Saturday, June 23, 2007

50-year saga to reclaim Egypt's 'Cecil Hotel'

Thanks to Tony Marson for forwarding this article, which offers a nostalgic look at the Cecil Hotel, which has been reclaimed by its former owners.

It took exactly half-a-century for the Metzger family to reclaim ownership of the Cecil Hotel, the illustrious palace overlooking Egypt's Mediterranean and immortalized in Lawrence Durrell's classic, The Alexandria Quartet. "I can't believe it, after all these years of lost hope," said Patricia Metzger, the British daughter-in-law to Albert Metzger who owned the Cecil and was kicked out of Egypt in 1957 "with only two suitcases." Albert Metzger came from a Jewish family in Alsace-Lorraine in eastern France. Born in Egypt, he was given one week by authorities to leave the hotel that his father founded in 1929 . . . .
Looking toward the Mediterranean Sea, the Cecil palace, which once attracted Alexandria's rich cosmopolitan elite, was nationalized by late president Gamal Abdel Nasser after Egypt's nationalist revolution in 1952. It is now an 86-room four-star hotel run by French company Accor. After marathon negotiations, an agreement was signed between the Egyptian government and the heirs to the once glistening palace, which in its heyday hosted the likes of Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill, British writer Lawrence Durrell, and the infamous Al Capone.

See the above page for the full story.

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