The Oasis Hotel, Cairo, Egypt

The Oasis Hotel was lovely, especially after driving through much of Cairo and seeing the poverty, the mountains of garbage, the insane and complete otherness of life in that huge, Muslim city. Here is my list of the good, the middling and the poor aspects of our stay at the Oasis. Appearances can be deceiving. I give the Oasis 2.5 thumbs up.
The good things:
-Ice Cream
-The hookah bar
-Pool, very nice but closed at 7pm.
-The availability of alcoholic beverages
The less-than things:
-The food. It was plentiful but not very tasty.
-The wait staff-both service and willingness to wait on Americans. The word ‘American’ was mentioned every time we needed a waiter and someone had to volunteer to wait on us. Otherwise we just sat there waiting. Eventually, though, someone always showed up. The service was very slow by our                         standards and plates were left to sit, sometimes for an hour, before being cleared. There were one or two waiters who were better, by American                         standards, than others. Snappier, to be exact.

The bad things:
-Bed bugs. In *every* room.
-The smell of pesticide in the rooms.
-The unpredictable shower water temp. The temp fluctuated between scalding and icy. I like very hot water but this was beyond anything human skin can   withstand. It could possibly cause burns. One of our guides recommended that we not shower at all while visiting Egypt. We are Americans! We                     shower daily. Luckily we managed to leave with our skin still on. Our 7 year old did not bathe in Egypt. She swam in the pool a lot though.
-Not being able to use tap water to brush our teeth. (It comes from the Nile. Many of us suffered disintery anyway.)
-The staff member who offered hashish to 3 of our teenagers.
-The necessity of spraying huge amounts of pesticide every afternoon with what appeared to be a leaf blower attached to a tank of poison. This nifty gadget was operated by a young man wearing Dickies. No mask. No glasses. No respirator.

Visiting Egypt was a huge foray into foreign culture for us. We have visited Western Europe often but never Africa, never a Muslim country. I do understand that Westerners are kept safe by being into these huge compounds, such as the Oasis offers. But then, there’s the man who offered the kids the hashish. That’s not so safe sounding, is it? There were 16 members of my family traveling together. We had 7 rooms at the Oasis.

Based mainly on the fact that we were eaten up with bed bug bites and that one of the members of the staff offered our children illegal narcotics, I cannot recommend staying at the Oasis Hotel. I have no idea what the competition is like but would suggest it’s worth a try if you’re staying in Cairo.

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