Openings

10/14/2011

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan, a myth reborn

In the Nubian Desert on the banks of the Nile River across from Elephantine Island the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan (Egypt) has risen from its ashes after a 3-year closure.

The venerable Old Cataract’s story began in 1899 in the heart of sparkling Aswan in South Egypt, its very name taken from the marriage of the river and the granite wall that forms the first cataract of the Nile. More than a hotel, Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan is a destination unto itself.

Sofitel entrusted Sybille de Margerie with the task of bringing the luxury of the myth to life once again while conserving the original beauty of the Victorian building. A true challenge, given the weight of history that every wall bears and the rich memories of the legendary visitors who once crossed its threshold.

The soul and splendor of the place are preserved, the architecture updated for a decidedly contemporary face – Sybille de Margerie has risen to the challenge by bringing together Victorian, Middle Eastern and French styles.

From its rose granite plateau rising above the sacred river, the Sofitel Old Cataract offers visitors two different experiences in the hotel’s rooms and suites. The historic charm of The Palace pervades its 76 accommodations, including 45 suites. From Agatha Christie to Sir Winston Churchill and including Agha Khan, many  famous faces have stayed here, movie stars, heads of state and crowned heads. Once a legend always a legend, and here that has held true through the extravagant transformation that managed to preserve the site’s heritage in such touches as the Byzantine-style striped arches.
The contemporary elegance of The Nile wing numbers 62 accommodations, 37 of which are suites, all with a balcony and a view of the famous river. The friezes and chandeliers found in the historic wing are reproduced here, inextricably linking the two buildings.

Some moments seem to exist out of time. Tea served in the setting sun, a ritual as Agatha Christie experienced it, is a must while visiting.

Emblematic spa and hammam created
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.

Restaurants & Bars
Sofitel Legend Old Cataract now boasts a choice of four restaurants, including the legendary 1902, made famous by its Qualaun crypt, 20-meter high dome and décor worthy of the Thousand and One Nights. In addition, you can enjoy the Mediterranean restaurant Oriental Kebabgy and its superb terrace overlooking the Nile, formerly known as Nefertari. Le Palms, located near the pool, welcomes guests with light snacks throughout the day. Lastly, a gem of the renewed hotel, a new restaurant was created, Al Saraya, for an exceptional moment over breakfast or dinner, inside the superb décor or outside 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”. La Promenade on the rose granite walkway offers a first-class view of Elephantine Island, making it THE place in Aswan to meet for a cocktail or a traditional tea. In the lobby, THE BAR has all the magic of a piano bar amidst the elegance of Middle Eastern décor. The Yasmin Vitamin Bar & Lounge overlooks the pool and gardens.

The soft opening took place on September 15th and the hotel welcomed the G20 Tourism Ministers' meeting at the end of the month.

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