Luxury on the Nile

The Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam recently held together with Lufthansa Group a joint customer event targeting their loyal clients. The event was designed for the bookers and regular buyers of the Cairo Marriott and Lufthansa to update them on the latest offers and facilities presented by both entities to ease their work process and to help them achieve rewarding experiences for themselves and for their fellow associates and clients.

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Marriott and Lufthansa teams on the Royal Staircase of Salon Royal 

The event started with a cocktail reception at the Salon Royal followed by a dinner and presentation at the historical Eugenie Salon. The highlight of the event was a lecture by Dr. Nada Rashed, member of the Association of Reflexologists (AOR) and of the Reflexology Association of Canada (RAC) titled, “Stress: understand- acknowledge and release,” where she discussed several techniques that would help relieving and dealing with stress.

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A breathtaking view of the historical golden arches of Gezirah Palace

Photo: Cairo Marriott Hotel

Overlooking the Nile, in the exclusive area of Zamalek, in the heart of Cairo, Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino is a harmonious combination of a historical Royal Palace and a complex of twin towers with a connecting garden terrace. The five-star property provides full service amenities ideal for a weekend getaway, family vacation and business travel, including luxurious rooms and suites, fine restaurants, 24-hour business center, health club and  fitness room, an indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna and tennis courts.

Marriott’s historical palace, formerly Palace Al Gezirah, is part of Egypt’s heritage. It was built by Khedive Ismail as a guest palace for the Suez Canal inauguration celebrations in 1869. It housed European monarchs, including Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, and it was to be the venue of the first performance of Verdi’s Opera Aida.

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Al Gezirah Palace by the Nile was built by Khedive Ismail of Egypt in 1869

Photo: Cairo Marriott Hotel

Over the years, famous ceremonies have taken place at the Palace, including the wedding of Khedive Ismail’s son, which lasted 40 days, the wedding of the daughter of Prime Minister Nahhas Pasha in the 1930s and a boat party in front of the Palace as part of H.M King Farouk and H.M Queen Nariman’s wedding celebrations.

The architecture and construction of the Palace reflected Khedive’s passion for neoclassical style popularized in Europe. For the design elements, he engaged the services of Austrian architect Julius Franz (later Franz Bey) and De Curel Del Rosso, who also designed the Abdin Palace.

The German Carl von Diebitsch was contracted as the Palace’s interior designer. He designed the décor, as well as prefabricating the furniture, draperies and other internal fittings.

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The Garden Promenade Café which is now a wonderful open-air area

Photo: Cairo Marriott Hotel

Since it began operating as a hotel, the Palace has changed hands several times. In 1879, when operating as the exclusive Gezirah Palace Hotel, it was confiscated by the state due to outstanding debts and the hotel was taken over by the Egyptian Hotels Company.

In 1919, it was sold to Habib Lotfallah, a Syrian landlord who had settled in Cairo, for 140,000 EGP.  Then in 1961, during the time of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Palace was nationalized and became the Omar Khayyam Hotel.

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After the revolution of 1952, the Gezirah Palace was transformed to Omar Khayyam Hotel Photo: Cairo Marriott Hotel

In the 1970s, the property was handed over to Marriott International for management. They restored the original Palace, equipping it with all amenities befitting a five-star hotel and flanking it with two modern towers housing 1,087 rooms.

Today, the Palace is all that remains of the estate. Many of its rooms and furniture have been preserved and restored to their original splendor, and now serve as reception rooms and lounges. This includes many of Von Diebitsch’s decorative elements that can be seen in several locations throughout the Marriott.

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The historical Palace Royal marble staircase is considered the ultimate in architectural detail and lavish decoration Photo: Cairo Marriott Hotel

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Categories: Cairo, Egypt, Travel History | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Luxury on the Nile

  1. Thank you for the reblogging.

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