The Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, Egypt would easily be the most famous hotel in the country and certainly one of the most luxurious. I do travel a lot, but typically prefer to keep my hotel stays in clean, comfortable hotels – not necessarily luxury ones. It was time for a little indulgence and it was well worth it! If you’re looking to treat yourself with a luxurious stay in a country as beautiful as Egypt, keep reading to get inspired!
- Origins of the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, Egypt
- Renowned guest visits of the Old Cataract Hotel
- Our stay in the Old Cataract Hotel
- The highlights from our stay at the Old Cataract Hotel
The Old Cataract Hotel was built in 1899 on the location of a granite barrier that creates the first cataract of the Nile River, thus giving it its unique name. It was built by the Thomas Cook Travel Company to house well-off European and English travellers who wanted to ‘rough it’ in the deserts of North Africa.
The legend Old Cataract, Aswan
Built on a granite outcrop, the hotel offers marvellous views of the Nile River, Elephantine Island (with its ancient Egyptian ruins that are thousands of years old) and the edges of the Nubian Desert. The view is simply stunning. It looks like a postcard and photos simply don’t do it justice.
The Old Cataract Hotel has played host to many renowned and prominent guests over the last 100 years including heads of state, kings, queens and movie stars. The lobby is sumptuous and the striped arches reminded me a little of the stunning interior of the Mezquita in Cordoba, Spain.
The two most well-known guests have been Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie, who both stayed for extended periods in the hotel and both had the privilege of having a suite named after them. The large Churchill suite can cost as much as $10,000 USD a night; you can ask the hotel front desk for a tour of the suite as it’s well worth a look.
There are two parts of the hotel, the original Palace built in Victorian grandeur style with some Moorish influences and the Newer Wing built in 1961 that looks like a Russian apartment building. The Palace Wing is more expensive and in my opinion, does not have as good a view compared to the Newer Wing. It was for this reason that we chose to stay in the Newer Wing as we had the benefit of better views, plus you don’t see the Newer Wing itself, just views of the Grand Palace, gardens, pool and the Nile River.
Our room in the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, Egypt
Our bathroom in the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, Egypt
We booked a “luxury room” that was enormous and located on the 6th floor of the Newer Wing. It was very modern with some Egyptian and Arabic influences seen in the furniture and décor. The bathrooms were oversized with a free-standing bathtub, a large shower and two vanities. The highlight of the room was the expansive balcony with deck chairs and lounges, perfect for enjoying a drink and watching the sunset.
Our large, luxurious balcony with the perfect view
Currently, the hotel has 138 rooms and suites, 4 restaurants, 1 bar, a fabulous lobby with deep comfortable armchairs, a fully stocked library, 1 terrace to watch the sunset, 2 incredible pools, and a comprehensive health club and full-service spa.
The incredible pool, Aswan
There were many highlights over the short course of our stay at the Old Cataract Hotel. These included:
- Enjoying a cool drink while watching the amazing sunsets from our private balcony that overlooked the pool, Palace and the Nile River.
- Swimming in the refreshing pool after a day’s sightseeing (it gets really hot in Aswan).
- Breakfast on the Terrace – a real grand affair as they serve all the cheese, cold cuts and fruit on fancy 3 level trays (not the normal Bunnik household breakfast).
- Experiencing a pre-dinner drink in the bar and chatting with the bar staff. They are extremely friendly and went out of their way to make our kids feel welcome.
Morning tea on the Terrace.
Photo Credit: All images by Sacha Bunnik
Indulge in a luxurious stay on a tour with Bunnik
This is truly one of the loveliest and most luxurious hotels I have ever had the pleasure of staying at. If you’ve been inspired and want to experience a taste of luxury for yourself, we offer a range of small group tours that visit the legendary Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, Egypt, plus so much more! So tick it off your bucket list and book your stay on a Bunnik Egypt and Middle East tour. For more information, please contact one of our friendly Travel Specialists today.
What is Aswan in Egypt known for?
Aswan, located along the River Nile in Egypt, is known for its historical significance, picturesque beauty, and unique attractions. It's famous for the Aswan High Dam and the Philae Temple complex, relocated to a nearby island. Aswan is also famous for its vibrant Nubian culture, traditional markets, and the stunning landscapes of the Nile and surrounding desert.
Who owns the Old Cataract Hotel?
The Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, Egypt, is owned and operated by Sofitel, a French luxury hotel chain.
Where did Agatha Christie write Death on the Nile?
Agatha Christie wrote "Death on the Nile" during her year stay at the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, Egypt. The hotel's charming and historic setting inspired her to create the famous detective novel set along the banks of the Nile River.
Is Aswan, Egypt worth visiting?
Yes, Aswan in Egypt is definitely worth the visit! It offers a blend of historical sites, natural beauty, and cultural experiences. From iconic landmarks like the Aswan High Dam and Philae Temple to the charming Nubian villages and vibrant markets, Aswan provides a unique travel experience like no other. The serene Nile River views and the opportunity to explore ancient sites make it a destination well worth adding to your bucket list.
Is Aswan near the pyramids?
Aswan is located in southern Egypt along the Nile River, while the Pyramids of Giza are situated near Cairo, which is in northern Egypt. There is quite a far distance between Aswan and the Pyramids of Giza, requiring either a domestic flight or a train ride to travel between the two locations.