Another hot summer is upon us, and our only refuge is the sweet chlorine water of a swimming pool sweeping over our hot and tired bodies. As the definitive guide to living in the capital, Cairo 360 has taken the quest for the best day use pools very seriously; here's the best of the best.
6th October City:
Unless you live in 6th October City, visiting the Swiss Inn may seem more hassle than it’s worth. The large pool is worth the trip, though; especially when you consider that the 11AM to 7PM day use will only cost you 100LE. Although there are no changing facilities, the pool area is clean, there is a separate kid’s pool, and the poolside restaurant offers sandwiches, burgers and pizzas. You can grab drinks at the pool bar or have them delivered to your chaise lounge. If you really want to make a day of it, cabins are available for rent for 350LE on weekends and 250LE on weekdays.
Mövenpick enjoys a decent reputation worldwide, but the prices for swimming pool day use at the Media City branch have gone up since last summer from 129LE to 150LE. It’s only a slight increase, but on top of this, the usage hours have been narrowed to 12PM to 6.30PM as opposed to last year’s hours of 9AM to 7PM. Despite this, it’s a decent option for a lazy paddle around and a snack or drink. Changing facilities are provided, and there are several options at the hotel for post-swimming dining.
The Conrad Hotel has lagged behind its near neighbours in recent years, especially aesthetically. The hotel still possesses a very decent pool for use between 7AM and sunset. The 300LE fee also give you access to their 24-hour health club and a big, cuddly towel. The pool isn’t particularly big and the health club facilities are a little outdated, but the area is quiet and ideal for relaxing. Food is of course available, but pricey, and the same applies to the drinks. If the day use fee is a little steep for you, the hotel offers entry for a couple for 400LE.
The pool on the 25th floor of the Fairmont Nile City is a cradle of luxury that comes at a price. Hiring a room is a requisite for the pool day use, and depending on how deep your pockets are, a room will set you back between 300LE and 500LE. The large pool is suitable for swimmers and loungers alike, with a Jacuzzi on the edge of the pool attracting the most traffic. A smaller pool is also available metres away if you prefer a little seclusion, and from the chaise lounges plotted everywhere, you can enjoy an amazing view of the city. This is a lush experience at every point of the visit.
Grand Nile Tower (formerly Grand
With a prime location on the Garden City corniche, there aren’t many better views than poolside at the Grand Nile Tower (formerly known as the Grand Hyatt). The large pool is ideal for both swimmers and loungers, and we’re very grateful that the day use fee is as it was last summer at 200LE. Though food and drinks are of course an expensive extra, you are given a complimentary towel, and the chaise lounges are comfortable and ideal for a long tanning session.
Zamalek Residence Cairo (Formerly Safir)
The Nile-side hotel has a small pool, but the scenic setting of the Nile more than makes up for it. The day use fee remains at 150LE, which makes for a very reasonable deal. This is until you factor in the 100LE minimum charge at hotel’s Nile Breeze café. Though you will be compelled to buy a full-blown meal, the Nile Breeze occasionally get it right with their dishes. You almost certainly won’t be able to work off the meal, though; as the bean-shaped pool is too small for swimming laps.
The surroundings at the Mohamed Ali club are ideal for relaxing on your own, or a day trip to the pool with your family. The greenery of the gardens is a welcome foil to the heat and fervour of Cairo. The clash between the classic architecture and the modern infinity pool make for a scenic day out, and the 100LE fee will get you a towel. Food and drink prices are on a par with most hotels, and so is a little expensive considering.
The Atlas hotel takes a unique approach to the day use at the pool. Dine at their poolside restaurant and bar, and for a minimum charge of 60LE, you gain access to the pool. Though the pool is a little on the small side compared to the bigger and more established hotels, the rooftop is ideal for catching some rays at the so-called ‘solarium’. Though this is an average pool in every sense, the money you are paying makes a lunch and a swim and affordable option.
It may not be the most popular pool in Cairo, but it might well be the cheapest. Day use at Nabila Hotel’s rooftop pool costs 40LE. Food-wise, the menu is expansive with everything from burgers to grilled prawns on offer; you could theoretically have a comfortable three-course meal poolside. Your day use fee also grants you access to the hotel’s spa facilities, although you will have to turn over another 40LE if you want access to the gym.
This hotel offers one of the more expensive day use deals in Cairo; you have to pay for a room at between 700LE and 900LE. However, for that price, you are granted access to the hotel’s well-equipped health and wellness centre. Here you will find a state-of-the-art gym, spa facilities, as well as a huge hot tub and spaces for classes. The pool itself is only really useful for those looking to relax, rather than swim. The pool-bar is a particular crowd pleaser, allowing you to eat while you paddle around as well as drink of course. If you’re looking to retreat from the sun, the poolside rooms are as well-equipped as you’d find at a hotel.
Day use at the Fairmont requires reservation of a room too, which makes going in a foursome the most economical option. Having the choice of the two swimming pools at the Fairmont Heliopolis and Towers sections is also a plus. Both offer single and double rooms, with the former also giving you the option of a pool-side cabana. Prices are of course as you’d expect, with single and double rooms at the Heliopolis section costing between 300LE and 600LE, while a convenient pool-side cabana can set you back up to a pricey 700LE. The Heliopolis pool is fairly spacious, and there is a separate children’s pool. The pool bar is fairly standard, with food and drink, although expect prices to be high in true Fairmont style.