Old Cataract

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Dusak
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Re: Old Cataract

Post by Dusak »

My attitude to such things has never changed, I place the person before profit. At one time we had two restaurants on the go. The main one I invested heavily on extending it to hold up to one hundred and fifty for general partying, but mainly wedding breakfast and the evening entertainment for that was where the money was. Having a full drinks license and being in a semi rural setting made us a popular venue. One day we had an inquiry concerning a wedding reception. High numbers with potential good profits. This couple had had to change their original venue because of a fire at the hotel they had originally booked with. I declined the booking as we had a party of office workers that had pre-booked weeks before for a retirement do. I was not willing to spoil a persons last farewell for the sake of profit. Weddings, like retirement do's, are all set times, giving long lasting memories for all. No amount of money could compensate the ruination of any one of them in my book. When I explained this to the person responsible for booking the retirement do, he had turned up to pay the advance payment. He asked would the couple be expecting to use the large garden area seating that we also had. I knew that they would not use this as it was in April and could be still quite chilly at nights. He said no problem for them as they all were used to large camping trips together, so let the bride to be have her day and they would be quite happy outside. So this was done, every one was happy including the works do as I gave them a fifty percent discount for their consideration and kindness and it eventually ended up with all of them mixing together and having a good time. And that paid off in the long run as those office workers became regular evening meal visitors that brought new business our way. And now I'm wondering where did those thirty years go so quickly.


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Re: Old Cataract

Post by Brian Yare »

hatusu wrote:We had a travel writer staying at the hotel last night with his family. He had just come back from Aswan where they had attempted to go and have tea at the Old Cataract. They weren’t allowed in. The hotel had been taken over by a Saudi prince (is everybody a prince there?) with no notice and guests staying there already had been asked (told?) to leave. The travel writer got talking to one lady who had been thrown out – she told him that she had been going to this hotel for years and stays for a month or more, and not surprisingly she said she will never set foot in it again.
Anyone who was inconvenienced will, of course, write a report on TripAdvisor, Google, etc.

I hope that the hotel got the equivalent of a year's income as compensation!
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Re: Old Cataract

Post by Bombay »

Dusak wrote:My attitude to such things has never changed, I place the person before profit. At one time we had two restaurants on the go. The main one I invested heavily on extending it to hold up to one hundred and fifty for general partying, but mainly wedding breakfast and the evening entertainment for that was where the money was. Having a full drinks license and being in a semi rural setting made us a popular venue. One day we had an inquiry concerning a wedding reception. High numbers with potential good profits. This couple had had to change their original venue because of a fire at the hotel they had originally booked with. I declined the booking as we had a party of office workers that had pre-booked weeks before for a retirement do. I was not willing to spoil a persons last farewell for the sake of profit. Weddings, like retirement do's, are all set times, giving long lasting memories for all. No amount of money could compensate the ruination of any one of them in my book. When I explained this to the person responsible for booking the retirement do, he had turned up to pay the advance payment. He asked would the couple be expecting to use the large garden area seating that we also had. I knew that they would not use this as it was in April and could be still quite chilly at nights. He said no problem for them as they all were used to large camping trips together, so let the bride to be have her day and they would be quite happy outside. So this was done, every one was happy including the works do as I gave them a fifty percent discount for their consideration and kindness and it eventually ended up with all of them mixing together and having a good time. And that paid off in the long run as those office workers became regular evening meal visitors that brought new business our way. And now I'm wondering where did those thirty years go so quickly.
Well good for you unfortunately Aswan nor Luxor are not in the UK 15 whatever years ago come to think of it if it was 15 years ago in Egypt these decisions might well be different.
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Re: Old Cataract

Post by Dusak »

I very much doubt that, from what I have seen and experienced here over the years, the Egyptian business owner/operator place far too much importance on money, irregardless of the strength of the economy.
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Re: Old Cataract

Post by HEPZIBAH »

This thread has reminded me of the time the Emilio over booked and asked me to move to another hotel for a night.
Although it was not particularly convenient to me at the time, I was also mindful of times I'd read how guests in similar situations who had been transferred to other hotels for whatever reason were upgraded. I decided this would be an opportunity to try out another hotel at no extra cost to me.

I pointed out to them at the time that although I was willing to go to another hotel it was going to be awkward as I had a mountain of food in my room - rice, pasta, sugar, tea, oil etc - which I bought a few days before from a local wholesaler (with the help of an Egyptian friend and their car) and was for distribution to a number of families on both sides of the river that I knew were in need at the time. The Emillo manager said not to worry, just pack what I needed for the night and everything else would be put into store.

I left the Emilio, with one of their staff who was supposed to check me in to the new hotel, in the most awful taxi that broke down en route. I had no clear idea where we were going but we ended up at the Windsor Hotel (down a side street not far from the Etab). It would have been quicker and less nerve wracking to have walked there. Stupidly, I did not check the room before I checked in and in fact, once I'd reached it I just dumped my stuff and went out as I was already running late by then to meet up with friends. When I got back that night I realised how awful the place was. Only one light bulb in the room worked, what I could see of the furniture and fittings did not impress me as they were dark and dingy too. The bed I had to assume was clean and I flopped in, only to have probably the worse night I have ever spent in Luxor. The noise of men talking loudly most of the night, dogs howling outside, did nothing to aid my sleep. By 6am I was up and out of there refusing breakfast because the dining area looked a miserable place and, if the kitchen was as 'clean' as the bathroom in my room was, it was probably not a healthy option. I was under the impression that the Emilio were going to provide transport back to there but the desk clerk at the Windsor refused to get me a taxi (no big deal I could walk).

When I got back to the Emilio I was told I shouldn't really have breakfast there because they had paid for it at the Windsor! Great! In the end they let me have breakfast but of course I then had to wait ages from a room to be made available for me again. It wasn't long before I discovered that in my haste to leave the Windsor I had managed to leave my nightdress behind. I got the Emilio reception to ring them and let them know that I would call in later that morning to pick it up. When I got there - surprise, surprise - my room had been cleaned ( I just hope they'd made a better job of it than before) and no nightdress had been found or handed in. Normally I would not have been upset by that but it was very new and I was very tired by then and before I knew it I heard a loud but shaky voice escaping my head telling the manager just what I thought of the Windsor Hotel.

When I returned back to the Emilio I had recovered my composure somewhat, but that did not stop me marching in to the managers office and telling him exactly what I thought about my experience of 'helping them out'. He offered to make it up to me by having some fruit put in my room. My response was that he should not have mentioned it to me but have done it automatically and without my approval! It would have been easy to have let that experience put me off staying at the Emilio too but I have been back numerous times since, although not recently. They know better than to push to me too far though.
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Re: Old Cataract

Post by Bombay »

Dusak wrote:I very much doubt that, from what I have seen and experienced here over the years, the Egyptian business owner/operator place far too much importance on money, irregardless of the strength of the economy.
Possibly but its owned or operated by a French Company,
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Re: Old Cataract

Post by Dusak »

Bombay wrote:
Dusak wrote:I very much doubt that, from what I have seen and experienced here over the years, the Egyptian business owner/operator place far too much importance on money, irregardless of the strength of the economy.
Possibly but its owned or operated by a French Company,
I was referring in general, not this particular hotel.

My friends that have been coming here for around twenty years and have always stayed at the same hotel, even though the last four visits have been a ''sod this, we will try elsewhere next time'' due to the increasingly bad service. Their last visit was the last time these four good spending and generous tipping tourists will stay there as they have asked me to find them a decent apartment for a month. Their last stay was terrible, especially at breakfast. In the past they were quite content with what was on offer, especially the Egyptian flat bread which they all enjoy, giving the white a miss because of its taste. They complained to the lack of any, saying that they looked forwards to having at least three pieces each with their runny eggs. No problem the waiter told them, we do not serve them up now as the hotel is empty, but he would make sure that twenty was put aside for them every morning. They were happy with this even though some mornings there was only ten or so. But at the end of their months stay they received a bill for 420Le for the flat breads that they had had, which in the past was part of their paid for breakfast. Not only that, but this time they were charged 75Le per game of pool which the men could play for hours while drinking many hotel prices beers. This is what happens when you place money before people, especially good tippers. All the staff lost out.
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Re: Old Cataract

Post by Remus »

To reminisce:
About 25 years ago on my first visit to Egypt I decided that I should try
The Old Cataract. I flew from Cairo and arrived at the hotel about midday.
A rather surly receptionist signed me in and gave me my key. This coincided with
his going off duty, to be replaced by a charming and rather beautiful young
woman - who asked which room I'd been given. 'You don't want to be in there, it's
at the back' she said, and gave me another key. I spent 4 of my happiest Egyptian days
in a room at the front with a huge balcony and a stupendous panorama view - for
which I've always been grateful.
I've stayed several times in the New Cataract - the charm there is that if you're inside it
you don't have to look at the Soviet brutality of its architecture.