Aswan is a city of 250,000 inhabitants on the banks of the Nile, and one of Egypt’s main tourist sites. Considered to be the gateway to black Africa, it is also the gateway to the ancient Nubian kingdom, a civilization that disappeared and whose remains are the subject of a museum built in 1997. Aswan lives literally off the Nile, the river of the gods, through tourism of course, and especially cruises, but also its dams. The upper dam of Aswan for example, is reputed to be the biggest in the world. It demonstrates the willingness of the former Egyptian leaders, Nasser and Sadat, to realize the pharaohs’ dream of dominating and becoming masters of the Nile, a demonstration of force which points out the importance of Aswan as a key site for commerce, a quality the city possessed in ancient times. The exploitation of the surrounding granite quarries and the transporting of the stones created an extremely important port. The stones of Aswan are the same that were used to build the pyramids. Aswan is therefore a strategic city, but especially a city of legends. One of them overlooks the Nile and has observed the city’s inhabitants for more than a century. It’s not a temple but the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan, one of the world’s renowned palaces hotels.
Built in 1899, the hotel was originally a royal residence. The Old Cataract, as many people call it, has always been a palace. With its Victorian façade and its totally classical splendor, the Old Cataract is an historic luxury hotel which combines modern comforts and history with disconcerting ease. The lobby for starters, leaves no doubt about the experience awaiting the visitor. The marble floors, the columns and the oriental refinement are certain to enchant western visitors. In addition, the grand arches and the dining room with its Moorish style cupolas create an elegant atmosphere that has attracted numerous politicians and celebrities from all walks of life. This palace is representative of ancient Egypt. It’s a classical vision but far from static in a country that is learning to modernize while at the same time, respecting its immense cultural heritage. The Old Cataract itself is not averse to change. In 2008, it closed and underwent a long renovation. It reopened in 2011 with an historical part called The Palace, which maintained the architecture of the period and with totally contemporary services including spas, jacuzzis, an indoor swimming pool and a hammam. By innovating and still preserving its legendary beauty, the Old Cataract is attracting a new generation of visitors and should continue to reign over the world’s luxury palaces for at least another century.
The late French president François Mitterand was a frequent visitor to Aswan. It was here that he decided to run for a second term in 1988. The Old Cataract also welcomed Winston Churchill as well as Agatha Christie, who wrote her famous novel, “Death on the Nile” here. It was adapted for the screen in 1978, and the film was shot here, at the Old Cataract.
Five stars / Member Accor / On the banks of the Nile / Historic palace / Victorian façade / French art de vivre / Views over the Elephantine Island & Kalabsha Temple / Four restaurants with international, Mediterranean, local & gastronomic cuisine / Four indoor & outdoor bars / Live piano music / Outdoor & indoor swimming pools / So Spa / Traditional hammam / Fitness center
Open all year
138 rooms and suites
Double occupancy from 246 euros
Aswan Airport (ASW) - Aswan
SOFITEL LEGEND OLD CATARACT ASWAN
Abtal El Tahrir Street
+ 1 hour
Mediterranean climate on the Alexandria coast, semi-desert on the heights of Cairo and desert in the south
National identity card or valid passport
Visa required for French citizens, which can be purchased at the
Egyptian Embassy in France (about 25 euros) or upon arrival in Egypt (about 15 euros). ID photo required
No vaccinations required
Sanitary conditions are satisfactory on the whole.
Drinking from uncapped bottles is not advisable.
Beware of radical temperature changes when going from the hot sun to the cold temperatures of air conditioned places, and avoid drinking iced beverages.
The Egyptian pound (EGP)
French and English at most tourist sites
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+33 1 75 43 70 26 *Our reservation department is always happy to assist you via phone or via email. We are open Monday to Friday 9am to 18pm (GMT +1).