Political unrest delays opening of Nile Ritz-Carlton

The Nile Ritz-Carlton in Cairo is at a crossroads of old Egypt and new, of the country's progress as well as the challenges that lie ahead.

But for the time being, the former Nile Hilton stands between Tahrir Square, the birthplace of Egypt's revolution earlier this year; the iconic Egyptian Museum; and the burned-out National Democratic Party headquarters, surrounded by scaffolding.

"Due to the violence, construction on the once Nile Hilton has been delayed, but the hotel is still expected to open in 2013 as a very new and beautiful property, an iconic hotel," Vivian Deuschl, corporate vice president for Ritz-Carlton, wrote in an email.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel signed an agreement with the Egyptian government and Misr Hotels in early 2009 to convert the 431-room, half-century-old Nile Hilton into the Nile Ritz-Carlton. The luxury property was supposed to be fully renovated and opened this year.

But while the opening has been delayed significantly, the fact that the project wasn't abandoned altogether -- especially given its highly symbolic and visual location -- represents hope that Egypt's tourism industry can rebound from the current crisis.

Ritz-Carlton has not laid out any details of what the renovation will entail.
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