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
- Handicap Accessible
- 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 had a great lunch in the place where Agatha Christie wrote Death on the Nile. The food was delicious and the staff gladly accommodated our food allergies. The lentils are fantastic. Highly recommend this restaurant.
In the middle of paradise, you can take the breakfast or a tea in the balconies with a beautiful landscape and the Nile at your feet
The rooms are excellent only the lamps light are very dim to allow reading a book
My husband and I stayed at this stunning hotel for 2 nights in a Palace Cataract King Suite with Nile View. The hotel and our experience was, by far, the best of all hotels we stayed in while holidaying in Egypt.
Our suite was breathtakingly beautiful; the size of a large apartment, a very nice welcome food tray and, best of all, the balcony with the gorgeous views to the Nile. We spent our first evening on the balcony, sipping Egyptian sparkling wine (a surprisingly positive new acquaintance), and watching the sun set over the Nile.
Service was, mostly, good and - again - the best we had of the different hotels we stayed at in Egypt. There were a few odd lapses, but nothing terribly catastrophic.
The only thing that ruined the otherwise perfect stay for us were the four "gentlemen" at King Fouad's Corner (private dining) who thought it completely acceptable to blast their music at tinnitus-inducing, earplug-defying volumes in the middle of the night. I called reception to complain. Nothing happened. I then marched over in my nightgown to complain directly to the poor waiter serving these idiots. The music was slightly lowered as a result but went on until around 2 am (1.30?), when I was able to finally also sleep. Completely unacceptable.
Disregarding this unfortunate incident, our stay in this historic, well-maintained heritage property was lovely.