Monthly Archives: March 2013

Semiramis InterContinental Cairo Hotel launches its Spring Festival

Semiramis InterContinental Cairo launched recently its Spring Festival, 99 Spring Festival, where local guests and foreign travellers can enjoy a variety of offers, ranging from weekend stays to engagement party packages – all for prices ending in 99.

99 spring festival

Throughout the Spring Festival, food-lovers are invited to indulge in all-you-can-eat offers at the hotel’s various food outlets, including the Italian restaurant, Pane Vino; the Thai restaurant, Birdcage; and the Lebanese restaurant Sabaya, all for just LE 99. Those looking for light bite in a relaxed atmosphere can take advantage of the Tea Garden’s Time Out Tea for two and enjoy tea, mini sandwiches and sweets, all for just LE 99.  Seafood lovers can also enjoy a Sushiramis Platter with 12 pieces of sushi for LE 99.

Thai Cuisine at Semiramis InterContinental Cairo HotelPhoto: Semiramis InterContinental Hotel

Thai Cuisine at Semiramis InterContinental Cairo Hotel
Photo: Semiramis InterContinental Cairo Hotel

Enjoy Lebanese cuisine at Semiramis InterContinental Photo: Semiramis InterContinental

Enjoy Lebanese cuisine at Semiramis InterContinental
Photo: Semiramis InterContinental Cairo Hotel

 

Eat sushi as much as you can for LE99Photo: Semiramis InterContinental Hotel

Eat sushi as much as you can for LE99
Photo: Semiramis InterContinental Cairo Hotel

For those who want to relax at the weekend, the hotel is offering two weekend getaway packages, one for families and the other for couples and individuals. The Family Weekend Getaway provides the perfect opportunity to take a city-break with the family – guests can take advantage of two rooms for just LE 999, including breakfast, a set menu dinner for two at Pane Vino and free parking. Couples or individual travellers can book one room for just LE 699 and enjoy breakfast, dinner for two and free parking.

Couples looking for the perfect venue for their special day are in for a treat with the hotel’s unique Wedding Offer. For bookings of more than 500 guests, the hotel will gift the lucky couple a two-night stay in one of the hotel’s Royal suites, as well as breakfast and dinner for two in one of the hotel’s restaurants.  For weddings of more than 140 guests, the hotel will offer the couple a two-night stay at the luxurious Presidential Suite, including an indulgent morning breakfast and romantic heart shaped cake.

Lucrative wedding packages at Semiramis InterContinental at SpringPhoto: Semiramis InterContinental Hotel

Lucrative wedding packages at Semiramis InterContinental at Spring
Photo: Semiramis InterContinental Cairo Hotel

For engagement parties, couples can get a two-hour party, including drinks, photographer, videographer, flowers for a maximum of 99 guests for just LE 9999.

Other offers at the hotel include a Meeting Delegate package with a daily delegate rate of LE 99 for all meetings or events with a minimum of nine people.

Meeting packages during the Spring Festival at the hotelPhoto: Semiramis InterContinental Hotel Cairo

Meeting packages during the Spring Festival at the hotel
Photo: Semiramis InterContinental Hotel Cairo

Those who want to keep their body fit, the Spring Fitness package offers a monthly membership at the hotel’s state of the art health club for just LE 999.

“We are excited to be welcoming guests to Semiramis InterContinental Cairo, and we are looking forward to the busy spring period ahead.  The Spring Festival will add extra value to our guest experience, and offers local residents and travellers from around the globe alike more reasons to visit the hotel,” said Sameh Sobhy, general manager, Semiramis InterContinental.

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Categories: Cairo, Egypt, Hotels, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sheraton Montazah Switches off lights for Earth Hour

For the third year consecutively, Sheraton Montazah Hotel Alexandria, joined millions around the globe, on March 23, in celebrating the Earth Hour by switching off lights for an hour from 8:30 pm. The hotel’s participation in this ecological event, which saved 330 KWH, about 47% of total energy, during this particular hour, is a continuation of its commitment to protect the environment not only for those who are currently living on earth but for also the many generations to come. Joining this global event was also to educate and create awareness about the importance of saving our planet.

The Hotel's team celebrating Earth Day.Photo: Montazah Sheraton Hotel

The Hotel’s team celebrating Earth Day.
Photo: Montazah Sheraton Hotel Alexandria

On this occasion, the hotel prepared a candle light dinner at the Café Coquillage and La Mamma Restaurant, where green cocktails were served as a special welcome to incoming guests as well as snacks that do not need energy to cook. A big banner showing the hotel’s efforts and initiatives for the environment was also displayed.

As global warming has become one of the biggest challenges facing the world’s climate, Sheraton Montazah Hotel considered environmental protection as an extremely important issue. And in order to guarantee greater sustainability, the hotel has begun pursuing several green practices. As a result, the hotel was able to achieve 14 percent reduction in its carbon footprints from 2011 to date.

Categories: Egypt, Environement, Hotels, Mediterranean Cities, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cairo tours for kids

Cairo is a haven for cultural tours for children. If you want to arrange a trip for your children in Cairo, forget about parks, cinemas, circuses and seaside resorts and go for a tour in Medieval Cairo. It is much more fun, especially, if it is accompanied by a photo contest.

All photos here are taken by the children, except for two, I took them myself

The kids in front of Al Sultan Hassan Mosque

The kids in front of Al Sultan Hassan Mosque

It was 8am when we all gathered, both kids and their long-suffering mothers, at the Wonderland Mall in Nasr City. Our purpose? To take the rented tour bus to a series of destinations planned for the day. We were all on time. The bus driver turns out to be punctual, too, and by 8.30 we are off — to the mosques of Al-Refaai and Sultan Hassan near the Salaheddin Citadel, the Gayer Anderson Museum annexed to Ibn Tulun Mosque, and the Abdine Palace in, well, Abdine.

The children are excited about the programme; they’ve started to ask questions about the places we are going to. Assuming the role of tour guide, I’m doing my best to give the simplest possible answers. This is not my first experience of the situation, after all. It’s largely due to the success of last year’s trip to the Citadel, the Egyptian Museum and the Pyramids of Giza that we’re doing it again. And it’s not just about entertainment. This group of mothers share the belief that such a trip is as important for their children as school curricula — and less trying.

It all started when my son, Adham, turned eight; in the course of a casual conversation it dawned on me how little he knows of Egyptian history: in the winter he does his school work; in the summer he plays by the sea. Ah well, I thought, remembering my own history with dread. Forget the last 17 years of my life, during which I’ve been a professional travel writer. The first time I set foot in the Egyptian Museum I was, erm, 21 years old. Nor did I even see Khan Al-Khalili until my first year as a travel writer: the foreigner who accompanied me, then, knew so much more than I did it was terribly embarrassing. Never! I cried inwardly, looking into Adham’s eyes. And so I started an Egypt-wide plan covering Pharaonic, Coptic, Islamic and modern. Initial exploratory experiments revealed that, individually or in small numbers, children have the tendency to get bored. The answer? Take the whole class, preferably with parents, and visit more than one place and period at a time.

Al Refai and Sultan Hassan

The mothers of Adham’s classmates proved universally enthusiastic — and helpful. A task list was quickly drawn up and divided among us: planning the route, renting the bus and preparing an info sheet was my responsibility. Sherine compiled material about the architecture; Noha took on the formidable task of coordination, not only of times and venues but costs.

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The itinerary was tailored to the children, with the idea of maximum absorption as our guiding principle: at the Citadel, for example, the Mohamed Ali Mosque would serve as an introduction to Islamic architecture while offering stimulating surroundings and plenty of space, while at the Egyptian Museum we headed straight for the King Tut’s glittering mask. Following the Pyramids, Andrea’s overlooking the nearby Marioutiya Canal matched the mood with its authentic — and very tasty — Egyptian cuisine.

Inside Al Refaee mosque

Inside Al Refaee mosque

El Refai-kids

Lessons learned included making the next trip shorter — and, on the present occasion, I chose sites closer together. I concentrated on Islamic monuments and royal history: aside from the excitement of Al-Refaai’s interior, we visited the tombs of the Egyptian royal family and the shah of Iran. Then we moved on to the mosque in the Madrassa Mosque of Sultan Hassan — one of the biggest domes in the world. And only 15- minute drive brought us to Beit Al-Kiritliya: Gayer Anderson Museum, perhaps the truest model of a middle-class Cairene family home in Mameluke times, later acquired by the British officer-collector whose name it now bears. At the Abdine Palace we saw not only royal possessions but gifts given to President Hosni Mubarak by heads of state. The tour came to an end at the famous Felfela’s, not far from Abdine. Here too the food was rich, varied and in the spirit of that day.

Gayer Anderson- Kids 5

Gayer Anderson Museum-kids 2

Gayer Anderson- Kids 4

Gayer Anderson Museum- kids 3

This time we managed to make the trip even more interactive by organising a photo contest, choosing the best three from the whole day. Those who didn’t have a camera used their mothers’ mobile phones; and it was clickety- click all along. Most, in fact, took excellent photos. It was next to impossible to choose three, so we decided to enlarge and display them at their School. Alongside the photos were the kids’ impressions.

My son Murad, riding a donkey, at Andrea restaurant

My son Murad, riding a donkey, at Andrea restaurant

Categories: Cairo, Egypt, Giza, Islamic Egypt, Pharaonic Egypt, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A New Hotel to open by the Nile in 2016

The Saudi Egyptian Construction Company (SECON) signed recently a management agreement with Hilton Worldwide for its new hotel in Maadi. Hilton international will carry on management of “Hilton Cairo –Nile Maadi hotel’’ upon the completion of the construction.

SECON has designed an hotel that meets the interest of business community as it comprises  a total capacity of 257-rooms along with a 400 square meters conference hall,  two smaller halls, and three meeting lounges and an access to a 24-hour business center. The hotel will also feature a large lobby, spa, swimming pool, two restaurants, and a business lounge.

SECON officials signing the agreement with Hilton Worldwide

SECON officials signing the agreement with Hilton Worldwide

“This is the first Egyptian-Saudi project of its kind. It will endorse commitment and will enhance economic ties between Egypt and Saudi Arabia,” said Engineer Darweesh Hasanein, chief executive officer of SECON. Hasanein added that the agreement is mainly driven by SECON strong confidence in Egypt’s Economic fundamentals and its ability to attract foreign direct investment.  He also emphasized the intention of Saudi Arabia to increase its investments in Egypt to support the economic growth in Egypt despite the economic and political instability that Egypt faces during this transition period.

Combining collective international, regional and local experts, the new hotel will be managed by, the premium brand, Hilton Worldwide. Hilton International will be managing the project until completion. An Egyptian-Emirati contractor alliance of Arabitiec-Siak and Egyptian consultant EHAF Consulting Engineers will supervise the project, while Egyptian designer Space Consulting Engineers is carrying out the full design for the project.

Construction period is scheduled to be 36 months, starting from February 2013 and will be completed by the beginning of 2016.

Officials of SECON company and Hilton Worldwide

Officials of SECON company and Hilton Worldwide

Hilton Cairo- Nile Maadi Hotel will support the Egyptian local economy and will increase employment rate by creating 2000 new job opportunities in the market.

Rudi Jagersbacher, president middle east area, Hilton Worldwide, expressed great enthusiasm regarding signing this agreement with SECON, which is a significant part of Hilton Worldwide expansion strategy in Egypt. “This encourages us to pursue our hospitality services to all travellers coming to Egypt,” he said.

Categories: Arab Gulf, Cairo, Egypt, Hotels, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Luxor on a shoe string

The small non-star family-run hotels of old Gurna in Luxor in Upper Egypt have always been the choice of travellers, mostly those on a tight budget, who like to spend an untraditional vacation in the midst of the Theban necropolis surrounded by authentic rural life, lush green fields and mountains.

Old Gurna on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor

Old Gurna on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor

Thousands of travellers cross the Nile in Luxor every day from the east bank to the west, wandering around the temples and tombs of the Theban necropolis. After finishing their tour, the majority return back to the east. For those who opt to stay, however, their only choice has been to book a room in one of these hotels scattered around the village.

Most of them are clean, run by locals and are located adjacent to the ancient sites. Some have air-conditioned rooms, others have ceiling fans or have both, some have rooms with separate bathrooms, others have shared ones, some have TV’s and washing machines and others have not.

Marsam Hotel, founded by Sheikh Ali Abdel-Rasoul, who was a member of the clan who helped discover the Tomb of Seti I, tops the list of options. Situated in Gurna village itself, the hotel is situated directly beside the temple of Merenptah. It has a significant history. In 1920, the hotel was the site of the prestigious Chicago House, where American researchers did their studies and practical work.

Sheikh Ali Abdel RasoulPhoto: Al Marsam Hotel

Sheikh Ali Abdel Rasoul
Photo: Al Marsam Hotel

When the Chicago House was moved to the city of Luxor, Sheikh Ali took over the whole area, including the building of the Chicago House- which turned to Al Marsam, a meeting point for artists, Egyptologists, and tourists from all over the world, where they discussed, exchanged their experiences in calm atmosphere and nice surrounding.

The hotel started with only ten simple rooms in the old Chicago building. But over the decades, Sheikh Ali’s place became so famous and demanded that he had to increase the number of rooms. In 1970, he built a new guesthouse with thick walls of mud bricks, small windows and domed ceiling, following the style of late Egyptian architect Hassan Fathi. This construction style keeps the rooms cool in summer and warm in winter.

Marsam facadePhoto: Al Marsam Hotel

Marsam facade
Photo: Al Marsam Hotel

Al Marsam is the oldest in the west bank area. It currently has 30 simple furnished rooms and a beautiful garden with seats in the shadow at the center of the hotel complex.

Most archaeological sites on the west bank of the Nile are within a walking distance from the hotel, except for the Valley of kings. The hotel can arrange excursions by bicycles, donkeys, horses, camels and cars to the ancient sites.

Al Marsam GardenPhoto: Al Marsam Hotel

Al Marsam Garden
Photo: Al Marsam Hotel

Double rooms without private bathroom are for LE100 per night, single rooms are for LE50 per person per night; double rooms with private bathroom are for LE150 per night, single rooms are for LE75 per person per night. Rates are inclusive of taxes. Accommodation is based on bed and breakfast basis.

A bedroom in Al MarsamPhoto: Al Marsam Hotel

A bedroom in Al Marsam
Photo: Al Marsam Hotel

For more information, visit http://www.luxor-westbank.com/marsam_e.htm

Al-Gezirah Village, only few miles from the dock of the ferry in the west, accommodates a number of small hotels such as Amoun El- Gezirah Hotel, Al-Gezirah and Al-Gezirah Gardens.

Built in 1996, El-Gezirah Hotel is a family business that includes 11 air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant, a terrace, a roof garden overlooking the river Nile. Situated near the village of Gezirat El-Beirat, on an old branch of the Nile, guests would experience the traditional Egyptian village life.

Facade of Al Gezirah HotelPhoto: Al Gezirah Hotel

Facade of Al Gezirah Hotel
Photo: Al Gezirah Hotel

Most archaeological sites on the west bank of the Nile are accessible from the hotel. Museums and temples of the east bank of the Nile are also accessible by ferries and motorboats.

Besides sightseeing, guests can enjoy visiting the local vegetable gardens and sugar cane fields. They can also go on donkey excursions, motorboat or felucca trips.

View from TerracePhoto: Al Gezirah Hotel

View from Terrace
Photo: Al Gezirah Hotel

All rooms are located on the ground and second floors. They are equipped with a private bathroom, shower or tub and air-conditioning.

Single rooms are for LE100 per night;  double rooms are for LE75 per person per room per night; triple room is for LE70 per person per night. Accommodation is based on bed and breakfast.

Rooms at Al Gezirah HotelPhoto: Al Gezirah Hotel

Rooms at Al Gezirah Hotel
Photo: Al Gezirah Hotel

For more information, visit http://www.el-gezira.com/E/hotel.htm

If you look for a more sophisticated vacation, then the sister hotel Al-Gezirah Garden, adjacent to El Gezirah Hotel, is the place.

El-Gezirah Garden consists of 8 apartments and 18 double rooms. Each apartment on the upper floor consists of two rooms, a kitchen and a large bathroom. The apartments on the ground floor have two bathrooms and no kitchen. The apartment can accommodate four adults, or two adults and two children. All apartments and rooms are equipped with satellite TV, telephone and air-condition.

The garden at the hotelPhoto: Al Gezirah Gardens Hotel

The garden at the hotel
Photo: Al Gezirah Gardens Hotel

For entertainment, the hotel has a garden, a swimming pool and billiard facility.

Rates for an apartment is 60 Euros per day, including breakfast and taxes; a double room for two persons is for 35 Euros and 25 Euros for one person with breakfast.

A double room at the hotelPhoto: Al Gezirah Gardens Hotel

A double room at the hotel
Photo: Al Gezirah Gardens Hotel

For more information, visit http://www.el-gezira.com/E/garden.htm

At the edge of the desert behind the ticket office in Medinat Habu, lies Pharaohs Hotel. Opened in 1984, the hotel has 20 double rooms, 10 triple rooms, all with private bath room and air condition. No telephone, television or radio are available in the rooms.

Mortuary Temple of Ramsis III in Medinat Habu

Mortuary Temple of Ramsis III in Medinat Habu

The hotel has an indoor and an outdoor restaurant, large garden terrace, reading corners and a billiard table. The sun beds at the spacious roof terrace invite guests not only for a sun bath, but also for a magnificent view up to the mountains, to the Habu Temple, the second largest temple after Karnak, and over the agricultural land to the Colossi of Memnon. During the excavation season in the winter months the hotel frequently is booked by international archaeologists. Therefore it also is called by the ancient name Per Äao (big house) from which the word pharaoh was adapted.

Travellers would find all kinds of entertainment at Pharaohs HotelPhotos: Pharaoh Hotel

Travellers would find all kinds of entertainment at Pharaohs Hotel
Photos: Pharaoh Hotel

Single rooms are for 18 Euros per night and double rooms are for 23 Euros per night. Rooms at the roof are a bit more expensive. Single rooms are for 26 Euros per night and double rooms are for 32 Euros per night. Accommodation is based on bed and breakfast.

For more information, visit http://www.luxor-westbank.com/pharaohs_e.htm

Whatever your budget and whichever your choice, if you opt to reside on the west bank and experience its riches, you will most definitely be residing in a hotel in a class of its own.

Categories: Egypt, Hotels, Uncategorized, Upper Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

JW Marriott Marquis Opens in Dubai

This week, JW Marriott celebrated the opening of a new luxury hotel in the Middle East – the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai.  Acquiring the coveted title of World’s tallest hotel from the Guinness Book of World Records, the 72-story property is the first JW Marriott Marquis outside of North America and the 59th addition to the brand’s global luxury portfolio.

The newly opened JW Marriott Marquis Hotel DubaiPhoto: JW Marriott

The newly opened JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
Photo: JW Marriott

Soaring at 355 meters (1,164 feet), the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is just 26 metres shorter than New York City’s famed Empire State Building.

“Dubai is an important destination for Marriott International as one of the world’s most exciting cities offering world-class facilities and infrastructure, central location in the region and future growth potential, “said Arne Sorenson, Marriott International President and CEO “Our expanding collection of world-class JW Marriott hotels offers accomplished travelers a one-of-a-kind luxury experience. The investment in this unique and visually stunning hotel is testament to the continued opportunities that lie ahead for the brand and company.”

In addition to serving luxury business travelers, the hotel, which is owned by Emirates Group, targets the lucrative and increasingly important meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions market by filling a long-identified gap in the region.  Groups, meetings and conventions of up to 1,000 people can now meet, stay and dine, under one roof.  The hotel is the first in Dubai that is able to accommodate large groups and will play a key role in attracting major conventions and events to the destination.  Along with cutting-edge business facilities, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai features more than 7,500 square meters of indoor and outdoor event space, including two ballrooms, and a large selection of world-class dining and entertainment options.

“The opening of this landmark hotel in Dubai is the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication to delivering the very best product, facilities and service in this international gateway city,” said Mitzi Gaskins, Vice President and Global Brand Manager for JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts. “As our global portfolio continues to grow, we remain dedicated to offering our guests unforgettable travel experiences with intuitive service, thoughtful amenities and refined design, celebrating the authentic flavor of each destination.”

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai teamPhoto: JW Marriott

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai team
Photo: JW Marriott

The JW Marriott Marquis Dubai offers an enticing array of nine restaurants, and five bars and lounges, including the  sky-high steakhouse Prime 68; the experiential sushi restaurant, Izakaya; and stunning cocktail bar Vault, which is situated on the 71st and 72nd floors and features panoramic views of the city.  The hotel is also home to Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar, the first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin Star.

The 4,000 square-meter Saray Spa and Health Club draws inspiration from the caravanserai silk route across Arabia, with treatments designed to ensure mind and body renewal.  Treatments include the Signature Milk and Honey treatment, an Arabic Coffee Awakener, and Lemon Mint Body Polish.  A sprawling pool deck covers the 7th floor of the hotel with a 30-metre swimming pool.  Aqua Poolside Bar and Grill draws inspiration from Miami’s renowned South Beach, offering light snacks and beverages throughout the day.

For more information about the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, visit www.marriott.com, or contact the hotel directly on +9714 414 0000

 

Categories: Arab Gulf, Hotels, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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