The hotel that history forgot

Alongside the Paris Ritz and London’s Savoy, Shepheard’s of Cairo was once one of the most famous hotels in the world. So how come you’ve never heard of it?

I’m stood at the side of the road on Gomhurriya Street in Downtown Cairo pointing my camera and clicking quickly. Quickly, because it is painful to step out of the shade and into the full burn of the afternoon sun. I must appear furtive because almost immediately a uniformed guard from a few doors up the street comes running towards me waving his arms and shouting, ‘No, no, no’. Why am I taking photographs of his bank he wants to know? Because, I tell him, the site where his bank now stands used to be the old Shepheard’s Hotel. ‘Yani eh Shepheard’s?’ (‘What is this Shepheard’s?’). I find it tragic that he has to ask.

You can read the rest of this feature here, in the August issue of bmi’s Voyager magazine. Apologies, this link no longer works as the website for bmi’s Voyager magazine is defunct (as is the airline bmi) – but there’s plenty more about Shepheard’s elsewhere on this site .

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