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History Of The Hotel

 

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan

On the bank of the life- giving water of the Nile, Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan overlooks the water from the atop a pink granite pedestal. A unique hotel for over a century, in a city named for Goddess of openness and exchange.
It was built in 1899 and stands at the site of the first cataract or waterfall of the Nile.  Elevated on pink granite plateau, it provides guests with a view of the splendor of the Nile in the heart of Aswan and overlooks Elephantine Island – Capital of the first Nome of Upper Egypt. And it takes its name from the meeting of the river with the granite barrier, which creates the first and northernmost Cataract of the Nile.
It was the world’s first tour operator, Thomas Cook, who had the hotel constructed, mostly for the tourists that his company was escorting down the Nile at the end of the 19th century.  Unlike many other historic hotels in Egypt, it was never a royal palace or a lodge but has been an operational hotel throughout its existence.
The hotel, designed in typical late Victorian style with arabesque influences, was always a favorite of the aristocracy during Egypt’s British colonial period.  
Prestigious guests have included Howard Carter, Sir Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Princess Diana, Czar Nicolas II, Aga Khan III, King Farouk of Egypt, Shah of Iran, Mohamed V King of Morocco, Helmut Kohl, Queen Noura of Jordan and Agatha Christie (the hotel inspired the famous author for her book ‘Death on the Nile’).
Staying at the Cataract has been described as walking into a painting, or a period postcard, with its high ceilings, long halls and Moorish décor.  The most popular feature is the hotel’s Terrace as it is the perfect place for guests to watch the sunset.
In 1939, by the beginning of the Second World War, British families living in Cairo sent their daughters to stay at the Cataract hotel for safety.  Then in 1986, its management was handed over to the French company Accor.
In 2008, the hotel was closed for total renovation and re-opened in 2012 as a unique hotel offering 138 luxurious rooms and suites and is considered a one of its kind hotel in the luxury world of hospitality.

 

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