History Mena House Present Mena House

The Great Pyramid of Giza, the only wonder of the ancient world still in existence - and in front of it stands Mena House.

Mena House

This 1886 hotel stands in front of the Great Pyramid in Cario, Egpyt - one (and the last remaining) of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
We recommend to take a room with a balcony facing the pyramid. You could also try the 18-hole golf course, which due to regular irrigation in the early hours of the day is like an oasis on the edge of the desert. You'll enjoy cool and pleasant conditions, even during the sweltering heat of August. Perfect to spend the winter.

How the Stage was Set

HISTORY IN BRIEF

1886: Opening of the Mena Hotel Missing image

1971: Oberoi acquired Mena House.

HISTORY IN DETAIL

1869: Thomas Cook embarked on his first trip to Egypt, spotting endless opportunities.

1879: The Sultan of Turkey decreed that the Khedive of Egypt should leave his country in the hands of his son Mehemet Tewfi K Pasha. On June 30, a long luggage train laden with pictures and cabinets, dinner services and rare carpets, bronze and silver candelabra, plates of solid gold and inlaid with jewels, left Cairo for Alexandria. The treasures were shipped on board the gorgeous steam yacht Mahroussé, bound for Italy, where the despot lived happily until his end (see similar happenings --> 1952).

1880: In Cairo, The Egyptian Gazette, a daily newspaper, was founded.

1880s: Egypt was becoming a fashionable and chic winter resort for European travellers. The climate near the Great Pyramid in Giza, outside Cairo, was obviously better than in town. During the winter there were no muddy roads (due to occasional rain), no dust in the air and no traffic. This peaceful environment was the right place for a young couple to settle in front of the Great Pyramid. 1883: Lord Cromer became the British Agent in Egypt. Meanwhile, Frederick and Jessie Head, a couple on their honeymoon, acquired a former Khedival hunting lodge near the Great Pyramid. They enlarged the house and added a second floor. Jessie Head started teaching children from the nearby villages English. The English couple Locke-Kings bought the house from the Heads and decided to construct a hotel next to it. They built a magnificent oriental palace facing the Pyramids, complete with Arab mashrabia windows, brass embossed doors, blue tiles and mosaics of coloured marbles and mother-of-pearl. The great dining hall was an exact replica of a Cairo mosque.

1886: ‘Mena Hotel’, as it was called, opened.

1887: The first guests arrived by coach from Cairo, and soon word spread that there was a new hotel right next to the Great Pyramid. All this boded well, hand in hand with the growing appeal of Cairo itself as a destination. The Opera House announced 80 performances for the coming season, and impresario Rey even presented the great actress Sarah Bernhardt (right). She certainly visited the Mena House on her excursion to the Pyramids. That same year, the Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor opened. At Shepheard’s Hotel a new lawn tennis court was the talk of the town. Austrian Baron Ernst Rodakowski (left), a friend of Locke-King, was made the first manager of the Mena House. Rodakowski brought the hotel to international standards. Making the enterprise profitable proved difficult as the Locke-Kings were too generous when it came to having their friends pay the bills.

1889, 4 November: the leading society figure of all European spas and resorts, from the springs of Baden Baden to the roulette tables of Monte Carlo, visited Mena House. His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales (top) had been welcomed by His Highness the Khedive, who showed him the Pyramids. Lunch was served at the old ‘kiosque’ of Empress Eugenie. After lunch, The Egyptian Gazette reported, they ‘went over to the Mena Hotel and took coffee there.’

1890: All European-patronised hotels in Egypt closed for summer at the end of April. They reopened for the new season in late November. However, the Mena House announced to its clientele: ‘Visitors intending to remain during the summer months and residents in Cairo who may wish to use the hotel are requested to apply to the secretary for terms. The summer season will be from May 1st until November 1st.’ A special incentive was ‘the new swimming bath’. It was 85 feet long and 25 feet wide, and – most importantly – the water was supplied from the same spring as the Mena House’s famous crystal clear drinking water. Missing image

1895–1896: After Arthur Conan Doyle successfully published his 25th Sherlock Holmes book (the first one was A Study in Scarlet, 1887) in 1894, he ‘killed’ Sherlock Holmes by reporting his apparent death in The Final Problem, the last story of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. He wanted to devote time and attention to his ‘more serious’ writings. Moreover, his wife Louise (Touie) was diagnosed with tuberculosis (then called consumption). After testing the clean air of Swiss mountain regions, they arrived in Cairo for the winter. They spent the winter of 1895-96 at the Mena House Hotel.

1896: Emil Weckel and a certain Mr Schick bought the Mena House. The hotel had lawn tennis, two croquet lawns, shooting, stables with Arab and English horses and desert carts for hire. Fresh milk came daily from their own dairy with medically-examined cows.

1898: Cairo received electricity (gas since 1870). Ernst Rodakowski sold his shares in the Mena House for £45,000. The Savoy Hotel Cairo opened.

1899: Shepheard’s managers considered leaving their hotel open for the summer as well. W H Bartlett stayed there in 1898 and recalled the society that visited Cairo at this time: ‘Inside Shepheard’s Hotel you will find just the Bel Alp in winter quarters. All the people who live in their boxes and grand hotels, who know all lands and no languages, who have been everywhere and done nothing, looked at everything and seen nothing, read everything and know nothing—who spoiled the globe by trotting on it.’

1883–1907: Lord Cromer, the British Agent and Consul-General in Egypt surrounded himself with the best brains and catapulted Egypt into the future. The new Aswan Dam generated vast areas of previously uncultivatable land. Led by the eminent Sir Ernest Cassel, the bankers arranged all major deals in the country and gave the fellahen start-up loans to grow cotton on the new land. Egyptian cotton soon earned a reputation as the best in the world.

1900: Four tramways were traversing Cairo and a fifth was being built to run from Giza to the pyramids. Trains ran from Helouan and Tura. English department stores and shopping districts were set up. At Aswan in Upper Egypt the Cataract Hotel was opened (18 January). In India, Mohan Singh Oberoi, the future hotellier, was born. Cairo’s hotels were firmly in the hands of European managers: the Mena House – Emil Weckel; Gezira Palace – Luigi Steinschneider; Savoy – August Wild; Hotel du Nil – R Fleischmann; Tewik Palace (Helouan) – Albert Friedlander; Hotel Abbas – F Kuch. At the Mena House, a lift had been built in the main building and for the first time electric light illuminated each floor, and all public rooms. The 1900 spring season at the Mena House offered a croquet lawn, lawn tennis, shooting, gymkhanas and the swimming bath. A daily coach service was in operation. The whole city was buzzing with word of the new tram scheduled for autumn completion In November, the new electric tram was proudly mentioned in every advert. Of course, this new means of convenience was great for business. Leaving the Pont des Anglais downtown every 40 minutes, it increased the traffic to the Pyramids, from seven in the morning until nine in the evening, when the last train chugged back. There was one first-class carriage, built in America with a sitting-room for 24 passengers, 36 passengers were travelling third class. With the new golf course in place, the hotel now held its famous gymkhanas on the fairway of the 9th and 18th holes. The grand stand was at the foot of the Great Pyramid. The idea was to leave Cairo with the 12.20 train for lunch at the Mena House, and take the 5.40 to return to the city . 1904: Schick and Weckel sold the Mena House to the George Nungovich company. Nungovich had started as a porter in Cairo station and built a hotel empire in Egypt, quoted on the stock exchange (combining the Angleterre, Savoy, Grand Continental and Mena House hotels). August Wild became the managing director of the group.

1907: Swiss hotelier Bucher-Durrer opened the Semiramis Hotel. The same year Cromer left Cairo. His successor was Sir John Eldon Gorst.

1909: Empress Eugénie, the widow of Napoleon III, arrived for a second visit to the Pyramids.

1909: The Prince and Princess of Wales visited the Pyramids. The later King George V and Queen Mary were on their way home from their tour of India. The group’s general manager August Wild arranged for a banquet near the Pyramids. The best location was clearly the chalet that had been built for Empress Eugénie in 1869. The Mena House staff moved out in force to clean up decades of dust. The dinner served was a great success.

1911: Lord Kitchener, who had won back the Sudan for Egypt in 1898, became resident minister. He set up a legislative assembly in Cairo. This hailed the beginning of the parliamentary life of Egypt, which was an imitation of Great Britain. The British resident minister was similar to the prime minister in London, except that he lived in constant fear of the Egyptian people one day discovering that there might be another (independent) way to rule itself. The political events of World War I would soon supply the necessary insight.

1914: In Arabia, the nationalists revolted against the Turks in a fight for liberation. This soon became a policy that all Egyptians could agree on. ‘European’ Cairo was strictly set apart from ‘Egyptian’ Cairo, a place of politics, preparation and whispers. Prices rose steeply and people in the countryside suffered greatly from poverty and malnutrition.

1916: Martial law was introduced in Cairo. First clashes between British and Egyptians including the kidnapping of peasants to serve in British labour groups in Palestine. Thousands of fellaheen (farmers) were sent to Syria, Mesopotamia and to France.

1918: In November the war was officially over. Egypt still suffered. That year in Egypt more people died than were born. A strong anti-British resentment was felt among the population. The colonial power had lost the last of its remaining glory.

1919: The United States, in their urge to support colonial powers, recognised the British protection of Egypt, resulting in severe strikes against British rule in Egypt.

1939: World War II broke out. With German submarines infesting the Mediterranean, the risk-free shipping of supplies from England to Egypt was impossible. The English started training thousands of Egyptians in various trades: from mechanics, electricians, drivers, engineers and even lens grinders. They repaired military equipment, and built trains and machinery. Advances were made in mining, cement, petroleum refining and chemical industries. Over ten million pounds per year were invested in Egypt.

1939: The Mena House filled with servicemen (Australians). 1942: In July, the British were pushed back nearly as far as Alexandria. German tanks (Rommel) stopped at El Alamein. In November, Field Marshal Montgomery – with his Eighth Army – won the battle of El Alamein.

1943: Plans for Overlord, the invasion of Europe, had to be discussed by Churchill and Roosevelt. Operations in Southeast Asia needed consultation with General Chiang Kai Shek. The Mena House Hotel became the headquarters of the conference and the venue of all the British and American Chiefs of Staff. The Mena House was a fortress, with some 500 anti-aircraft guns protecting the surroundings. There was even an RAF observation post on top of Cheop’s Pyramid. Owners of nearby houses raised their rents outrageously, to have their share of the cake when press and media folk roamed the Pyramids area. In his memoirs Churchill remembered: ‘Everyone set to work at their various levels upon the immense mass of business which had to be decided or adjusted.’

1950s: The monarchy had become synonymous with scandal and moral decadence. British domination was finally intolerable (Noel Barber: ‘The Egyptians hated Britain, but still love the British!’) A group, called Free Officers, started their conspiracy against Farouk. In 1952, he was forced to flee the country on his royal yacht. His son Fouad was declared king; his reign didn’t last long and one year later, in 1953: The Free Officers declared Egypt a Republic.

1964: A fire broke out at the night club of the Mena House. Nobody was hurt.

1967, 5 June: Israel launched a blitz attack on Egypt, Syria and Jordan: the so called ‘Six-Day’ War ended in the ignominious defeat of the Arabs.

1970: Nasser died on 28 September, Anwar El-Sadat became president.

1971: When the Oberoi chain identified the hotel as a possible property, the by now nationalised Mena House was in a poor state of health. The Indian Oberoi Group took over the management of the establishment, adding it to their worldwide chain. The hotel was meticulously renovated and expanded. Under the Oberoi management, the hotel reached the highest standards of international hotels and eventually became a select member of The Most Famous Hotels in the World.

1972: Closure of the Mena House and total renovation under Oberoi. Mena Gardens opened in December. Together, the two hotels were called Mena House Oberoi.

1974: US president Richard Nixon lunched at the Mena House.

1975: The Suez canal reopened. In December, renovation work on the Mena House was completed (total cost: £3m. Architect: Amr El Alfi). On Christmas Day 1975, the hotel was reopened by Prime Minister Mamdouh Salem. The famous front terrace now comprised two floors, all air-conditioned and behind huge glass windows, with the foyer below and a coffee shop above. The hotel had retained old tradition by keeping the lovely Moorish vaulting, the original chandeliers and the irreplaceable Mashrabia.

1977: Egypt’s Anwar Sadat travelled to Jerusalem, paving the way for Arab-Israeli peace talks.

1978: 200-room extension at Mena House completed (garden wing). On 26 March Sadat signed the Camp David Accords, shaking hands with Menachem Beghin on the White House Lawn and ensuring the return of Sinai to Egypt.

1979: Mena House was chosen as the venue for the Egypt-Israel talks, following Anwar Sadat’s peace ini-tiative. Menachem Beghin occupied suite 908, while Jimmy Carter was in the Churchill Suite and Sadat in the Montgomery Suite. The hotel was fully closed for the public and open only to delegates. Every visitor, including children, needed a pass-badge. Thanks to the security, a suitcase with a bomb was detected in time. For the Israeli participants, exclusively kosher food was served. Jimmy Carter addressed the meeting. On that occasion the Egyptian and American President were each presented with a key of pure gold by the management of Mena House, in gratitude for the privilege of playing host. Carter, however, returned the present the next day, as a US president (at that time) wasn’t allowed to accept presents worth more than US$50.00. That year Newsweek picked Mohan Singh Oberoi as ‘Businessman of the Year’ (with low-budget flyer Sir Freddie Laker and Roland Peugeot.)

1981, 6 October: Eight years after Egyptian troops had crossed the Suez Canal into Sinai, president Sadat was gunned down by Islamist militants. Hosni Mubarak was sworn in as president. Egypt entered a period of relative stability.

1982, 25 April: Mubarak hoisted the Egyptian flag over Sinai.

1986: TABA negotiations between Israel and Egypt at Mena House.

1992: The UPUAUT project sent a little robot into the airshafts of the Great Pyramid. No news. 1993: A series of conferences (Two States, One Holy Land, etc.) were held at Mena House.

1995: The success of the ‘Reading for All Initiative’, sponsored by Mrs Mubarak (below, welcomed by general manager Rajiv Kaul, 1996–2003), brought books to the countryside and poor urban areas, making it possible for underprivileged children to read to their heart’s content. The project also included the reprinting and mass distribution of numerous books, both classics and previously little-known gems, at affordable prices. 2000: In April, the leading Egyptologists held their World Conference in Cairo. 1,500 members attended and the Mena House was quite naturally at the centre of the action. The conference facilities of the Mena House were put to test. The climax was a banquet arranged by the Mena House at the foot of the Sphinx.

2005: Extensive renovations of the Garden Wing.

Among the many famous guests to have graced Mena House over the years:

From the World of Politics The Shah of Persia – he stayed at Mena House in 1980 after being forced into exile by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini Duke of Windsor Barbara Bush Jimmy Carter Richard Nixon Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (‘Monty’) William Cohen HRH Sofia Queen of Spain Sheikh Yamani

From the World of Entertainment Charlie Chaplin Omar Sharif Hani Shaker Brooke Shields Adel Imam Frank Sinatra John Travolta Gloria Gaynor Dalida Grateful Dead Earth Wind & Fire Village People Julio Iglesias Charlton Heston Cecil B. DeMille

From the World of Literature Sir Arthur Conan Doyle William Faulkner

From the World of Sports Nick Faldo

Did You Know That? . . .

...in ancient times there was a king called Mena the ‘Constant’, who lived around 4400 BC? Mena – also known as Aha or King Menes of Memphis – was the founding king of the first dynasty and was the first king to unify Upper and Lower Egypt into one kingdom. Ancient Egypt’s most predominant form of civilisation began with his crowning, and did not end permanently until the beginning of the Roman era, which started with Augustus Caesar. Mena founded the city of Memphis, and chose as its location an island in the Nile, so that it would be easy to defend. During his time, Egypt expanded his sphere of influence as far as the First Cataract.


...during the 1880s it was customary to charge for extras like a hot or cold bath in the bathroom ( each 5 piastres) or a lamp in the bedroom (each 5p)?


...in 1919, the Mena House staff furnished 30 new rooms with newly arrived furniture (23 December) for all the arriving guests (24 December) within 24 hours?


...during the 1920s, manager Oscar Geyer reared 20 hens and one cockerill in the garden behind the hotel to ensure a supply of fresh eggs?

 ...a gardener during the 1920s was paid 10 piastres for each eucalyptus tree (very delicate - needs an endless supply of water), but was fined 20 if one died? A small forest behind the hotel is the result.

...while digging a bunker for the golf course in 1922, a little urn with some ten statuettes was found? It was ‘only’ about 2,000 years old.

...King Farouk always spoke Italian with the head waiter Bennini, when ordering a plate of his favourite spaghetti in thick tomato sauce?

... an Australian officer during World War 1 was caught chasing a woman through the corridors of the Mena House? He was totally naked. When questioned, he quoted an army regulation to the effect that an officer may wear any costume appropriate to the sport in which he is engaged at a given time.


...the hotel’s most notable inhabitant of a very small room is the oldest palm tree on the premises? The tree received its own little room on the ground floor, where its 100 years old roots are steeped in historic sand.


...the old Mena House lifts were nicknamed the 'please and thank you contraptions', because they only seemed to oblige if such courtesies were extended to them? The antiquated lifts especially disliked VIPS - many a celebrity got trapped in them, including the OPEC leader Sheikh Yamani. Thankfully, Oberoi replaced them back in the 1970s.

... in 1985 Egypt awarded M.S. Oberoi its highly coveted Order of the Republic award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to tourism in the country?

... M.S. Oberoi pioneered the employment of female staff in his Egyptian hotels? He had tour-operators conduct a house-to-house survey to find out which women had graduated from college, but were now sitting at home and wasting their degrees. Many of these were then offered jobs. Mr Oberoi insisted on having personable young women in his hotels.


... Hollywood star Mena Adrienne Suvari (right: ‘American Beauty’) was named after her British Aunt, who was christened after the Mena House?


... the Kataab family has run the antiques shop at the hotel since the hotel opened? Grandfather Ibrahim was a well known Egyptologist himself, and the generations to follow inherited his love for antiques.King Gustav of Sweden was a true archaeologist and while at the Mena House viewed the Kataab collection


... before the modern pool was installed, the old marble swimming bath was emptied by hand, cleaned and refilled every night? One night the pool was used for a fishing competition, live carp from the Nile were brought in and the first guest to catch one was the winner? That night saw many men in wet dinner jackets.


... there are sometimes functions with over 1,000 people in the hotel’s ballroom?


...Mena House is among the most decorated hotels in the world? It has been awarded with accolades stretching from ‘The Best Hotel in the World’ to ‘The Most Beautiful Gardens of Cairo’.

 ... what is occasionally referred to as pollution over Cairo is rarely smog but dust and sand?


... the gardens are kept in shape by the team of head gardener Abdul Hamid, who joined the Mena House in 1976?


... a helicopter once landed on the lawn of the Garden Wing? The pilot got out and asked for the restaurant.


... the settlement around the hotel, nicknamed Mena village, is actually called Nazlet-el-Samaan, the ‘Heaven of the Quail?


... the best time for quail is March and April? The best place is between Mena House and Sakkara?

 

Some more stories?

Sir Peter Ustinov, actor and author, enjoyed the story of King Zog and Queen Geraldine of Albania, who had spent seven months at Mena House in 1946. King Zog’s private secretary had a huge safe for the court’s treasures brought especially from Cairo, so large that it had to be pulled up to their apartment on the outer walls of the building.

Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid el Maktoum, a great horseman and one of the leading figures of the Arab world, has made a tradition of his horse race in the desert around the Pyramids. The Mena House is in charge of setting up the spectacle: from tents to food, everything is in the experienced hands of the hotel.

In 1923, Peggy Guggenheim asked the management to prepare an excursion into the desert. A caravan of camels was chartered, servants, a chef, tents, furniture such as camp-beds, and washing dishes were loaded and off they went for a delightful trip into the desert behind the Pyramids. For a short while she even left her children, Sindbad and Lilly, at the hotel to travel to Jerusalem. His Imperial Highness, the Crown Prince of Japan and his wife were welcomed by Rajiv Kaul. Karim Aga Khan arrived – as many times before his late father, who frequented the hotel with his wife Begum. Maurice Bejart, the ballet director, enjoyed his stay. Broadcaster & author Bonnie Churchill was walking in the footsteps of her granduncle.

Jane Fonda visited the Montgomery Suite and enjoyed her lunch at the Mena House. The famous Egyptian singer Um Kalthoum patronised the hotel as well as Allan Moorhead, the author of ‘African Trilogy’.

Omar Sharif is of course the pride of Egypt. The charming and elegant Hollywood movie star who once said ‘I’d rather play bridge than make a bad movie’ is a regular at the Mena House, and the darling of the staff.

Singer Hani Shaker actually performed at the Mena House for a while before becoming one of the most respected stars of Egypt. Everybody remembers beautiful Brooke Shields, who paid her tribute to the hotel, too.

Mena House has welcomed more than once Egyptian Adel Imam, the celebrated comedian, screen and stage personality. Renown for his anti-terror point of view and thus a target of terrorism himself, he usually arrives well protected by governmental security guards. Adel Imam Have you heard of Dr Zaki Souidan? He was a doctor of international repute. His first practice was near the hotel. Often he was asked to look after guests, and of course, sometimes after the staff. During the 1943 Churchill, Roosevelt and Chiang Kai Shek conference at Mena House, the chef de cuisine was not feeling very well and had to visit Souidan several times. One night the chef came to pay his bill: he arrived with a large jar of caviar which he presented to the doctor. Zaki looked at it surprised and asked where it came from. ‘Well’, said the chef, ‘Stalin sent three jars to Mena House for Mr Churchill, and I thought two were enough for him.’


Did we discover the largest pyramid ever built? Near the Mena House Hotel, one of its regular guests, Dr. Zahi Hawass, discovered the Pyramid of Djedefre, or the so-called lost fourth pyramid. It was constructed on a hilltop at Abu Rawash, from which the Giza Plateau is visible. Today, little is left of Djedefre's pyramid and there is no evidence to explain why it was built at Abu Rawash and not Giza, the site of the Great Pyramid, which was constructed for Djedefre's father, King Khufu. Image According to archeologist Zahi Hawass: "The pyramid itself was planned as a relatively modest structure with steep sides& It is usually assumed that Djedefre did not have access to the resources commanded by his father and later by his brother Khafre; it is equally possible that he was fairly advanced in age when he came to the throne∧ knew that he might not have time to finish a more ambitious project." Researchers have also found remnants of a mortuary temple, boat pit, queens' pyramids, statues and a lengthy causeway around the pyramid complex. Although it's been speculated that Djedefre's pyramid was dismantled after his death because he was an unpopular figure, researchers have indicated a more likely explanation is that the pyramid was plundered for its stones by subsequent societies. There is no better starting place to explore this newly discovered wonder of the world than Mena House.


Mixed Grill: Observing the happenings at the Oasis Barbecue Restaurant with the light effects at the Pyramids in the background, an impressed visitor uttered one evening: ‘There is an American couple swinging to an Austrian waltz played by an Egyptian violinist under the sparkling sky of Northern Egypt with the Star of the South over the horizon, dining Lebanese Mezzah on Royal China from Thailand served by a Nubian waiter. I call that Mixed Grill at Cairo.’

Inspiration: Charlie Chaplin spent a whole week at the Mena House, finding the place so inspiring that he continuously worked on a script for a new film there. At the end of his stay, he gave a cocktail party on the terrace.

Harry Mulisch, the best-selling author of The Procedure, has his main character Victor Werker spending a lot of time at the Mena House, were he sees Jacqueline Onassis and a group of friends (‘I have seen the owners of the world’).

An early view of the Mena House (dating from ca 1890) by postcard artist Klamroth shows the fabled hunting lodge of the Khedive Ismail Pasha. This ‘alpine style’ lodge – to the very right of the painting – was the first building on these grounds and the private residence of the first owners of the Mena House.

 William Faulkner, the famous American Author and Noble prize winner stayed at Mena House during the filming of 'The Land of the Pharaohs'.

The crew of the movies The Ten Commandments stayed at Mena House for 3 months during shooting of the film, back in 1954. Cecil B. DeMille and Charlton Heston. President Nasser personally extended full support to the movie crew.

One of the cadies at the Golf course (Hassan Gomaa) worked at the golf course since he was 10 years old. He was among a group of extras in the same movie, the film crew paid him 9 pounds a day. He used to serve Cecil B. DeMille and Charlton Heston as well the other crew members Rum with Coca Cola at the course.

From THE MENA HOUSE TREASURY © Andreas Augustin / famoushotels.org

On location: Large parts of Valley of the Kings with Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker were shot at the Mena House. Roger Moore, who stayed here during the shooting of The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, confessed to the guest-book during a second stay: ‘How nice to be here as a guest & not have to jump around as 007!’ Bar keeper Aziz Fouad was in charge of the Martinis.
Charlton Heston (the Treasury book shows a picture of him with riding coach Mohammed Allan Gabri) appreciated upon his return that the lobby hadn’t changed ‘from when I rode a horse into the garden every afternoon after shooting the Ten Commandments’.
The Arabian classic Hekayat hub (Love Story) is also set at the Mena House (with Myriam Fakhr Eddine), so is Sahib el galala (His Majesty) with Samira Ahmed. The Movie ‘Flatfoot in Egypt’ (Bud Spencer and Terence Hill) was filmed at the Mamlouk Bar and Khan El Khalili.

Managing the Mena House

Ernst Baron Rodakowski: 1887–96
G.A. Loedlick
Schick
Emil Weckel 1896–1904
George Nungovich Egpytian Hotels (later: Egyptian Hotels Ltd.)  August Wild
Freddy Elwert (ca 1918)
Oscar Geyer (1920s) 
Fred Herrling 1932
Milo Niederhauser
Joseph Soly
Charles Mueller
Herbert Canoudi
G Fittikidis
Papadopoulo
Schrock (1962)
Ahmed Assaad (1967)
Ratan Tata (1972–75)
Homi Wadia (1979–1982)
Kaval Nain (1982–1985)
Ibrahim Dessouki (1985–1988)
Shankar Mani (1988–1992)
Satish Kumar (1992–1996)
Rajiv Kaul (1996–2003)
Sanjiv Malhotra (2003-2008)

Managed by: Oberoi Hotels
500 Rooms
20 Suites

Churchill Suite -------- Montgomery Suite

Al Rubaiyat

Khan el Khalili

Moghul Room

Oasis Restaurant at the Pool

Abu Nawas nightclub

2 bars

Location, location, location . . .

Did we discover the largest pyramid ever built? Near the Mena House Hotel, one of its regular guests, Dr. Zahi Hawass, discovered the Pyramid of Djedefre, or the so-called lost fourth pyramid. It was constructed on a hilltop at Abu Rawash, from which the Giza Plateau is visible. Today, little is left of Djedefre's pyramid and there is no evidence to explain why it was built at Abu Rawash and not Giza, the site of the Great Pyramid, which was constructed for Djedefre's father, King Khufu. According to archeologist Zahi Hawass: "The pyramid itself was planned as a relatively modest structure with steep sides& It is usually assumed that Djedefre did not have access to the resources commanded by his father and later by his brother Khafre; it is equally possible that he was fairly advanced in age when he came to the throne? knew that he might not have time to finish a more ambitious project." Researchers have also found remnants of a mortuary temple, boat pit, queens' pyramids, statues and a lengthy causeway around the pyramid complex. Although it's been speculated that Djedefre's pyramid was dismantled after his death because he was an unpopular figure, researchers have indicated a more likely explanation is that the pyramid was plundered for its stones by subsequent societies. "Traveller, when you go to Egypt, take a room at the Mena House and spend time sitting on your balcony watching the Great Pyramid. Start early in the morning and look at it again before you go to bed. You will discover a new silhouette every time you look." Andreas Augustin ‘After an evening at the Mena House hotel, where Gypsies played their melancholic and maddening airs which seem to evoke all of their passions, I went to take another look at the sphinx, under the moonlight. It appeared more imposing, as if transfigured. Beneath the magical moon, its maimed features were repaired. I came back to the hotel terrace. The air was refreshing. The grand tent quivered in the East wind. I sat beneath it, unable to tear myself away from the grandiose emotion of that place, which resembled the sanctuary of the Almighty, or from the ingratiating charm of that clear night, of that heavenly air.’ Edouard Schuré (1898)

There is no better stating place to explore this newly discovered wonder of the world than Mena House. This 1886 hotel sits in front of the Great Pyramid in Cario, Egpyt - one (and the last remaining) of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Why not take a room with a balcony facing the pyramid? You could also try the 18-hole golf course, which due to regular irrigation in the early hours of the day is like an oasis on the edge of the desert. You'll enjoy cool and pleasant conditions, even during the sweltering heat of August.

18 hole golf course -------- Riding -------- Swimming pool -------- Flood-lit tennis courts

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Our Select Member Hotel

Mena House
Country: Egypt
City: Cairo
Opening date: 1886

Note from the Host

General Manager

Mohit Nirula


Coordinates

6 Pyramids Road
Giza Egypt, Cairo

Tel: +20 2 3766644, 3773222
Fax: +20 2 38 37 777

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