Historic Old Cataract Hotel
Are you dreaming of a luxurious retreat that seamlessly blends history, elegance, and style? Look no further than the iconic Old Cataract Hotel. Breathtaking views of the Nile River and Elephantine Island are only a few things that make the Old Cataract legendary. Rising from a pink granite hill at the edge of the Nubian Desert, the hotel offers the ultimate luxurious retreat. It represents a unique experience of stepping back in time. This wonderful oasis is in the Aswan. Built in 1899. by Thomas Cook, Old Cataract was meant to be an exclusive holiday retreat for wealthy travelers interested in traveling by local cruise ships and exploring the Nile Delta and the rest of Egypt.
The historical significance of the Old Cataract is enormous. Partly because of all the legendary guests that stayed in over the years, including Tsar Nicholas II, Princess Diana, Winston Churchill, François Mitterrand, Queen Noor, King Fouad, Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, etc. Renowned archeologist Howard Carter had stayed here when celebrating his discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb during the early 1920s. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill first visited the hotel while attending the inauguration of the Aswan Low Dam. The proof that Churchill truly enjoyed his time at the hotel is that he continuously returned to Old Cataract throughout the rest of his life.
Among all the royals, politicians, and celebrities, one made the hotel famous worldwide, and it was Agatha Christie. The timeless writer set portions of her novel Death on the Nile at the hotel, using Old Cataract and its surroundings as the inspiration for the book’s setting. The movie based on the same novel was filmed in Old Cataract in 1978. The hotel hosted the entire film cast, including Peter Ustinov, David Niven, Mia Farrow, and Angela Lansbury.
The first Cataract of the Nile
Old Cataract’s name was inspired by the first Cataract of the Nile. Egyptians used to say that the hotel is a destination unto itself. A mixture of Pharaonic treasures with French art de recevoir makes the interior of this Victorian-style complex impressive. It contains Moorish arches, Persian carpets, red chandeliers, and hand-carved furnishings. Nowadays, the hotel offers 220 luxurious accommodations, including 82 fascinating suites, fine-dining restaurants, bars, world-class meeting venues, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and a spa.
Old Cataract popularity is getting more prominent over time. Its outstanding hospitality and sophisticated design make it a perfect place for holidays and weddings. Yes, it is possible to celebrate your big day here! For more information, you have to contact the management of the hotel.
In recent years, the Old Cataract’s renovation began, with most of the renovation of the historic Cataract. The hotel is now fully restored and offers 138 guestrooms and suites spread across two areas: the New Cataract Wing, known as Nile Wing, and the hotel’s more historical part, the Palace Wing, each with lovely guestrooms and suites. Many rooms and suites offer spectacular views of the world’s longest river and the swimming pool.
Facilities of Old Cataract Hotel
The Palace Wing offers 76 guestrooms, including 45 suites. It is decorated in gold and scarlet, the colors of the mythical Phoenix. Among the suits offered are Agatha Christie Suite and Sir Winston Churchill Suite. These suits are the most expensive, ranging from more than EUR 5000 in low season to EUR 7000 in high season per night. We were told that the suits are booked mainly by presidents and royal families.
The Nile Wing is a contemporary extension of the Old Cataract Hotel, with 62 guestrooms and 37 suites, all with private balconies overlooking the Nile.
As for the restaurants and bars, Old Cataract offers excellent dining experiences: Terrace, 1902 Restaurant, Oriental Kababgy, Promenade, Palms, Yasmine, and The Bar – all of them serve delicious food and tasty cocktails.
The most photographed and recognizable is Terrace, with stunning panoramas of Khnum Temple and Elephantine Island. To have breakfast and sip tea at the exact spot where Dame Agatha Christie was writing chapters of her novel is the ultimate must-do for your bucket list. The Terrace is a place for watching the sunset and is extremely popular among tourists. Even if you are not a guest of Old Cataract, you can enjoy an authentic Sunset Tea experience. Book the hottest table in Aswan and savor a cup of tea and a selection of French and Oriental pastries. Contact the hotel to make a booking.
Stylish, elegant, clean and beautifully designed
Another fantastic place to dine in is a signature 1902 Restaurant opened in 1902. and designed by architect H. Favarger. It is surrounded by sweeping arches and a grand Arabian dome and is famous for its French cuisine. Oriental Kababgy is another top Aswan restaurant where you can enjoy delicious grilled meat and herbed rice. Promenade has exceptional views of Elephantine Island and the Khnum Temple. In Palms, you can enjoy healthy salads, sandwiches, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, cocktails, and ice cream.
The Bar looks like a British-style piano bar. It was a favorite spot of Sir Winston Churchill, who enjoyed sipping a malt whisky and dry martini. Yasmine offers refreshing beverages: hand-squeezed lemonades, fresh juices, iced teas, and vintage-inspired cocktails, while in Saraya, you can enjoy fresh Mediterranean cuisine.
Old Cataract is not only for holidays and romantic getaways; it is a perfect venue for small summits and corporate meetings. Situated in the Palace and Nile Wings, the hotel offers four meeting venues with access to technology, work areas, and high-quality food and beverage options.
And, for all the adventurists who enjoy exploring in the morning but relaxing in the afternoon, indoor and outdoor swimming pools are delightful extras. There is an option of ordering food and drinks while lying in a sunbed and enjoying Aswan’s hot day. And for ultimate spiritual and physical rejuvenation, the hotel offers a selection of treatments at Sofitel SPA, hammam, and Jacuzzi.
Old Cataract is one of the world-famous history hotels you must visit at least once in a lifetime. It was on my bucket list for years, ever since I watched Death on the Nile for the first time. Although I expected a lot, Old Cataract has exceeded all my expectations. The hotel is stylish, elegant, clean, and beautifully designed, with mouth-watering food and outstanding and professional staff. Take a chance to visit the most expensive Agatha Christie Suite and Sir Winston Churchill Suite while you are there. Lovely and knowledgeable, Yara gave us a tour of the suits and told us much about the hotel’s history. I will carry only beautiful memories from this place and only one regret – not staying in Old Cataract for more than three days.
Tips for visiting the Historic Old Cataract Hotel
Here are some tips for visiting the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan:
Dress code: The Old Cataract Hotel is a luxury hotel, so it’s recommended that you dress smartly and avoid wearing shorts, flip flops, or beachwear when visiting public areas of the hotel.
High tea: The hotel is famous for its afternoon high tea, which is served in the grand salon overlooking the Nile. It’s a must-try experience, but make sure to make a reservation in advance to avoid disappointment.
Nile view: Many of the rooms and suites at the hotel have a view of the Nile River, which is one of the hotel’s main attractions. If you can, book a room with a Nile view to enjoy the stunning scenery.
Historical tour: The Old Cataract Hotel has a rich history, and it’s worth taking a historical tour of the hotel to learn about its past and see its beautiful architecture and design.
Dining: The hotel has several dining options, including the famous 1902 Restaurant which serves French cuisine. It’s recommended that you make a reservation in advance, especially if you plan to dine during peak hours.
Spa: The hotel has a beautiful spa that offers various treatments and massages. It’s a perfect way to relax and unwind after a long day of sightseeing.
Souvenirs: The hotel has a gift shop that sells souvenirs, including locally-made handicrafts and Egyptian products. It’s a great place to pick up some unique gifts for friends and family back home.
Photography: The hotel has many beautiful photo opportunities, especially during sunset when the light is perfect for capturing the Nile and the hotel’s grand facade. Make sure to bring your camera or smartphone to capture some memorable shots.
Location of the Historic Old Cataract Hotel
Old Cataract is set on the Nile River banks in the Nubian Desert in Aswan. The nearest Airport is Aswan International Airport, which is 18 kilometers from the hotel.
Hotel Address: Abtal El Tahrir St, Aswan, Egypt.
To book a room, click HERE. https://all.accor.com/hotel/1666/index.en.shtml
Getting to the Historic Old Cataract Hotel
To get to the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, you can use various modes of transportation depending on your location.
- If you are arriving at Aswan International Airport, the hotel is approximately 20 minutes away by car. You can hire a taxi or arrange for a private transfer through the hotel.
- If you are arriving in Aswan by train, the hotel is approximately 10 minutes away by car. You can hire a taxi or arrange for a private transfer through the hotel.
- If you are already in Aswan, you can reach the hotel by taxi, tuk-tuk, or by walking if you are nearby. The hotel is located on the banks of the Nile River, so you may also consider taking a boat or a felucca ride to get there.
In any case, it’s always a good idea to check with the hotel for transportation options and arrange pick-up if necessary.
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