Aswan, Egypt Series: Old Cataract Hotel Review-Travel with Kids

Back in July, we visited Aswan for a second time and this time stayed at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel. It has a great location right on the Nile in the middle of Aswan with beautiful views. It’s a 5 star hotel and during the summer (low season) it has some amazing deals on rooms, particularly if you book last minute.

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Our cruise included transportation from the end of our tour to the hotel. If you are in charge of your own transportation, I’d suggest doing a taxi or arranging a driver rather than going through the hotel. In July 2018, they quoted us $55 each way for a van to the airport (40 minute drive). Our guide connected us to a driver who did it for $15, so it can definitely be done much cheaper.

The hotel grounds are extensive and beautiful. We were able to check in early, which was greatly appreciated. Again, this was low season, so the hotel was not fully booked. They got us into one room first, and then about 30 mins later our second became available. We’d booked the luxury room, which included a king size bed, sitting area, and large balcony. There was one room cheaper called the palace premium room, which did not have the sitting area or balcony. The luxury room in July was $164 for 2 adults, including breakfast. It will be about double that in high season.

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The luxury room was huge! 667 square feet! Upon entering, there was a small room with the mini bar off the main hall. Then a sitting room with sofas and tv, then the king bedroom. The sitting room and bedroom were separated by a half glass wall, but not by a real wall and door. This made it look more spacious, but is trickier with kids and naps/bedtime.

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Off the bedroom was a dressing room with a ton of closet space. It led into a huge bathroom with shower, soaking tub, toilet, and double sinks. Tons of space. My only complaint with the bathroom was that the door to the toilet was clear glass, which does not allow for privacy when sharing a bathroom.

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The balcony was huge and had seating for 4 and a table with amazing views of the grounds, pool, Nile, Elephantine Island, and the West Bank. Sunsets were great! It was a great spot to hang out when kids went to bed early.

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We had 2 adults in one room and 1 adult and 2 kids in the other. The hotel website lists a maximum of 2 adults and 1 kid per room, though space wise you could easily do 2 adults and 2 kids. It would probably depend on the ages of the kids.  This hotel is not the one to pick if you need multiple rooms for more than 2 children.

We spent some significant time at the pool during our stay. While it does not have a specific kid pool, one end of the pool is shallower and has benches. My 5 year old could easily touch bottom, though my 2.5 year old could not. There were plenty of loungers under trees or umbrellas for shade. From the pool or loungers you cannot see the Nile directly, though the views are still pretty. The pool attendant can provide blow up arm bands for kids needing a little swimming boost.

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We used the pool bar twice for ordering lunch. Food service was slow, but the food was good and the kids found options they liked. For dinner, we ate at their casual restaurant. Again, food took a while, but the waiter and kitchen were happy to customize our kids’ orders based on what they liked. We ate outside under cover.

Breakfast I was least impressed with. Food presumably started at 7, but they were not ready then and finding beverages was particularly tricky. They had a decent fruit and pastry selection, but the other areas were lacking, particularly in hot protein options. One day they had an omelet station, but the other day they did not (both were weekdays).

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Location-wise, you can access boats or feluccas from their dock to sail the Nile or reach Elephantine Island. These boats are private and not connected to the hotel, but use their dock to reach customers. It is just a 10 minute walk to the Nubian Museum (highly recommend) and a short drive to the Unfinished Obelisk.

The views from the balcony of our room were amazing and it was peaceful just to sit there and read while the kids napped.

It is not the most kid friendly hotel if you are looking for specific kid-focused amenities. However, our kids (5 and 2.5) enjoyed the pool and the rooms were big enough to spread out. The bathroom and changing room space were big enough for me to hang out with my toddler in the morning when he woke at the crack of dawn while my 5 year old slept. And the shaded, covered, balcony was lovely for me to be on at night and during nap time. Its location also makes it kid friendly. The grounds are somewhat stroller friendly, though you might have to take a much longer route or carry it up some stairs in some areas.

Another hotel option in Aswan is the Movenpick on Elephantine Island.

For things to do in Aswan, read about our first or second visit.

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