Project of the Week: Mandarin Oriental Shepheard

Our latest five star Project of the Week is Mandarin Oriental’s first foray into Egypt, restoring a historic icon.

While the Mandarin Oriental Shepheard deal was signed last year, the Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH) recently confirmed that Saudi Arabia-headquartered Al Sharif Group will develop, finance, operate and manage the site according to international standards.

Heritage restoration

The project calls for the restoration of the historic Shepheard Hotel in Cairo, which first opened its doors in 1841.

A comprehensive renovation of the property is already underway, and Paris-based interior designer, Sybille de Margerie, is tasked with preserving the building’s heritage design while enhancing the facilities and services. Completion is currently anticipated for 2024.

Luxury provision

Situated on the eastern shore of The Nile river, in the heart of downtown Cairo, the property will feature 188 rooms and 88 suites, many with balconies. Mandarin Oriental Shepheard will include five restaurants and bars, including a rooftop restaurant for al fresco dining, as well as an exclusive club lounge. The hotel will also offer expansive function spaces, including a rooftop ballroom.

A Spa at Mandarin Oriental will provide eight treatment suites and offer tailored experiences and signature treatments. Further wellness facilities include an indoor lap pool, a rooftop swimming pool, a beauty salon, fitness centre and a kid’s club. 

High extension

EGOTH’s US$16.36 million contract with Al Sharif includes the construction of a 14-storey extension to the hotel on an area of 1,000 square metres, and a garage of up to four underground floors in the new building, in addition to the development and rehabilitation works of the main building of the hotel.

Al Sharif has already carried out a number of works related to the renovation and development of the hotel, including dewatering the groundwater under the site, electrical works in what will be the garage, the construction of concrete walls lined with a depth of 23 metres, and the addition of 90 concrete foundations to distribute the load on the main building, as well as renovations within the main building, and the renovation of the swimming pools.

Project partners

The Saudi group recently signed a number of agreements with international consultants to develop and restore the Shepheard Hotel, including Silver Fox to design restaurants and cafes, Barrow and ASG energy companies to carry out electrical works, and Echo civil consultant company for the project, Hill International, Al-Amar Consulting Group representing the owner, RMC Architectural Consultant, and DPA Lighting Design.

EHAF Consulting Engineers is providing project management services across the 3,213 sq m plot. The existing building consists of one underground basement level, four podium levels (ground level to third level) and 11 upper floors from the fourth level to the 14th level. 

The new extension will comprise three underground basement levels, four podium levels connected to the existing building (ground to third level), and an annex tower with 11 upper floors connected to the existing building on the fourth to 14th levels. The extension will house a pool deck on the third level, 56 keys consisting of 49 guestrooms and seven suites, as well as a restaurant and kitchen on the 13th floor,

Mobilising capabilities

Al-Sharif Ibn Abdul-Hakim Al-Sharif, CEO of Al Sharif Group, said that the company is proud of its role in developing the hotel because of its historical status, in addition to its location in the heart of historic Cairo on the Egyptian Nile: “Therefore, we seek to mobilise all our capabilities, and choose the best business partners, which is evident in the selection of SIAC Company to carry out the contracting work for the Shepheard Hotel, due to its leadership in Egypt and the Middle East.”

He added: “Mandarin Oriental is an award-winning international brand, renowned for its exemplary service and attention to detail. They are the ideal partner for this unique project, and we look forward to working together on enhancing Cairo’s appeal and creating the most sophisticated luxury hotel in the city.”

Regional brand growth

James Riley, group chief executive of Mandarin Oriental said: “We are delighted to extend Mandarin Oriental’s renowned levels of hospitality into Egypt and to work with Al Sharif Group Holding on bringing this iconic and historic hotel back to life. The project presents an ideal opportunity to further grow our brand in the Middle East and Africa, and we look forward to creating many unique experiences for our guests.”

Adel Wali, executive MD of Egypt’s Holding Company for Tourism and Hotels (HOTAC), commented: “The cooperation with Al Sharif comes within the framework of Egypt’s plan to revive untapped assets while preserving its historical character and cultural value. With the diversity of Egyptian tourist destinations and the revitalisation of historic Cairo, it has become necessary to have hotels that accommodate the expected numbers of tourists and at the same time meet their needs in the presence of luxury hotels.”