Since it´s acquisition of Starwood´s portfolio of hotels in 2015, Marriott International has significantly upped its game on the trendy luxury hotel scene. Previously known for a diverse collection of brands and properties ranging from plainly elegant to blandly corporate, Marriott merger with (aka aquisition of) Starwood landed it ownership and control of jetsetter brand favorites such as Luxury Collection, Autograph Collection, Tribuite Portfolio, and the ultímate destination for trendy travelers – W Hotels and Resorts.
However, until 2018 when the W Amman opened, the Middle East was largely devoid of the presence of any W Hotel except for properties that opened nearly a decade prior in Istanbul and Doha. Even the glitzy Emirati Riviera didn´t get its first W Hotel until 2019 when properties opened on Dubai´s Palm Jumeirah and Abu Dhabi´s Yas Island. That same year, Oman also scored its first W.
Given the region´s penchant for glitz, glamor, and gilt, one would think that W Hotels would have been springing up all over the Middle East. Despite their still relative dearth in the region, in 2019 Marriott finally announced a deal to bring the W brand to the region´s largest metropolis of Cairo. But rather tan situate this chic new property in the heart of downtown along the Nile, where it would be more attractive to the country´s soon-to-be-booming-again tourist population or convenient to any tourist attractions, Marriott instead chose to locate the property in New Cairo adjacent to, well, nothing significant.
Indeed, there were many other areas in which Egypt´s first W Hotel could have taken up residence. To attract the upper strata of the upper class to the brand´s famous fashion, music, and art scene, it could have chosen the newly booming North Coast region around El Alamein. Or to tap into the pulse of what will become the new touristic center once the new Grand Egyptian Museum and the new Sphinx International Airport open, a location around Sheikh Zayed City or 6th of October City would have worked well.
Now, Cairo’s first W Hotel will be convenient for neither the socialites of Sheikh Zayed and 6th October nor the 20 million-plus foreign visitors who will flock to Egypt annually once tourism bounces back to normal growing levels within a few years. This leaves only those who live and go out in the immediate vicinity of Heliopolis, Maadi, and New Cairo to patronize the property – a rather limited pool of partiers.
Irrespective of the odd choice for its location, W Hotels never fail to disappoint. Whether in Barcelona or Bali, Miami or the Maldives, W’s are consistently fantastic. So perhaps the new W Hotel Cairo will be over-the-top glamorous enough to attract patrons from all across Upper Egypt regardless.