Egypt invests $368m in historic hotels

Ancient Egypt Unearthed
The Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH) has created a new brand for nine of its most iconic properties.
The state-owned company owns a total of 22 hotels in Egypt, and has decided to group its most historic properties together under the moniker Historic Hotels of Egypt.
The hotels will have seen a total investment of $368 million by the end of 2013, said General Nabil Selim, chairman of EGOTH.
Originally founded in 1841, Cairo’s The Shepheard Hotel is currently undergoing a complete renovation, after the management was taken over by Rocco Forte Luxury Collection in July.
The Old Cataract in Aswan (pictured below), built in 1899 and past host to Winston Churchill and Princess Diana, will see its refurbishment completed in 2011.
The Nile Ritz Carlton Cairo, one of the city’s top hotels since the 1950s, is also in the middle of a major refurbishment, due to be complete by 2013.
The same year a refurbishment of the boutique Luxor Hotel will be completed.
Other properties now under the Historic Hotels of Egypt brand are Mena House Oberoi, located at the foot of the Great Pyramid, Cairo’s Marriott Hotel (both of which have seen their refurbishments completed), Alexandria’s The Palestine Hotel, Luxor’s Sofitel-branded Cecil Hotel and the 1886-built Winter Palace, also in Luxor.
EGOTH hopes to use its investment in the properties, as well as the creation of the new brand, to attract more international hotel chains to Egypt.
“We want to upgrade the entire hospitality industry,” said Selim.
“We are investing the money not just to protect the assets, but to attract new hotel chains that have not operated in Egypt before.”
It is also important that the state-owned hotels can compete with newcomers from the private sector, he added.
Under the renovation plans, the hotels will have upgraded meeting and conference facilities, as well as the latest technology, including wifi internet access and flatscreen televisions.
“Meetings, conference and incentive planners think two years in advance. That is why I am launching [the brand] now, because in two years I’m going to have my entire portfolio renovated,” said Selim.