Facing the Mediterranean sea, Alexandria has always stood tall as one of those cities that was met with a melting pot of cultures, with everyone from Greeks to Italians docking onto its shore. All throughout the early 1900s, it flourished into a cosmopolitan city, one that belonged more to the wider Mediterranean world than its humble locality. It saw a profound change with every culture entering its world shifting everything from the culinary landscape of Alexandria to its architecture represented through its hotel buildings and residential homes.
All these merged cultures that came together in this port city left a huge mark on its architecture, a mark that has been overshadowed by over construction and a drive to modernize the city dubbed the mermaid of the Mediterranean. Driving across the corniche today, one can still see remanence of its charm and can marvel at the once great city by staying at its vintage hotels with some dating back to the early 1900s. Today, we want to take a step back down that special memory lane and get acquainted with Alexandria’s finest historic and vintage hotels.
San Giovanni Stanly Hotel
Known to be the pearl of the Mediterranean sea with it seated right in front of its picturesque waters, overlooking Stanly Bay, San Giovanni Stanly Hotel is one of the oldest luxurious hotels of Alexandria. Built way back in 1938, the building gives off an old-style vibe with its floor to ceiling wooden walls and antiquated grandfather clocks and classic paintings.
With their accommodation, the hotel houses thirty two rooms and suites that offer direct views of Stanly Bridge with each room exuding a quaint charm whether through simple white walls accentuated by bright colored furniture or pastel floral walls and wooden fixtures. With their average price for a one night stay costing about 1500 EGP, its considered on the affordable side.
When it comes to dining, it offers five restaurants with their most prominent being the San Giovanni Restaurant where guests get to marvel at the magical panoramic view of the glistening Mediterranean sea while enjoying a candlelit dinner with live music streaming from a talented pianist. Live entertainment is a common fixture of the restaurant with a soulful saxophone playing it out every Tuesday while during the weekend, a singer performs.
Whether you’re craving a vintage stay or a romantic getaway, San Giovanni is a great place to spend a quaint weekend at this seaside city.
Paradise Inn Le Metropole Hotel
Set within a renovated 18th Century building in Alexandria at Saad Zaghloul square is the upscale hotel known as Paradise Inn Le Metropole dating all the way back to 1902.
On entering, you will feel as though you entered the stately palace of Louis XIV. Bronze sculptures and decorations made from precious wood and marble stand tall while bright carpets, original paintings and elegant handcrafted furniture communicate a style reminiscent of the refined and rich culture of the 1800s.
Standing within its walls will truly feel like you travelled back in time; if you go into one of its 100 year old antique elevators and head all the way to their roof it will definitely feel like you’ve travelled back in time. There, you will get to dine at the finest French restaurant in the entire city called Sky View Restaurant that also offers panoramic views of Alexandria. When it comes to their accommodation, they offer everything from classic rooms with views of the city costing an average of 2600 EGP per night to Royal suites with sea views costing 6500 EGP per night.
Paradise Inn Windsor Palace Hotel
Sitting in the same square as Le Metropol is the Paradise Inn Windsor Palace Hotel housed within a stately building that dates back to the 20th Century. It sits on the busy waterfront of Alexandria overlooking its Mediterranean and by placing a lens over its exterior and taking a looking inside, one will marvel at its rich historic ambiance, one that resembles an art museum.
Everywhere you look you’ll see beautiful, antiquated furniture as well as a special collection of authentic paintings. Even if you look up you will be graced with the sight of hand painted high ceilings.
Its rooms retain that same luxury housing high stately ceilings, tall narrow windows as well as extravagant furniture upholstered in rich fabrics. Just as with the Metropol, its rooms range from the simple classic room with a city view costing 2400 EGP per night to the more elegant and pricy Royal suite with a sea view costing 5000 EGP per night.
Steigenberger Cecil Alex
Opening its doors in Alexandria back in 1929 by a French-Egyptian Jewish family, the Cecil was a hotel that saw the likes of some of the most legendary names in history residing within its walls including singer Josephine Baker, sculptor Henry Moore as well as author W. Somerset Maugham. Years later, in 2014, the Cecil Hotel was taken over and refurbished by luxury Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts of Germany.
Its interiors are inspired and influenced by the architecture and interior design of early modernism with its rooms bringing the same aplomb and richness of its halls and corridors. Each of its rooms are quite spacious with French beds, hanging chandeliers and carpeted floors. With the hotel being quite popular and constantly in demand, its rooms get overbooked pretty quickly. For the month of February, they have two types of rooms available, their Junior Suite with a sea view that averages at 3500 EGP per night as well as the Executive suite that costs 5000 EGP per night.
The hotels dining scene exudes its same rich and expensive persona while equally being seeped in rich history especially the Monty Bar, named after the famous Marshall Montgomery, a senior British army officer.
Ramsis Hotel Alexandria
Set within a hard-baked stone building is the charming and elegant Ramsis Hotel Alexandria that is situated along the corniche, near one of the most adored landmarks of the city, Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Once inside the hotel, a sort of aristocratic atmosphere reigns over its interiors and across its lobbies where you will find chic armchairs upholstered in velvet and elegant tables with marble tops.
Even its rooms bring that same atmosphere to the forefront with pearl walls and old style decorations including lovely paintings adorning its walls as well as hand painted table lamps. Unlike the other hotels, Ramsis is simpler, calmer and smaller, the sort of hotel you’d check in to for a few days of quiet and relaxation. To learn more about the prices of an average night’s stay, you can call the property using this number: 03 4869620
With all these hotels, visitors will get a taste of life in Alexandria all those years ago whether it’s through the rich architecture of its buildings or the exquisite interiors composed of high ceilings, towering columns and crystal chandeliers. With most of the hotels nestled along Saad Zaghloul Square, it poses the opportunity of hitting up even more vintage spots like the 20s Greek eatery Delice or the cozy and romantic pizzeria of Chez Gaby. No matter how you choose to spend your trip, merely being in Alexandria, surrounded by its glistening sea is a gem in and of itself.