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6th of October City, Cairo, Egypt.
Swiss Inn Pyramids Golf Resort: Cheap Swimming Pool in Cairo
To anyone living in central Cairo, 6th of October City would seem like an awful trek to take just for a day-use at a swimming pool, but some hotels are worth the journey.
Located across from Dreamland Park and next to the Hilton, Swiss Inn Pyramids Golf Resort is technically marketed as a five-star hotel, although quality-wise it’s probably only worthy of three stars.
Just beyond the hotel’s golf course and its restaurants is its swimming pool. The 225sqm-pool is heated in the winter, and surrounded by chaise lounges and large umbrellas. Towards one end of the pool is the pool bar and Oasis pool restaurant, which can serve you lunch and drinks to your chaise lounge if you’re too lazy to get up.
At the time of our visit, the pool area was not crowded, and the large size of the pool itself means you don’t have to be cramped uncomfortably with other strangers in bathing suits. Even better, a separate kids’ pool keeps the children’s screams somewhat distant. Lifeguards stand pool-side at all times, and bathrooms are available to change in, but there are no changing rooms or locker facilities.
As of June 2011, Swiss Inn Pyramid Resort’s rate for day-use is only 100LE per person. Day use lasts from 11AM till 7PM, so you have a decent eight hours in the sun and pool for 100LE. Even better, the hotel offers a three-person cabin that you can rent for the day, so that you can rest, change and shower in comfort. On weekends, the cabin costs 350LE, and on weekdays, it costs 250LE. Split three ways, it’s an excellent deal for a pool use with a cabin.
The poolside restaurant offers a standard menu of pizzas and sandwiches fit for pool-side snacking, with a rather limited drinks and juice menu. Fresh strawberry juice and orange juice (15LE) are available, while a bottle of Heineken and Stella equally cost 25LE.
If you’re starving, chow down on their steak sandwich (45LE), which comes in a large portion with very tender, juicy steak shreds as well as a massive portion of French fries. The club sandwich (45LE) is equally delicious with fresh ingredients and just the right amount of cheese and roast beef. Try the pizzas as well (around 45LE), which are large enough to be split between two to three people.
A day use at the Swiss Inn Pyramids Golf Resorts is an affordable swimming pool option to consider. Whether or not you want to make the trip out to the 6th of October area is entirely up to you.
“I was at Tahrir everyday and I was into change,” the veteran historian and owner of Royal Club Mohamed-Aly in Giza said in an interview with Cairo 360. “I was very unhappy with the military rule for 60 years. But now I can tell you I wish the revolution had not happened. A revolution without a leader, without an agenda, without a plan is doomed to destroy not to build.”
On the so-called ‘Friday of Anger’ following the first days of revolution last year, according to Farag, some 600 people carrying machine guns and other weapons stormed the nearly 15-year-old Mohamed-Aly and looted its grounds.
“They stole everything that could be stolen and destroyed everything that they could not carry,” says Farag.
The main clubhouse, which took 12 years to build, was set ablaze and its marble floors, smashed. Just beyond the main entrance, the scorched remains of classic automobiles including a Bentley from Farag’s collection lie as vestiges of the unfortunate day.
But what really sets Mohamed-Aly apart from the rest is its liberal atmosphere and strict policy against harassment.
“This is the only place a woman can walk in by herself in a bikini, jump in the water, and come out, and no one will dare to look. The first look I might let, but the second and I will deal with you. There’s no harassment at my club whatsoever,” says Farag.
If shaabi isn’t your scene, Mohamed-Aly encourages you to cross the bridge onto the club’s private island, BYOB (bring your own bottle), and hang under the quiet, shady tree-lined bank with the water literally at your feet. Here, a carpeted and pillow lounge invites us to a shisha and a beverage - the perfect spot to relax for a sunset view of the Nile.
Otherwise, regular membership at the club is annually renewed, and is 4500LE per person per year, 3500LE for spouse, and 2000LE for children under 18. Single day entry is 150LE and includes two complimentary drinks.
Though the revolution posed an awful setback for the club, Farag is resilient to provide Cairenes with the only spot in the city where we can bare all - almost all - and drink under the sun without the hassle of wide-eyed satyrs and virgins.
Soak up the last rays of summer and get away to a faraway place not too far from home.