When the drive to Sahel is just too much but you need to unwind anyway, the InterContinental CityStars offers just the right amount of relaxation, with all the vibrancy of the city.
As we hurried to leave our office after a late Thursday night, typing away, most of us got into our cars and joined the flock rushing to Sahel on a hot summer weekend. The ones that were left behind had two options: mope about it at home, or find our own slice of relaxation right here in the city. And if there’s anyone that knows how to provide leisure in the city, it’s the iconic InterContinental hotel chain. And just like that, we were off to Heliopolis and before we knew, were checked into a gorgeous room at the InterContinental CityStars.
Decked out in perfect InterContinental style, our room was spacious and modern with a few Egyptian touches; think a gold-gilded mirror to do our make up in and printed carpeting that remind you of the palaces of yesteryear. With a gorgeous view of the pool and CityStars’ unique architecture, the moment we stepped into our rooms it was hard to believe that just a few metres below, Cairo’s incessant noise and traffic continued. After checking out the bounciness of the bed, we quickly changed and headed to dinner at the hotel’s much-celebrated Shogun restaurant.
Stepping into the restaurant we felt even further away from the hustle and bustle of the city, as soft Asian music, reminiscent of high end spas, tinged and tanged in the background. Soft lighting coated the space – divided between regular tables and seating around their famed Teppanyaki grills – while the centre of all our attentions was the massive aquarium filled with exotic fish that dominated the room. We quickly settled down, chose our wine from their extensive list, opted for traditional Japanese Gyoza dim sum, vegetable spring rolls and Yakitori chicken skewers and then headed to the fish tank to fill our Instagram feed with cool aquatic snaps.
With super-fast service, we were soon guided back to our seats by the aromas that filled the air and before we knew it, it was time for the main course. Japanese through and through, Shogun’s Teppanyaki chefs were performing, flipping proteins and vegetables every which way, through the air and on the grill. With a great selection of sushi, noodles and Japanese classics, we quickly found out why this remains one of the best reviewed restaurants in all of Egypt.
Two bottles of wine later, and we were back to our rooms, AC cranked up, OSN Comedy on the TV and unwound on their perfect pillows, making for a much deserved night of sleep. Now, there’s nothing we love more than a good hotel breakfast – and the InterContinental CityStars’ Esplanade certainly delivered. Buzzing with families and couples in the morning, the massive choice of breakfast foods – from eggs and pancakes in all their varieties, to cheeses, cereals, fruits and baked foods – had us back and forth between the buffet until it was over.
A trip back to the room to slip into swimwear later, and we were taking summer by the horns at their sprawling pool. With all its twists and turns, it’s easy to find a private spot to swim around in, while their in-pool bar is just a few strokes away from wherever you set up camp. Despite our lavish breakfast, a few laps and splash in the swimming pool had us hungry for more come mid-afternoon. Luckily, there’s service wherever you go at the InterContinental CityStars, so we swam back to our seats, laid back and ordered some pool-side bites; a decadent club sandwich and a classic caeser salad, both freshly prepared and endlessly satisfying.
As sun set, we dried off and headed to Esplanade Café for a shisha and coffee and to say goodbye to our lovely weekend in the city. Perfectly roasted Illy coffee was the perfect end to the day, while smooth shishas in every flavour you can imagine had us lingering for a little too long. Needless to say, we’ll be back.
Find out more about InterContinental CityStars and how to make a booking here.