If someone told me 35 years ago that I would be traveling to Egypt with two people whom I have known since grade school, I would have told this person they were absurd. It did happen though, and I will say that I love how the universe puts together these memorable rendezvous with others. We had come a long way from working at the mall, and eating burgers on the beach. Although having a burger on the beach is still a great thing to do.
We were in Aswan, Egypt after flying in from a few days of exploring Cairo. I thought it would a treat if we dined, and had cocktails at the legendary Old Cataract Hotel. I had seen photos and read about the history but our experience exceeded what I was expecting.
The Old Cataract Hotel has an impressive history dating back to 1899 when it was built by Thomas Cook. It was constructed as a Luxury Five Star Hotel, and has hosted notable travelers as Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, Tsar Nicholas II, Former President Jimmy Carter, and Queen Noor. As well as the brilliant Agatha Christie who set her novel Death on the Nile at this hotel. There is also a small library inside that is dedicated to Agatha Christie, and is a reading room with many of her beloved novels.
The interior of the Old Cataract Hotel was stunning with Moorish details in the arches, dark red colored stripes along the wall, and elegant hanging chandeliers. The dark wood furnishings were timeless, and set a brilliant setting for one to relax in while waiting out the Egyptian heat. We loved every detail about this hotel, and enjoyed our several hours spent here.
I had already made restaurant reservations, which I highly recommend. You will have to pass through a security room before you get on property. It is easier if you already have your name reserved, and all you need to do is show your ID.
After we enjoyed the splendor of the main lobby and the coziness of the Agatha Christie reading room, we headed outside for cocktails and to watch the sunset. The Promenade outside the hotel that faces the Nile River was breathtaking.
There were comfortable cushioned wicker sofas, chairs, and glass coffee tables to place your cocktails. The views of the Nile River were unforgettable, and I am sure these moments will be in our minds forever. We relaxed and chatted, had a couple of cigarettes with our over priced cocktails, and watched the sunset over the Nile.
Enjoying these moments with a cocktail that matches my dress, of course! I did not mean for that to happen, but things like this do happen. 🍸
Once the sun went down it was time for our superb dinner. If you decide to have dinner at the Old Cataract Hotel or are staying here, make sure that you time your dinner after sunset. Cocktails before dinner have always been a standard for myself and my friends. Although having cocktails in this setting before dinner was one for the ‘Trixie Books’.
– On the Table –
The menu at the Old Cataract Hotel is International Cuisine, meaning that it is not food traditional to the country. In the United States, International Cuisine could be anything from Middle Eastern to Asian Food. In Egypt, more than likely International dining will be European dishes or what we are used to in America.
Dinner at the Old Cataract is considered fine dining, but it is also comfortable and low key. If you are staying at the hotel, you will have access to sit on the terrace which used to be the favorite of Agatha Christie. I did try to get us a table on the terrace but apparently they are strict on their policies. We dined inside, and I have no complaints as it was both pleasant and delicious.
There were only three of us and we were served a bountiful bread basket. We did not mind it at all, and I believe that we at the whole basket with our dinner. Fresh baked bread is always a winner at any meal.
Our Main Courses
There were several mouthwatering dishes on the menu and it took us some time to decide on what we wanted. We all decided on different dishes, which is a change because my friend and I usually order the same dishes. In this case we did order the sea bass but prepared differently. My other friend ordered the pasta, which looked very good as well.
I am a dessertarian as well as my friends. There is nothing like ending a beautiful meal with a heavenly dessert. We were pleasantly surprised when we were brought out these divine desserts. Every dish was attractively plated, rich in flavors, and a lovely way to end our evening at the Old Cataract Hotel.
If there comes a day that I find myself back in Aswan, I do plan on staying at this luxurious resort. I would love to experience more than a cocktail and a fine meal at the Old Cataract. Although for now, I am grateful for experiencing just that.
Dinner is better when we eat together
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property- Trixie Navarre