Cairo Marriott Hotel
|Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino|
The front entrance of the Cairo Marriott Hotel
|Number of rooms||1,087|
The Cairo Marriott Hotel is one of the tallest buildings in Cairo, a large hotel located in the Zamalek district on Gezira Island, situated on the Nile, and just west of downtown Cairo, Egypt. The Marriott opened in 1983, but the central wing was built as the Gezirah Palace for the Khedive Isma'il Pasha in 1869 and converted to a luxury hotel in 1894.
The hotel consists of 1,087 rooms, making it 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. Providing 19 meeting rooms, the hotel is also used for meetings and events and has a total event space of more than 28,000 sq ft.
The Gezirah Palace was commissioned by Khedive Ismail and designed by Carl von Diebitsch to host French Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Empress Eugénie during the celebration of the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Ismail asked the architect to make it resemble the Palace of Versailles. In 1880, the palace was seized by Ismail's creditors. It was eventually leased to the Compagnie Internationale des Grands Hotels, who opened it as The Ghezireh Palace Hotel in October 1894. During World War One, the hotel served as the No.2 Australian General Hospital, after the Mena House was unable to cope with the huge number of casualties from the Battle of Gallipoli. In 1919, The Ghezireh Palace Hotel was sold to Syrian businessman Habib Lotfallah and converted back to a private residence. The palace was nationalized by Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1952 and eventually converted back to a hotel, reopening in 1962 as the Omar Khayyam Hotel. In the late 1970s, the two large towers were added and the entire hotel was rebuilt. President Hosni Mubarak presided over the grand reopening in 1983 as the Cairo Marriott Hotel.
- marriott.com: Gezirah Palace history