Mena House Hotel
With what is perhaps the most coveted location in all of Egypt—on 40 lush acres in the shadow of Khufu or “Great” Pyramid in the Cairo suburbs—the Mena House started life in 1869 as a royal hunting lodge. The original “palace,” with its stately Islamic detailing (colored marble mosaics, harem windows, carved Mashrabiya woodwork), now houses 97 guest rooms, and everyone from Frank Sinatra to Winston Churchill—after whom the over-the-top 1960s-esque presidential suite is named—has graced its steps. The newer garden wings have 323 rooms; while fresh and full of modern conveniences, they bear no resemblance to accommodations in the historic property. The hotel resort encompasses its own 18-hole (pyramid-side) golf course, and an elaborate new pool complex, spa, and health club opened in the spring of 2010. While the hotel does not make a smart base for exploring Cairo, it is a splendid oasis—one with unparalleled, pinch-yourself views of one of the great wonders of the world.