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Mövenpick Resort Aswan
The luxury hotel on Elephantine Island

Added on May 1, 2012
At the end of April 2012, I had the chance to stay at the Mövenpick Resort Aswan again. In four years, the hotel has improved a lot. The tower with its restaurant and bar has opened. It offers the best view over Aswan in all four directions. It is not a gastronomic restaurant, but I enjoyed a dinner with vegetable spring rolls, a pumpkin risotto with forest mushrooms and a layered almond biscuit with chocolate ganache with the fabulous view up there!

Another great addition are the four Deluxe Villas and, above all, the magnificent four Royal Villas with direct view over the Nile and Kitchener's Island. The four Royal Suites feature a massive oak door and Egyptian Imperial marble behind the door entrance. The chairs, sofas and the curtains in the living room are made of Egyptian linen and cotton. The oak floor in the living and bedroom offers a warm atmosphere. Egyptian Rattan furniture in the rooms and on the marble terrace complement the favorable impression. The bathroom floor in the Royal Villas is made of Imperial marble, the walls are of Egyptian Bronze and Imperial marble. The sinks and bathtubs are by Duravit, the taps by Grohe. Here you can reside in style!

I hope the hotel management will soon display the photos of the celebrities, as suggested in 2008 already. That would be great publicity!

For more, fresh impressions, check the German review of April 2012. The new photos on this page come with the caption April 2012 photos.


Article added on February 23, 2012
A long history

In 1898, Horatio Herbert Kitchener (1850-1916) won back the Sudan for Egypt or rather Britain, after which he was given the tile Lord Kitchener of Khartoum. In 1911, he became Consul-General in Egypt, where he was instrumental in setting up a legislative assembly, the beginning of Egypt's parliamentary life. Kitchener had similar functions to the prime minister. He became Earl Kitchener in 1914.

Named after this famous man is Kitchener's Island in Aswan. The island was a reward to Lord Kitchener for his role in the Sudan Campaign (1896-98). He transformed it into a marvelous location full of exotic trees and plants. Today, Kitchener's Island is a property of the Egyptian government. It constitutes the Aswan Botanical Garden open to visitors, with a closed biological research station located at the southern tip.

The other major Nile island in Aswan, pretty much parallel to Kitchener's Island, just larger in size, is Elephantine. Situated downstream the First Cataract, Elephantine is an archeological site where excavations are still being made by the German Archaeological Institute. Ancient Egyptians such as Thutmose III, Amenhotep III and others, dating even back to Predynastic period, have left their mark on the island as well as the Greek, the Romans and even the Jews (with a Yahweh temple).

The Mövenpick Resort Aswan

  
In November 2007, I first stayed at the Mövenpick Resort Aswan on Elephantine. The luxury hotel was just in a soft re-opening under the direction of my fellow Swiss, General Manger Urs Umbricht. He had formerly held the same position at the famous Colony Hotel in Jerusalem. The entire hotel has been renovated and all rooms have been refurbished in 2007-08. The floors are in granites from the Aswan area, the bathrooms have marble sinks and the design of the new rooms is inspired by the Nubian heritage.

As in all Mövenpick hotels, you can get Mövenpick ice cream at the Aswan resort. In order to loose the additional kilograms, you have the possibility to play table tennis, which I did extensively.

The original soft opening of the hotel took place in March 1975, when it was part of the Indian Oberoi hotel group. The guest relations manager, Mary, who has been working for the hotel since August 1976, told me many stories about famous guests as well as anecdotes.

The hotel was built by an Indian architect and project manager, the second General Manager Madan Misra (from early 1976 onwards). He may have been influenced by the Bauhaus architecture. Originally the hotel had some 160 rooms, including 96 standard rooms, 38 duplex suites, 16 villas and 10 cabenas around the swimming pool. The hotel was designed in an arabesque style, which included the rooms, the public areas and even the partitions of the public areas. From its inception, a garden was part of the hotel.

In its early days, it seems to have been a lively hotel, with a night club on the first floor. Today, the hotel stays calm at night. There is no more night club, but you can still enjoy shows by belly dancers and Dervishes, as I did.



Famous politicians and celebrities at the Mövenpick Resort Aswan

Because of its location on an island, the hotel can easily be protected. Probably therefore, around 1978/79, the Egyptian President Sadat stayed at the hotel together with the Shah of Iran, when the Shah had been forced to leave Iran. Later, President Sadat stayed at the hotel with the Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

In 1981, the wife of the French President, Danielle Mitterrand, stayed at the hotel together with Mrs. Gehan Sadat, before her husband was killed in October. President Anwar Sadat came to the island by helicopter on a trip to Sudan, just to sleep in the hotel.

When Sadat stayed at the hotel, the Indian maître d'hôtel, Samy, was about to be fired. The staff was waiting for Sadat, when Samy shouted at Sadat that the Indian management was trying to fire him. Sadat told his guard, a general, not to shoot poor Samy. Sadat sent his youngest daughter, Gehan, to resolve the problem, and the maître was not fired.

When the wife of the Aga Khan died, her son, Prince Ali Khan, stayed in the villas 51 and 52 at the hotel. From the balcony of my hotel room, I could see the villa and the mausoleum of the Aga Khan on the other shore of the Nile.

Many celebrities staying the the Mövenpick Resort Aswan have been documented on photographs. Guest relations manager Mary showed me photos of Queen Alia of Jordan with her children, who stayed in a duplex together with Susanne Mubarak. Other photos included the wife of the President of Ecuador, the First Lady, Mme Durán Ballén, the General Manager Kripa Shankar together with German Chancellor Willy Brandt and his first wife Ruth, Queen Margrethe II. of Denmark, the King and Queen of Sweden (1986), Queen Nour of Jordan and Suzanne Mubarak (1987), the prime ministers of Egypt and Sri Lanka, Atef Sedki and Ranasinghe Premadasa, the former prime minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam (1988), the ruler of Qatar together with the General Manager Sanjeev Tuli (1990). Henry Kissinger is documented on several photos. The son of King Bhumipol of Thailand is on a photo together with the governor of Aswan as well as the general manager. The King of Spain Juan Carlos and his wife stayed at the hotel as well as Prince Philip, the husband of the Queen of England, who is on a photo together with the Governor of Aswan, Kadri Osman. Queen Elizabeth's sibling, the late Princess Margaret, honored the hotel with her visit too.

The famous Spanish singer Julio Iglesias stayed in a hotel villa. Prince Khaled ibn Saud and most of the Egpytian ministers came frequently for holidays on the quiet and protected island. Among the famous guests in 1990 where a Thai princess as well as the French Prime Minister Michel Rocard.

The Egpytian male actors Hussien Fahmy, Farid Shouky, Adel Imam and the actresses Leila Elway, Mervet Amin and Naglaa Fathy are part of the long list two.

In 1977, parts of the film Death on the Nile were filmed in the area and in the nearby Old Cataract Hotel. According to guest relations manager Mary, all important actors stayed at the Oberoi, today's Mövenpick hotel.

Two Egyptian films were partly shot in the hotel: Tiger and the Lady (Al Nemr wa Al Onsa) with the actors Asar al Hakym, as well as Ayam Fe al Halal with the actors Moustafa Fahmy and Nabila Ebaad. A special highlight was a football game by the actors in the hotel garden.

In short, despite its relatively young age (*1975), the Mövenpick Resort Aswan is full of history and anecdotes. Its location and setting is fabulous. You can just relax at the pool or explore the ancient sites in the area.




Situated on Elephantine Island, the Mövenpick Resort Aswan is a hotel with Nile view to both sides! Here the view toward's Kitchener's Island, which is open to tourists. Photos © Mövenpick Hotels. - Egyptian art books from Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.de.


The view from the tower over the hotel area. Photos © Mövenpick Hotels.


April 2012 photo: The tennis court with Nile view. Photos © Mövenpick Resort Aswan.


April 2012 photo: The hotel entrance in the evening. Photos © Mövenpick Resort Aswan.


April 2012 photo: The hotel seen from Aswan. Photos © Moevenpick Hotels.


April 2012 photo: With of the panoramic restaurant in the tower, the ideal place to witness sunset and have dinner with a great with in all four directions. Photos © Moevenpick Hotels.


April 2012 photo: The living room of a Royal Suite. The best place to stay in style. Photos © Mövenpick Resort Aswan.


April 2012 photo: The bathroom of a Royal Suite. Photos © Moevenpick Hotels.


April 2012 photo: The private terrace of a Royal Suite. Photos © Mövenpick Resort Aswan.


A pool view from the Mövenpick Resort Aswan. Photos © Moevenpick Hotels. - Egyptian art books from Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.de.




View from the pool of the Mövenpick Resort Aswan, Elephantine Island, with the Nile in the background. Photos © Moevenpick Hotels.


View of a room. Photos © Moevenpick Hotels.


Alternative room view. Photos © Mövenpick Hotels.


The pool area. Photos © Mövenpick Hotels.


The pool with the tower in the background. Photos © Mövenpick Hotels.
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A Nile and Kitchener's Island view from a hotel balcony. Photos © Mövenpick Hotels. - Egyptian art books from Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.de.

Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

Index  Advertise  Werbung  Links  Feedback
© Copyright www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.