Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan
What We Love
- Gorgeous Nile views from pool, terrace, guestrooms and restaurants
- Infinity pool that seems to spill over into the Nile
- Four restaurants to choose from (all offering alfresco dining) and four bars, too
What To Know
- Staff tries hard, but service sometimes falls short of five-star expectations
- Nile Wing, built in 1961, dwarfs the original Old Palace Wing
- Don’t count on using that infinity pool or dining alfresco in midwinter
- Pets are permitted for a fee of $30 per day
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Built in 1899, in the heyday of luxury travel on the Nile, this grande dame of Egyptian tourism was given a makeover by renowned interior architect Sybille de Margerie before reopening with a classy new look in late 2010. Old motifs, redolent of Khedivial Egypt — such as the red and white arches and gilt and crimson chairs that embellish the fine dining 1902 restaurant — have been retained, but the once-gloomy lobby area sports clean new styling, with pale marble floors and dark leather armchairs that bring it up to date without losing its original flair. Making the most of the Nile Wing’s more minimalist lines, the designer has given this 1960s tower a brighter, more contemporary look, with clean lines and a palette of pale gray, pale lemon, sea-green and blue. Outside, though, both wings retain their original ochre paintwork, echoing the natural sandstone of their setting.
Bed and Bath
In the Old Palace Wing, rose-pink walls enclose slim four-poster beds boasting Sofitel’s signature MyBed mattresses. White Egyptian cotton sheets are augmented with crimson scatter pillows and bedspreads that chime with burgundy plush armchairs and creamy sculpted rugs. Marble bathrooms have separate showers and tubs, with Hermès soaps and shampoos. Other in-room goodies include a Nespresso coffeemaker. Nile Wing rooms and suites have pale cream walls and soft, modern furnishings in dove-gray fabric, brightened by sea-green and blue cushions. In suites, a half-width glass partition divides sleeping and sitting areas, and goodies include Bose sound systems. As in the Old Palace rooms, marble bathrooms offer Hermès toiletries. Best of all, each Nile Wing room and suite has a private balcony overlooking the Nile.
The Nile-side infinity pool, surrounded by palms and gardens, is perfection. Enclosed by glittering mosaic columns, the heated indoor SoSPA pool looks fit for a pharaoh’s princess, offering a haven when the occasional chilly winter day makes outdoor swimming less appealing. Eight treatment rooms offer SoSPA’s signature treatments and therapies, including Maria Berenson’s Soin Sublime “beauty ceremony” and products by Cinq Mondes. The SoFIT gym offers TechnoGym, cross training, and bikes. Four restaurants and the same number of bars cover all the culinary bases, from classic French cuisine at 1902 to poolside snacks at Palms. Saraya serves a Mediterranean menu, and the jewel in the crown is Oriental-Kebabgy, which serves authentic grilled dishes from Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey accompanied by spicy dips and Middle Eastern breads. At teatime or sunset the place to be is the Promenade, a palm-shaded riverside terrace. Lounge on a chaise lounge at Yasmin, choose from the edgy menu at the brasserie-style Terrace, and end the evening in the clubby leather and mahogany surroundings of the Bar.
In the Area
A sunset felucca cruise on the Nile is mandatory. Other musts include a trip to Elephantine Island, home to the ancient Temple of Khnum, and the relic-heavy Aswan Museum. Daytrips take you to the astonishing Kalabsha and Philae temples, relocated to islands in Lake Nasser to save them from the rising waters after the damming of the Nile in the last century. For a grand finale, take the longer trip to see the colossal statues at Abu Simbel — the most amazing sight in Upper Egypt.
How to Get There
We stayed in an Opera Suite that gives a fantastic view over the Nile. The service by the front
desk persons, Aya-san, Mina-san and etc, were all so good!! I would like to return this hotel
some time in the near future.
I spent 3 nights here with a small tour group. The old hotel housed Agatha Christie when she was writing Death on the Nile and Winston Churchill when he was prime ministerplus other notables. We were able to visit the huge Agatha Christie suite which is still rented out at a hefty price.
I and my friend stayed in the new wing....all rooms had a great view of the Nile river. Our room on the top floor was large with a great bathroom, comfortable beds and a large deck with the Nile view. We spent several hours there just watching the river activities.
The included breakfast buffet was excellent. The staff in general was helpful and very professional. One of the best hotels I have ever stayed in. Aswan itself is also very interesting and historical.
Amazingly beautiful hotel with spacious rooms. The breakfast buffet is wonderful each morning. Thank you to Mustafa he took care of our breakfast needs each morning. The views are fantastic. You must stay here, even if it’s only for one night. Lovely!
We stayed here after disembarking from the S.S. Sudan cruise. We booked the cruise and hotel as an homage to Agatha Christie, and the Old Cataract did not disappoint. We had a suite in the new building, and the only negative is that the room was almost too big. There was a powder room, dressing room, huge bath, living room and fabulous balcony overlooking the pool and the Nile. Too bad it was near 100 F or we would have enjoyed them more. Lovely staff and service with great attention to detail. Prices were a bargain for what you get in return. The people of Aswan are so friendly. Our only regret is that we didn't stay here longer.
The location on the Nile is breathtaking. Eating breakfast on the porch or sipping a glass of wine in the bar is perfectin. The hotel is old but has been fully modernized without loosing the magic of its history. The wood work, the windows, the balconies are perfect. The service is outstanding.
there are two sections - the old with the rooms Agatha Christie and Winston Churchill stayed in and a newer building with more modern Nile views. We stayed in the old section and would not have changed it for anything. The room and the history are wonderful. Spend the extra money if you can for a suite so that you will have a view of the Nile. The other rooms have views of the garden. The view from our beautiful room was worth the price. And the experience of the old hotel is one you will always remember.