Revamping the Nile Hilton Hotel

15-12-2011 09:05 AM

Sanaa’ Farouk

WATANI International 

25 April 2010 
The ‘Nile-Hilton’ Hotel is getting a face-lift. With a strategic location fronting the River Nile in the heart of bustling Downtown Cairo, the hotel is only two minutes away from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, while the Coptic Museum and the Hanging Church in Old Cairo are a few stops away on the Metro. It is eight miles from the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx.

Five-star hotel
A major five-star hotel, the Nile Hilton was the first Western-style hotel to be built in Cairo. The hotel’s 13 storeys had 431 rooms and suites, a French restaurant and Italian-style Pizzeria, a genuine Belgian bar in the Art Nouveau style which was dismantled and re-erected in situ, and conference rooms, a swimming pool, health club and spa.
The hotel opened in 1959 in the time of Gamal Abdel-Nasser. A room cost then was 3.5 Egyptian Pounds, the highest rate in Cairo at the time. It was the destination of presidents, kings, Arab leaders, film stars and pop stars, and it hosted the first-ever dinner-theatre, an elegant event that would be emulated world-wide.

Extensive renovation
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, a leader in global luxury hospitality, has announced plans to continue its rapid expansion in Egypt with its first hotel in the capital city. Plans are in place to convert the 431-room Nile Hilton, owned by Misr Hotels, a subsidiary of the Holding Company for Tourism, Hotels and Cinema, into a full-fledged Ritz-Carlton after an extensive renovation period launched from last November and estimated to cost USD80 million.
Fathy Nour, chairman of Misr Hotels Company, says the company carefully considered offers from several global management companies proposing to add the hotel to their collection of luxury properties. “Ultimately, the offer by Ritz-Carlton, a company with a reputation for service excellence and award-winning corporate culture, was retained to restore and manage this iconic property,” Mr Nour said.
The restoration process will involve an all-inclusive renovation of all the rooms and restaurants and restore their classic ambience. The hotel’s name will be changed by the end of 2010 or early in 2011.
With the aim of regaining its historical origin and loftiness, all the hotel’s attached buildings—including the mall and administration offices—will be removed. A large new gallery will be allocated to rooms for conferences and celebrations.
The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo will be the company‘s first hotel in the capital city, and the second in the country after the Ritz-Carlton, Sharm al-Sheikh.
It may come with bad news for tourists, though—the company is expected to press to raise prices of tourism and hotels in Cairo, and ultimately in Egypt.

Historic hotels
Coincidentally, the hotel properties held by the Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH) should be getting an innovative brand identity shortly. Experiology LLC an Orlando-based international creative consultancy firm specialising in the luxury market niche, will spearhead an initiative to establish a common identity for the current nine historic properties under EGOTH to reach new markets. Experiology will draw together the hotels with a unifying theme of historic authenticity and grand service delivered in palatial settings.
“Each property has its own unique story, but together we will convey a common one The Historic Hotels of Egypt,” Mitch Gorshin President and Chief Creative Officer of Experiology LLC said. “We have discovered that the modern guest is really looking for something different—something beyond a trendy lobby, odd decor and another steakhouse. We have a unique opportunity to gather the forces of these historic Egyptian hotels and make them stand apart from the prolific hotel landscape that exists today.”
The renowned brands that will manage properties within the Historic Hotels of Egypt Collection include Marriott, Oberoi, Sofitel, Helnan, the Rocco Forte Collection and Ritz Carlton. Several of the hotels within the portfolio, including the legendary Shepheard Hotel, are owned by EGOTH. Once joined, the Historic Hotels of Egypt will be recognised as some of the world’s most luxurious and stately hotels where travelers will be able to combine the thrill of visiting Egypt’s timeless treasures with the exquisite pleasure of experiencing its legendary hospitality.

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