
Concierge is one of the finest in Cairo having arranged during my stay a most rare tour of the yet to open Grand Egyptian Museum, scheduled for inauguration in 2020 and considered by many as one of the largest museums in the world boasting invaluable collections, some never seen before. Here are also some of the tips on Cairo by Chef Concierge Tamer Kelany.
Ever since the grand opening in 2000 of Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence has been well known for its iconic ocular, a beautiful glass window fitted in to the hand painted walls of the Tea Lounge on the third floor. The ocular, a glass window also generically referred to as a “rose window” or a “wheel window” is a popular component of Gothic architecture, though early forms date back to Roman times. The ocular at Four Seasons was locally handcrafted and specially custom made for the hotel,
Completed enhancements in the hotel included the expansion of the Lobby area with the addition of a second reception desk area to enhance the Hotel’s check in and concierge experience. The Spa and Wellness Centre has concluded enhancements to the steam, sauna and whirlpool area; both the male and female sections have new whirlpools with new power jets and LED lighting, creating a more relaxing atmosphere in the eveningsT.
The Aura was my favourite dining venue featuring both an indoor experience with authentic Shami cuisine and an outdoors one with private cabanas overlooking the pool. The eight outdoor cabanas include wood exterior ceilings, cool comfortable couches with glass retraction roof and doors perfect to keep warm in the winter. Each has a private TV, ideal for socialising with friends or family and enjoying football matches or Ramadan entertainment.
The Spa boasts one of the finest luxury hotel Turkish hammams in Cairo as an addition to the Spa and Wellness Centre at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence. Surrounded by heated marble, giant carved stone basins and evocative flowered mosaics overlooking a giant marble treatment area, the hammam experience is designed to purify skin instantly and perfectly blends ancient spa traditions.
As part of the First Residence mixed-used complex, there is another tower building with residences, a luxury mall with a selection of top international luxury brands, a recently opened Burger Bar and a Caesars Casino (first Caesars Casino in the region). The hotel will soon be inaugurating the Four Seasons Nile Boat, a luxury experience with a disco / lounge and three restaurants as well as spaces for venues.
Last month, Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at First Residence became the first hotel in Egypt to install an electric car charging station which works with a variety of vehicles, such as plug-in electric vehicles and hybrids. For a full-battery, vehicles get charged for eight straight hours, however a two-hour charging session is enough for 500-kilometre (310 mile) drive.
Oliver Petcu in Cairo
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