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Hotel Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel 5 star
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

Outside, the palace is of a Victorian style, while inside it has an oriental decoration. The Old Cataract is more than just a hotel, it is a legend facing Aswan and the Nile, perched on its promontory. Appropriate for a stay in another time.

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    • Hotel Sofitel Legend Old Cataract

      Sofitel Legend Old Cataract   -   ©

    • Hotel Sofitel Legend Old Cataract

      Sofitel Legend Old Cataract   -   ©

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    Location 9.0 /10

    The Old Cataract is perched on a high place, on the ledge of Aswan, in front of the Elephantine Island. At ten minute walk from the city centre. 6 miles away from the airport (allow half an hour by taxi). From the terrace, the view on the desert is magical, the Nile and the feluccas sailing in silence.

    Accommodation 9.70 /10

    The hotel's 131 rooms, from the standard rooms that are quite affordable to the presidential suite, have an even comfort. The furniture varies from one room to another, but it is always original, from the standard room to all 12 suites arranged in different themes: Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill, Presidential Suite (2,100 square feet with a panoramic view terrace)... These suites are of a remarkable size: from 860 to 2,100 square feet, with a dressing room, a lounge, a huge marble bathroom with a jacuzzi. The standard rooms (40% of all 131 rooms), of a surface of 230 square feet, almost all overlook the garden. Some have a small terrace. The higher class rooms (more than 270 square feet - 20% of the rooms, with views on the Nile or the garden) and the "Deluxe" or "Privilege" rooms (40% of the rooms, about 480 square feet) are remarkable. Some have large balconies or terraces overlooking the Elephantine Island. Much larger than the standard rooms, they are more luxurious and offer more refined furniture. All the bathrooms are impeccable, and made of marble. The bathrooms are large and equipped with bath tubs and hair dryers. Direct telephone line for international calls, air conditioning and TV with many foreign channels. There is a safe at the front desk.

    Overview 9.80 /10

    Built in 1899, this hotel is a legend. Behind its Victorian façade, the hotel has retained its original elegance (a royal palace dedicated to VIP guests). Redeployed as a luxury hotel after the political regime had changed, it is now managed by the Accor Group. You can only welcome its 1992 renovation, which managed to respect the spirit of the place. All the interior of the palace breathes out the oriental lifestyle. Ever since the reception area, the charm is working: Mashrabiya ornaments, polished marble, stained-glass windows, polychrome paintings, domes and revolving doors. The reception hall opens onto the magnificent terrace overlooking the Nile. The stairs and the elevator leading to the rooms, controlled by a lift boy in traditional oriental attire, are situated at the end of a corridor in red velvet carpeting. Many nooks enable oneself to isolate quite easily: the "lazy corner", natural rocks that rise in the gardens and overlook the Nile, the "King Fouad corner", a sort of promontory under a shady bower, or the small Roman benches at the farthest end of the ledge. It is also worth mentioning the exceptional style the "Saint-Exupery" reading room: a beautiful sun-lit and circular-shaped room whose walls are covered with books, a wooden and middle-class library atmosphere.

    Food and drink 9.60 /10

    The cuisine is varied: continental, Italian, Nubian or oriental. At the terrace you can have drinks, snacks and "afternoon tea" at sunset. The gastronomic restaurant, named "1902", serves breakfasts and dinners à la carte in an elegant atmosphere and with a delicious oriental touch. It is located in the former reception hall of the palace, with a high vaulted ceiling and chandeliers made of copper. You must make a booking as places are limited (people not staying at the hotel can also eat there. The restaurant can accommodate up to 300 seats). The pizzeria grill in the garden offers dishes prepared in traditional ovens. The Darna, a restaurant serving Egyptian specialities, serves lunches and dinners. You can also enjoy, not far away, the snack of the New Cataract hotel that serves simple international dishes at affordable prices and the restaurant on the first floor offering excellent thematic buffets (we recommend the succulent Nubian buffet, which is very fine cuisine). Equally, there is an English bar, cosy and warm, on the right just after the reception area, where English leather is mixed with oriental armchairs. In the evening, the Nubian musicians like to linger there before leaving the hotel. Finally, the Old Cataract has a pool bar and a chic snack bar on the ledge (located below the large terrace overlooking the promenade of the ledge: a few chairs and small round tables to have a one-to-one romantic drink). Upon request, organization of special dinners on a felucca boat or at the "King Fouad Corner".

    To know

    Everything is charming in this big palace renovated by Accor in 1992 and where what could be retained in its original state has been preserved, including some furniture and outdated, damask and rococo fabrics. A unique hotel that would go through fire and water for its customers (excellent "guest relation" service). one issue though, but it is a constant in Egypt: the table service is not up to the hotel category. This little inconvenience is outweighed by the kindness of the hotel staff.


    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      beauty salon, spa, hammam, sauna, massage, Turkish bath, keep fit

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      tennis, sports, gym, water-polo, fitness

    • Animals allowed
    • Safe
    • Non-smoking rooms
    • Solarium
    • Meeting room


    • The garden
    • The access to the pool and the garden of the neighbouring palace of the Old Cataract
    • The 1902 restaurant
    • The cuisine is varied and rather good
    • The serenity
    • The terrace
    • The rocks of the "lazy corner"
    • The architecture and the furniture
    • The warm welcome
    • The rooms are all different


    • The service
    • The architecture from the 1960s
    • The pool that closes down at sunset (as it is not guarded any more)

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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