Best hotels and hostels in Southern Nile Valley

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Aswan

    Sofitel Old Cataract Hotel & Spa

    The grande dame of Aswan hotels, the Old Cataract is a destination in itself and brings you back to the days of Agatha Christie, who is said to have written part of her novel Death on the Nile here (the hotel certainly featured in the movie). The splendid buildings and well-tended gardens command fantastic views of the Nile and the desert. The original building of the Old Cataract hotel, now known as the Palace Wing, has 76 rooms, of which more than half are suites. But the biggest change has been brought to the 1960s annexe, the Garden Wing, where all rooms have stunning Nile views. The 1902 Restaurant serves some of the fanciest food on the Nile, while Kebabgy and Saraya serve simpler food in a more relaxed atmosphere. The large pool looks on to the river and the ruins of Elephantine Island, and the two-floor spa has a fitness centre, a hammam, a sauna and Thai therapists.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Abu Simbel

    Eskaleh

    Part Nubian cultural centre with a library dedicated to Nubian history, part wonderful ecolodge in a traditional mud-brick house, Eskaleh is by far the most interesting place to stay or eat in Abu Simbel. It’s also a destination in its own right and a perfect base for a visit to the temples. The friendly owner, Fikry El Kashef, a Nubian musician, was educated in Switzerland but returned to his homeland after the Abu Simbel temples were moved. In 2005, having worked for years as a guide, Fikry created this wonderful enclave beside the lake with the idea of sharing the Nubian experience with interested foreigners. Simple but comfortable rooms have local furniture, fans, air-con and good private bathrooms. Some also have a private terrace. Nubian kitchen staff prepare delicious home-cooked meals (three-course lunch or dinner from €10 to €18) with organic produce from Fikry’s garden and fish from the lake (and beer is sometimes available). These take time – be prepared to wait. At night the quiet is absolute (apart from the dogs), a rare thing on the tourist trail along the Nile. Sometimes Fikry plays music with his friends, or hosts performances of Nubian music and dance. A boat is available (approximately €50 depending on the length of time) to take you out on the lake or to the temples.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Aswan

    Philae Hotel

    By far the best midrange hotel in town. The Philae's modern, minimalist-style rooms are decorated in fabrics with Arabic calligraphy and elegant local furnishings. The hotel restaurant serves mainly vegetarian organic food from its own gardens, and at very reasonable prices for the quality (mains LE75 to LE90). It's no longer a secret, so book ahead.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Aswan

    Anakato

    Anakato is Nubian for 'my house'. This small guesthouse has 12 bedrooms in the wildly coloured Nubian style, with domed roofs. It's a lovely place to hang out for a while. Meals are available, and the village of Gharb Seheyl is just there. Very pleasant terrace on the Nile.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Aswan

    Happi Hotel

    A much needed arrival on the Aswan hotel scene, the Happi hotel is well run, clean, comfortable and well located, if lacking character. All 65 rooms have TVs, air-con, a mini bar and wi-fi, and there is a 24-hour cafeteria. The superior rooms are much classier. Friendly management.

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Sara Hotel

    Built on a clifftop overlooking the Nile about 2km beyond the Nubia Museum, the Sara is isolated but has fantastic views over the First Cataract and the Western Desert. It’s worth putting up with the kitsch pastel decor for the 60 spotlessly clean rooms with satellite TV, a friendly staff and a good-sized pool overlooking the Nile. Corner rooms have huge balconies. The cafeteria is hugely popular with Aswanis. A shuttle bus runs into town hourly. If you want to stay in Aswan for a few days of peace and quiet, the Sara is a good choice, unless the in-house disco revives.

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Bet El Kerem

    This modern hotel on the west side of the Nile overlooking the desert and the Tomb of the Nobles is a great find, offering quiet, clean and comfortable rooms. The hotel boasts a wonderful rooftop terrace overlooking the Nile and Nubian village, and the staff is both friendly and proud to be Nubian. Call ahead and Shaaban will come to fetch you or give you directions. The restaurant serves delicious meals (breakfast €5, lunch €7 and dinner €10).

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Baaba Dool

    A great place to unwind for a few days. The rooms in this beautiful mud-brick house are painted in Nubian style, decorated with colourful carpets and local crafts, and have superb views over the Nile and the botanical gardens. It's very basic, but it's clean and there are shared hot showers. Mustapha can arrange meals. Book ahead. The guesthouse also functions as an informal museum and craft shop of Nubian culture.

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Mövenpick Resort Aswan

    Hidden in a large, lush garden but dominated by an eyesore tower, the Mövenpick sits on the northern end of Elephantine Island. The hotel has very comfortable rooms, featuring Nubian styles and colours. The swimming pool is great, as is the tower-top restaurant and bar. This is a great place for families to stay. Guests are transported to and from the town centre by a free ferry. Book online for the best rates.

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Suheyl House

    Simple but very pleasant guesthouse with eight rooms equipped with aircon, mosquito net and fridge, set around a delightful terrace on the Nile, in the shade of mango trees. This is a great place to spend a few quiet days. Meals are available (LE60). There are three turtles in the garden with fruit trees; one is reputedly 360 years old. This guesthouse is right next to the antiquities site on Seheyl.

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Marhaba Palace Hotel

    The homely Marhaba has sparkling clean, cosy rooms with comfortable beds, sumptuous bathrooms (for this price range) and satellite TV. Bright, welcoming and well run, it overlooks a park on the Corniche and has two restaurants, friendly staff and a roof terrace with excellent Nile views. Grab a room with a balcony if you can. There is a small swimming pool on the 1st floor.

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Nuba Nile Hotel

    Although its three-star claim is amusing, to say the least, this friendly, family-run hotel, always bustling with Egyptian holidaymakers, is one of the more reliable of Aswan's budget hotels, conveniently located just north of the train station. The lobby is quite dark, but the rooms are bright and clean. Check the room before you agree, as they vary considerably.

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Nubian Cataract Hotel

    This new Nubian-style hotel features very comfortable rooms with great views over the Nile and Seheyl Island. The hotel has a spectacular terrace with fabulous sunset views, and a good Nubian-Egyptian restaurant (mains LE90 to LE150). A swimming pool was being built at the time of writing.

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Nubian Beach Hotel

    Very laid-back Nubian guesthouse with simple but colourful rooms, good food at the Nubian House Restaurant, and swimming in the Nile nearby, as well as sand boarding down the desert dunes.

  • Lodging in Abu Simbel

    Tuya Hotel

    Overlooking Lake Nasser, Tuya Hotel is situated 1km from Temple of Abu Simbel. The comfortable rooms are painted in strong Nubian colours, and all are equipped with clean bathrooms. There is free shuttle service to the temple.

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Nile Hotel

    Large, well-kept rooms with lots of light and very clean bathrooms. The rooms at the front, with great views over the Nile, are the ones you want.

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Keylany Hotel

    This great little hotel used to come at budget prices, but costs have gone up and some find it expensive for what is on offer. Plus points are friendly, helpful staff and a feast of a breakfast, but the small rooms (with some en suites suitable only for the pretzel-sized) could do with a spot of maintenance for these rates. The roof terrace doesn't have Nile views, but there is a burlap sunshade and furniture made from palm fronds, and it is a great place to hang out.

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Hathor Hotel

    The good-sized rooms at the Hathor are no-frills and are showing some wear and tear, but they're all clean enough and come with air-con, making this a solid choice if you're watching your pennies. The rooftop terrace has a small swimming pool and spectacular Nile views.

  • Lodging in Aswan

    Youth Hostel

    The cheapest sleep in town, with 76 beds. One-third are for men and the rest are for women. Dorms are clean, and the hostel is centrally located near the train station.