Grand Hotels


“Grand Hotels is a visual delight: diverting and informative.”
The Egyptian Gazette


From the earliest resthouses serving travellers on the Overland Route between Great Britain and Bombay to the grand Edwardian palaces on the Nile that made Egypt the exotic alternative to wintering on the French Riviera, the historic hotels of Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor and Aswan were always about far more than just bed and board. As bridgeheads for African exploration, neutral territories for conducting covert diplomacy, headquarters for armies, providers of home comforts for writers, painters, scholars and archaeologists in the field, and social hubs for an international elite, perhaps more of importance happened in the country’s hotels than in its palaces and seats of government.

It was through the hotels that visitors from the West—the earliest adventurers, then the travellers and, finally, the tourists—experienced the Orient. This book tells the stories of Egypt’s grand hotels and some of the people that stayed in them, from pioneering voyagers such as Amelia Edwards, Lucie Duff Gordon and Florence Nightingale to later visitors including Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Winston Churchill and T.E. Lawrence.

As well as being full of accounts, extracts and anecdotes, Grand Hotels of Egypt is a very visual book with an abundance of full-colour illustrations including travel posters, luggage labels, postcards, decorated letterheads, menus and invitations, as well as lots of fantastic vintage photography.

Published by the American University in Cairo Press, February 2012

216 pages, over 250 photographs and illustrations


Grand Hotels of Egypt was designed by Gadi Farfour, who also did much of the picture research; visit her website at



One Response to Grand Hotels

  1. What a wonderful book! I’v just read the book review in “Egyptological” online mag – and am so sorry that I cannot get a copy (as I live and work in Burundi).
    The old hotels are so special, during the years of living-studying-working in Egypt, visits to some of them was always a treat.

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