There was a time, not too long ago, when Cairo shopping malls didn't dominate such a large part of the city's consciousness. Once upon a time, Katameya and the Fifth Settlement never existed. The extent of Maadi was El Lasilky Street and anywhere beyond that was simply desert vastness and undiscovered grounds. Then, at the end of 2002, positioning itself off the Ring Road, just after Maadi, Maadi City Centre brought in the French franchise, Carrefour, and opening its doors to the hungry Egyptian public, nothing since has been the same.
From that starting point Maadi City Centre came to grow and expand. Probably one of the first of its kind in Cairo, the centre started off as exceedingly basic; there was the main shopping venue, Carrefour, for all your household needs, and only a few food outlets. Over the past ten years, however, the shopping centre has thrived, currently offering customers a variety of local and international shopping outlets, numerous food venues along with other services.
Parking at Maadi City Centre is considerably easy, with a two-storey parking lot that allows you to park for free for however long you please; beware of Friday afternoons, though, as that is when the herds come out. The building itself is quite linear, made up of one floor and shaped in a definite rectangle. There are three entrances that one can enter from, though it hardly makes a difference which one you choose. Moving from one end of the shopping mall to the other won't take much time, and since the layout is extremely straightforward, getting lost or confused won't be an issue either.
Think of Maadi City Centre as two parallel rows. The first one, which you are faced with as you enter, is lined with all the shops you'd possibly need to refresh your wardrobe. International brands such as Monsoon, Mothercare, H&M, Zara, Esprit, and Aldo are available, as well as local brands including Wild, Concrete and Mobaco Cottons. Sporting outlets will meet your workout needs and include Reebok, Adidas and Quicksilver.
In case clothes are not all you seek, Maadi City Centre also has The Body Shop and more exciting, a newly opened Bath & Body Works for your bodily desires – there is also a well stocked pharmacy on the grounds. Accessories and such are also readily available in places like Accessorize, Glitter and other random knickknack shops.
The inner row of the mall is where Carrefour is located, and is what the mall was originally made up of. As most people would know, Carrefour is stocked with almost anything and everything one could possibly need for the house. From groceries to socks, pots and pans to beach house furniture to electronics; items are also sold at a considerably reasonable price.
Another 'shopping centre' in the mall is Centre Point, located just next to Carrefour. This outlet is larger than the average shop and offers a range of products and brands within its walls. Kids' clothing takes up much of its space, as does a variety of casual wear and interestingly, travel bags.
In the middle of the shopping hallways, as we'll refer to them, there are a lot of individual stands that offer all sorts of products. Health items can be found at the Imtenan and Nefertari booths, while the T-Shirt Factory tempts you to create your own t-shirt and a candy stand carries a surplus of coloured candy goods.
Towards the far left of Maadi City Centre is where one can find the food court, though there are a few cafés scattered elsewhere – such as Cinnabon, Pinkberry, Auntie Anne's and Starbucks. Having started out with only Chilie's, now the food court has expanded and holds several fast-food venues which include Pizza Hut, KFC, Cook Door and Baskin Robbins.
Adjacent to the food court is the answer to all the mothers-in-need-of-a-good-shop prayers: an arcade and games section. Drop your little ones off at the start of your scavenger hunt and they will be entertained with the wide variety of video games and other activities – they may even make a new friend.
Maadi City Centre has a full set of cash machines, from pretty much all local banks, so you needn't worry if your card won't pay up or there's isn't enough cash in your wallet; just get over to the door on the far left and drain your bank account away.
Although this mall is not the largest, or the grandest, of them all, it is dependable and practical, especially if you live in the Maadi or New Cairo area. With a nice variety of local and international brands, as well as more to come, Carrefour on its premises, a nice selection of cafés and eateries, Maadi City Centre is a very good option for spending a relaxed, hassle free, day of shopping.