A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Grand Hotels of Egypt in the Golden Age of Travel

From the Oxford University Press Blog: a conversation with an author of a book about Egypt's grand hotels in the golden age: The Grand Hotels of Egypt: In the Golden Age of Travel. (Note: "Travel," not "Tourism." There was a difference.)  Of course with Shepheard's burned in 1952 the grandest of the grand is long gone, but some of the others still survive: it's neighbor the Windsor, now known mainly for its barrel bar, and the once grand Cecil in Alexandria, Old Winter Palace in Luxor and Old Cataract in Aswan; the book apparently uses lots of old photographs and such. It should be worth a look. I'll confess a lingering romantic attachment to the leftovers of Empire; the tendency to feel that Agatha Christie (or is it Somerset Maugham?) is having tea across the way, or some other echo of a lost era. I also know, of course, that the Imperial visitors were blind to the countries around them and the people who served then their tea. Besides the great ones in Egypt there are other relics I've visited such as the King David in Jerusalem, the Peninsula in Hong Kong or Raffles in Singapore, and doubtless many more in the Subcontinent that I don't know. Anyway, it sounds like a book worth seeing.

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