I landed on the dusty Cairo International airport in the spring of 10 th of April, excited to be received by my dear father who was standing at the immigrations.The calmness on his face gave me an impression that he actually is the native of this place.
I’ve always loved Egypt, its a place after my own heart.I could distinctly see how worn-out the place was, quite but not strange to me.Showed my passport to the officer who found it difficult to believe that I was not an Egyptian National.
Next, I showed my passport to the officer who found it difficult to believe that I was not an Egyptian National.
Accompanied by my dad, we sat in the Chauffeur driven car and headed to the Cairo Marriott Hotel and Omar Khayyam Casino in the posh district of Zamalek.It was a 30 minutes ride.
Egypt has been through a lot of political turmoil recently and it was evident from the all the buildings and monuments we passed.seeing the police stationed gave me the creeps.
As my Mercedes-Benz entered the gate , I was transformed to another era.Amazing architecture and beauty surpassing anything like it in the city of Cairo.And the history is equally spectacular.
I felt home, checked into the best room in the hotel and the rest is history.The ambience the food and above all the hospitality is impeccable.
The ambience the food and above all the hospitality is impeccable and the historical story behind the place itself made me feel that I am indeed blessed to be a part of it.
A view from my window of the famous Cairo Tower or’BURG QAHIRA’
History of the Palace
Built by Khedive Ismail as a guest palace for the Suez Canal inauguration celebrations in 1869, the historic Palace Al Gezirah in Cairo, Egypt, has housed European monarchs, including Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III. It was to be the venue of the first performance of Verdi’s Opera Aida.
I come from an architecturally obsessed family , so cannot help to talk about the hotel’s architecture.
The architecture and construction of the ancient palace reflected Khedive’s passion for neoclassical style, as popularized in Europe. He engaged the services of Austrian Architect Julius Franz , who also designed the Abdin Palace.
German architect Carl von Diebitsch was contracted as the palace’s interior designer. He designed the décor and prefabricated the furniture, draperies, and other internal fittings.And the palace still maintains its glory.
The palace has hosted several historic ceremonies throughout the years, including the wedding of Khedive Ismail’s son, which lasted 40 days.
It was confiscated by the state due to outstanding debts, acquired by the Egyptian Hotels Company.In 1919, the hotel was sold to Habib Lotfallah, a Syrian landlord who had settled in Cairo. In 1961, during the time of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, the palace was nationalized and became the Omar Khayyam Hotel.
Interior of Gezirah Palace
In the 1970s, the property was handed over to Marriott International for management. They restored the original palace, furnishing it with amenities befitting a five-star hotel .
Today, the palace is all that remains of the estate. Many of its rooms and furniture have been preserved and restored to their historic splendor, and now serve as reception rooms and lounges. Many of the decorative elements that can be seen in several locations throughout the hotel.