Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review for the Yousef Hotel in Siwa, Egypt

Hotel Yousef, in the oasis city of Siwa is perhaps one of the city's most recognizable buildings.  It is pink in color and stands taller than most of the buildings on the main square.  The hotel itself is quite old and consists of a main floor where there is a small TV and a reception desk.  There are some posters advertising various tours that are offered by the hotel around the town and further out into the desert.

The hotel has three floors of rooms.  On the third floor is a fridge that guests can use to keep things cool.  There are some older shared bathroom facilities on this floor as well, which seemed to be in various states of upkeep.  They are not as nasty, as say, the shower at the Chelsey House in Dublin, but then again, what is? In fact, to compare them to that is unfair.  They are, in a few words, sufficient for a body cleansing.

On the fourth floor is a few more rooms, which are the rooms with private bathrooms.  These rooms cost 50 EGP a night as of this writing, and are, in all honestly, priced well.  This comes out to about $8 a night, and the rooms themselves are decent.  The room that we stayed in consisted of two beds, two pillows (which were not very comfortable, but that seems to be the norm for budget hotels here), and a nice balcony area.

The balcony was the main selling point for this hotel, as it had a great view of the square and the sand sea of the Sahara beyond.  There are double french style doors that open to it, and combined with the ceiling fan, it provided a respite from the oftentimes oppressive heat of Siwa.

The bathroom itself was not the greatest asset of the hotel to put it mildly.  The hot water was sporadic and the toilet oftentimes fought back with a vengeance.  That being said, it was usable and not the worst we had seen (or will see).

On the rooftop is a common area that, like at the Dahab Hostel in Cairo, could use some repair.  There is a covered area with a few tables, which boasts an amazing view of the entire oasis area.  Coming up here to watch the sun set over the lake and the palm trees in the distance is a magical experience.  There is an old kitchen area up on the rooftop that seems to be retired.  It's a shame, as this would be great for guests to use.  With that being said, there are a couple of good restaurants nearby and food is cheap enough in Siwa. 

The common areas are kept clean and tidy.  Outside of each room is a small trash basket which is emptied every couple of days.  The hotel was very quiet, but this could have been due to the fact that only a few people were staying here when we were.

Rooftop common area of Hotel Yousef.

Overall, we were happy with our stay at Yousef Hotel in Siwa.  The rooms are very basic, but at 50 EGP for a room with a bathroom, one has very little cause to complain.  I should also mention that the proprietor was very nice and helpful.  He was not pushy about offering tours and only mentioned them when asked about them.  Overall, this is how we found Siwa, there's no pressure to buy tours, goods, or anything really.  It's much more laid back than Cairo, and all the people who we met were very accommodating and welcoming.


Website for the hotel: Hotel Yousef in Siwa Oasis, Egypt.

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