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Old Cataract Hotel Aswan by Holly Macro

View from Old Cataract Hotel Aswan

The Old Cataract Hotel Aswan

Our stay by Holly Macro

 The Old Cataract Hotel Aswan just could be our new favourite hotel! The hotel takes its name from the meeting of the river with the granite barrier which creates the first cataract of the Nile. It is beautifully located on the east bank of the Nile overlooking Elephantine Island, Aswan’s oldest settlement, and the ruins of a temple dedicated to Khnum, god of the Nile floods.  Sitting and imaging what the original temple looked like, while watching the swan-like feluccas sailing by, is absolute heaven!

 The hotel was originally built by Thomas Cook in 1899 to encourage tourism to Egypt.  The Victorian facade with its balconies and terraces conjures pictures of the aristocratic grand Tour period and the early 20th Century retreat for the rich and famous, heads of state, archaeologists and explorers. The hotel was completely restored and reopened for business in 2011 (one of the Sofitel Legend hotels).  The renovation has been artfully done so that one can still imagine Howard Carter, who stayed here after discovering the tomb of Tutankhamen, Winston Churchill smoking a cigar in the bar, or Agatha Christie roaming the hotel and relaxing for high tea on the famous Terrace.  The hotel’s fame was revived in 1978 with the filming of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, starring Peter Ustinov.

Nile View from old cataract hotel TerraceNile View from Old Cataract Hotel Terrace

There is a very large swimming pool (also overlooking the Nile) which was wonderfully warm when we visited in January.  There are three restaurants (Continental, French and Oriental), so lots of variety and the quality of the food and presentation was lovely.  The high tea, including scones and cream, served on the terrace is a meal in itself, so one afternoon we had that in lieu of dinner.

 The staff are charming and very well trained.  There are also Customer Service Representatives that solicit suggestions for improvement.  The Nubian Museum is just a 10 minute walk from the Old Cataract and is well worth a visit. You can also visit the temples of Abu-Simbel from here as well as explore the exciting spice market in Aswan.

Our junior suite was absolutely palatial, and we would have been happy to live there for months!    We had two balconies overlooking the Nile, a living room, bar area, dressing room, bed room and the best bathroom!

With great weather and such comfortable surroundings, we really recommend a multi-night stay for a lot of luxury and a haven of peace in the vast desert.

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What our clients have to say

It’s now been a week since we left the wonderful Dahabiya Dream and it’s fantastic crew. Alex and I are still talking about our experience, I think it will stay with us for a while.
We really want to express our gratitude to you and all the team that made such a fabulous trip possible. We felt massively privileged to sail the Nile on such a unique boat.
The itinerary was so well thought out, everyday our knowledge and expectations built until the big reveals of Karnak and Luxor temples. Also, we really appreciated arriving at the sights at the least busy times of day to allow us to truly experience the magnificence of the temples.
The pace of life on board was so relaxed, we loved the ‘hands up’ nature of who wanted to partake in certain tours. Such a refreshing way to enjoy a trip rather than having everything regimented.
The food on board was exceptional, Alex couldn’t help himself and had seconds at most meals. The drinks service too was amazing, how lovely to be greeted everytime we arrived home with a delicious drink and a cold towel.
Ahmed, our guide for the week was so entertaining and clearly passionate about his subject. His enthusiasm was infectious, so much so that Alex and I have travelled down from near Manchester to visit both the Egyptian exhibits at the British Museum and the Tutankhamun display at the Saatchi Gallery.
We would like to extend a special thank you to Mahmood and all the team on board. We felt like a little family for a week. We were so well cared for. Everyone was so friendly and kind and we felt so at home. Plus there was a lot of laughter.
We have wanted to visit Egypt for a long time and choosing you and the team exceeded all our expectations and we can not wait to come again!
We have travelled a lot and we can genuinely say that this has been one of the best weeks we have ever had in our lives - we will definitely be booking again!
We have have taken over a thousand photos and will send you some of the Dream. Thank you again.
Elisabeth & Alex
Travel date Nov 2019

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