History Old Cataract Present Old Cataract

Old Cataract

Built in 1899, under the impulse of Thomas Cook, The Old Cataract opened in January 1900. It is an architectural jewel. The exterior is typical of the late Victorian era, while on the inside the hotel exudes a rich arabesque feel with lavishly decorated Moorish furniture and wood carvings. It comes as no surprise that The Old Cataract was a favourite haunt of the aristocracy at the height of British colonial pomp. It also has the interesting distinction of always having been an operational hotel, rather than a royal palace like many of the other famous Egyptian hotels.

More under history.


1900: Opening year.


1899: The hotel was constructed. It was the brainchild of Thomas Cook, the world’s first tour operator, who wanted a base to put up tourists taking part in his Nile cruises, hugely popular at the tail end of the 19th century.

1900, January: The hotel opened its doors. Allegedly The Cataract was so popular in the months after it opened that the management had to pitch tents on the hotel grounds to cope with the demand.

The Egyptian Gazette reported on 3 January 1900: "Much has been said lately of the building and opening of new palatial and magnificent hotels, all eager to cater for the accommodation of the tourists who flock to Egypt each winter in their thousands. Still another worthy of mention is fast approaching completion and is soon to be thrown open to the public. Mr Pagnon expects to be able to open the Cataract Hotel at Assouan on the 8th and judging from the number of rooms already engaged and the way others are being booked there is every reason to believe the hotel will open with from 80 to 100 guests. The building –or rather two thirds of it – has been finished some time, and men are now actively engaged in laying in the electric light installations, furnishing the spacious rooms and saloons, and putting on the hundred and one finishing touches."

It was followed by a story, also in the Gazette, on the 11 January 1900 concerning a dinner held at the Cataract along with an ad for the hotel.

1978: The hotel stars in the Hollywood version of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile, starring Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot.

2010: the hotel undergoes extensive renovations.

Prominent visitors to The Old Cataract include Howard Carter, who found Tutankhamen's tomb, Sir Winston Churchill, Agatha Christie, Czar Nicolas II, Lady Diana and Jimmy Carter.

Have you seen the classic Hollywood production of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile? The one starring Peter Ustinov, Jane Birkin, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury and David Niven? If so, you'll recognise the terrace and Moorish ballroom of The Old Cataract, where part of the drama unfolds.

Death on the Nile (1978), directed by John Guillermin

Antoane Louhgouno
Ramsis Shaker

Managed by: Sofitel
123 rooms and 8 suites Rooms
8 Suites

Audible smoke alarms Dead bolt in rooms 220/240 V AC Airconditioning Minibar Satellite/cable colour TV Telephone Voicemail Security peephole Bathtub Make-up/magnifying mirror Separate shower Telephone in bathroom

1902 (main restaurant) ------ The Terrace (restaurant) ------ 1a Terrace (bar) ------ Classical Corner (bar) ------ Pullman Bar ------ Elephantine Bar

Have a bite at the Terrace restaurant, while taking in the breathtaking view of the Nile, a white sea of Felucca sails that sparkles from sunrise to sunset.

Tennis Court ------ Heated swimming pool ------ Mini golf ------ Running track ------ Felucca sailing ------ Billiards and darts

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Our Select Member Hotel

Old Cataract
Country: Egypt
City: Aswan
Opening date: 1900, January

Note from the Host

General Manager


Hotel Manager: Nabil el Aref


Abtal El Tahrir Street
Egypt, Aswan

Tel: (+20)97/2316000
Fax: +20 97 31 60 02

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