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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Nabila Hotel: Cheap Swimming Pool Day Use in Mohandiseen
The Cairo summer heat always seems to take us by surprise. Out of the blue, the temperature hits 40 degrees and we find ourselves glued to our A/Cs behind closed blinds, avoiding sunlight. Swimming pools are very necessary for days like these. If you want to enjoy sunbathing and swimming in Cairo without paying an arm and a leg, then head to Nabila Hotel in Mohandiseen. Located on Gamaat El Dowal Street, the hotel’s swimming pool offers arguably the cheapest day-use in Cairo for only 40LE.
The pool is located on the hotel rooftop, and despite its moderate size, you can still have a good swim in it. It is also convenient for children because part of the pool is quite shallow. There are a few chaise longues and chairs around the pool, and if you want shade, you can ask for an umbrella. There is also a covered area that provides shelter from the sun. Toilets and showers are located nearby, and big towels are provided for your pool use.
The pool’s food menu is quite extensive but not all items are always available. To give you an indication of prices, you can get soups starting at 12LE and various salads for 10LE and above. You can also sample mezzas like sambousak (15LE) and kobeba (18LE). Main courses are a bit pricier with grilled prawns for 90LE, fillet with pepper sauce for 70LE and chicken dishes for 45LE. In case you are really hungry, get yourself a kilo of kofta or kabab for 130LE. Sandwiches start at 12LE.
The drinks menu includes coffee starting at 7LE, soft drinks at 10LE, juice starting at 15LE and Stella beer for 15LE.
This reviewer sampled the tehina (10LE) and the big burger sandwich (25LE). The tehina was appropriately creamy and served with shami bread. The burger tasted fine, but it was nothing extraordinary. It does take a while for the food to arrive and the waiters are not always around. Whenever you see them; order everything you want at once.
Day use at Nabila Hotel also gives you access to the spa, which consists of a Jacuzzi, a steam room and a sauna, which at the time of this reviewer’s visit didn’t seem too clean. However, the gym area at Nabila is in much better condition, but you will have to pay an additional 40LE. So just to sum it up; using the pool and spa will cost you 40LE, the gym alone costs 40LE, while the gym, pool and spa cost 80LE.
It might not be the biggest and coolest pool in Cairo, but for 40LE, Nabila Hotel offers a cheap way to cool down in the heat.
“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.