Thursday, October 13, 2011

The legend of The Old Cataract Hotel - Aswan, Egypt

Located in the Nubian Desert on the banks of the Nile River across from Elephantine Island, the Old Cataract Hotel has a history that is intoxicating and rich, a long story that began back in 1899 in the heart of sparkling Aswan. This venerable hotel has been the destination of choice for some of history's most notable figures, famous faces, movie stars, heads of state and crowned heads. Sir Winston Churchill and Agha Khan have stayed here, and author Agatha Christie actually penned her famous novel 'Death on the Nile' while in residence! What was it about this place that had the cream of society so enchanted? 

Once a legend always a legend, and the hotel has been both preserved and updated as a result of the renovation, with a new look that respects the rich history, and new name to become the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan, joining Sofitel’s illustrious ‘Legend’ collection of historically significant hotels around the world which includes the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Vietnam, and the Sofitel Legend The Grand in Amsterdam.   

The extravagant transformation that managed to preserve the site’s heritage in such touches as the Byzantine-style striped arches of the Old Cataract hotel, retaining its palace charm with 76 accommodations, including 45 suites.

The two most spacious suites, named the Agatha Christie Suite and the Winston Churchill Suite offer their own private terraces and amazing views. The contemporary and elegant new The Nile wing features 62 rooms, 37 of which are suites. All offer a balcony and a view of the famous Nile river. Each room also boasts intricate artwork (friezes) and chandeliers, reproducing and reflecting the historic aspects of the original historical wing to inextricably link the two buildings. Particular attention was paid to the bathrooms; some rooms even offer guests the luxury of taking a bath while gazing out over the Nile. The biggest suite in this wing is the Agha Khan Suite.

The Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan unveils a brand new 1200m² So SPA that is a temple of well-being with 8 treatment booths, 3-room hammam and indoor pool. Impressive views, and elegant, original décor along with French cosmetic expertise from Cinq Mondes makes this So Spa space one of the finest new additions to the hotel.

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract now boasts a choice of four restaurants, including the legendary 1902, made famous by its Qualaun crypt, with a majestic 20-metre high dome. A true experience is to have dinner in this breathtaking outlet, as in ancient times, and indeed there is still a dress code to get in. Wooden floors, beautiful lights and chandeliers, delicate and elegant table settings make it an unforgettable dining experience.

In addition, guests can enjoy Sofitel’s new Mediterranean restaurant Oriental Kebabgy and its superb terrace overlooking the Nile. Le Palms, located poolside, beckons with light snacks throughout the day. Lastly, a gem of the renewed hotel is new restaurant Al Saraya offering exceptional breakfasts and dinners with a breathtaking view of the eternal Nile.

As if it were still the Belle Epoque, four bars provide four different experiences and many more unforgettable moments, beginning in La Terrasse, with its famous “King Fouad’s Corner” and including La Promenade on the rose granite walkway (with a first-class view of Elephantine Island, making it THE place in Aswan to meet for a cocktail or a traditional tea) and the lobby bar with all the magic of a piano bar amidst the elegance of Middle Eastern décor. There is even a Yasmin Vitamin Bar & Lounge overlooking the pool and gardens!

Sounds absolutely divine to us ... a truly exotic experience in a place where the imagination and romance can really run wild. You can see more of Sofitel Legend Old Cataract and the rest of the Sofitel Legend hotel collection at their website. And start planning your own style of the Thousand and One Nights fairytale!

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