Hill has a proven track record of renovating and redeveloping several iconic and historical structures such as the Washington Monument, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House and New York City Hall. The late 2015 renovation of the historic Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cairo, Egypt, will go into the company’s books as one of its great success stories.
Known previously as the Nile Hilton and in operations since 1959, it was the first international hotel in post-World War II to be built in collaboration between the US and the Egyptian government. Overlooking the Nile and offering a commanding view of the mighty river, the hotel was designed by a joint team that included the reputed American architect Welton Beckett who was known for designing the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles, said a report in the Egyptian Observer. There is an overwhelming sense of pride and nationalism related to the development of the Nile hotel and it goes back to 1953 when a decision was taken by the then Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to build the facility to serve as a major icon of the Arab nation. As part of plans to develop the project, the late President Nasser created a holding company, Misr Hotels Company. “The Nile hotel is steeped in history and heads of state and heads of government from several countries globally have stayed there on their visits to Cairo ever since it was inaugurated in 1959,” said Ramez Shafik, business development manager of North Africa for Hill International. “Today, the hotel has an even greater and also historical significance as it is located in the Tahrir Square, which was the site for all demonstrations during the Arab Spring movement that swept through the Middle East beginning 2011.”
In late 2011, Hill was awarded the PM/CM contract by Misr Hotels for renovation and redevelopment of the hotel. The 13-story hotel, with a total built up area of 64,000 square meters (689,000 square feet), has been renovated to modernize the facility and to meet the modified design and specifications of the Ritz Carlton brand. The scope of works included modernizing the existing hotel while retaining its architectural and interior design legacy and historic characteristics. The other works included renovating the existing main building, which housed 327 rooms and 52 suites at different levels, demolishing the office extension building and shopping mall, constructing a new conference/ballroom, and adding an underground parking garage. In addition, the hotel infrastructure and engineering building services were replaced with updated systems of the highest standard, Shafik added.
“Hill is proud to have helped develop the Nile Ritz Carlton into one the most prominent hotels in the region,” Shafik said, noting the hotel was refurbished and renovated through five major phases. The first phase included design and engineering consultancies. The second was the foundation phase, followed by the demolition and removal operations of the front and back areas. And the last two stages were carrying out the main construction and architectural and electro-mechanical work. With Egypt being the destination of nearly 10 million tourists and the country maintaining its position as a political leader in the Arab world, the Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel will always play a major role. And this time around its recent renovation and redevelopment has extended its life and made it an even more desirable destination for guests.
By Ashok Dutta