Experiencing Cairo through Club InterContinental
Globally, luxury hospitality has set high standards for experiential excellence. Guests are made to feel pampered in ways that make them feel “at home” and encourage the desire for newer experiences during their stay – tailor-made city tours, shopping experiences all make the guest feel truly welcome. Being a luxury consultant, I’m always on the go and have experienced a fair share of indulgence during my stay in Italy, Hawaii, New York, Paris and London. So, I am always keen to stay at a new hotel as well as open to newer luxury experiences.When we decided to visit Cairo on my ‘babymoon,’ we wondered where to stay. As it happened, Club InterContinental warmly welcomed us to experience their hospitality and stay at the InterContinental Cairo Citystars (voted Cairo’s Best Business Hotel).
The indulgence that my husband, Jad, and I experienced here made me want to tell you how the team went about making us feel at home. Our stay at InterContinental Cairo Citystars was relaxing, enjoyable and great. Moreover, what was indeed lovely was the impeccable intuitive service, highly communicative and considerate staff– it was exactly what we were looking for on our holiday.
We were booked as VIP guests and the staff did numerous gestures, big and small, to make our stay truly special – right from name recognition at all times, personal butler, special consideration for my health and dietary requirements, tailor-made city tours and visit to the Pyramids of Giza. What I loved most was the way they added nice little touches like throwing us a surprise with balloons and flowers for Jad’s birthday! That made the day so much more special. The experience has been so memorable and delightful that I’d go so far as to say that Club InterContinental is a fine example of industry benchmark in hospitality.
Arrive in style
Our journey was very comfortable, we were picked up from our residence in Lebanon and driven to the airport. As soon as we landed, two staff members from Club InterContinental were waiting for us – they checked us out, collected our carry-ons and baggage, and escorted us out in no time. In the E-Class Mercedes, the chauffeur handed me an iPad so that I could order our food and drinks straightaway; it would all be in the state of the art high- tech suite by the time we arrived at the hotel.
Ever mindful of the fact that I am pregnant, the driver made sure the journey to the hotel was smooth as could be. Despite the holiday, I had some work to catch up with; thanks to the wifi in the car, I managed to post images on social media and even sent out a few work related mails. Having done that, it was time for me to get into the holiday mode and take in the sights of Cairo.
Time For Relaxation
After a delish Lebanese lunch, I was taken for a tour of the hotel. Before I tell you more, I must quickly mention the director of public relations Sherine. She was orchestrating our stay and kept surprising us along the way. With over 800 rooms and an exclusive entrance reserve for the royalty and presidents, the InterContinental Cairo Citystars was an epitome of grandeur. Tastefully done interiors decorated with Egyptian contemporary art, woven tapestry and paintings are a delight to any art connoisseur, including me. I am a huge art buff but more on that later! Once in our Signature suite, I decided I needed a massage to soothe my tired muscles. In the suite for massage treatments, I was ready for the masseuse to work her magic on me. She worked on all the pressure points and lulled me to sleep. I was soon revitalized and ready to explore the hotel and its amenities, as well as hone my culinary skills.
Up first was the cooking session with Chef Ahmed. A great chef must be very creative, which Chef Ahmed is. He has a great perception of culinary arts, and what I found most endearing is his passion for his craft. Having whipped up delicious cuisines at restaurants in prestigious hotels across the globe, his Egyptian roots, in fact, was the reason that he returned to the fold. Since joining the InterContinental Cairo Citystars, he has to his credit around 20 signature dishes and is busy creating many more delicious dishes.
He is aiming to change the regional perception of food, while striving to put Egyptian cuisine on the world map. Under Chef Ahmed’s guidance, I made Molokheya with rabbit meat – I must admit that I was quite impressed with my culinary skills. Then, it was time for us to sample the many mouth-watering delicacies at the hotel’s signature restaurants. We loved the food at Al Khal. The chef recommended that we try Basboussa. I’m so glad we did; honestly, I couldn’t get enough of the delicious dessert. Coming back to food, what I loved most was not just the incredibly flavourful cuisine but also the rich heritage that linked them all. What I found highly interesting were the little stories and arresting details about how the dishes had come about, and evolved over time.
Pyramids of Giza
The next morning, we were whisked off on a guided city and museum tour. The first stopover was the Museum of Antiquities. Our guide was very knowledgeable and showered us with nuggets of key information, as we walked around taking in the mummies of ancient kings, artefacts of the Pharaohs and Tutankhamen’s treasures. Next on our to-do list a visit to Zamalek Art Gallery. As an art curator, I take keen interest in exploring art across the world, and being able to view all those wonderful works at the gallery helped me better understand the creative world in Egypt.
The next evening, we headed out to see the Light & Sound show at the Pyramids of Giza. It was ever so mystical, watching the show at night and listening to the captivating narration. Club InterContinental made sure we ere seated in the VIP gallery, and this made the experience all the more comfortable and enjoyable.
Later at dinner, we were treated to a fantastic Teppanyaki show by Chef Komatsu at the Shogun restaurant. Since I am off raw food, I opted for my salmon in miso sauce, which by the way was great, while Jad ordered a sushi platter thoroughly enjoyed it all followed by a yummy multi-layered chocolate almond meringue surprise birthday cake filled with praline butter cream.
My visit to Cairo opened up a new world of culinary delights, art, culture and hospitality and Club InterContinental team made this our perfect getaway. Cairo, I’ll be back for more.
NK Luxury Consultancy (NKLC) is a boutique consulting house based in Dubai Design District dedicated to helping established, international, luxury lifestyle brands create presence in Dubai and GCC. NKLC advises companies on their long term brand strategy, developing near term tactical planning for execution across communications, products, and retail touch points. As part of our ongoing commitment to the industry, NKLC established a mentorship program dedicated to supporting emerging brands grow from a product into a business. We work with emerging and established fashion and consumer luxury brands, designers, retailers, art associations and luxury associations. To connect with Narimane Kurdi, Managing Director firstname.lastname@example.org