HOTEL INSIDER: Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan

HOTEL INSIDER: Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel Aswan in Egypt, a 19th century Victorian palace, is a beacon of charm and elegance, and rises high from a ledge of pink granite overlooking the majestic Nile. This iconic palace hotel is renowned world wide not only for its gracious interiors and manicured terraces, but also for its impeccable service.

The personal and attentive service begins with the porter, wearing a fez, transporting you from the gates to the entrance on a golf cart, only 100-meters away.


As you enter the lobby you are greeted with an opulent mélange of French and Arabian styles. The sophisticated interiors by the French interior designer, Sybille de Margerie, include polished marble floors, gold and maroon Moorish arches, ruby red chandeliers, plush Persian carpets, soft armchairs and hand-carved furnishings. The halls are adorned with photographs of royals, artists, and other luminaries who’ve stayed here.

As you arrive, the receptionist leads you to the bar for a drink of delightful hibiscus juice, tells you to relax and rest while she takes care of your check in process.


The location of the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel Aswan is simply stunning. The hotel overlooks the palm-lined river, graced with white felucca sails, and the Elephantine Island at the crossroads of the Nile River Valley and the Nubian Desert. The terrace of the hotel has a reputation as the preferred location to experience an Egyptian sunset.


The Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan offers its guests two different experiences in the hotel's rooms and suites, all united by their elegant decor, contemporary luxuries and signature Sofitel My Beds.

The historic charm of the palace with its earthy reds and warm browns extends to its 76 rooms and suites in the Palace Wing. The two biggest rooms are the Agatha Christie and Sir Winston Churchill suites, both with magnificent and private terraces.

The contemporary elegance and the vibrant hues of green and blue of the new nine-story Nile Wing create a fresh atmosphere and count 62 rooms with a terrace overlooking the famous river and a view on the Palace.


The Palace Opera Suite has a separate living room and bedroom with a king-sized bed, an oversized bathroom with a bathtub and a walk-in shower, and a dressing room. These suites also offer balconies with panoramic views of the river. The corner suite we stayed at had two balconies, one off the living room and one off the bedroom. The golden sunset views were absolutely spectacular.


The Winston Churchill and the Agatha Christie Suites would set you off several thousand dollars but you can also request a tour of the suites to see them.

The 138 square meter/1500 square foot Winston Churchill Suite is comprised of a stately bedroom with a king-size bed, separate living and dining rooms adorned with rich wooden furniture, and an 80 square meter/861 square foot scenic terrace overlooking the Nile.



The hotel's four restaurants and three bars cover every culinary corner of the globe. The signature 1902 restaurant offers French cuisine, Oriental Kebabgi Middle Eastern, Saraya offers Mediterranean, and The Terrace international cuisine. The ambiance and view top the food that is good but not great. The tables of the Terrace Restaurant boast some of the most enviable views in Egypt. Breakfast is also served at the spectacular Terrace.

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel Aswan is a perfect place to indulge in some luxury. We stayed there after cruising the Nile on a traditional dahabiya which was luxurious and comfortable but a little tight. The Old Cataract was the fantastic way to end an absolutely fabulous week on the Nile.

Read about the Nile river cruise experience on a dahabiya here: Nile River Cruise in Style: Onboard Nour El Nil's Dahabiya and Nile River Cruise with Nour El Nil: Complete Itinerary.