In the Footsteps of Agatha Christie: A Visit to the Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan, Egypt

I have so many mixed emotions about my trip to Egypt. Every day was truly an adventure filled with wonder, but there were also moments that were disconcerting. As I share photos and experiences from my time in Egypt, I’ll share it all–the good and the not-so-good. That way if you ever decide to put Egypt on your bucket list, you’ll have an idea what to expect and things to hopefully avoid.

Have I mentioned how much I love traveling with Teresa? She is fearless and doesn’t know the meaning of the word, “no.” I don’t think the words, “give up” are in her vocabulary. I consider myself a fighter and I never back down if I feel like I’ve been treated unfairly or if something just isn’t adding up, but it’s rare I come across someone just as feisty and hardheaded…and I say that with the greatest admiration! lol

So, you can probably tell there’s a story here. If you would like to skip the story and just get to the tour, keep scrolling. If you like a story, then read on! 🙂

A week or so into our time in Egypt, Teresa brought up an interesting option we hadn’t previously discussed. It turns out that Aswan, one of the cities we were scheduled to visit, is the home of the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel, usually called the Old Cataract Hotel. Have you ever heard of it? I had not.

The Old Cataract Hotel, a historic, British colonial-era resort built by Thomas Cook in 1899,  is located on the banks of the Nile River and is quite famous for many reasons. Several movies have been filmed there and a lot of famous folks have visited including Tsar Nicholas II, Winston Churchill, Howard Carter, Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, François Mitterrand, Princess Diana, Queen Noor.

From Old Cataract Hotel website

In 1973 United States Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger and his aides stayed in the New Cataract Hotel (a 1961 addition) during the negotiations to end the Yom Kippur War.

Of all the Cataract’s famous comings and goings, probably the most talked about and remembered person to stay there is Agatha Christie who set portions of her novel, Death on the Nile, at the hotel. The 1978 movie of the novel was also filmed at the hotel.

As soon as Teresa told me about the Old Cataract, I couldn’t wait to visit and see it in person. One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to visit places I’ve previously seen in movies or read about in books. I still remember the excitement I felt standing in front of the real Bramsole during a trip to Italy.

Bramasole: Home of Frances Mayes and the villa she wrote about in her book, Under the Tuscan Sun…later made into a movie

Our plans were almost thwarted though, here’s what happened. Earlier in the day, our guide called the Old Cataract to see if it would be possible for us (Teresa and I) to have dinner that night in their restaurant. We had also heard they would sometimes give tours of the suite where Agatha Christie stayed when visiting in their hotel.

Our guide was told, No—they were all filled up with reservations. Ummm. He didn’t believe it and neither did we. Next, he called a friend of his who worked in the hotel. The friend said he couldn’t help him, that he couldn’t get us in and couldn’t give us a tour, mentioning there were cameras everywhere in the hotel.

I could tell Teresa wasn’t any happier with that answer than I was. Our guide had just spent all afternoon telling us how slow tourism is in Egypt despite recent improvements, so how could they be all filled up with reservations. We asked our guide to call back and ask if we could just stop by for a drink in their bar, at least then we could have the fun of seeing the hotel in person even if we couldn’t have dinner there or tour Christie’s room. Again, he was told, “No.”

Teresa and I both felt something wasn’t adding up. We decided to get dressed as you would when having dinner in an elegant resort and take an Uber the short distance to the hotel to ask in person. The drive only took 3-4 minutes and our guide decided to come along in case we needed an interpreter.

Once we arrived, we talked to one of the many guards standing around the entrance to the gate of the hotel. Again, we got the same answers: No, we couldn’t have dinner in the hotel–the restaurant was all booked up. No, we couldn’t have a drink in their bar. No, we couldn’t walk around the grounds of the hotel. No, we could not go inside and shop in the hotel gift shop. No, no, no!

At one point the guide mentioned coming back after 7:30 at night when we might be able to get in for a drink, but definitely not dinner since they were all booked up. We didn’t want to do that because it was around 4:30 in the afternoon and we were already there. Plus, we were all dressed up nicely and had just paid a driver to bring us there. We really didn’t want to go back to the boat just to sit around and wait to come back again in a few hours.

Teresa politely asked to speak to a manager. The guard looked surprised but motioned for us to go into a building that was off to the right of the gate. It looked a bit like an office area, but also like a meeting room/conference room. We followed him in and he walked over and stood behind a large desk.

We both started to chuckle, thinking this was like a scene in a movie where you ask to speak to the manager and the employee with whom you’ve been arguing takes off his “guard” hat and puts on his “manager” hat, then turns to address you. lol

Fortunately, that didn’t happen and he picked up a phone and called someone. We had no idea what was said since they weren’t talking in English, but again we were told, No. We walked back outside with the guard and stood in the same spot where we had been standing before in front of the large gate blocking our way onto the grounds of the hotel.

As we were standing there, trying to make sense of why they were turning away business in a country where business is so badly needed, Teresa, in her frustration muttered (more to herself than aloud) how she couldn’t believe they wouldn’t let a Sofitel member into their hotel for just a drink in their bar.

At that very moment, everything changed! The heavens parted and angels floated down coming to rest on the shoulders of the guard. You’ve never seen such an about-face in your life! He looked shocked and immediately made another call. Next thing we knew, we were being welcomed with open arms. We were ushered right through the gates and up the red carpet (yes, there was actually a red carpet) leading into the hotel.

These next two photos were taken later in the evening, so it was already dark, but this was the entrance we entered through into the hotel after Teresa uttered the magic password, Sofitel.

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel Entrance

 

Old Cataract Hotel Entrance

 

The Moorish style architecture inside the famous Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, Egypt is really beautiful! We asked for directions to the bar area thinking we would have a couple of drinks on the terrace/veranda that famously overlooks the Nile River.

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel

 

On the way to the bar, we passed the library furnished with three velvet Chesterfield sofas, perfect for sinking down into with a good Agatha Christie novel.

Library, Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt

 

This was hanging on the wall just inside the library.

Omar Sharif visits the Old Cataract Hotel, Egypt

 

The bar is just as elegant and lovely as the rest of the hotel and the service was excellent. We asked if we might take our drinks out onto the veranda and were told, No. We were told all the tables on the veranda were already reserved…another statement that later appeared to be completely incorrect.

Old Legend Cataract Hotel Elegant Bar

 

Instead, Teresa suggested we sit here in front of the fireplace facing the doors leading out onto the terrace. Even if we weren’t being allowed on the terrace, we could still sorta see out the glass doors to the view beyond.

Evening visit to the Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt

 

Teresa had a Dirty Martini and I had a Cucumber Mint something-another. Can’t remember now what it was called but I believe it was one of their house specialties. It was very refreshing, the perfect drink after a long day out touring ancient ruins in the hot Egyptian sun.

Drinks at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt-October 2018

 

This was the view looking in the other direction away from the bar. As we sat there sipping our drinks admiring this grand hotel, we were still a little in disbelief that we had made it into the inner sanctum. What happened? Why did they finally let us in? Was it because Teresa mentioned she was a Sofitel member?

Iconic Legend Old Cataract Hotel, Moorish Architecture & Decor

 

After sitting inside for an hour or so, we peeked out and noticed we had been misled again. There were a few people here and there on the lower terrace levels, but the tables up top were mostly all empty. What was it with these people and their “we’re all booked up” stories?!

Patio, Back Veranda of the Old Legend Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt

 

We sat down for a bit at one of the empty tables and watched as the sun began its slow descent in the evening sky. So this was the view Agatha enjoyed while dreaming up the next chapter for, Death on the Nile. That’s Elephantine Island there in the distance. Is this how you’ve always imagined the River Nile would look?

View from the back veranda, Old Cataract Hotel, Egypt

 

We asked about dinner reservations and once again the drama began as they winced with uncertainty, hemming and hawing, finally saying. “Let me see if we have anything available.” Surprise! They could squeeze us in at 7:00!

After enjoying the last of our drinks to the beauty of the blue hour, we headed inside for a peek into the gift store before dinner.

Eveningtime, Old Cataract Hotel

 

I was very interested in an 18K gold cartouche I found in the gift shop, but the gruff sales associate working that evening had no interest in discussing the price when I inquired if he could do any better. He grumbled out a firm, “No” as he gathered everything together and stuffed it back into the storage place from whence he had pulled it. Umm, guess that was the sign that we were done here.

Later I purchased two gold cartouches in another store where they were willing to negotiate. I’ll share those in an upcoming post along with some of the other souvenirs I brought back.

Evening view, Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt

 

After our brief gift shop visit while waiting for our 7:00 dinner time, we stopped by the office area to inquire if it would be possible to see Agatha Christie’s old room. We knew the answer would most likely be, No…but figured there was no harm in asking.

The answer was indeed, “No.” We were told that tours were given each day at XXX time and we had missed it. We thanked the hotel clerk and walked away, slowly making our way toward the dining room while studying all the wonderful old photos filling the walls of the hallways leading to the 1902 Restaurant. Many of the photos captured the early days of the hotel and were fascinating to view.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the hotel clerk showed up and offered us a tour of Agatha Christie’s suite. Stunned, Teresa and I gladly accepted and off we went following him down the beautiful corridors of the hotel and up the stairs to the 2nd floor to see where Agatha Christie had slept and worked.

 

Even the ceilings are gorgeous in the Old Cataract Hotel!

Ceiling, Old Cataract Hotel, Moorish Decor

 

And there it was: the entrance to the famous suite where Agatha Christie had spent so much of her time working here in Aswan!

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt

 

This was hanging on the wall to the left of the door. It says:

Agatha Christie
The Queen of Crime, a British crime writer of novels and plays
Author of “Death on the Nile”
featuring the Old Cataract Hotel, 1890-1976

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 02

 

It was dark outside by now, so these photos were taken in the light available from the overhead chandeliers. It’s my understanding that everything is exactly how it was during the time Christie was here, all except the bathroom which has been refurbished. The room is available for $8,000 a night! Gotta be a real Agatha Christie fan to spend that!

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 03_wm

 

A view looking back toward the door…

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 04

 

I loved all the old shutters and beautiful molding around the windows.

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 09

 

The dining room…the furniture seems so modern to have been here when Agatha Christie was here.

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 11

 

Beautiful chandelier!

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 10

 

The bedroom…notice the Old Cataract logo on the wall behind the bed.

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 05

 

Sitting area at the foot of the bed…I’m sure the furniture must have been reupholstered over the years.

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 08

 

I asked about the bathroom and I think he said this was the original tub and that it had just been refinished.

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 17

 

Our guide told us the original faucet was solid gold! Wonder if that’s really true or just something he tells “the tourists.” Ha!

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 08

 

Love the endless reflection of lanterns and mirrors…

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 07

 

The balcony where Agatha Christie enjoyed the views of the River Nile…

Deck Veranda off Agatha Christie's Suite, Cataract Hotel

 

The desk where she penned so many of her books is on display on the first floor of the hotel.

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 13

 

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 14

 

This is the chair mentioned above.

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 15

 

This photo hangs nearby…

Agatha Christie Suite, Cataract Hotel, Aswan Egypt 16

 

After our tour of Christie’s suite, we had a lovely dinner in the almost empty 1902 Restaurant. There were people dining at 2 or 3 other tables, but the vast majority of the restaurant was in darkness and empty. Why all the made-up stories about how busy they were–all booked up, no room? So much drama and for what?!

We each had appetizers, dinner, drinks and dessert. I took several photos during our dinner and will share those soon, although it was so dark in the restaurant I’m not sure how well they came out.

We left the Old Cataract Hotel that night under a full moon. It was the perfect ending to an evening spent following in the steps of the talented mystery writer, Agatha Christie.

Moonlit night, Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan

 

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Comments

  1. Beverly Cook says:

    So you never found out why these people were so secretive and rude???!!! A mystery in itself!!

    • No, never did figure out the mystery. Seems like a strange way to do business.

    • Charlotte Bruce says:

      I don’t think the Egyptians think very well of Americans, which could be the answer to all the “No’s”. I have no idea what that meant when you said Theresa was a member of it. Will have to look it up.

      • I noticed other folks have left comments at Trip Advisor complaining of the same thing. Apparently, they don’t like having non-guests stopping by. I’m sure they get a lot of requests from travelers asking to see Agatha Christie’s room. We were lucky because Teresa is a member with Sofitel Hotels and fortunately mentioned that, having no idea that would even help. But apparently that matters since everything changed once she mentioned that.

  2. Marni Nixon says:

    One of my favorite authors!! Now when I watch some of her stories on dvd, I will think of this post!

    • Thanks, Marni! I just ordered the old movie, Death on the Nile on Amazon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the movie. Hoping the hotel will be featured in it a good bit.

      • After this post, I ordered the dvd also, lol

        • Wow, just finished the movie and I didn’t think there were going to be any characters left. Warning Sabrina…there’s a lot of murders! It was great seeing so many of the places we saw while in Egypt, but a little too gruesome for my taste.

  3. Mary from Virginia says:

    Sounds shady! And I think I would have been afraid to eat there! You girls are brave!

    Beautiful hotel and very interesting!

    • lol I never thought about that. All I can think is maybe they were expecting a big crowd that never materialized. I remember Teresa and I saw a smallish bus pull up that some folks got off of during the time we were talking with the guard at the gate, but the hotel was definitely not crowded in the least.

  4. Suzy Wheeler says:

    Oh my goodness…What a Mystery!!
    I am headed to Egypt in January and this makes me want to see the hotel.
    Who wants to eat on the boat when they can have such an adventure..
    Thanks for sharing and looking forward to other installments of your trip.
    Suzy

    • Suzy, I recommend seeing it if you can. I would love to have stayed there for a night and I bet we could have arranged that if we had thought about it early enough in our planning.

  5. Merlin Parde says:

    Naive me…I had to google Sofitel member!! Strange, indeed!! franki

    • Don’t feel bad, I had never heard the word Sofitel until Teresa mentioned the hotel and I still didn’t know what it was until she said she was a member and I realized it was some type of hotel group/chain.

  6. Say whaaat??! I can’t believe you two got as far as you got, and no problems. Surprised you weren’t kidnapped or something! Way to go! And as you walked away from the rude salesperson, did you mutter, “big mistake. HUGE” ???

    • I know, it seemed like a miracle after the ways things started off.

      lol No, but I was tempted. He was an older gentleman and pretty gruff. He seemed insulted when I asked for a better price which is what is expected everywhere else we shopped in Egypt. I thought it would be really cool to have my cartouch from the Old Cataract, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

  7. I laughed when I saw the picture of you out in front of Bramasole! I had just read Under the Tuscan Sun and we drove to the town that Frances Mayes had so beautifully described. Based on her writings, we literally tracked the steps back to her home and saw her husband, Ed hanging out one of the upstairs windows!My husband wanted me to knock on the door, but I just couldn’t be so intrusive, though I really wanted to! 🙂
    Love this blog post-what a mysterious adventure. So happy you were able to share the hotel, Agatha’s room and all the twists and turns of the evening!

    • What fun that you actually saw her hubby in the window! Funny thing, when I was there at her home in Italy, she was actually all the way here in Atlanta, on a book signing I think.
      Thanks, Mary! It was definitely an evening I will never forget. I’d love to go back as a guest one day, probably much less drama that way. lol

  8. What a fabulous story! (I love all your stories, by the way … the more, the better … they make me feel like I was there with you!) I can’t imagine what all the “we’re full” drama was about. Like you, I would think they would be happy to have more customers rather than fewer. I would just chalk it up to local quirkiness, which can be found pretty much anywhere. 🙂
    I have so enjoyed following your posts of all your travels, and look forward to more enchanting stories to go with them.

    • Thanks, Nancy! Yeah…it’s a mystery. I’m sure they get a lot of “tourists” coming to the hotel just for the tour. Maybe they feel it will annoy the guests who are staying there if they let too many people in, but it wasn’t like there was anyone else at the gate that evening asking to get in. I’m thrilled we were ultimately able to dine there and were actually able to see the room. It was a great evening in the end.

  9. How bizarre! Maybe staff were on strike and they were too embarrassed to say so, or something like that. I guess the two best chances of solving this mystery is either one of your followers knows, or Teresa finds out through her Sofitel membership. (you go Teresa!) But still, what a twist to an amazing tour site that makes it all the more interesting.

  10. That story is crazy weird!! Sounds like a lot of miserable people in hospitality jobs that should not be. Can’t wait to hear your other upcoming stories about your trip.

  11. Wow what a story! Both of you were very persistent ! It paid off!

  12. Reesibits says:

    Bella Luna, it was a night to remember.
    The hotel didn’t disappoint. A stunning insider tour of the Agatha Christie room, the best wine during our entire trip and a New York price on my dirty martini. I really liked those faux zebra upholstered chairs.
    You tell a wonderful story. Just like the Agatha Christie stories – we would have to be detectives to solve the mystery of the foiled Cataract hospitality.
    I’m so glad they had a change of heart as we had a beautiful dinner in a regal dining room, caught the blue light (?) and then later met up with Chase & Kathy for a chat on the Old Cataract balcony.
    Let’s start there first next time in Egypt.

  13. Sounds like a pain in the butt and very shady. But in the end you were able to see everything you wanted.

  14. Jean Sprimont says:

    Are you kidding????? Skip “The story”? Anyone so doing is certifiable. Loved it and clearly you have the perfect traveling companion!

  15. Becky O'Brien says:

    Susan, because you’re always so good at following up, why not write to the Sofitel Corp management and tell them about your experience. They surely would be interested in why one of their properties was turning away any revenue opportunity Perhaps it will improve “others” experience if they try to get in.

  16. Carolle Graham says:

    Hello Susan! Your trip sounds fantastic. So many adventures. I just had to share something that happened to me & my husband… we went to visit the family of our foreign exchange student in Russia. They had told us that everywhere we went the people wanted bribe money. When we went to leave on our final day ,of course, we had to show documentation & passports before boarding. Well, the man working at the gate took our passports and would not give them back to us until he was paid about $75.00 USD. We were already going down the ramp to get on the plane when we realized he had not given them back to us. Our friends had to pay him the money before he would return the passports to us. I felt so bad that they had to pay but we would have missed our flight if they hadn’t. So, I just wonder if these people try to get money from people before they will let you see & do certain things.

    • You could be right…I never thought of that. I don’t remember now if Teresa offered him anything, I know I didn’t. We did tip the guy who gave us a tour of Agatha Christie’s room…we both tipped him. Interesting thought, although when our guide called to ask, they refused saying they were booked out, so not sure a tip would have even worked.
      That’s horrible about your passports. That has to be illegal…total blackmail what that guy did to y’all! What a terrible experience.

  17. If you know what day you would like to visit the Old Cataract Hotel, use booking.com to make a reservation. I was able to do so just before Christmas and then again in February, 2019. The de luxe rooms with Nile River view are less expensive than one would think.

    Susan you tell your story so well. I was spellbound. Because you didn’t have good light I was so surprised to see such excellent photographs. Can’t wait for the next instalment.
    ginaceramics.blogspot.com

  18. Maybe don’ like Americans?

  19. OMG, Susan!
    I’ve just watched an Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode! (Death in the clouds)
    You know I A.D.O.R.E her immensely and own all her novels and her autobiography and I love, love, love David Suchet! IMNSHO the best Poirot ever! ♥ (“Not So Humble” because as HP once said: “I am learning, Hastings. It is more English, yes, the humbleness? So, I am learning. I shall be the most humble person in the world. No one will match Hercule Poirot for his humbility.”) LOL Gosh, Susan, I still can’t believe you’ve been in Agatha’s room! Ironically her room number (1201) is also the date of her death: the 12.01.1976 (in British/European little-endian writing.) 🙁
    I so wish she was still alive; she could have written a new novel and title it “The mistery of the empty but supposedly booked up restaurant”! 😉
    Thank you so much Susan, for all the beautiful photos you’re sharing with us (I loved seeing you in the endless mirrors!) 🙂 and thank you to Teresa for her lovely reply to my last comment to you! Glad she’s fine and you’re feeling better! 🙂
    Hugs to you.

  20. Cyndi Raines says:

    Weird that they would turn away such pretty Americans! But glad you persevered and had a “night to remember”. LOVE the picture of Omar, what a handsome man he was!

  21. A mystery where a mystery was written! Thank goodness for Teresa! Her cracking the secret code made for a very interesting evening. Loved your telling of the “mystery story”.

  22. What an adventure! Rude as the people were, it was all worth the effort. I have read every one of Agatha Christie’s books at least twice. My father taught me to love her. I was always enchanted by Death on the Nile and all the books set in Egypt. Your picture above of the Nile looks just exactly as I have always imagined it! I wonder if your treatment had anything to do with your being American? If they even knew. It has hurt me in recent years to know that some of the great antiquities Agatha Christie and her 2nd husband, Max Mallowan, helped to excavate are probably part of what ISIS has destroyed in so many museums. My heart nearly stopped at seeing that photo of Omar Sharif in his young days. Who has ever been any more handsome than he? Troubles and all, it must have been an amazing trip! I love everything you share.

  23. Sandra D Joliet says:

    At first I thought it would turn out someone of importance was staying at the hotel. Similar to traffic, etc being stopped when the President visits anywhere. Strange goings on. I’m binge watching Poirot again (Suchet!) and one episode (can’t remember which one)he is told someone is not allowed on the premises because they’re a foreigner. Of course he replies Hercule is a foreigner and is promptly told “but you are famous”. Not actual quotes but you get the jest. One of my favorite shows to binge watch and to think I used to see the commercial and thought it looked terrible. I agree with the other commenter that suggested management be notified so they know what’s going on. Maybe they’re okay with that treatment of their members and maybe they’re not. Enjoyed the unsolved mystery!!!

  24. FYI There is a 2016 Egyptian mystery tv show, The Grand Hotel” that was filmed at the Old Cataract Hotel. Look for it on Netflix. It is subtitled.

  25. Nancy Pacitto says:

    Netflix changed the title to “Secrets of the Nile” because there is a Spanish “Grand Hotel” also.

  26. Wow! Just wow! This post sounds like it came from a Christie mystery . You didn’t find out what all the subterfuge was about?? This will definitely be a highlight of your trip.

  27. Wonder if everything was reserved for some dignitary who “didn’t show”?? Guess you’ll never know. What an amazing experience…..here’s to your perseverance and the memory that was created…..far more than if you’d gotten a simple favorable dinner reservation!

  28. Susan, I can’t imagine the rudeness and I would love to know why. Could it be that you were American? I am glad you were able to finally to have dinner and see the Agatha Christie suite. Beautiful photos

  29. Oh, maybe you aren’t an American, oops! I don’t see any info on your blog that says where you are from. Sorry. Lovely post. Thank you from Kentucky, U.S.A.

    • No, you’re right…I am American, born in Georgia and still living here. It’s funny how we don’t stray far from where we were born sometimes.

  30. Strange indeed but at least you the magic word and finally allowed in. I’ve traveled a bit myself but never to Egypt. I’m happy for you and all your wonderful trips. I’ve seen sights and been to places I never dreamed I would go. You’re living that life too and isn’t it fun. Coming back to the USA however is in my opinion the best of all. ❤️

    • I agree! I was soooo happy to sleep in my bed and drink water from the faucet whenever I wanted and to have tons of ice in my drinks. I missed those things so much! lol There’s no place like home!

  31. Susan Hodne says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey, sounds fascinating in spite of some of the quirks. So glad you and friend persevered at that hotel. BTW, I initially discovered your site after researching Bramasole. As die hard Tuscan Sun fans, my friend and I did the Cortona/house run also! Like you, I love visiting places I have read about or seen on film.

  32. Wonderful photos, and what a story!

    When overseas we have occasionally run into similar inexplicable “No’s” in restaurants. The entire restaurant is empty with the exception of one teeny table, and all the other empty tables are “reserved”. We sit at the teeny table, enjoy a great meal, and after an hour and a half the tables in the restaurant are still empty.

    This happened us several times in Italy, once in Scotland, once in Spain. We still don’t quite understand what the issues were. :0)

  33. Alexandra says:

    I would have walked right out after the first rude word. Not a dime from me. …And I also don’t like eating spit in my food.

    Very well could be that you were women. Especially women not accompanied by men.

  34. Re your experience at the hotel and the way you and Teresa were treated; personally I would like to think it was more of a security issue than anything. That being said; as it is an exclusive hotel their top priority is that of their guests and regular patrons but then again being that part of the world having been two women together and/or unaccompanied by males ‘may’ have also had a bearing. To conclude; so happy though it turned out to be a beautiful evening and you were able to visit Agatha’s suite. -Brenda-

  35. My internet was out yesterday and luckily I saw you mention this post in the last entry. I’m floored at the treatment you received but so glad you persisted. It wouldn’t surprise me if the reason was you’re female. It might have been different if you had a rather forceful man with you. I, too love those AHA moments when you find yourself in a movie location. The last time for me besides Highclere Castle/Downton Abbey was when I was walking with a friend in Battersea along the Thames and it dawned on me I had seen that exact spot in movies. It’s quite eerie. Can’t wait to hear about the cartouche you bought!

  36. Elizabeth Roderick says:

    You girls are very brave.. I read Sleeping Murder in high school. It was very good, but the movie left out so much. You’d have to read it…I’m not telling.

  37. Donna zoltanski says:

    You are brave ladies! I live the pics. Gorgeous room! I am glad you got to see it all. Must have been thrilling!

  38. Wonderful that you got to see Agatha’s place! A memory you will have forever!

  39. Vicky Weathers says:

    This is the most interesting story and account in a long while! Thank you very much for the amazing details and wonderful photos. I cannot understand the odd reluctance of this marvelous Hotel but I am glad you prevailed. I too love Agatha Christie so your experience is a perfect addition.

  40. I’m thinking somebody famous, or important, was already staying there and they didn’t want “gauwers” bothering that person!

    • You know, that’s the best explanation I’ve heard so far. When I traveled with Overseas Adventure Travel to Morocco, we didn’t get to stay in a super nice hotel that we were scheduled to stay in because the King of Morocco decided to go there, or at least that’s the story we were given. We ended up staying in a nice Riad, but it wasn’t near as nice as the hotel we were supposed to stay in.

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