Women Traveling to Cairo Can Stay Safe with the Single Ladies Travellers Program

Many women who want to travel can’t find anyone willing to join them, so they stay at home. With the world so ripe for exploring, that is a real shame. In October of 2011 the Four Seasons Cairo at the First Residence launched the Single Ladies Travellers Program to make women feel comfortable, safe and secure while visiting Egypt alone. As the Middle East is a region that has long been maligned by the Western media and especially in light of Egypt’s 2011 revolution which has earned this country a new and dangerous reputation, this program is a concept that is simply brilliant.

As a solo female traveler who loves the Middle East, I was very excited to be able to experience this program last week. I can tell you that if you are a woman who’s thinking about traveling to Egypt but doesn’t feel it’s safe, the Single Ladies Travellers Program can give you the security and confidence you need for a successful business or pleasure visit.

Flower arrangement at the four seasons cairo at the first residence

I found this is not so much a program as an experience, offering real safety and security along with a much-needed peace of mind for women. The experience begins with a uniformed hotel employee greeting you upon your arrival at the airport. This person will stay with you all the way through your drive to the hotel and the check-in process. I was already in Cairo the night before my check in, so a car and driver arrived to take me to the Four Seasons to begin the program.

Everyone in the Single Ladies Travellers Program stays on a secure, women-only floor accessible only by having a room coded for the elevator to open onto the floor. All rooms in the Four Seasons at the First Residence have rooms overlooking either the Nile River, the largest green area in Cairo, or the pyramids. Currently the 10th floor is the women’s floor, and it was here that I was given a gorgeous room overlooking the river.

My room at the Four Seasons Cairo at the First Residence

To the extent that staffing permits, only female hotel employees are allowed on this floor. There were a couple of instances during my two-night stay where a male staff member did come to my door, one who apologized and explained that because it was nighttime there were no female staff on hand to bring the bottled water that I’d requested, and another who was a security officer with a briefcase full of First Aid supplies.

The latter arrived at my door alongside a woman named Samar, who had happened to knock on my door 15 minutes earlier, just after I’d cut two of my fingers when opening the ironing board. Samar had apologized profusely for my injury (although it was, of course, not her fault), then brought the man bearing the briefcase full of Band-Aids. This sweet gesture was an unscripted moment yet one of the highlights of the program for me.

Red Rose in the foyer of my suite at the Four Seasons

Another high point was the extent to which the staff made me not just feel safe but actually be safe even when I walked outside the doors of the hotel. Early Friday afternoon I walked out the lobby door to go to Khan el-Khalili Souq, not far from Tahrir Square. The doorman and the woman who heads the Single Ladies Travellers Program expressed a great deal of concern, warning that although the souq would likely be safe, the area around Tahrir may not because there had been protests in the square the past couple of days. When I said I was going regardless, the doorman had a long talk with the taxi driver, explaining that he was to take the long way to Khan el-Khalili to avoid going anywhere near Tahrir.

Safety and security are the hallmarks of the Single Ladies Travellers Program, but Four Seasons luxury and pampering is not lost along the way. Although I have been in many five-star hotels in the US and the Middle East for both business and pleasure purposes, this was by far the most opulent hotel in which I have ever stepped foot.

The opulence as well as the safety extends to the spa, which is for women only. Here there is a particularly special touch in the form of a relaxation room where you can sit in between your workout and spa treatment, listening to acoustical music and sipping herbal tea or fresh cucumber water or, like I did, just relaxing and absorbing the peace after returning from the city streets.

Relation Room at the Four Seasons First Residence in Cairo

On paper, the Single Ladies Travellers Program starts and stops with safety and security. The human element, however, along with the opulence of the hotel, gave it a very special spin. This is a program that should be copied in hotels elsewhere in Egypt and the world.

I was given a complimentary two-night stay and spa treatment at the Four Seasons Cairo at the First Residence, but all opinions are honestly my own.

9 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Erin Smith says:

    This sounds like a really wonderful program. I have often thought about traveling to the Middle East but didn’t want to go as a solo female. A program like this sounds perfect. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Sabrina says:

    Sounds like a great program for women who are hesitant to venture to Cairo on their own. How much would something like that cost though? Is is feasible?

  3. Sabina says:

    Thanks a lot, Erin. It is a fantastic way to feel comfortable staying in Cairo.

  4. Sabina says:

    Hi Erin, Their website says they have a 50% discount on round-trip transportation from the airport to the hotel. I’m honestly not sure what their rooms cost but perhaps you can get a discount there as well. If you’re interested I think you should give it a try.

  5. lara dunston says:

    Hi Sabina – I remembered you tweeting about this but couldn’t remember which hotel it was and was searching for the info, as I’m doing a magazine story I’d like to include it in. I know the FS Residence, as I’ve written about Cairo a lot before, and can easily look up the URL, but I’m wondering why you don’t have the hotel’s site and link in your story or at the end? I think it would be helpful to readers.

    Otherwise, a very detailed rundown of the experience – good stuff! I’m curious if there were any other little extras included especially for women? I’m sure there were the usual FS chocolates on the pillow, etc, but any local women’s magazines or spa discounts or anything else that women might get on this floor but not others?

  6. Sabina says:

    Hi Lara, thanks a lot. I would have written about any extras specifically for women who are staying on the women-only floor, but there weren’t a lot. I thought the policy of only women staff being allowed on the floor is very unique and could really help make some women feel extra comfortable. The hotel in and of itself is so full of special touches for everyone that people in the Single Ladies Travelers Program will be pampered and protected just by virtue of staying here :)

  7. F. Walker says:

    I am preparing to travel to Cairo next month in June, what are some clothing items I will need to pack to be modestly, fashionably, comfortably dressed?

  8. Sabina says:

    I’m a huge fan of scarves. They allow you to be modest, fashionable and cool in the sweltering Middle East. Drape a large scarf over your shoulders, and you can even get away with wearing a sleeveless shirt, because you’ll lstill be covered up. This is a real bonus in the summers. Skirts which hit below the knee are also perfect summer attire, but capris will do too. Make sure the clothing you do bring won’t show perspiration. Solids and of course cotton tend to show sweat when it gets really hot, so you might want to leave these at home and bring prints instead.

  9. Ahmed Dewidar says:

    So women feel that they would not be safe and secure in the usual setting? I really don’t like this idea of segregation by sex…strikes me as discriminatory although I can’t point out off the top of my head why right now

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