Eating is really not the right word when going to the Saraya Gallery – Dining describes it better. And once you are in the restaurant I wonder if the French food they serve is what will impress you most.
The restaurant is part of the Cairo Marriott Hotel in the Zamalek district on Gezira Island close to the Nile
Originally called the Gezirah Palace it was built by order of Pasha Khediva Isma’il, for the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. An occasion to which Napoleon III and his wife the Empress Eugenie had been invited – and to make the Empress feel more at home, Khediva Isma’il had given orders to his architects to build the Palace resembling closely the Palace of Versailles in France.
Since the opening of the Suez Canal the Gezirah Palace has changed hands many times, but in 1970 it became the Cairo Marriott Hotel and Omar Khayyam Casino. Today the original Palace is flanked by two identical, 20 floor towers, making it the tallest buildings in Cairo and the biggest hotel with over a thousand rooms.
But I digress – let’s go back to the Saraya Gallery. Walking in it feels like becoming part of One Thousand and One Night. The marble floors are covered with luscious , thick carpets, the leather or tapestry covered banquettes are soft and welcoming, and all is bathed in a discreet, warm glow from oriental lamps, accentuating the luxury of the furnishings.
And if you would like the company of Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie for dinner,
request the table where their bigger-than-life portraits are a testimony of their affinity to the Gizarah Palace, dating back to that glorious moment of Egypt’s history, the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.
More from Egypt soon