We've stayed at the Old Cataract before, but that was in 1997, when the hotel, like Egypt (and indeed, the rest of the world) was a very different place. Back then, the Cataract was classed, along with the Winter Palace in Luxor and the Mena House in Cairo, as one of the three best hotels in Egypt. We also stayed, on that occasion, at the Winter Palace and we visited the Mena House, where we had a guided tour of the hotel in order to check it out. All three were wonderful. Time doesn't stand still in the world of tourism, though, and the Cataract was closed for about 3 years for a complete renovation. I cannot imagine any other hotel in Egypt now topping this one, honestly!
The tower block which had been the New Cataract (not unlike the New Winter Palace, a cheap "pack 'em in" place) has been upgraded to "fabulous", whereas the New Winter Palace was just demolished! We'd asked to have a tour of the rooms there when we went to the Cataract for tea while on out last Nile cruise, but every room was booked out, so we couldn't.
Never mind, though, Freda spent three weeks emailing and cajoling the booking lady at the Cataract, and ended up with a great three for two deal, a seasonal discount and a celebratory upgrade (her birthday) and booked a beautiful Nile view suite in the old building. Job done!
We travelled down to Aswan by train, it was the new VIP train and the tickets were 60le for 2nd class. It was very nice, not too many people and very comfortable, and clean as well! The journey was only 2 hours and 55 minutes, and very picturesque being through the day.
The suite was fabulous, here are a few pics for you to drool over, Dear Reader. Firstly, a view from outside. That's our balcony, it has a table with two chairs and a sun lounger:
Next, the view from the entrance into the living area: