Cecil Hotel

Cecil Hotel

There are a number of Cecil Hotels:
* The first, built 1890–96, was the Hotel Cecil, a grand hotel which stood between the Thames Embankment and the Strand in London, England. It was named for Cecil House (also known as Salisbury House), a mansion belonging to the Cecil family that had occupied the same site in the 17th century.

:Designed by architects Perry & Reed in a "Wrenaissance" style, the hotel was the largest in Europe when it opened with more than 800 rooms. The proprietor later went bankrupt and was sentenced to 14 years in prison

:The very first headquarters of the newly-formed RAF took up part of the hotel from 1918–19. A plaque commemorating the fact was affixed to the building in March 2008.

:The Cecil was largely demolished in Autumn 1930, and Shell Mex House was built on the site. The Strand facade of the hotel remains, with, at its centre, a grandiose arch leading to Shell Mex House proper.

* The second Cecil Hotel was built in 1902 on West 118th Street in Harlem, New York City. This Cecil is perhaps best known for the jazz club Minton's Playhouse that opened in 1938 on the hotel's first floor. The club enjoyed a legendary run of over 30 years between 1938 and 1974, hosting jazz greats such as Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and others.

* The 86 room, four-star Cecil Hotel in Alexandria, Egypt, was built in 1929 by the French-Egyptian Jewish Metzger family as a romantic hotel, at Saad Zaghloul square where Cleopatra's needles had been, in front of "La Corniche". Author Somerset Maugham stayed here, as did Winston Churchill and Al Capone. Moreover, the British Secret Service maintained a suite for their operations. It was seized by the Egyptian government after the revolution in 1952, and five years later the Metzger family expelled from the country. In 2007, after a lengthy court battle, legal ownership of the hotel was returned to the Metzger family, who subsequently sold it to the Egyptian government. [ "Egyptian Restitution", "Dateline World Jewry", World Jewish Congress, September, 2007] . This hotel appears in the The Alexandria Quartet, writen by Lawrence Durrell and the novel Miramar by Naguib Mahfuz.

* A Cecil Hotel can also be found in Los Angeles, California.

* There was once a chain of Cecil Hotels in Western Canada. Marketed toward commercial travellers and farmers, they were often built in less desirable parts of the downtown core. Those which have not been torn down are now independently owned. The City of Calgary has recently expressed interest in purchasing the Cecil Hotel in that city's east end in order to turn it into affordable housing. Its current condition, according to a report by CBC News, is "seedy", and it is said to be "a downtown hotspot for drugs and crime". [ [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2008/08/15/crime-hotel.html Calgary wants to turn seedy Cecil Hotel into affordable housing] . CBC News, August 15, 2008. Accessed August 17, 2008.]

References


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