Category Archives: Grand hotels

Stories about and from the grand old hotels of Egypt.

Victor’s watch

Today I received another email from Peter Kuonen – who sent me the wonderful images of his grand-uncle Victor, who was concierge at the Winter Palace in its heyday (see here). Here’s the text of Peter’s email: Much to my … Continue reading

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Fire in Cairo

I knew that Shepheard’s was severely damaged by fire in 1868 from a dramatic illustration that ran in the London Illustrated News, below. But I was never able to find any further details, so the event only receives a passing … Continue reading

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Filed under Grand hotels, Shepheard's

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Filed under Grand hotels, Lost Egypt