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.



20 Responses 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.

  2. Mark Callaghan

    Is there a record of the Guest Book for The Bristol Cairo 1897?
    I am interested in May – June 1897.

  3. Tarek Hassan

    Hello Mark Callaghan,
    I think there is no Guest Book because the hotel it self is not exist. You maybe find walls or a part of the building and if I can take a new photo for the building I will post it.

  4. Mohamed

    Dear sir,
    I’d like to knew about using railways to visit some of these hotels at the same period (19 century). cuz i’m making a research about the railways and tourism in Egypt in 19C.

    • AndrewH

      You could link most of Egypt’s grand old hotels by train. Start in Alexandria at Cecil, take the train to Cairo for the Mena House etc, then the overnight train to Luxor for the Winter Palace, and then wind up at the end of the line in Aswan, where you’ll find the Cataract.

  5. Amina niazi

    I’m looking for information about a hotel in Aswan dating up to 40 years ago which was on the corniche and named ‘Grand Hotel’ and if possible a photograph.
    Thank you,
    Amina Niazi

  6. James Miller

    I am just now subscribed and am looking forward to obtaining your past-wondrous volumes.
    Your site IS splendid!
    Thank you.

  7. Paul

    Hi Andrew, I’m a historical fiction author doing research on Egypt in the 1890s for my setting. I bought On the Nile, but how do I buy your Grand Hotels of Egypt? The ones on Amazon are $120. Any ideas? Thanks.

  8. Emilija

    This book is an absolute blast! I hope it is reprinted, so we’ll written it sucks you right in!

  9. Emilija

    Oh my! It is not available and the cheapest option is over a 100 dollars! Please convince your publisher to reprint this, this is gold!

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