Built in 1892 as a hunting lodge for the mistress of then-Khedive Abbas Helmi II, the Salamlek has survived its conversion to a hotel with remarkable grace. The Salamlek is located at the eastern end of the Corniche, which puts it beyond walking distance to most restaurants and sites. On the other hand, you aren't going to be able to avoid taxi rides in Alexandria anyway, so unless you plan to stay up very late, you might as well take advantage of this pleasant location in the middle of the Montaza Gardens and the hotel's direct view of the sea.
The rooms -- actually, most of them are suites -- have been fitted with somewhat generic modern furnishings, but at least one of them has a beautiful original wood ceiling. Maintenance isn't what it should be, but the view from the front rooms (across the garden to the Mediterranean) is lovely.
One of the best parts of the Salamlek is the room that used to be the khedive's office, which is now the King Farouq dining room. The ceiling and walls are original, as is the fireplace, and there's a door concealed in the back of the room that was first used as a discreet exit for its intended occupant but is now a service entrance. The bar is actually made out of Farouq's secretary's desk, and in the corner there's a lovely old folding pipe table. Unfortunately, quite a few of the royal portraits that now adorn the lobby and other public areas are second-rate reproductions, but the elevators that slide you soundlessly up to the rooms on the second floor are the real thing.
- © Frommer's 2013
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