Al-Ahram Weekly Online   1 - 7 April 2010
Issue No. 992
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Spring is in the air

CELEBRATE the advent of Spring by enjoying the Easter breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets on 4 April at the Terrace Café Restaurant at Ramses Hilton. The Garden Court Café is also offering an assortment of chocolate eggs and bunnies on Easter Sunday.

The next day, Monday, Sham Al-Nessim celebrations will be marked by a Sham Al-Nessim breakfast and lunch buffets at the Terrace Café Restaurant. Calorie counting will have to take a backseat, as guest are invited to enjoy a spectacular dessert buffet overflowing with Sham Al-Nessim specialties.

Easter celebrations

ENJOY not one, but two fabulous Easter celebrations at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence. On 4 April, indulge in an exceptional Easter brunch at the Seasons Restaurant and enjoy a mouth-watering buffet, full of extraordinary creations by world renowned chefs. Easter Brunch starts at noon until 5pm on Easter Sunday, and children will have their own fun at the special face painting station.

Celebrations continue on 5 April, as the entire family enjoys a traditional Egyptian Easter brunch, with offerings of Easter delicacies such as smoked fish, eggs and the accompanying greens. Brunch begins at noon and ends at 5pm on Easter Monday. The price per person is LE270 plus taxes.

If you prefer to opt out of the traditional Easter buffet, between noon and 5pm Aura restaurant is offering a delectable a la carte menu on Monday, prepared with traditional Lebanese and Egyptian starters along with a healthy serving from the special live-grill station by the pool. The cost per person is LE240 plus taxes.

A romantic spring

WITH the beginning of spring, the breeze at Sheraton Miramar Resort is infused with the scents of colourful roses across the nine islands with breathtaking views of lagoons and sea. Indulge your senses, enjoy the charm and tranquility of spring, watch the sun rise from behind the mountains and the sun set in the sea at Sheraton Miramar.

The hotel offers a memorable vacation with its superior location, facilities and services. Honeymooners, especially, are in for a treat. Their package includes a three-night stay in a double room on half-board basis; complimentary 60- minute massage for the couple and discounts on other massage treatments; daily international buffet breakfast or room service breakfast at no extra charge; complimentary wedding cake for two; two seven-day complimentary tickets for El-Gouna shuttle bus and boat; transportation from/to airport at a special rate of LE50 per couple, per way; VIP amenities; and daily 15- minute free Internet access at a designated area.

This package is valid for Egyptians and foreign residents only between 15 April and 15 December 2010, but not during peak periods, public holidays or other high periods, and is subject to hotel availability.

Words change worlds

TO HIGHLIGHT the importance of literacy across the world, Lit World chosen 3 March, 2010, as the first World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) to end illiteracy by spreading the power of the story. Statistics show that over 101 million school-age children around the world do not have the resources to attend school.

In support of WRAD, Sheraton Cairo Management, represented by Hotel Manager and Director of Operations Sameh Abdel-Wahab, Director of Human Resources Samia Zohny, Director of Training Faten Halim, Towers' Manager Renee Refaat, and Magda Sami, PR coordinator, Starwood Hotels and Resorts-Egypt, spent a day at one of the poor orphanages reading stories aloud to children.

At the end of storytelling sessions, the Sheraton team donated animated and colouring books to the children who enjoyed an exciting and interesting day.

Earth Hour 2010

HILTON Worldwide observed Earth Hour 2010 between 8:30- 9:30pm local time on 27 March, when more than one billion people and organisations around the world turned off their lights in support of energy conservation. The step was an expansion of the chain's support for Earth Hour this year, through activities hosted by its hotel brands around the globe including Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations.

"As a global hospitality company with more than 3,500 properties around the world, Hilton Worldwide has a unique opportunity to engage millions of guests, team members and community partners in this global effort," asserted Paul Brown, president of Global Brands and Commercial Services, Hilton Worldwide. "Earth Hour is a powerful reminder of our collective responsibility to take every step we can to make every hour Earth Hour."

Earth Hour will be celebrated across the company's brands and regions through a variety of activities, including switching off main building exterior lighting and rooftop neon signage; dimming interior lights in lobby and reception area; hosting candle-lit dinners in hotel restaurants and bars; encouraging guests to switch off their room lights; staging special candle-lit Earth Hour dinners and events to raise awareness.

French cuisine demo

CHEF Dimitrios, executive chef at Ramses Hilton, recently held a French culinary demonstration session at Windows on the World rooftop restaurant. The chef was happy to share his passion with a select group of ladies who were shown how to prepare and cook a complete French meal. A gastronomic lunch followed the demonstration, where attendees enjoyed the delicious plates.

Decades of experience

A NEW general manager has arrived at the Semiramis InterContinental Cairo. Michael Koth officially started his new role on 14 March, and brings with him over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Koth is expected to play a vital role in maintaining the hotel's position as a symbol of modernity and style in Egypt. The hotel features 708 rooms, and provides exceptional facilities and dining destinations.

Having worked within InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) for 30 years, Koth has demonstrated his passion and drive for the hotel industry, and a strong commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. "Michael has a wealth of experience within the hotel industry," noted Alexi Hakim, vice-president of operations in the Near East. "He has displayed exceptional leadership qualities throughout his years with IHG."

For his part, Koth stated that he is "thrilled to [take] on the role of general manager at Semiramis InterContinental Cairo. Cairo is a rapidly evolving city with a diverse mix of culture and tradition. I am looking forward to this new and exciting challenge."

The new administrator has held several managerial positions in a number of continents and cities, including Germany, Greece, Hungary and Qatar.

Dining destinations

THROUGHOUT April, Semiramis InterContinental is offering a number of special meal experiences for guests. As part of the Eater eggstravaganza, visitors may celebrate Easter at Night & Day's multi-ethnic feast, with a menu ranging from juicy lamb to sweet chocolate lollipops for kids. Sweet chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs are available for take away at Café Corniche.

On Fridays, brunch is available at The Grill Restaurant & Lounge from 11am-3:30pm. A cosmopolitan menu includes whole poached salmon with asparagus and mouthwatering duck breast with black pepper sauce. Saturday at Sabaya is purely Egyptian. Chef Makhoul makes a meal out of Egypt's finest local ingredients for lunch and dinner, whether it's scrumptious mulokhiya with chicken or flavourful fattah.

Also on Saturdays, the Ambassadors Club's offers chilled-to-perfection free beer if guests spend more than LE70 per person for dinner. The Ambassador Club has big screen televisions and sports channels. On Mondays the first 50 clients enjoy their first Heineken beer free of charge, and receive a 50 per cent discount when ordering a second.

Guests can indulge in a spectacular tapas selection on Sunday in the sophisticated atmosphere at The Grill's exclusive lounge area to the smooth tunes of the Jazz Quartet. Tapas creations include tasty avocado and crab éclair to delicious beef enchiladas. Also, at Birdcage a wide range of delicious spring roll creations are served for lunch and dinner every Monday.

Take a bite of the Asian tour at Night & Day on Tuesdays and experience a non-stop, live cooking Asian fare, from papaya salad with mango and lime to steamed dumplings and stir-fry specialties. The next day, during Night & Day's fisherman's night on Wednesdays, a brigade of chefs bring guests an array of seafood specialties for dinner, from grilled prawns to roasted local fish

On Wednesdays, it's also Ladies' Night for free strawberry daiquiris at Rithmo. Meanwhile, Italian cuisine lovers are invited at Pane Vino's pasta festival on Thursdays. Available for lunch and dinner, guests can choose fresh pasta and one of the special savory sauces, including asparagus or spicy arrabiata.

Newest Hilton property

HILTON Worldwide has signed a management agreement with Safir El-Zamalek Hotel Company for a new Hilton branded hotel on the Nile in Egypt. Hilton Zamalek Residence Cairo is scheduled to open in July 2010. The 88- room and 76-suite conversion property overlooking the Nile is located between downtown Cairo and Giza, and approximately 20 km from Cairo International Airport.

Hilton Zamalek Residence Cairo will further strengthen the Hilton portfolio in Egypt, becoming the sixteenth Hilton branded property and seventeenth Hilton Worldwide property in the country. It will join Ramses Hilton, Hilton Cairo World Trade Centre Residence and Hilton Pyramids Golf Resort as the fourth Hilton property in Cairo.

"Egypt is a key development market for Hilton Worldwide and the Hilton brand in the Middle East," according to Mahmoud Mokhtar, Vice President Operations, Hilton Worldwide, Egypt. "As an upscale residential area and diplomatic quarter, the Zamalek district is an ideal location to increase our presence in the capital and to support our position as the leading hotel brand in Egypt."

The residential hotel has undergone a $20 million renovation and facelift, and now features five restaurants ranging from an all-day dining restaurant, a specialty restaurant, a coffee shop, a pastry shop and a pool café. The hotel also has three meeting rooms and a business centre with three breakout rooms. Leisure facilities include a health club and spa with sauna, steam room, massage treatment room and gym.

"We are excited to bring our style, world class service and forward thinking approach to this spectacular property with beautiful views of the Nile," stated Dave Horton, Global Head, Hilton Hotels brand.

"As we face a surge in domestic and business travel across Egypt, Hilton's established credentials and well-positioned brands will help us manage demand and meet travellers' high expectations for this new conversion," asserted Mishal Abdallah Almasad, Chairman, Safir El Zamalek Hotel Company SAE.

Going green in style

ON 28 MARCH, at 8:30pm local time, people around the globe turned their lights off for one hour in support of the environment. Fairmont Nile City, Cairo, took it a step further and organised a fun-filled night purely dedicated to Earth.

The event began at 7pm, where guests headed to the rooftop under a moonlit sky and a breathtaking skyline of Cairo and the Nile. The lounge area was dotted with colourful beanbags and hammocks, where Cairo's young and trendy sipped their drinks and enjoyed the acoustic set of local musicians Steven Vinney and Omar Foda.

The stage was built over the Jacuzzi, with a glass backdrop showing off the Cairo view. At 8:30pm the power was turned off and candles lit up the rooftop, as popular band West El-Balad began performing some all time favourites.

"As a brand, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts are pioneers in responsible tourism which has been embraced through our Green Partnership Programme," said Vice President and General Manager of the Fairmont Nile City Frank Naboulsi, "This is the first of many green initiatives we plan to do in the future; we hope everyone leaves tonight thinking a little more green."

This year, 2010, marks the 20th anniversary of Green Partnership and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. Initiatives include recycling and organic waste diversion in the hotel's kitchens, retrofitting energy efficient lighting, creating rooftop herb gardens at properties, purchasing green power, and redistributing gently used goods and food to those in need.

Following the musical performance, some speeches were given addressing environmental issues and easy things people can do to help the environment. Speakers included Hoda Baraka, the editor of the environmental section of El-Masri El-Yom English, and Nada Baali from Wild Guanabana.

Easter on the Nile

ENJOY Easter celebrations at Grand Hyatt Cairo poolside, with a spectacular Nile view featuring a multitude of colours, jumbo umbrellas, foam bunnies and eggs. There will also be live band, DJ and live saxophone, as well as the finest culinary delights on a special Easter menu. Children will be treated to an egg-colouring corner, chocolate baking table, arts and crafts, play station, Wii, car track race, billiards, clown, magician and puppet show.

The hotel also offers an array of dining options overlooking the Nile. For a special meal with family and friends, guests can choose from the bountiful buffets at Fontana Restaurant and the floating yacht, Marquise, in addition to an a la carte menu served at the Revolving Restaurant high above Cairo.

For exceptional dining conveniences, the restaurant promenade will be serving up a delicious array of selective cuisines to satisfy every craving, authentic sushi and teppanyaki at Okashi, fresh and flavourful seafood at La Dorada, zesty Italian favourites at La Famiglia, rich and spicy Indian specialties at Chingari, and mouth-watering oriental menu at the Nubian Village.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved

Issue 992 Front Page
Front Page | Egypt | Region | Focus | Economy | International | Opinion | Press review | Reader's corner | Culture | Entertainment | Heritage | Special | Living | Sports | Cartoons | People | Listings | BOOKS | TRAVEL
Current issue | Previous issue | Site map