Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

17-25 October EGYPT​



Saturday, October 17: Arrivals

  • Arrivals

    Individual arrivals and guests’ transfers to hotel in Cairo.

  • Check In

    Check in at the Four Seasons First Residence, Cairo

The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons, in the First Residence complex, sets the standard for luxury hotels in the Egyptian capital. The hotel is decorated in the elegant and refined style that is the hallmark of the Four Seasons chain. The hotel offers some of the most spacious accommodation available in Cairo, with advanced in-room technology and large windows overlooking the city, botanical gardens or the pyramids. The en suite marble bathrooms all feature a separate shower, deep-soaking bathtub and L'Occitane products.

Sunday, October 18: Cairo

  • Morning

    Meet your Egyptologist and visit the Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx. The group will enjoy special private access to the Paws of Sphinx.

  • Lunch

    Lunch at Dawlet Hanem.

The Pyramids of Giza

The Pyramids of Giza were built for some of the mightiest Pharaohs - Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus. The Great Pyramid of Giza remained the tallest man- made structure in the world for 3,800 years. The bases of the three Pyramids of Giza together cover more than a million square feet, roughly nine mid-town Manhattan blocks.

The Sphinx

Cut from the bedrock, the original shape of the Sphinx has been restored with layers of blocks. It measures 73 meters (240 ft) long from paw to tail, 20.21 m (66.31 ft) high from the base to the top of the head and 19 meters (62 ft) wide at its rear haunches. It is the oldest known monumental sculptures in Egypt and is believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafre.

  • Afternoon

    Sakkara Excursion including a visit to the Mereruka Tomb and the new Mehu tomb.

  • Dinner

    Dinner at a private collection. Collection TBD.

  • Overnight

    Four Seasons First Residence, Cairo.


Sakkara is the former necropolis for the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis and the place where the very first pyramids were built as tombs for the kings. Instead of the smooth sides featured on other pyramids, the pyramids here feature six steps on the outside, representing the pharaoh’s stepladder to heaven. We will discover the famous Step Pyramid of King Zoser, the first pyramid ever built and the world’s oldest freestanding stone structure. Admire the beautiful tomb art at Sakkara, which gives great insight into the lives of the ancient Egyptians.

Monday, October 19: Cairo

  • Morning

    Curator-led visit to the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo.

  • Late-morning

    Late-morning tour of the Jewish Synagogue.

Museum of Islamic Art

This museum, on the edge of Islamic Cairo, holds one of the world’s finest collections of Islamic art and is Egypt's (and one of the entire Middle East's) most beautifully curated museums. What’s on display is only a sliver of the 80,000 objects the museum owns, but the selected items are stunning. The museum was heavily damaged in January 2014 in a car-bomb attack on nearby police headquarters but after extensive renovations was finally reopened in early 2017.

  • Lunch

    Lunch at Naguib Mafouz Restaurant.

Naguib Mafouz Restaurant

When in 1989 the Khan Khalili Restaurant and Café, run by the Oberoi chain, opened its doors, the café was dedicated to Naguib Mahfouz and named after him. Located in the heart of Khan el Kahlili, the Naguib Mahfouz Café is a pleasant place to be. Naguib Mahfouz's pictures on the walls, the titles of his books engraved in wood, arabesque décor, comfortable seating areas and a selection of oriental hot and cold drinks invites for more than a snack.

  • Afternoon

    Visit to Khan El Khalili Bazaars.

  • Late Afternoon

    Visit the galleries around the Zamalek District, including cocktails at Picasso Art Gallery or AL MASAR Gallery.

  • Dinner

    Pyramids Sound and Light Show followed by dinner at Restaurant 139 at Mena House Hotel.

  • Overnight

    Four Seasons First Residence, Cairo

Khan El Khalili Bazaars

Khan el-Khalili once known as the Turkish bazaar during the Ottoman period, is now usually just called the 'Khan', and the name of it and the Muski market are often used interchangeably to mean either. The market was built in 1382 by the Emir Djaharks el-Khalili in the heart of the Fatimid City. Together with the al-Muski market to the west, they comprise one of Cairo's most important shopping areas.

Tuesday, October 20: Cairo - Luxor

  • Morning

    One-hour flight from Cairo to Luxor in standard class seats. Upgrades to business upon request and depending on availability.

  • Luxor

    Arrival in Luxor and transfer to the Luxor Museum.

  • Luxor Museum

    Curator-led visit of the Luxor Museum.


Luxor is often called the world’s greatest open-air museum, but that comes nowhere near describing this extraordinary place. Nothing in the world compares to the scale and grandeur of the monuments that have survived from ancient Thebes. The setting is breathtakingly beautiful, the Nile flowing between the modern city and west-bank necropolis, backed by the enigmatic Theban escarpment. Scattered across the landscape is an embarrassment of riches, from the temples of Karnak and Luxor in the east to the many tombs and temples on the west bank. Thebes’ wealth and power, legendary in antiquity, began to lure Western travellers from the end of the 18th century.

Luxor Museum

The Luxor Museum was inaugurated in 1975. It is a two-story building. The range of artifacts on display is far more restricted than the country's main collections in the Museum of Antiquities in Cairo; this was, however, deliberate, since the museum prides itself on the quality of the pieces it has, the uncluttered way in which they are displayed, and the clear multilingual labeling used. The museum was conceived by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, which hired Dr. Mahmud El Hakim, a top Egyptian architect, to create the plans in 1962. The installation of the museum art works came later and was finished between 1972 and 1975.

  • Lunch

    Lunch on board Felucca.

  • Afternoon

    Check into Hilton Luxor Resort.

  • Dinner

    Dinner at the Hilton Luxor Resort.

  • Overnight

    Hilton Luxor Resort.

Hilton Luxor Resort

The Luxor Hilton is the slickest, most luxurious resort in Luxor. Located 2km north of Luxor centre, past the Karnak temples, the large Nileside rooms are elegant and tastefully decorated in a warm Asian-inspired style with lots of neutral colours and wood. Communal areas exude calm and tranquillity and the spa is impressive, more Thailand than Egypt.

Wednesday, October 21: Luxor

  • Morning

    Guided tour of the Temple complex of Karnak including Mut temple.

  • Late Morning

    Visit to the Luxor Temple.

  • Lunch

    Lunch in the Garden at the Old Winter Palace.

Temple complex of Karnak

The massive Temple complex of Karnak was the principal religious center of the god Amun-Re in Thebes during the New Kingdom (which started from 1550 until 1070 BCE). The complex remains one of the largest religious complexes in the world. However, Karnak was not just one temple dedicated to one god – it held not only the main precinct to the god Amun Re – but also the precincts of the gods Mut and Montu.

Luxor Temple

The Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile River in the city today known as Luxor (ancient Thebes) and was constructed approximately 1400 BCE. Unlike the other temples in Thebes, Luxor temple is not dedicated to a cult god or a defied version of the king in death. Instead Luxor temple is dedicated to the rejuvenation of kingship; it may have been where many of the kings of Egypt were crowned in reality or conceptually (as in the case of Alexander the Great who claimed he was crowned at Luxor but may never have traveled south of Memphis, near modern Cairo).

  • Afternoon

    Visit to Ramesseum Mortuary Temple.

  • Evening

    Private drinks reception and library briefing at the Chicago House Research Institute.

  • Dinner

    Dinner at Sofra restaurant.

  • Overnight

    Hilton Luxor Resort

Ramesseum Mortuary Temple

This magnificent mortuary temple was built on the site of Seti I’s ruined temple and was described as the “tomb of Ozymandia,” which later inspired a poetic verse by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Chicago House Research Institute

Chicago House, the Oriental Institute headquarters in Egypt, functions as a major center of Egyptological studies for Egyptian and foreign scholars alike, and is open from October 15 through April 15 every winter season. The research library, among the finest in Egypt, has more than 20,000 volumes. The Chicago House photographic archive is a major research collection containing over 21,000 negatives and 21,000 prints ranging in date from the late nineteenth century to the present. A project to conserve, register, and provide proper archival storage for the collection was funded by the Getty Grant Program and a catalog of the archival holdings, The Registry of the Photographic Archives of the Epigraphic Survey, was published in 1995.

Thursday, October 22: Luxor

  • Early Morning

    Optional Hot Air Balloon Ride (early start – 4.30am).

  • Breakfast

    Breakfast at Al Marsam Restaurant at the West Bank.

Al Marsam Restaurant

The beautiful, shaded garden courtyard of the Marsam is one of the west bank's most tranquil spots for a drink or a bite to eat.

  • Morning

    Visit to the West Bank – including visits to Valley of the Kings, Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, the famed Colossi of Memnon. The tour will include access to King Tut and Seti First’s Tomb.

  • Lunch

    Lunch at Al Moudira hotel.

  • Afternoon

    Afternoon at leisure.

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, is an ancient funerary shrine in Upper Egypt. Built for the Eighteenth Dynasty Pharaoh Hatshepsut, it is located beneath the cliffs at Deir El Bahari, on the west bank of the Nile near the Valley of the Kings. The mortuary temple is dedicated to the sun diety Amun and is situated next to the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II, which served both as an inspiration, and later, a quarry. It is considered one of the ‘incomparable monuments of ancient Egypt.

  • Dinner

    Drinks and dinner at 1886 at the Winter Palace.

  • Overnight

    Hilton Luxor Resort.

Winter Palace

Chef Ménad Berkani inspires à la carte creations from crayfish to risotto at this opulent Luxor restaurant. Dine by candlelight among gilded mirrors.

Friday, October 23: Luxor - Cairo

  • Morning

    One-hour flight from Luxor to Cairo in standard class seats. Upgrades to business upon request and depending on availability.

  • Late-morning

    Late-morning visit of Gayer Anderson House.

  • Visit

    Visit to an artist’s studio TBD.

Gayer Anderson House

Through a gateway to the south of the main entrance of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, this quirky museum gets its current name from John Gayer-Anderson, the British major and army doctor who restored the two adjoining 16th-century houses between 1935 and 1942, filling them with lovely antiquities, artworks and knick-knacks acquired on his travels in the region. The house was used as a location in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.

  • Lunch

    Lunch at Al Azhar Park overlooking Old Cairo.

  • Afternoon

    Private collection visit. Collection TBD.

  • Dinner

    Dinner at Abou El Sid Restaurant.

  • Overnight

    Overnight: Four Seasons First Residence, Cairo

Al Azhar Park

Al-Azhar Park is a public park located in Cairo, Egypt. Among several honors, this park is listed as one of the world's sixty great public spaces by the Project for Public Spaces. The park was created by the Historic Cities Support Programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, an entity of the Aga Khan Development Network. The park, developed at a cost in excess of USD $30 million, was a gift to Cairo from Aga Khan IV: a descendant of the Fatimid Imam-Caliphs who founded the city of Cairo in the year 969.

Abou El Sid Restaurant

Abou el-Sid serves traditional Egyptian food hanging in the middle of lamps, pillows and large brass tables. This is an excellent place to try the famous Egyptian dishes such as chicken stuffed with pigeon or molokhiyya, followed by coffee and shisha.

Saturday, October 24: Cairo

  • Morning

    Visit to Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center, Mrs. Suzanne Wissa Wassef or Mr. Ikram Nosshi will escort you during your visit & will help you explore all type of art produced at the center wool & cotton tapestry, pottery & batik.

  • N.B.

    If the Grand Egyptian Museum is open by this time, the group will enjoy a special tour at the newly opened treasure trove of over 100,000 objects--many of which will be displayed for the first time--including the new home of the colossal statue of Ramses II.

Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center

The Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center is the home of a unique experiment in tapestry weaving that has produced extraordinary works admired and collected by museums and galleries around the world. The life work of its founder Ramses Wissa Wassef (1911-1974) was dedicated to releasing the innate creativity of young Egyptian villagers freed from the constraints of a formal education.

  • Lunch

    Lunch at restaurant 139 in the Marriott Mena House Hotel.

  • Afternoon

    Visit to the Wassef Art Center.

Marriott Mena House Hotel

The Marriott Mena House Hotel is one of the most unique in Cairo. The hotel has 3 restaurants options, including Indian, Italian or Internation cuisines.

  • Evening

    Special after-hours visit to the Egyptian Museum (between 5-7 PM).

  • Dinner

    Farewell dinner at Crimson’s Bar and Grill.

  • Overnight

    Four Seasons First Residence, Cairo.

The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities

The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or Museum of Cairo, in Cairo, Egypt, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display, the remainder in storerooms. The edifice is one of the largest museums in the region. The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities contains many important pieces of ancient Egyptian history. It houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities.

Sunday, October 25: Departures from Cairo

  • Morning

    Individual departures from Cairo.