Sleeping

Contents
1 Hotels
2 Youth hostels
3 Camping

Hotels

As tourism is one of Egypt's major industries, accommodation is widely available at the main sites and in all the major cities. With prices to suit all pockets, this varies from de luxe international hotels to just floor or roof space for your sleeping bag. There has also been a recent influx of eco-establishments popping up in Sinai and the Western Desert, a couple of which are mega-luxurious while others offer a more rustic experience. Most quality hotel chains are represented and offer top-class facilities in their rooms and business centres. There are also many cheap hotels with basic and spartan rooms ranging from the clean to the decidedly grimy. Mid-range accommodation is a bit more limited, though the occasional gem exists. There is a pronounced seasonality to demand for accommodation and in the spring, autumn and winter holiday months the main tourist areas can be very busy and the choicest hotels fully booked. Advanced reservations are recommended, especially for luxury hotels. Finding cheap accommodation is easy throughout the country, even in high season. Make sure you ask to see the room first.

Prices
for the top-class hotels are on par with prices in Europe while mid-range hotels are generally cheaper in comparison. Note that while price is a reasonable reflection of the type of hotel and service you can expect, some hotels are expensive but very ordinary while others are wonderful and quite cheap. International hotels have an uncomfortable habit of changing owner and name. Be prepared for this and if confused ask for what it was called before.

In almost every case, the advertised room price (that charged to the individual traveller) is higher than that paid by the package tourist. Bargaining is common, especially when tourism is scarce. When in doubt, always ask as prices can literally be sliced in half in the hot summer months. At hotels 3-stars and higher, credit cards are almost always accepted

Note
 Tax and a service charge will be added to your accommodation bill, apart from in budget hotels or unless it is clearly stated as inclusive.

Youth hostels

Information is available from
Egyptian Youth Hostels Association
, www.iyhf.org. There are 17 hostels (in Egypt's main historic and tourist towns) that are open year round. Although cheap meals are available, all the big hostels have a members' kitchen where guests can prepare meals for themselves (use of the kitchen is free). Holders of membership cards can obtain significant reductions on train journeys. Rules generally include no alcohol or gambling, single sex dormitories, lights out between 2300-0600. Booking is recommended during peak travel times. They can be a good way to meet Egyptians, but are generally a couple of km out of the centre of town and are horribly busy during student holidays.

Camping

There are only a few official campsites with good facilities and guards. Sites of varying quality exist around Cairo, Sharm El-Sheikh and Marsa Matruh. It's possible to stake out an unofficial campsite in the oases of the Western Desert, but always ask if you appear to be on someone else's land, and offer them a tip before you leave. Beware of veering too far off road in regions that are desolate as landmines are still widely scattered around some regions, especially Sinai and along the Red Sea coast. Camping Bedouin-style under virgin sky in the pristine Western Desert is a highlight of many travellers' journeys.

A few popular destinations, Dahab (Sinai) and Bahariyya (Western Desert) among them, have what are misleadingly called 'camps'. These are generally very cheap and sometimes have charming grounds that offer small concrete rooms or simple bamboo huts for a dollar or two per night. They often include bedding and a shared bath.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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