Of course, not everyone who stays at the Mena House is interested in the history.
But for those who are ...
Today Egypt celebrates the opening of the 'New Suez Canal', a canal running parallel to the original which, for the first time, will allow ships to transit the waterway in both directions simultaneously. This will slash the time it takes to make the journey and will, Egypt hopes, more than double the canal’s revenue.
Looking back, we can thank the grand 1869 opening celebrations for the original Suez Canal for the magnificent Mena House hotel nestled in the shadow of the Great Pyramids of Giza.
The origin of the Mena House was that of a luxury lodge for Ismail Pasha, the Khedive ( viceroy) of Egypt. He managed the country's shift from being a jewel in the wider Turkish Ottoman empire to a truly independent state and regional power.
The Khedive used the building as a rest house for himself and his guests when hunting out in the desert or visiting the Pyramids at Giza. The main dining room of today was once the entire lodge.
The opening of the Suez Canal changed all that.
On November 17 1869, the new canal linking the Mediterranean and the Red Sea was officially inaugurated with a glittering ceremony that enjoyed a global guest-list. The event was attended by numerous world leaders including Austrian emperor Franz Joseph, the king of Hungary, the prince of Prussia, and the prince and princess of Holland. Undoubtedly the star guest, however, was the French Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III.
For the Empress' visit, the Khedive spared no expense. His lodge out by the Pyramids was enlarged, and a road built between Cairo and the Pyramids, specifically to make her visits to Giza more enjoyable.
The royal visit was deemed a great success. However after the Empress returned home, the lodge ended up being used so rarely that the Khedive offered it for sale.
In 1883 it was sold as a private residence to a wealthy English couple. The new owners named their estate "Mena House", after the legendary King Meni, the first ancient king of Egypt mentioned in the King List in the Temple of Abydos. Two years later Mena House was sold again, to another wealthy British couple who set about turning the estate into a luxury hotel. In 1886 'Mena Hotel', as it was called, opened.
For 145 years, Mena House at Giza has been a palace for visiting royalty, heads-of-state and high society. The hotel has attracted history-makers: Churchill and Roosevelt met here to plan the D-Day invasions. Mena House is also a mecca for those seeking a little pampering after the hustle and bustle of Cairo, or dusty explorations in the desert.