This deluxe high-rise hotel has been catering to important dignitaries and world travelers in central Cairo since 1987. It is in a prime location along the east bank of the Nile River, near popular Gezira Island. The hotel is close to the American and British Embassies, the Egyptian Museum, and a main metro station. Its central location and overall high standards make this a popular choice among large tour groups. As with most major hotels in Egypt that cater to tourists, there is a security checkpoint and metal detector at the main entrance.
The Semiramis has 28 floors and 840 guest rooms, with a round of renovations in 1998. Our room was room 1139, which did not face the great Nile River. However, the city view was interesting enough, with panoramas that included (on a clear day anyway) the Egyptian Museum, the Citadel and the Mohammed Ali Mosque. The room had a little balcony, which was a nice place to stare down upon the maze of streets below. I did have an aerial view of an altercation on the highway below that resulted from a fender bender; the scuffle featured punching and head butting! Our room with two double beds was cozy enough and there was still enough space for a rollaway bed. There is a minibar, writing table, and plenty of cable TV channels. The bathroom was fine enough even with a somewhat dated appearance, and it also had a bidet (does anyone use these things when they are at a hotel?).
Our complimentary breakfast buffet was served in the Night and Day Room, one of the many restaurants and lounges at this world-class hotel. We loaded up on hot and cold items, a variety of beverages, and many sweet rolls (I enjoyed the raisin buns). This was more of a "western" buffet than an Egyptian one, so none of the selections seemed that adventurous. The hotel also features a lounge with belly dancing acts, outdoor pool, fitness room, ATM, concierge desk, valet parking, and even a casino. The hotel staff was helpful as they deftly answered our questions in fluent English. There is even a doctor "on call", as my friend found out the hard way when he came up ill one night and was forced to call for his services. The doctor prescribed a few pills for him and gave him an injection, all at fairly reasonable rates.