Al-Ahram Weekly Online   6 - 12 November 2008
Issue No. 921
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Hotels and resorts

Cook and revolve

WHILE enjoying the spectacular view of the River Nile and the entire city of Cairo from the highest revolving restaurant in the Middle East, a group of women from the foreign community in Egypt enjoyed an inspiring cooking class at Grand Hyatt Cairo. As the ladies eagerly waited, chef Kai Eick, the Revolving Restaurant chef, and his team revealed the secrets of preparing and cooking European cuisine with a French flair.

Over lunch they enjoyed the mouth-watering flavours and exquisite presentation of the various dishes as they attentively listened to the many tips for cooking, which led to a fun-filled day of learning. In addition, the chefs provided them recipes to try at home.

Distinguished guests recognised

IN RECOGNITION of their distinguished guests, Haitham Nassar, Ramses Hilton's general manager, hosted a cocktail reception in honour of the hotel's valued VIPs, regular and long- staying guests.

The party was held at the Windows on the World rooftop restaurant where guests enjoyed the panoramic view of Cairo and the River Nile while nibbling on the hotel's palatable delights.

"Such gatherings are a way of thanking our clients, as well as strengthening our relationships and stressing our commitment to continue to provide high-quality service," said Nassar, in the picture along with a group of his loyal patrons.

The Four Seasons' de degustation menu

FOUR Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza recently hosted an opening ceremony for its French promotion week. The event took place at Aqua Restaurant where French music, flowers and art, along with an oyster and champagne bar, provided the perfect atmosphere.

Welcoming the valued guests were Olivier Masson, regional vice-president of Four Seasons Hotels Egypt, Cesare Rouchdy, regional director of marketing, Mahmoud El-Keiy, director of sales and marketing and Sara Ibrahim, director of public relations.

Gastronomes experienced delights under the auspices of resident French chef, Christophe Gillino, a native of Provence, in south eastern France on the Mediterranean Sea adjacent to Italy, who designed courses for the occasion that revealed all of the hallmarks of expertly crafted, modern French de degustation menus. In such menus, a meal can consist of as many as 10 to 12 courses. The menus, which are a challenge to any serious chef, also offer an exquisite advantage to diners, for they give an opportunity, in a single meal, to sample a broad range of dishes offered by the restaurant. Best of all from the diner's point of view, even though such meals are invariably expensive, they involve far less of a cash outlay than if customers had to return to the same restaurant three, four or even five times to sample the same range of dishes.

Employees of the month

TO MOTIVATE and encourage team members, Haitham Nassar, Ramses Hilton's general manager, recently held a party in appreciation of Ramses Hilton's team members who won the Employee of the Month Awards. "Please keep up the good work and I am really proud of working with such a dedicated team," said Nassar in his opening address.

Welcome Adamo

LONGING for the incomparable French romantic tunes of the sixties? France's great francophone singer, Salvator Adamo, is set to play on 11 November at the Semiramis InterContinental. It's the first time ever that Adamo performs in Egypt in a concert held under the auspices of the French Embassy in Cairo. Adamo was the most successful French singer of his time. His songs are genuine and amongst his repertoire are worldwide hits Vous Permettez Monsieur, the infamous Tombe la Neige, Inch Allah, and La nuit.

Adamo is visiting Egypt for the first time and is accompanied by his fabulous orchestra.

The concert and dinner are being held at the Semiramis InterContinental's Cleopatra ballroom. Admission starts at 7.30pm while the concert starts at 8.30.

For reservation please contact 010 6662520 -- 011 3310082

To learn more about Adamo visit, his official website is

Celebrating food day

THE Cairo Marriott Hotel took a new approach in its community service program, by celebrating the International Food Day on the 16th of October. On that occasion, the hotel donated a one month supply of essential food material to orphan girls of Sister Mary's orphanage. It's well known, that the Cairo Marriott Hotel has always been in the lead when it comes to lending a hand in helping the local community, and this qualified the hotel to win Marriott International's Spirit to Serve the Community 2007 award.

$50 million facelift

NOVEMBER saw the start of Le Meridien Pyramids two-year development project worth $50 million. The plan includes the construction of an additional 165 rooms and a full upgrade of the existing property to five-star deluxe standard. Such ambitious plans include a 1,700 square metre state-of-the-art spa along with innovative restaurants aimed at enticing the taste buds of its guests. In charge of the development and design is the highly reputable London group WAT&G.

The bedroom extension is expected to open by the end of 2009. The exterior of the façade of the hotel will also be enhanced along with all of the hard and soft landscaping. The construction of an additional pool adjacent to the existing swimming pool will further enrich the experience offered to guests.

Barry Curran, general manager of the hotel, noted that such substantial investment reflects confidence in the future growth of the tourism industry in Egypt. "This is a very strong market and the potential is enormous, not least because of the construction of the new Egyptian Museum which will be located close to the hotel," Curran said.

Tennis tournament at Nile Hilton

THE NILE Hilton played host recently to the Bahraini tennis team during the Egyptian-Bahraini Twin Ship Tennis tournament. Heading the Bahrain team was Saleh Bin Hendi, advisor to the emir of Bahrain and heading the Nile team was Edith Mainardi, chairwoman, and Maha Eid, recreation manager. The London Club and the Nile Hilton were the major sponsors of this distinguished event. A trophy and prize were awarded at the end of the tournament. The target was good sporting relationships between the two countries.

Appointment at the Nile Hilton

THE GENERAL manager of the Nile Hilton, Jean Welti, announced the appointment of Victor Chalfoun as operations manager. Chalfoun, an Egyptian national of Lebanese origin, comes to the Nile Hilton with years of experience in the hospitality business. He holds a CFBE certificate from Florida and a degree in revenue management from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. He first joined Hilton International as a participant in the Hilton elevator management training programme in Ramses Hilton and Juemirah Hilton Dubai. He was appointed food and beverage manager in Hilton Bahrain. From there he went on to hold key positions in Hilton Montreal as revenue manager, then as front office manager before his current post.

The culture of service

PROVIDING quality service is one of the major concerns that Starwood International for Hotels and Resorts is keen to impart to its 155,000 employees worldwide as part of its development strategy. To this effect, several training sessions were given in all company hotel brands, the most recent being the Sheraton Montazah management team of Rana Tohami, director of service culture Starwood Africa, Europe and the Indian Ocean and which lasted for three days. The course focussed on comfort and loyalty, using Sheraton language, creating career bests, enhancing managers' coaching skills and building a culture of trust, accountability and collaboration.

Pharaonic Village celebrates success

AS PART of its role in cultural and educational enhancement, the Pharaonic Village held its annual party by distributing the Hassan Ragab grant to students with outstanding academic achievements under the auspices of the village's chairman of the board Abdel-Salam Ragab. The LE30,000 grant went to four students in Cairo University's Faculty of Engineering.

Marriott goes Caribbean

IN CELEBRATING a successful year, the Sharm El-Sheikh Marriott Red Sea Resort pulled out all the stops to ensure their "Caribbean Night" themed annual party on 17 October was truly exceptional and fun.

Outstanding efforts were evidently made into swathing the resort's beach in colourful Caribbean decorations including yellow, red, orange and green bunting. Balloons festooned the beach, tables were draped entirely in Caribbean lighting, distinctive candle lights decorative centrepieces adorned the tables, and the stage and entrance were transformed into virtual scenes complete with the animation team all dressed in Caribbean costume which added more flare to the event.

The event's greatest accomplishment, however, had to be the wholehearted support of the event manifested in the attendance of over 200 distinguished guests from travel agencies, corporate companies and media, who all and one, followed the night's dress code, further adding to the event's success.

In his welcoming address, General Manager Nagi Arafat paid due thanks to his guests, who by choosing the Marriott as their hotel, contributed, he said, to the well-earned success of the chain. Arafat praised his clients' enthusiastic spirit, whom he added was a pivotal drive that certainly contributed to his resort's success.

The event was sponsored by Vodafone, Lufthanza, Swiss International Air and EgyptAir.

The event continued with a grand buffet dinner that catered to all tastes, big eaters and those on a calorie count. The event also hosted Mexican and Russian shows and a fire display. There was no shortage of talent among guests who danced the night away, followed by an interesting raffle. Prizes included airline tickets to Europe, USB modems, local airline tickets and Marriott accommodations vouchers worldwide.


Omar El-Khayam sails in Aswan

TRAVCOTELS announced the inaugural sailing of its long awaited M/S Jaz Omar El-Khayam from its embarkation point in Aswan, with 101 passengers on board. The ship marks the company's 20th cruise ship on the Nile. The five-star deluxe ship is the first of its category to sail the Nile. Measuring up to the opulent theme of the ship, a team of interior designers from Travco Group's Engineering department, headed by Dora El-Chiaty, were the sole designers of the vessel, and the decor was meticulously handpicked to ensure the passengers the utmost in comfort and luxury while on board.

M/S Jaz Omar El-Khayam is among the few ships operating on Lake Nasser. Its itinerary includes a four-night trip embarking from Aswan to Abu-Simbel from Monday to Friday of every week, and three-night trip embarking from Abu- Simbel back to Aswan from Friday to Monday of every week.

Special Christmas offers

CHRISTMAS time is here, the Ramses Hilton starts its offers with live entertainment at their restaurants and bars. Watch Cairo's spectacular night from the Ramses Hilton's Windows on the World top restaurant and enjoy the enticing five course menu while enjoying the oriental show.

The Mediterranean Citadel Grill Restaurant offers an elegant candle light dinner to mark the happy festive event with the sound of our strolling Guitarist and a Flute Player.

You can simply hang out with friends and family at the Terrace Cafe Restaurant and enjoy a special palatable buffet offering a variety of seasonal delights.

The Christmas spirit is perfectly captured at the Garden Court Cafe on December 2nd, where you can enjoy the Christmas decoration, Santa Clause, Ginger Bread House and Christmas tree lighting up Ceremony followed by Christmas Choir.

Be sure not to miss the festive treats, and bring your children along for a Christmas to remember.

Focus on the shelves

BECAUSE pictures are always engraved in the mind and are remembered more than written words, Focus is Egypt's newest directory for hotels and resorts that depends on pictures rather than words. "There is no other directory in Egypt that reviews all hotels and tourist resorts of various categories with such wide range photographs," said Emad Zaki, focus managing director. There was a dire need, according to Zaki, for a directory that shows by pictures how a hotel looks like and reviews its services and entertainment facilities. "This is what differentiates Focus from other directories," he pointed. Focus provides hotel contact numbers, reservation facilities, accessibility as well as its number of stars. Focus Hotels and Resorts Photo Directory, hasn't only gained the trust of local users, but also appealed to foreigners as well. The Focus management is currently preparing for a third launch, this time with the support of the Egyptian Tourism Authority, which considers the directory a tool of boosting the image of the Egyptian hotels sector. The directory covers all Egyptian regions, either frequently or seasonally visited, providing comprehensive listing of all hotels and resorts in all different areas.

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