Aswan and Lake Nasser Feature
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The Old Cataract Hotel
The Old Cataract (www.sofitel.com), which opened in 1900, is a living monument to the age of imperialism. Rising out of a granite bluff overlooking the temples of Elephantine Island and the stark mountains of the West Bank, it belongs to the Nile. The orderly sprawl of the brick Victorian facade is dotted with wooden balconies and terraces where one could imagine Agatha Christie enjoying a gin and tonic while watching the sunset. This was the preferred winter resort of the blue bloods of the early 20th century. Howard Carter stayed here after his discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb downriver. Later, Winston Churchill passed through, and the late French president Mitterand was a frequent guest. The hotel's fame was revived in 1978 with the filming of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile, starring Peter Ustinov, and modern visitors flocked to stay in this little piece of history. In 2008, this Sofitel affiliate closed to undertake a comprehensive renovation. At this writing, it is due to open its doors again around New Year's Day 2011.
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