After a years'-long restoration period, this palace complex, built by the uncle of King Farouk, Prince Mohammed Ali, in the early 20th century, has once again thrown open its doors to the public as a quirky museum. Its interiors and architecture are a fascinating merging of Ottoman, Moorish, Persian and European rococo styles, while the gardens (still closed to the public at the time of research) are planted with rare tropical plants collected by the prince.
You enter the grounds through the Reception Palace with its grand halls for receiving guests decorated lavishly with tiles, chandeliers and carved ceilings. In the Residential Palace check out the Blue Salon, where battered leather sofas sit against walls decorated with glorious blue faience tiles and Orientalist oil paintings. Then head to the Throne Palace for the Throne Hall's gaudy gold-styling, and the eye-popping rococo and baroque overload of the Aubusson Room. Even Manial Palace's mosque (with rococo-inspired ceiling) and clock tower (based on Moroccan Almohad-era minaret design) are a marvellous mesh of design influences.