We have been staying for nearly a week at Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel and Spa in Giza, Egypt with one of the best views in the world – right opposite our room!
Yes …… The great and many Pyramids of Giza!
We have arrived here after a jam-packed few days at the Sheraton Miramar Resort in El Gouna, and it is time for me to catch up on some of my writing, with a desk in our modern room that looks out over one of the oldest man-made structures in the world.
How incredible is that, and how blessed are we!
We are greeted by warm and friendly staff, and the hotel has kindly given us some lovely fruit and sweet treats in our room – yum!
I’m not blushing – but rather I am pretty sunburnt in the face after my time at the water gym the other day in the pool at the Sheraton Miramar Resort, so am happy I enjoy the view without baking in the hot sun.
Just look at what lies before our very eyes – we are both wildly excited about it!
In fact one night we stood out on the balcony and witnessed fireworks over the pyramids, as they sparkle and bang in the sky. How fortunate was our timing, as we made a mad dash to see them.
The “Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel and Spa” is pretty well booked, as it is the Egyptian Coptic Christians turn to celebrate the Easter holidays here in Egypt. The Christians make up about 15% of the Egyptian population, with most of the rest being Muslim, but everyone celebrates this holiday together. Families are arriving in swarms to celebrate this public holiday time, and they often extend their vacation time. Their Egyptian Easter is based on the Julian calendar which can differ from the Gregorian calendar that westerners use. This year it is a week later than our western Easter, so we get two Easters!
Explorason has a new passion – photography, so we head out to explore the building and grounds. We ‘explore’ this spiral staircase that less to the ‘Explore Spa’, and he sends me down whilst he stays at the top for a photo. I like it. What do you think?
The Explore Spa area is made up of separate male and female sides, and each has a steam room, sauna, change and massage facilities too. Then joining at the end in the center, is a beautiful big jacuzzi spa area with three pools that all bubble.
I get to use this a couple of times during my stay, as they have a lounge area near reception where the staff allowed Explorason to happily sit and play some online games, while I had some ‘Mum’ time. It is strictly adults only, so no kids in here.
We continue our walk in the hotel and find a really friendly shoe shiner, and he offers for Explorason to take a seat. But Explorason doesn’t really have the right shoes to be cleaned! He is a funny and cheery man and makes kids feel so special.
There are several places to eat and drink in the hotel, and Explorason has a craving for Mexican food and so we are delighted to find Laredo Restaurant. Who would have thought there is great Mexican opposite the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt? Well, you can; check this restaurant out! It is kids-friendly and also has a bar area and relaxed nooks and crannies for a drink or food. The rustic Mexican decor is great!
Other nights we enjoyed the sumptuous International Buffet at the Latest Recipe Restaurant, which is a large restaurant that flows into several seating areas, including a small outdoor undercover area adjacent to the Shisha Cafe / Bar which hosts traditional Egyptian Music on some evenings, and we could even hear this each night from our room, sometimes until quite late..
It was time to go and explore the small shopping arcade area of Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel and Spa which showcases jewelry shops, a bank, mini grocery store, and souvenir shops too. We found a really nice glass pyramid with a hologram inside that Explorason just loves.
I must say I think I have gained one or two kilograms (or more) in the past few weeks. With all this incredible food and my love for Egyptian fare, I am finding it hard to resist all the temptations that lie before me.
But a good place we found for just a drink or coffee is at Harris Café, where a small range of pastries and cakes are also available. We were actually there for a meeting, and because it is right on the lobby, it is easy to watch the world go by, and a place to be alone without feeling lonely.
That night we get to see not one, but two Egyptian Weddings. Thanks to the reception staff for this great tip – they had told me when we checked in to be on the lookout for them, so we tried to time it to see the ceremonies.
The bride is led (arm in arm) by her father down the majestic staircase, to meet her groom where he lifts the veil and kisses her on the forehead. The traditions of the wedding are not like western weddings, as the formal ceremony maybe be done days or even weeks earlier. Weddings rarely occur the month or two before Ramadan which is June this year, and not during Ramadan as there is a month of abstinence (of more than just food and drink!) So now it is peak time for weddings.
(I was asked by the father not to photograph ‘front on’ the bride, so out of respect, this is a side photo of a bride.)
This beautiful staircase was decorated differently for each wedding, each night. There are cut fresh flowers which add a gorgeous aroma and twinkling fairy lights that cascade down to add a glowing touch to the brides decent of the staircase.
Because “Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel and Spa” has such a grand staircase, this is a really popular place for weddings. It has various large banquet/ conference/meeting rooms upstairs that were used on this particular night.
Next day, it is time for Explorason to have a swim, and he heads to the far pool that also has a water fountain, but this pool is cold (it would be magnificent on a really hot summer’s day!), so soon he joins the other kids at the lightly headed pool. This pool has various adjoining smaller swimming areas of assorted depths and a swim up bar.
On this Easter weekend, we meet an Australian family staying for a few days here. We join them for dinner and discover they are from our hometown, and in fact, their house is around the corner from where we used to live when Explorason was a baby. They are here to join the Gallipoli 2015 Tour as their Dad is a key organizer.
They bring with them their Australian national spread ‘Vegemite’ for breakfast, and then give it to Explorason, which was really nice! He hasn’t had it in such a long time, and it is fun for him to eat it on Egyptian bread Eesh baladi – which is cooked before our very eyes right here on the premises each morning.
We have been given a bit of a ‘heads-up’ that breakfast on Easter Monday will be a really special treat, so we actually set the alarm to get up early, but we get there too early and are downstairs before 7:00 a.m! The staff is still setting up, so we get to join in and have some fun, and Explorason gets to pop on a high Chef’s hat.
We arrive back for our full breakfast at 8:00 a.m. and there is a stunning display of fish dishes, dozens of different and incredible pastries, chocolate rabbits and decorations, and of course colored eggs. Most of the food has a real Egyptian flair to it this day, but there is western food too, and the international banquet is in full swing. In all our stay here, this was the busiest mealtime by far.
We decide it is definitely a ‘swimming pool’ day, and so the boys go up to change. It worked out well, as they were not only on the same floor of the hotel like us but also on the same side of the hotel too. But we had the best view!
I really appreciated how the pool attendants gave us great service this day, even though there were so many people there at the pool celebrating their holiday. They saw us looking for sun-beds, and went off on the hunt for us. They set them up and adjusted the umbrella. It really was such a nice service. Lifeguards were also on duty, so the kids stayed safe, and there was no foul play or dangerous behavior at the pool either.
Then to our surprise, music starts and there was a Disney puppet show. Albeit in Arabic, it was fin for the kids, and then Mickey Mouse and some Smurfs appeared.
It intrigued me that even my ten-year-old wanted to join in with the Conga line around the pool when it started, and then they were having fun dancing about and laughing. The kids love Egypt and language seemed no barrier to children.
All that dancing and swimming made for hungry boys. Citrus Restaurant is their pool restaurant located on an island with bridges going to and from it. It also has a pool bar, or serviced area to where you sit or lie around the pool, so it was pizza and hot chips by the pool. In fact, they needed a double order, as they had worked up an appetite.
Before we knew it, the day had ended. We were back for our final dinner, and the boys all decided to wear check shirts to look like brothers.
We dined for the last time together for a bistro meal at Latest Recipe Restaurant.
I must say, I was incredibly impressed with the service we had from all the staff in Latest Recipe Restaurant over the week that we stayed here. I could add so many photos of the staff taking Explorason’s hand and guiding him to the latest colored rice grain design they made; finding him some special dish they created; including him in a special event; or just having fun with him.
On the last night, the chef from Germany made us a special little taster dish for us of something he was going to serve the next evening that we would miss out on. I left feeling more like the staff was our friend than just restaurant workers, and this really did impress me.
It is a sad farewell for the three boys as they part, but we hope to see them in our hometown.
Their family is off to join a cruise, and we are moving on to Meridien Cairo Airport Hotel before our flight back to Europe.
We have really had such a wonderful time here, and it definitely remains as one of the most memorable views we will ever have the pleasure to stay and experience.
Accommodation Name: Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel and Spa
Location: El Remaya Square-Pyramids, Giza, 12561 Egypt
Telephone: 02 33777070
Date stayed: April 2015
Breakfast: Yes – full buffet or room service
Bar: Yes including Poolside and Shisha
Wi-fi: Available in the lobby, or packages available separately
Child-friendly: Definitely including children’s outdoor play area