Al-Ahram Weekly Online   6 - 12 September 2007
Issue No. 861
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Airlines and airports

New airport at Borg Al-Arab

AN LE550 million contract to build an international airport in Borg Al-Arab has been signed.

The new airport, which will be built next to the old one, will be financed by a grant from the Bank of Japan for International Cooperation and the National Bank of Egypt. Officials said the old airport had become inadequate for the ever increasing aviation movement in the area.

The new facility will be built in 22 months covering 18 square kilometres and will accommodate 1,000 passengers per hour. It will incorporate a parking area for cargo flights as well as several parking areas for 10 flights in general and a 3,000 square metre administrative building. Features include facilities for travel agencies, car parks, a power station, water pipeline, sewage station, weather forecasts and stations for plane fueling and flight meals.

First charter to Cairo

THIS week, for the first time, Cairo International Airport received a European charter flight. Civil Aviation officials said several European charter companies, the first of which was the Spanish Hyper World, had been given permission to land at Cairo Airport. They added that other companies are expected to operate charter trips during October.

Charter flights were previously allowed to use all Egyptian airports except Cairo Airport.

First class lounge in Munich

STARTING 14 August, First Class customers and HON Circle members enjoyed the exclusive atmosphere of a Lufthansa First Class Lounge at Munich Airport.

As at Frankfurt, the First Class Lounge at Munich has a range of comfortable facilities and conveniences on offer. These include a gourmet restaurant, bar area, a cigar lounge and luxury bathrooms. And there is a special service for premium customers at Munich: access to and from the lounge is possible via Level 4 (EU Departures), as well as via Level 5 (Non-EU Departures).

As exclusive passport control and security checkpoints are located within the lounge, passengers, whether arriving or departing, can thus change levels directly. "The percentage of First Class passengers and HON Circle members has grown at a high rate in recent years. We are confident that our new service offerings will continue to boost this trend," said Thomas Kluehr, group representative and head of hub management Munich.

Before entering the lounge, First Class passengers and HON Circle members can take advantage of other service facilities. These include a valet parking service, separate check-in facilities and fast lanes at the central security checkpoints.

With the opening of the new First Class Lounge, Lufthansa customers will have a choice of five lounges at Munich with a total area of more than 3,700 square metres.

Hotels & resorts

Ramadan festive

RAMADAN is next week and Cairo hotels are gearing up to welcome the holy month with sumptuous special Iftar buffets and Sohour menus in an exclusive Oriental atmosphere.

At Zitouni Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza Chef Najwa Al-Zarief and her team will offer extravagant Ramadan buffets with a range of mouth-watering Lebanese delicacies and delights.

"Zitouni is ideal for families who are looking for an Oriental setting in familiar surroundings with spectacular views of the Nile. The décor will reflect the true essence of Ramadan, with colourful table runners and piped in Oriental music," says Chef Najwa.

The Pool Grill will also offer delectable set menus for Iftar and Sohour. However, this exciting ambiance is not complete without a range of Oriental delicacies, traditional drinks and a broad assortment of shisha flavours. Families and friends can find respite amongst the authentic famous fanous, or lantern lights, in the open air under the stars while enjoying the live band playing in the background. Within the secluded roof top setting, you can enjoy an Oriental seating area where shisha and drinks will be served to guests while watching their favourite Ramadan programmes at the shisha corner.

Grand Hyatt Cairo offers a large variety of programmes for Iftar and Sohour for those who seek fine food and panoramic Nile views. This year's attractions include gourmet set menus for Iftar at the Revolving Restaurant and the Nubian Village, offering unequaled panoramic views of Cairo and the River Nile. The Nubian Village will also offer Sohour where guests can enjoy a set menu of light favourites. A delicious Iftar buffet will be available at Fontana featuring a rich array of dishes available only during this special month.

The food court in Galleria shopping centre will also offer various food styles for Iftar in a relaxed atmosphere overlooking the Nile. Moreover, a Ramadan tent will be pitched directly along the Nile around the swimming pool for Iftar and Sohour every day.

For those needing a larger gathering venue, Grand Hyatt Cairo's yacht, Marquise, provides Iftar buffet and a special Sohour cruise for groups upon request in a classical Oriental evening at Baccarat.

At Le Meridien Heliopolis, the Palmeraie Grill Restaurant offers daily Iftar buffet in a casual atmosphere around the pool accompanied by live Oriental music ( takht sharqi ) and TV screens to follow the favourite Ramadan programmes.

For a more sophisticated atmosphere, you can try the Marco Polo Restaurant which serves Iftar set menus and a Sohour special buffet with traditional drinks.

Rachawadee Thai restaurant presents selected Iftar menus that suit all tastes within a warm inviting environment.

Semiramis InterContinental Hotel offers Iftar buffets of traditional Oriental delicacies as well as entertaining late night Sohours.

In Pane Vino you can choose from a series of set Iftar and Sohour menus at prices ranging from LE145 to LE175 plus service charge and taxes. You can also enjoy your evenings with a shisha while watching Ramadan's famous TV programmes and listening to an Oriental takht.

Culinary prizes

HILTON Sharm El-Sheikh Fayrouz Resort recently won the Egyptian Chefs Association's (ECA) Culinary Trophy 2007, the ECA's highest award, at the annual National Salon Culinaire. The kitchen team at Hilton Fayrouz, led by executive chef Koriem El-Gazar, were also the winners of one gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

In its constant effort to improve the level of culinary skills in Egypt, the ECA holds the National Salon Culinaire on a yearly basis, providing a platform where chefs from all over Egypt can pit their culinary skills against each other in a bid for the trophy.

More than 160 chefs from various five-star hotels participated in this year's culinary arts show and were judged by an international jury. Several Hilton chefs from various parts of the country were among the winners.

Chef Ashraf Abdel-Hamid won the gold and silver medals in the Decorative Showpiece category, while the bronze medals were won by Chef Mosaad Abdel-Gawad for his starter, and Chef Hassan Mohamed for his main course.

Your clothes -- their closets

SEMIRAMIS InterContinental Cairo, in cooperation with Rotaract Al-Maadi Al-Gedida, recently organised a charity project called "Our Hangers --Your Clothes -- Their Closets" to support the National Cancer Institute in Egypt.

The main idea of the project was to collect unwanted and unused clothes from all over Cairo through Rotaract members. The clothes were laundered in the hotel and sold in a clothes charity bazaar at the National Cancer Institute. The bazaar was held on 19 and 20 July at the institute where a group of the hotel's employees in cooperation with Rotaract members volunteered to sell the clothes at affordable prices to patients and workers at the institute.

Money from the bazaar was donated to the National Cancer Institute.

The Semiramis InterContinental initiative to support the cancer institute is part of the hotel's commitment towards the society and communities within which it operates.

Champion of champions at Marriott Taba

TABA Heights Marriott recently hosted the Champion of Champions golf competition at the Taba Heights golf resort championship course. Participants came from the world over, including Egypt, the host.

The competition was held over three days and participants admired the team work spirit among all players and enjoyed the fresh sunny weather and the magnificent scenery of deserts mountains overlooking the eye-catching view of the Red Sea's crystal blue water with the views of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel in their backdrop while playing.

A dinner reception was held to celebrate the success of the winners.

Spa opens at Four Seasons San Stefano

DANIELA Steiner Spa and Wellness Centre at the deluxe Four Seasons Hotel at San Stefano in Alexandria will open this month with a variety of unprecedented treatments and programmes that rejuvenate both body and soul. This is the first spa and wellness centre to open in Alexandria.

The European product line is based on a unique combination of high quality and natural ingredients that give long-lasting and effective results. With the glow of candlelight and sounds of soft music surrounding you, ancient purifying rituals from the Middle East, Asia and Europe are performed with an expert touch by skilled beauty and massage therapists.

The spa's exclusive treatment is the 140-minute 1,001 Nights Sensation which includes honey, almond and sesame seed peeling, followed by the heavenly fragrant salt bath with the essences of vanilla, orange and cinnamon giving both purifying and relaxing benefits for the body. This sensational treatment concludes with an 80-minute massage with oils to leave your skin with a radiant glow.

Body cleansing and slimming treatments include the total cleansing programme which encompasses scalp, face and body exfoliation with an energy massage as well as a purifying treatment programme that includes deep cleansing with salt body exfoliation. This is followed by a purifying seaweed wrap, in addition to total body and an anti-ageing programme of nourishing and firming treatment for the face, body and hair through vitamins from mango, cream and milk. There is also aromatic treatment with intensive anti-cellulite and slimming wrap, extracted from herbs, as well as the legendary Egyptian Cleopatra bath of milk and honey with a relaxing 50-minute massage.

The spa also offers care suite facials including an energy facial massage that includes a series of refreshing and energising massages of the face, head and neck using energising essence to revive stressed and tired skin.

The spa also offers a large variety of massage treatments such as the Pharaonic, a strong massage with aromatic poultice frilled with fresh chamomile and mint, Thai massage, aromatic massage, head, neck and back massage, Indian head massage with coconut oil, and reflexology.

The spa's reception is located on the fourth floor of the hotel and is open daily from 6am to 11pm. Treatments are scheduled from 10am to 10pm, subject to availability.

New manager at Ramses Hilton

MAHMOUD Mokhtar was recently appointed general manager of the Ramses Hilton.

Mokhtar joins the Ramses Hilton with more than 21 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He joined Hilton International in 1996 where he held various managerial positions in Hilton Fayrouz in Sharm El-Sheikh, Hilton Nuweiba, Hilton Borg Al-Arab in Alexandria and Hilton Al-Ain in the United Arab of Emirates. He was cluster general manager of Hilton hotels in Hurghada. Mokhtar's most recent position was general manager of Fiji Beach Resort and Spa, managed by Hilton in the South Pacific.

"I am very excited to come back home and join Ramses Hilton which I consider a landmark in Cairo, and I am looking forward to achieving more success in the near future," Mokhtar said.

E-booking at Hilton

EGYPTIANS and international residents can now enjoy discount rates at Hilton resorts across Egypt by booking online. The new online booking page offers rates in Egyptian pounds for any of Hilton's 13 resorts in Egypt, and is accessible directly through

As an additional bonus, members of the Hilton HHonors customer loyalty programme will receive double points if they book through the new Hilton Egypt web page. Guests can join the HHonors programme by enrolling online at to gain points and air miles.

New Hyatt appointments

GORDON Campbell, regional director, Egypt, and general manager of Grand Hyatt Cairo Hotel, announced the appointment of Ali Mansi as assistant director of food and beverage.

Mansi has many years of experience in the hospitality industry having held several similar positions in the United States. Prior to joining Grand Hyatt Cairo, his most recent position was assistant director of food and beverage at Hyatt Regency Taba Heights.

JW Marriott awards

SCOTT Le Roi, director of sales and marketing of the JW Marriott Hotel Cairo and his superb sales and marketing team have been awarded the title of the Best Sales Team in the Middle East for their performance in the second quarter.

"Having such a dedicated and enthusiastic sales team is a great asset for the hotel," Le Roi said. "I am proud to work with such a great team as this gives me assurance that the JW Marriott Hotel Cairo will always move from one success to another."

Marriott Sharm appointment

NAGY Arafat has been appointed general manger of Sharm El-Sheikh Marriott Beach Resort.

Arafat has worked with Marriott Hotels and Resorts in the USA's international division for 15 years. He joined the Marriott fresh out of school as management trainee in 1979, worked in nine countries, held numerous positions with the company and opened five hotels.


Developing skills

IN AN ATTEMPT to upgrade the quality of service in Egypt's tourist facilities, Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garana has signed an agreement between the Egyptian Federation for Tourist Chambers and the American Hotels and Lodging Association in which the association will offer technical support for a training programme and the needed scientific material. The association will also issue international accredited certificates to trainees.

Following the signing ceremony, Garana met the association's delegation which included Wes Ardis, first deputy board chairman, and David Lechter, deputy board chairman for international cooperation, to discuss means of widening cooperation to include a number of tourist educational and training programmes besides the current project developing workers' skills.

Garana called the project a big success and that from June until 10 August 2007, 4,200 employees working in 500 hotels in Greater Cairo, South Sinai, the Red Sea, Luxor and Aswan were trained. He said the number would increase to 5,000 by the end of August.

The project aims at training 100,000 workers in the tourist field in hotels, travel agencies, tourist establishments, restaurants and bazaars.

Matrouh on the map

FIVE new tourist investment projects will be established in Marsa Matrouh, on the north western coast of Egypt, in order to convert it from a seasonal tourism destination to one that attracts tourists all year round.

The first plan includes a tourist commercial residence south of the international road of Alamein-Wadi Al-Natrun at a cost of LE6 million. The second is a 30-room hotel in Alamein and a commercial centre for LE5 million, whereas the third is a 30-room hotel in Sidi Abdel-Rahman at a cost of LE4 million. The fourth project will include the establishment of a 36-room three-star hotel at a cost of LE5 million at Cleopatra Beach, and the fifth will be hotel apartments at Matrouh City at a cost of LE2 million.

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