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Old Cataract Hotel

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The Old Cataract Hotel

Perhaps one of the most enduring images of Egypt is the Nile flowing by the veranda of the Old Cataract Hotel. The hotel was constructed by Thomas Cook -- who organized the first tourst trips to Egypt -- so it was never a palace or hunting lodge, like Mena House or the Old Winter Palace.

The hotel opened on 11 December 1899 with all the luxuries -- electric lights and all. It was originally designed for 60 visitors, but was enlarged dramatically in 1901 to accomodate the poeple who were sleeping in tents on the grounds in some seasons.

The Cataract's guest list includes Czar Nicolas II, Howard Carter, Sir Winston Churchill, Agatha Christie, the Duke of Connaught, the 3rd son of Queen Victoria, the Aga Khan III, King Farouk of Egypt, the Shah of Iran, Nahas Pacha, Khedive Abbas Helmi Soverein of Egypt, Mohamed V King of Morocco, Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Helmut Kohl, Queen Noura of Jordan, Lady Diana and the Princess Caroline of Monaco.

It is, of course, the veranda that is the attraction of the hotel -- open to guests to sit and have a cold beer (or ice cream!) and enjoy the view. It's lovely.



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