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Historic Hotels of EgyptOld Photos of Egypt HotelsMedia Center Historic Hotels of Egypt

History Of The Hotel


Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino

Al Gezira Palace The magnificent Cairo Marriott Hotel and Omar Khayyam Casino is a harmonious combination of a Royal Palace and complex of twin towers with a connecting garden terrace.
The Royal Palace Al Gezira was built in 1869 by Khedive Ismail, Ruler of Egypt, as a guest Palace for the Suez Canal inauguration celebrations, at a cost of three quarters of a million Egyptian pounds (a huge investment at that time).  It housed European monarchs, including Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, and was the venue of the first performance of Verdi’s Opera Aida.
The architecture and construction of the Palace reflected Khedive’s passion for Neo classical 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.
Gezira-PalaceThe 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.
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.
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.
Since it began operating as a hotel, the Palace has changed hands several times.
In 1879, when operating as the exclusive Gezira 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.
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 1087 rooms and opened in 1982.


Sraya El Gezierah
Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt





The Cairo Marriott Hotel is a large hotel located in the Zamalek district on Gezira Island, situated on the Nile, and just west of Downtown Cairo, Egypt. The central section was once the Gezirah Palace built for the Khedive Isma'il Pasha in 1869. The Palace and site was converted to a hotel by Marriott International into a modern hotel. The Cairo Marriott Hotel is one of the tallest buildings in Cairo.

The hotel is one of the largest hotels in the Middle East. The rooms are located in two identical twenty-storey buildings - the Gezira and Zamelek Towers. Situated between them on ground level is the palace and main entrance to the hotel, which reconstructed now contains the reception and administration areas. On the roof of the palace is an open-air theatre which faces the Nile and central Cairo.

The original Gezirah Palace was constructed by the Nile on orders from Khedive Ismail. He asked the architects of that time to make it resemble another palace in France, Versailles, where Empress Eugénie used to stay. The purpose for that palace was to host the French Empress Eugénie who was invited along with her husband the French Emperor Napoleon III.The occasion of that invitation was the opening of the Suez Canal, which was a huge project at that time.



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