The Lotus Hotel
mid-nineteenth century, Egypt's Khedive Ismail dreamed of building
a "Paris along the Nile." Thankfully he did not demolish
the existing city, as was largely the case in Haussmann's Paris.
Instead, he commissioned the finest architects of the age to erect a new
city adjacent to the ancient city of a thousand minarets. Cairo's
new European quarter boasted elegant buildings, vast, open squares, parks
and broad, tree-lined avenues. For many years the district was named
"Ismailia" in honor of the Khedive. Today it defines the
center of modern downtown Cairo. And while in the subsequent years,
the architectural masterpieces of the belle époque have been joined by
creations in concrete, glass and steel, the captivating atmosphere of
Ismail's Cairo remains intact.
At its heart is the Lotus Hotel. Located on one of the quarter's main thoroughfares, the famed Soliman Pasha Street (today Talaat Harb Street), the Lotus maintains an authentic art deco ambiance that dates to the founding of the hotel in the first half of the twentieth century. Today, as then, the Lotus Hotel remains a family-run institution, providing the guest with gracious hospitality, comfort and an outstanding location from which to explore this most fascinating of cities.
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