On Sunday, an archaeological committee will start work on converting Al-Salamlek Palace into a unique hotel.
The renovation project aims to transform Khedive Abbas Helmy II's palace, constructed in 1892, into a brand new hotel that celebrates the historical building's finest features. The project on the palace, situated within the grounds of Al-Montaza park in Alexandria, is being headed by a committee from the Islamic, Coptic and Jewish antiquities sector of Alexandria and the northern coast.
A team of technicians, archaeologists and conservators were given access to the palace for consideration of the project, said a source from the antiquities sector, speaking on condition of anonymity. The proposed renovation project then obtained the approval of the permanent antiquities committee.
The source added that all of the archaeological works will take place under the supervision of the antiquities ministry.
Mohamed Tamawy, spokesperson of the company that holds the palace in usufruct, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the company is preparing the site ahead of starting the works.
The project is expected to last one and half months. Equipment, construction materials and administrative offices for engineers and consultants are being transferred to the site. Supervisors from the tourism and antiquities ministries are scheduled to be present during the works.
According to Tamawy, the project will be completed in two phases. Phase one will see the renovation of the palace interior, and phase two, the remainder of the works. LE120 million have been allocated for the project.
Mokhtar al-Kasbany, head of the archaeological committee in charge of inspecting the palace, contributed to the final draft of the renovation plans. He said the permanent committee did not express any reservations on any of the project’s terms, and approved it.
The palace was built in the late 19th Century in the Montaza district of Alexandria. It was renovated by former President Anwar al-Sadat to be an official presidential residence. The word ‘Salamlek’ means a place where men are allowed to meet, contrary to the word Haramlek, a place for women's meetings.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm