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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Le Figaro: Zamalek Beauty Salon Stuck in Time Warp
If there is one shopping centre in Zamalek that is often neglected it’s the Degla shopping centre on Hassan Sabry Street. Many people are completely unaware of the existence of the centre and when you arrive there the entire place is often empty. Le Figaro is the one hairdresser located in the shopping mall. You can find it on the second floor tucked away in the corner close to Ghazl El Banat.
The interior of Le Figaro is so outdated it’s retro; the 70’s prevail. However, everything looks very clean and well taken care of. There are fresh flowers on the counter so you can’t say they aren’t trying to make something out of it. It’s best not to look at the pictures of brides on the wall above the cash register. The brides featured in these pictures are probably already celebrating their 25th anniversary and so are their haircuts. Most of the products on display are L’Oreal and Chi which are of course known to be very good brands for hair products.
We decided to go for a wash and blow-dry (80LE) and a manicure (35LE). The best thing is that we had both done at the same time which is a huge time saver. It did mean, however, that our manicure lady got blown away by the hair dryer every once in a while, but she seemed able to cope with that. After having our hair washed we took place on one of the seats and let the hairdresser do his thing. The only instruction he was given was: volume. The manicure started off well but the end result wasn’t too pleasing. Instead of making the nails pink or leaving them clear, they were covered with light white polish. This would have been ok had she applied just one layer instead of two and if the nail polish wasn’t expired. Unfortunately we see a lot of old nail polish being used around town, resulting in ugly, unevenly polished and messy nails.
Our blow dry fared well but just like the interior it was 70’s inspired. Though we don’t mind looking like Farrah Fawcett every once in a while, it wouldn’t hurt the stylist to keep up with trends. However, we woke up the next morning with our hair still looking good. The hairdresser advised regular hair masks; he isn’t just there to make you look good but he takes care of your hair too.
Though we were satisfied with the blow dry, 80LE is a bit on the expensive side and we hope Le Figaro will use that money to invest in new nail polish.
Gym’s in Cairo tend to cater for basic fitness needs, and little else. However, with the rapidly expanding health and fitness scene, the competition is steadily growing. Known for its consistently high standards, Gold’s Gym have an abundance of branches all over the city. Arguably one of their nicest, their Heliopolis branch is situated on the quiet Salah El Deen Street.
With a landscaped front garden, entirely glass front and impressive Grecian pillars, the entrance is a neat mixture between classic and contemporary, giving off a welcoming vibe.
Customers are greeted by professional, uniformed receptionists at the front desk whilst a team of burly personal trainers can be easily spotted; using their bodies as business cards, they meander around the gym floor, offering advice and technique correction when needed.
Spread over three floors, the gym is bright, spacious and airy, with air conditioning allowing for a more comfortable workout. The open plan ground floor carries an array of weight machines for the entire body; with specialised machines for arms, legs and the torso.
The large basement boasts floor to ceiling mirrors and rubber flooring, a vast number of high-quality free weights and workout benches, as well as a frosted glass aerobics room for their group fitness programmes.
The top floor is reserved for cardio workouts, sporting a decent number of overhead TV screens for the treadmills, cross trainers and exercise bikes which overlook the floor below. Here, there’s also a separate spinning room for spinning classes, a small crèche for child-care convenience and a well-stocked supplement counter.
Both the men’s and women’s locker rooms are well-kept, and clean towels are readily available. The women’s changing area has just one private changing cubicle but a large number of rain head showers, complete with pump-able shampoo and shower gel. There’s also a Jacuzzi, sauna and steam, along with a small but adequate women’s only work out area.
As with most gyms, memberships are short or long term and are combined with various free sessions. One month memberships are no longer available, but range from 3 months (2400LE), six months (2400LE) and one year (5300LE). The annual membership affords the customer a nutrition assessment, three free personal training sessions, two months freezing, 10 days worth of guest passes, and access to all Gold’s branches in Cairo, excluding the Elite branch in Katameya.
After the complimentary training sessions expire, a set of 28 personal training sessions is priced at 2700LE. Discounts are also available when joining with a spouse.
Once again, Gold’s Gym Heliopolis stays true to Gold’s impressive – but expensive – reputation. The roomy gym space is well equipped with top of the range facilities, and friendly, professional staff to help you reach those seemingly impossible fitness goals.