Q11 January 2, 2006    member 589

Asks whether the Continental Hotel and the Savoy Hotel in Cairo were one and the same, or different hotels.

R1  January 11, 2006 member 240

Your question is straight-forward, and has a straight-forward answer from a physical point of view – different hotels.

In a nutshell, the Continental (top) is still where it always has been since the 1880s, just south of the former Shepheard’s on what is now Republic Street (Shareh Gomhouriah), once Kamel Street, on the edge of Opera Square and the Ezbekiyah Gardens. Though it is not what it once was!

The hotel was built as the Grand Continental, and its owners soon found it so successful that they were able to buy a town-centre block from the Egyptian Royal Family and build the Savoy (right) as a partner hotel on the Midan Suleiman Pasha. But in wartime the Savoy was taken over by the British as a military headquarters and it never re-opened as a hotel.

Loath to lose the cachet of the name, the owners of the Continental added it to the Continental, becoming the Continental-Savoy, in 1921 or 1922. The registration cachets of its post office reflect a change at that time, as do the postmarks, our Type HC4 Continental running until January 1922, and the follow-up, HC5, reading Continental-Savoy, first recorded in March 1922.

I illustrate postcards of the two hotels, and a Savoy Hotel luggage label overprinted Continental-Savoy to reflect the change.

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