Category Archives: Hotel tales

Stories from the grand old hotels of Egypt

One for the World

My first post on this site back in November 2011 concerned Joe Scialom (that’s him, above). Joe was the legendary bartender in charge of the Long Bar at Shepheard’s from 1939 until 1952. In that time he became just about … Continue reading

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The Diary of Charlotte Riggs

From the unpublished diary of Mrs Charlotte Riggs of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, who with her husband Reverend Alexander B Riggs sailed from New York to the Holy Land in 1907 aboard the White Star Line steamer Arabic. Launched in 1902, … Continue reading

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Did MGM rebuild Shepheard’s in Hollywood?

It’s a beautiful poster and it belongs to the most politically incorrect film you’re ever likely to see. This poster is Italian, but the film was American, released by MGM in 1933 as A Night in Cairo (aka The Barbarian). … Continue reading

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Sirena’s creamy skin was wealed with lash marks, old and new!

“Every city has its something. Rome has St Peter’s. Peking has its Summer Palace. Moscow has the Kremlin. In Madrid there’s the Prado. In New York there’s the Empire State. Constantinople has St Sophia. Cairo has Shepheard’s.” If it seems … Continue reading

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The Cataract aka the ‘Grand Hotel’

Nice to see Aswan’s Cataract hotel enjoying plenty of screen-time as it takes the lead role in the ritzy Ramadan TV series Grand Hotel. I have only seen the first two episodes so far but there are lots of scenes … Continue reading

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Shepheard’s in photographs

Although no physical trace of the original Shepheard’s hotel remains, it was well documented while it stood. It was the subject of several photo essays in international magazines including Life and, I think, Picture Post. The hotel’s earlier incarnation (before … Continue reading

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Wonderful things

I mentioned a few posts back that there had been some amends made for the paperback edition of Grand Hotels. Chief of these was correcting a big mistake of mine, which was to attribute the design of the 1890 rebuild … Continue reading

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The Oxford Pension

For a spell back at the end of the 80s/early 90s whenever I was walking around Downtown Cairo I used to have guys shout at me, “Hey! Kaboria!” The reference was to a hit film that was playing at the … Continue reading

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The Alexandria Savoy

Speaking of the Savoy (see last post), Egypt had no less than four hotels that borrowed the name of the original London establishment – which took its name from a palace that formerly stood on the site, founded by the … Continue reading

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Shepheard’s of New York

I recently saw the item above for sale. It’s a Shepheard’s ashtray but I’d never seen the design before. And even though it’s in an art deco style there’s also something quite modern about it. It’s a bit Sixties-ish. And … Continue reading

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