Hotel Isis Island
A very good hotel with all facilities, which lies on an island in the Nile. It can only be reached with a boat. Very charming.
By the way, in the restaurant is serving the most beautiful waitress in the world.
After a horrendous flight from the UAE where I live which took over 9 HOURS to get there due to endless flight delays everywhere, the experience I received when I arrived, far from happy and very tired, changed me from mad to glad in seconds. This hotel was quite simply marvellous. Although my own hotel room (nile view) had apparently been let as they thought I was a no show arriving so late, they nevertheless put me in another vacant room (uncharged) for the night so that I could get some sleep and then the following day moved me to a nile view room of my own choice!. This more than made up for the inconvenience and changed my whole experience from nightmare to heaven and to one which means I will not hesitate to book this hotel again. The hotel staff were also pleasant, chatty and extremely helpful, going out of their way to make the stay there memorable and for all the right reasons.
My room was clean, every day made up (even when I didn't ask for it) had a lovely balcony and nile view and a big comfortable bed. I also had a bath not a shower. The food (I only took breakfast) was tasty and there was plenty of it with in my opinion, a good choice for everyone of all ages including cereals, continental breakfast, danish pastries and cooked breakfast as well as the cheerful chefs ready to make your own every day.
I won't hesitate to stay here again. Aswan is quite simply a magical place to visit and this is a hotel I would thoroughly recommend to anyone.
Unique Quality: The hotel is actually very very nice. Situated on a private island and reached by motor boat just adds to the tranquility and ambiance of the location. Some of the bedrooms are ground floor which makes it a consideration for the elderly or handicapped people (although there is steep walk up to the doors it is ramp style so wheelchairs can be pushed) and the staff could not do enough to make my short break for Eid with them as pleasant as possible. I would also like to say that the shops within the hotel were also super - always willing to offer tea and make small talk. The jewellers, the metal craft shop and the souvenier shop in particular. A mention must also go to the excursions company and Yasoo who arranged my trips - HUGE thanks for an experience I will not forget and a guide who was outstanding.
Directions: Reached from the main marina by their own provided boats which run all day and all night it is probably 10 minutes sailing from the mainland to the island. The trip is however pleasant and just adds to the magic of the whole holiday experience.
Pat & me stayed at Isis Hotel; Pat originally wanted to stay at The Old Cataract Hotel, maybe he wanted to meet with the ghost of Agatha Cristie ! Dunno...She wrote Death On The Nile. I saw the movie but never read the book.
It was nice this hotel, a good base for us to see many places around Aswan :
Also to Abu Simble !
There's no balcony so I could puff away just outside the door !
Please click on the links...
Err, notice my lighter has changed ?!
Catch the boat from the port a few minutes drive from the train station - on the route to the Pyramisa Isis Island you can see the Agatha Christie Old Cataract Hotel and the Aga Khan's mausoleum. The Pyramisa Isis Island looks relatively impressive as it sits upon it's own, small island.
I went in June, and the place was near empty - the same story applies all over Egypt right now but Aswan seems to have suffered more than most. The staff didn't have that same 'cloying' quality I experienced in other places in the country. There were there if needed, but didn't impose. A quality, I think, rare to find in this part of the world!
Only one of the pools was open, and this was where the activity was. Even in June the dry heat with a regular warm breeze dries out the skin leaving a flaky crust on your cheeks! Bring Vaseline!!!!! However, although the staff give you space, find a way to come back from the pool without passing the hotel shops - because that's where the silence ends!
There's a small cafe near the main pool where sparrows peck at your feet, while a children's 'zoo' - I'd rather say farm - keeps a couple of pelicans, goats, sheep, turkeys and deer. The guys will give you a tour, no problem, though don't expect to see wide open spaces for the animals to run.
The foyer of the Pyramisa Isis Island already looks faded with water-stained marble. The rooms are basic. You will find the occassional cockroach - although I think this adds to the charm....motivation to exercise, anyway! The food was good but not amazing. In fact, if the hotel dropped it's star rating a little I'd be able to say it was great. But pretending to be a top class establishment when it's really for middle-range travellers such as myself lets the hotel down.
Unique Quality: There's a great view everywhere from the hotel. Like everywhere along the Nile the green stops abruptly a few metres from the water and the miles of yellow sand take over.
I imagine that, if staying a long time and wanting to visit the town regularly you'll get bored of the boat ride, though.
Directions: It's own, small island.
A very good hotel with all facilities, which lies on an island in the Nile. It can only be reached with a boat. Very charming.
By the way, in the restaurant is serving the most beautiful waitress in the world.
My wife and I stayed for three nights at the Pyramisa Isis Island Hotel in Aswan as part of our ‘Land of the Pharaohs’ holiday, booked with SAGA, in November, 2007. This was the second hotel on the tour, after the Pyramisa in Cairo.
Saga use the Pyramisa chain of hotels in Egypt – rated five-star according to the signs, but there were a few five-star facilities missing for me, including a lack of hairdryers in the rooms (although they were available from Reception), lack of room safes (again available at Reception), bathroom toiletries provided from wall dispensers, poor range of English TV channels, and poor quality towels. The hotels all had a tired feel about them, with some rooms better than others, and all the bathrooms seem to be coming up for refurbishment. Based on the advice in the SAGA literature, I took the step of applying for a SAGA Visa card, to get my 10% discount when settling the extras bills at the hotels.
SAGA use EgyptAir for their flights, and my impression was of an organisation that does a good impression of a Third World airline. Our first problem was the three hour delay in taking off from Heathrow – unofficial rumours blamed this on an Egyptian politician delaying the incoming flight from Cairo due to a late-running meeting. This may or may not have been true, but EgyptAir provided no further details or explanation. The second problem was that the choice of meals ran out before they reached us, so we had to have the dish that was left. More about EgyptAir later.
After three nights in Cairo (which was more than enough), we transferred to the Pyramisa Isis Island Hotel in Aswan. The transfer arrangements made by SAGA were not very user-friendly. The flight was booked for the evening, which meant leaving our rooms several hours before our departure from the hotel, despite a late checkout organised by our tour manager. So we had to spend this part of our holiday just hanging around the hotel lobby.
At the airport, the flight (EgyptAir again) was due to go via Luxor, but didn’t. Bottles of water were taken off us by security (although this did not happen on the international flights), and we were issued boarding cards with an incorrect flight number on them, but were still allowed on the aircraft. Third World airline or what?
The 450 room Pyramisa Isis Island Hotel is situated in a beautiful setting on an island, to which the only access is by ferry - the hotel has its own boats, free of charge. Very picturesque and peaceful, as long as you’re not in a hurry! The hotel has two pools, both with freezing cold water, with sunbeds and towels available free of charge. On the two occasions we had time for the pool, we found the smaller pool was less crowded than the larger, but this didn’t matter as both pools were nice, with attentive staff.
The rooms at the hotels are modern, air conditioned and fairly spacious - ours contained two queen beds - and there is a spacious balcony with furniture, a fridge, but no hairdryer or safe deposit box (both available at Reception). The TV had no English language channels of any note. Being on an island, just about every room has a lovely Nile view. The bathrooms are just showing some signs of being in need of refurbishment, and we had intermittent problems with the flushing mechanism on our toilet which the maintenance man sent up from Reception was unable to fix. The whole hotel had a feeling of spaciousness about it, and we especially appreciated the warm welcome from the manager on our (unnecessarily, thanks to SAGA) late arrival.
The food at this hotel was less impressive than at the hotel in Cairo. The selection was not so wide, and our feeling was that less money was spent here on food than in the Cairo hotel. However, two positive points about the food were the eggs and omelettes cooked to order at breakfast, and the pasta station at lunchtime and evening. We found the drinks obscenely expensive in the bar (and here there was no entertainment except for the large screen outside). A branded spirit such as Bacardi was around £4.30 for an ungenerous measure, and adding a Coke would bump the cost up to £5.50. But we were a captive audience on an island hotel, with nowhere else to go. When settling the bill with my SAGA card I managed to get about 6% discount without too much trouble, but short of the 10% promised by SAGA.
As in the other locations, we went on all the SAGA included excursions, and some of the optional ones. The excursion to Philae Temple was interesting, and we returned later that evening for the Sound and Light Show, which was good without being too exciting. According to our guide, this show was better than the one at Karnak Temple in Luxor. Any excursion to Philae Temple will involve four boat trips, as the temple is on a different island, but we were provided with life jackets – I was not sure whether I should be reassured or concerned about this. On the evening of the Sound and Light Show, the hotel suffered a cut in the water supply which took several hours to resolve, and people from our hotel were generally not too keen to get too close together that night! The highlight of the whole holiday was the trip to Abu Simbel to see the two temples – an awesome experience. This involved flights from Luxor and more encounters with EgyptAir. On the outward flight, the passenger in front of my wife had the back of his seat reclined and his mobile phone switched on whilst we were about to take off. The EgyptAir staff had all disappeared, but I managed to get our tour manager to get him to raise his seat back. On the return flight, everyone was on board and ready to go, but they held up the plane for a group of Italians who arrived half an hour late.
Our (thankfully) last encounter with EgyptAir was on the return flight, and we were informed the night before by our SAGA rep that the flight was overbooked and that an employee would take all the passports and ticket receipts to the airport, and attempt to check us in during the night. Although this made us very worried about losing our passports (I never usually let mine out of my possession), and perhaps not getting home on time, they actually did a good job. There was some confusion at the airport when we arrived, but the flight left on time and the remainder of the journey was uneventful (although EgyptAir again ran out of the choice of meals). It was just a pity that the SAGA taxi service at Heathrow left us waiting for 50 minutes on our arrival until the local SAGA airport rep baled us out. We initially rang SAGA, who gave us the taxi company number, who then promised to call us back, but didn’t. A very unreliable service from SAGA.
Our SAGA reps in Egypt were Dimitry (Tour Manager) and Ahmed (Egyptologist). Dimitry worked tirelessly throughout the tour, and with great enthusiasm, even when let down occasionally by the travel arrangements made by his Head Office. I thought it was typical of Dimitry’s enthusiasm that he carried a suit bag with him for nine nights in order to don a very smart suit and tie for the farewell dinner at the hotel in Luxor. Ahmed was a personable, mature guide, whose delivery was sometimes a little wooden, but was always available to help Dimitry on the tour logistics, like buying and distributing tickets. Top marks for the local reps.
The excursions and transfers in Egypt were all carried out in comfortable, air-conditioned coaches, some with more leg room than others. The coach drivers all had a little sideline going, buying bottled water by the crate, storing them in the coach cool box and selling them to us for about 45p for two 500ml bottles. Beneficial to both parties, and very useful on a hot day trip. One thing about the SAGA coaches – they are the standard type, with no concession to the elderly or disabled. Some of the coaches were especially difficult to get out of because of the steep steps, and several less active members of our group had difficulties navigating their way out.
A few words to anyone contemplating a visit to Egypt for the first time. Don’t drink the tap water, or even clean your teeth in it. Use bottled water – widely available – and make sure the bottle top seal is intact if you buy it outside the hotel. Take some antiseptic wipes with you, and wipe the surfaces that you regularly come into contact with in your hotel room. Don’t buy fruit or vegetables from the fly-infested markets – just looking at the fly-covered produce on offer will turn you a gentle shade of green. The shopkeepers and stallholders all over Egypt are a pest, both in the towns and also wherever the tourist attractions are. They will harass you to buy their goods even to the point of following you along the street. If you are not interested in buying anything, just push your way through with a firm No. If you are, insist on getting the price – usually possible after about the fourth or fifth time of asking. Then just wave your arms dismissively and walk off. The shopkeeper will follow you along the street, reducing the price all the way, and you have the choice of buying before he eventually gives up and returns to his shop. I bought several shirts quoted at 250 Egyptian pounds for 40 using this technique.
At least the shopkeepers are (generally) honest, if somewhat persistent and aggressive. Around the tourist sites, the con merchants prevail. Camel rides, free gifts, ambiguous prices for postcards and stamps, shortchanging – watch out for them all. The Egyptian Tourist Authority should take action to stamp out these practices because it was the single biggest complaint I heard during the holiday, particularly from the ladies, who like to browse the shops and tourist sites in peace.
Overall, a great experience in Egypt and we are glad we did it. However, I would not be itching to go back in the near future. I thought the organisation by SAGA was a letdown in some respects, and the fact that they deal with EgyptAir doesn’t help. Although it is very difficult to compare different touring holidays in different countries, we felt that a previous touring holiday that we had taken - with Titan HiTours in California - had a clear edge when compared to the SAGA holiday in Egypt. So when we do our next touring holiday – probably in Cuba – we will be looking at the various tour operators, rather than just booking with SAGA.
Note: the review of this hotel is an excerpt from my review of the whole ‘Land of the Pharaohs’ holiday lasting 15 nights. If you are interested in the full review, contact me and I’ll send you a copy.
We just spent our honeymoon at Isis Island Resort. The quality especially for Egypt was amazing. 5 star all the way. The rooms are very large, with views of the Nile River. You are on a private island so you are not harassed by the locals to buy this or that. You can walk around the 28 acreas and enjoy the peace of this private island. There are too many amenities to list, but be sure to try the spa service. The prices were really good! The food was eqaul to what we are used to when traveling on cruise ships, in fact we both put on a few extra pounds. I encourage anyone thinking of going to Egypt to stay here, you will not be disappointed. The hotel staff go out of there way to accommodate you. I am surprised that there are some negative reviews about this resort on this site. I think only staying in a penthouse suit on a cruise ship could top this resort.
This hotel is on an island, isolated from the main town of Aswan and runs a dedicated ferry service. Some may find this quaint, but we found it to be a complete hassle. The hotel itself felt like a relic of the late 1960s, with no apparent upgrades since! Our room was musty, dated and had no sound proofing. Definetely not the 5* advertised.
Like the Pyramisa in Luxor (although perhaps slightly better) this is not a 5* hotel.
Our room was old & slightly grubby feeling with poor sound proofing (worse - the cigarette smoke from next door crept in through the adjoining door).
Our beds were clean but this was not true of all of the tour group. Perhaps the staff felt doing their job was beneath them, certainly observed at breakfast where our coffee was simply grabbed from a nearby table and luke warm and horrid. I also saw porters handling luggage with very little care down the stairs (no lift in our part of the hotel).
On the upside there is a very nice terrace to take a drink on (unless you are thirsty as staff are slow take your order but inside the service is attentive).
The only meal I had there was breakfast which was poor. I like a nice selection of fruit (dried & fresh) but there was just one tiny bowl with a mix of fruit. The pastries & bread were a feeble selection. And I mentioned the horrid coffee. Also quite tricky to find a clean table to eat on (staff not keen to tidy up).
The service was bad in all 4 5* hotels we visited & is perhaps an Egyptian thing but it was worst in this hotel.
This so-called "hotel" is dated (I assume it was built in the 60s and notmore restored ever since) and really too dirty - the rooms have nothing to do with a 5 stars hotel, the furniture were dirty and dusty, carpets had never been touched by a hoover, not to mention the floor, and also linens had not been changed. We were not allowed for the check in before lunch time because the rooms were supposed to be cleaned - we asked immediately to have a different room. The second room we were offered was exactly as dirty as the fist one. Staying in this place was a real nightmare.
I stayed at the Pyramisa Isis Island in June 2003, and practically had the place to myself. Taking the train from Luxor to Aswan (if you stay in the Pyramisa in Luxor you can ask to stay in their sister hotel in Aswan at no extra charge) I found the boat stop which took me to the hotel easily.
In itself Aswan isn't as rich in artefacts as Luxor and nowhere near as fast as Cairo, but as I found all over my travels in Egypt (maybe because I was a single female....?) the people are great and the service cheap and cheerful.
The members of the modern Coptic church just off the river were welcoming and the shopkeepers hassle just like the rest of them in Egypt! I didn't bother with the Aswan Dam however the Nubian museum is small but, I thought, of quality rather than quantity.
Last year, and probably for the next few years, fear of tourist travel in many muslim countries has affected their economies. Shopkeepers in Aswan hardly bothered to haggle. You can come home with triple the usual amounts of black cats and bulls heads and, not being as popular as Luxor, Cairo or the Red Sea, I highly recommend Aswan for shopping.
Two of us are travelling to Egypt this weekend - 20 February 2009 - and will be staying at Isis Island hotel in Aswan for one week. Please can anyone give us some idea of what meals cost, on average, in Aswan as we don't necessarily want to spend US$25 on the hotel's buffet meal....every meal!!
We're also going to Sharm el Sheikh, but I gather there are hundreds of reasonably priced restaurants there to choose from. However, any tips would be greatly appreciated.
i hope you ll have pleasant and enjoyable stay in Aswan.
most meals cost around 10 to 20 Egyptian Pounds.
fish is very very cheap in Aswan(cause of lake Naser).
as well there is the fast food chains.
try the local meals Kushari,Broadbeans and flafel or Kebab.
Try Makka Restaurant on Saad Zalolo Street in Aswan, all cab drivers know the way. Food cost anywhere from 20-50 L.E. (5-10 USD). Aswan Sunset is also a nice place to go lots of locals go there for dinner in the evening they serve dinner in a patio area. Nice in the evening at sunset, very relaxing. Prices at the Sunset run a little higher but worth it (10-20 USD). Sharm El Sheikh has lots of restaurants, all of them outside the resort hotels are located in the Naama Bay area. Food in restaurants in this area may be a little higher because it is a tourist area.
Abtal El Tahrir Street, Aswan
79 Cornich el Nile, Aswan
Elephantine Island, PO Box 62, Aswan
Ambonarti Island, Aswan
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Address: Ambonarti Island, Aswan, Nile River Valley, Egypt