The Saudi owner of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Cairo has banned the sale of alcohol in the property, despite calls from the chain urging a review of the policy.
It is unclear what prompted the owner Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Brahim – a relative of the Saudi king – to take this controversial measure, the BBC reports.
The Grand Hyatt operators fear the policy will drive away Western tourists and lead to the hotel losing its five-star rating.
The move has sparked fears that other hotels may follow suit, which could hit the tourism industry, one of the pillars of the Egyptian economy.
Supporters of the decision say Egypt is a Muslim country and foreign visitors should respect local custom.
But critics say Muslims should be prepared to respect the desires of their Western guests.