Category Archives: Grand hotels

Stories about and from the grand old hotels of Egypt.

In the footsteps of Lawrence in Cairo

A gentleman called Frank Bird posted elsewhere on this site to alert me to a passage in Michael Asher’s Lawrence: The Uncrowned King of Arabia in which the author pays a visit to the Continental-Savoy in Cairo, which is where, … Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Grand hotels

Victor Kuonen 1875-1949

I was recently contacted by Peter Kuonen of Urdorf in Switzerland, who wondered if I would be interested in seeing some photographs of his grand-uncle, Victor, who spent more than 20 years employed at Luxor’s Winter Palace, and before that … Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under Grand hotels, Shepheard's

In Luxor, 106 years ago today

From the Egyptian Gazette, of 6 December 1907. From Our Own Correspondent Whatever the weather is elsewhere, no one can have any excuse for grumbling about it in Luxor; and no wonder that day by day fresh visitors are arriving … Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Grand hotels

The view from (and of) the Semiramis

In a column headed ‘Hotel Life: Semiramis Hotel’, the Egyptian Gazette of 27 November 1907 ran the following: Many additions and alterations have been made to this enormous hotel, which before the end of December should be completely finished. Already … Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Grand hotels, Lost Egypt

Lions in the garden

In Grand Hotels of Egypt, I tell the story of two roaming lions. One morning, just before the 1914–18 War, the Gezira Palace hotel was visited by Lord Kitchener, then the British Consul-General, who was escorted around the grounds by … Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Grand hotels

The New Hotel

I recently managed to acquire the interesting photo, above. If it looks familiar but at the same time something seems slightly off, that would be because you might recognize the view but not necessarily the hotel. The scene is Cairo’s … Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Grand hotels, Hotels then and now, Lost Egypt

Last days of the Semiramis

The caption for this vintage news photo, issued by the Associated Press in January 1976, reads, “Nile landmark to go: The Semiramis Hotel, for years a landmark along the Nile River in Cairo, will soon disappear. The hotel, named for … Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Grand hotels, Lost Egypt

The Golden Books

When Shepheard’s went up in flames back in January 1952, one of the notable losses was the hotel’s set of Golden Books, the ledgers in which decades of distinguished guests had been invited to sign their names. It used to … Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Grand hotels, Lost Egypt

It’s called adaptive reuse

Some years back, well before the calamity that has befallen the country, I stayed at the Zenobia hotel at Palmyra in Syria. It has the most extraordinary location, away from the modern town and right on the edge of the … Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Grand hotels, Lost Egypt, Shepheard's

Hotel du Nil

If anybody talks about the properly historic hotels of Cairo, then invariably it’s Shepheard’s that gets mentioned. Rightly so – until it was destroyed in 1952 it had renown and a guestbook to rank with any hotel in the world. … Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Egyptologists and Egyptology, Grand hotels, Lost Egypt