The Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan

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The Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan is a traveller’s legend. It was built around 1900 by Thomas Cook to house European tourists. Set on the shores of the river Nile, it offers spectacular views on Elephantine Island and the Mausoleum of Aga Khan.

What we liked about this British colonial-era grand hotel

Well, almost everything. But first of all: History! History! History! The Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan is one of the most famous hotels in Egypt. Agatha Christie wrote her novel Death on the Nile right next door! The writing desk Winston Churchill used during his stay today stands in the Winston Churchill Suite, from where Francois Mitterrand loved to watch the sunset.

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In 1961 a new wing was built, that operated as a “budget wing”. Today it is called the New Cataract wing. Even after the renovation it has remained its 60s James Bond style charme.

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20121228 Assuan Old Cataract Hotel bathroom P1390500

Today the Old Cataract Hotel belongs to the Sofitel Group and has reopened in 2012 after several years of renovation. Old and new have been ingeniously merged – you find yourself envying the turn-of-the-century guests although you do know that they didn’t really enjoy the same comfort as you do today (flatscreen TV, espresso machine, towel warmer and such).

As a guest (and only as a guest) you can relax on that famous terrace overlooking the Nile, and go for a swim in the morning in the large pool that not only has bathtub temperature but also a fantastic view.

20121228 Assuan Old Cataract Hotel terrace P1390674

Minor flaws

  • Several times we are greeted as “Bonjour Monsieur”
  • There was a Bose Sound System in the room, but to fit an i-pod one has to bring a connection cable.

Our conclusion on the Old Cataract Hotel

The Old Cataract Hotel is a luxury hotel really worth its name and the price. If you are planning to splash out for one night, do it at the Old Cataract. Also watch out for special deals!

Booking: Sofitel Legend Old Cataract – Abtal El Tahrir Street, Aswan. Tel: 097-2316000.

NB: Our night at the Old Cataract Hotel was sponsored by Sofitel

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