Afternoon Tea at the Old Cataract in Aswan

Still Monday 7 January 2008: In the felucca, we sailed past the Old Cataract Hotel. From the Nile, this old world hotel looks grand, perched on the granite bluff above. If you’ve seen Death on the Nile, it will also look familiar. Alex, my oldest daughter, enjoys sipping tea in old world hotels, preferably while wearing a big hat, looking mysterious. So instead of returning to Helio, our boat (our home actually), we decide to have afternoon tea at the Old Cataract.

Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan

As it’s a fair distance from the docks to the Old Cataract, we catch a caleche. Cat sits up front with the driver this time and is pleased as punch. Me, I’m not too keen, especially when the driver whips the horse into a gallop. The poor horse is so thin, you can count its ribs. Also, we’re surrounded by busses and lorries.

Uniformed guards at the gate inform us we have to pay 85 Egyptian pounds to enter. They obviously don’t want any riff-raff hanging about. However, the entrance fee can be applied to anything you buy while here, and we are having tea. To spend all of the 170 pounds (small children are free), we even have Royal Tea.

As non-residents, we must have our tea at the lower terraces. The grand terrace where there’s a band, plush, comfortable sofas and, not least, a roof over our heads, is for residents only.

Agatha Christie was once a resident of the Old Cataract. Do I ever want to be one? Well, I’m not so sure.

Afternoon tea at the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan.

Then again, I probably will…

Center map


33 Responses to “Afternoon Tea at the Old Cataract in Aswan”

  1. Renee King 29 January 2012 2343 #

    Sophie-Anne, I’m glad that you didn’t let the high brow attitude ruin your lovely tea with the girls. It was still overall a great experience for you it seems and you made the best of it. It is a lovely place and now you have wonderful memories to share with the wee ones.

  2. Renee King 29 January 2012 2344 #

    Sorry about that Anne-Sophie…this is what little sleep gets me. lol

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 February 2012 1045 #

      No worries, Renee. Sophie-Anne is a nice name, too 🙂

  3. Erica Hargreave @ Roamancing 30 January 2012 0026 #

    Loving the picture of the girls. I always love going to high tea with my nieces, and after being to Egypt, rather relish the idea of high tea on the Nile.

  4. Andrew Graeme Gould 30 January 2012 0402 #

    What a great location, Sophie. Sounds like a wonderful place to visit!

  5. Cathy Sweeney 30 January 2012 0527 #

    Look at those happy faces while having Royal Tea. I guess it’s kind of a mystery as to if you’ll be a resident there. 🙂

  6. ItalianNotes 30 January 2012 0757 #

    I recognize the glee of of coming across a sinful lot of familiar cakes in unfamiliar surroundings. It’s great.

  7. robin 30 January 2012 0931 #

    Your daughter is quite right of course that a mysterious look is de rigeur for these old places. I like to pick a spot in the lobby and pretend to read a newspaper…

    Egypt is one of my most visited countries but I’ve still never made it to Aswan!

  8. Emilia 30 January 2012 1051 #

    I love the excitement on your daughter’s face! It must be bacause of the cakes. 🙂

  9. Turkey's For Life 30 January 2012 1101 #

    Glad you got to enjoy the experience of the tea in such a grand place. We found a similar attitude when we went into the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul. Never have we felt so unwanted – great to be there though! 😉

  10. adventureswithben 30 January 2012 1457 #

    I love the smile on their faces!

  11. InsideJourneys 30 January 2012 1536 #

    Sophie, by the look on your daughter’s face, I’d say that 85 Egyptian pounds was well spent.

  12. inka 30 January 2012 1615 #

    I’m with your oldese daughter, looking mysterious and wearing a big hat. Places like these are where I feel most at home… I dream and pretend to be a movie star. I’m also quite capable of answering attitude with attitude!!!

  13. Court @ Haunt Jaunts 30 January 2012 1826 #

    OMG! You had me at “Agatha Christie”. This looks like a PHENOMENAL place to have high tea!!!! (And how cute is your last picture? TOO CUTE!)

  14. Michael Figueiredo 31 January 2012 0249 #

    What an experience that must have been! 🙂

  15. Annie - FootTracker 31 January 2012 1128 #

    The girls look so happy with their smiles =) For me I would love to wear a puffy Victorian dress while having my high tea, with many lads keeping me company XDDD

  16. Ana (Ana Travels) 31 January 2012 1446 #

    I like how your eldest daughter thinks! I could sip tea in hold hotels all day long 🙂

  17. Tea with your girls can’t be beat!

  18. Melinda Eliza 1 February 2012 0322 #

    I remember sailing up the Nile on a falucca and seeing that majestic hotel. Who knew it was 85 Egyptian pounds just to enter! That’s a lot of money but, in my opinion, you earned it all back with that fabulous image of your girls!

  19. Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 February 2012 1047 #

    Thanks for reading, everyone 🙂

  20. Abby 2 February 2012 1543 #

    That is SO fun!!

  21. Gladys | 2 February 2012 1638 #

    a royal tea time indeed… the kids are so cute!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 February 2012 1134 #

      Thanks Gladys 🙂

  22. Angela 2 February 2012 1700 #

    Similar feeling when we went to the Emirates Palace, well, the first time they refused us the entrance.. Is it a hotel or what? Can I say I much prefer little, dirty, local places?? 😉

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 February 2012 1136 #

      Yes, you absolutely can 🙂
      I like both ends of the scale – luxurious places or the grottier little ones with heaps of personality. The middling, bland ones are a bit more dull.

  23. Sonja 3 February 2012 0829 #

    Once again, you’ve been some very interesting places!

  24. Lisa 3 February 2012 1718 #

    What a fabulous spot to have tea – I’m pretty sure I’d be grinning like that too!

  25. Vera Marie Badertscher 3 February 2012 1845 #

    Wow! That’s a pricey tea. I don’t even want to think about what the room rates would be.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 8 February 2012 2243 #

      I checked the room rates – and remember they weren’t too off-putting.

  26. Andrea 4 February 2012 0530 #

    I like the idea of making you purchase a certain amount to enter places like these. Otherwise the people there to eat and drink have to put up with too many crowds.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 8 February 2012 2241 #

      You may have a point, Andrea. Only serious visitors…

  27. That smile = pure excitement

  28. [email protected] 18 December 2013 1243 #

    It absolutely did look familiar, good old Agatha Christie! Looks splendid, still 🙂

    (That last picture was adorable!)

Leave a Reply