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History Of The Hotel

Mena House Cairo Hotel

The origin of the Mena House was as a royal lodge for the Khedive Ismail. It was used as a rest house for himself and his guests when hunting in the desert or visiting the Pyramids at Giza.

The main dining room of today was once the entire lodge. In 1869, with the opening of the Suez Canal, the lodge was enlarged. In addition, to facilitate the visit of Empress Eugenie, a road was built between Cairo and the Pyramids. This made visits to Giza much easier.

In 1883 the lodge was sold to Frederick Head as a private residence. The Heads, a wealthy English couple, lived an idyllic life at their new residence, enlarging their home and adding a second floor. Seeking a name for their estate, Professor A.H. Saya made the suggestion that it should be called Mena House, after the first king referenced in the Tablet of Abydos.

1885: Another hugely wealthy English couple, the Locke-Kings purchased Mena House from Mrs. Head. It was they who set about turning the estate into a luxurious hotel.

Mrs. Locke-kings, hired an English Architect Henri Favarger to create an Arabian Magic to their Hotel.

1887: Mena House hotel received its first guest. With plenty of money to work with and an estate already rich with furnishings and other treasures left by the Khedive and the Heads, the Locke-Kings enlarged the building once again, adding the English touch of great fireplaces that were unusual in Egypt.

They retained much of the Arabic ambiance of the facility and enhanced this with fine Mashrabia (wooden screens) work, fine blue tiles, mosaics and medieval brass-embossed and carved wood doors. Their taste was excellent and the hotel has been kept with such good care that many of these original fixtures are still in use.

1890: With a new swimming pool, Mena House Hotel operated all year round, where all other major hotels were closed in summer.

1899: A sandy Golf Course was opened on the grounds before being turned into grass in 1917 by Roy Wilson.

1900: Years later after Mr. Locke-King's death, the Mena House was finally sold to George Nungovich who operated the Egyptian Hotels Company.

1953: Mena House Hotel nationalized and becomes a part of the nation’s heritage.

1972: Oberoi Hotels & Resorts are selected to manage Mena House. Now called Mena House Oberoi.

1979: Mena House Peace Conference held at Al Rubayyat – with Presidents Sadat, Jimmy Carter and Prime Minister Begin.

The hotel has undergone major renovation in the garden rooms with new additions namely an Italian restaurant, an Oriental restaurant, magnificent landscaping and breath taking swimming pool and water features.


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