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New life for Agatha Christie's 'Death on the Nile' hotel

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Sofitel Luxury Hotels has reopened its venerable Old Cataract hotel in Aswan Egypt following a three-year closure and extensive renovation program.

Perhaps most famous for inspiring author Agatha Christie's 'Death On Nile' novel, penned while in residence, the hotel has been both preserved and updated as a result of the renovation. The result is a new look 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.

Located in the Nubian Desert on the banks of the Nile River across from Elephantine Island, the revived Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan has risen again after its closure to continue a long story that began back in 1899 in the heart of sparkling Aswan. It's very name was 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 French interior designer 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, and 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 Legend Old Cataract Aswan 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 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.

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 1200m� So SPA that is a temple of well-being with 8 treatment booths, 3-room hammam and indoor pool. Impressive views, and elegant, original d�cor along with French cosmetic expertise from Cinq Mondes makes this So Spa space one of the finest new additions to the hotel.

So Spa treatments are an original well-being concept from Sofitel that draw inspiration from gastronomical French cuisine, another of Sofitel's areas of expertise. The Starters, lasting 30 minutes, are aimed at active young urban dwellers seeking a moment's rest after a full day. The Main Dishes and Desserts last an hour and include full massages, facial care, hot rock massages and other luxuries that will nourish you body and soul.

A veritable icon of fashion and cinema, Marisa Berenson has created a beauty ritual just for Sofitel that includes her secret to beauty and youth - Soin Sublime with precious prickly pear oil. A unique beauty ceremony, made truly stunning by the use of gold and crystal accessories from the maison Saint-Louis.

So SPA has also developed its own products, So Exhilarating and So Rejuvenating, exclusive treatments that become classics when accompanied by Sofitel music played on So SPA iPods for the full experience. Every massage table offers an adapted version of the famous Sofitel MyBed concept, the bedding used in all Sofitel Luxury Hotels, for optimum comfort and complete relaxation.

Legendary 1902 Gourmet Restaurant

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract now boasts a choice of four restaurants, including the legendary 1902, made famous by its Qualaun crypt. A majestic 20-metre high dome with d�cor worthy of the Thousand and One Nights theme evoked by the region. 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". 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 d�cor. The Yasmin Vitamin Bar & Lounge overlooks the pool and gardens.

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