After our pretty terrible experience at our hotel in Luxor, we were nervous about how our B&B in Aswan would be. Fortunately, it could not have been a more different experience than Luxor. We experienced true Egyptian hospitality and were able to fully relax, something that we really needed after a few days in the hustle and bustle of Luxor.
We stayed at the Nubian Holiday House, a B&B that was run by Nubians. Before we arrived I was not quite sure what a Nubian was, but after doing some research I had an answer. Nubians are a group of people that live in Egypt but look more African than they do Middle Eastern. The Nubians and Egyptians have a very long history of working together, something that I was not aware of before my time in Egypt.
Nile View Room at Nubian Holiday House
We booked a Nile view room which ironically was the least expensive room option available. When we first went into our room we were surprised just how large the room was. There were 2 full size beds, 3 armoires and plenty of additional space.
Even though there were 2 beds, for some reason the only bed that was made was the older mattress. We were told that we could switch beds, but didn’t feel like moving the sheets and making another bed.
It was even hotter in Aswan than it was in Luxor as we were closer to the equator. We were surprised how cool our room stayed, even without running the air conditioner. The house was built using Nubian building techniques which include concrete construction and high, domed ceilings.
I was a little disappointed that during our 3 nights here our room was never serviced. It would have been nice to have our trash emptied or our bed turned down. It wasn’t a huge deal though and I’m sure if I made a request, our room would have been serviced.
The bathroom was a wet room style bathroom which means that there was no shower curtain at all. We didn’t mind the unique set up since having a large place to shower felt great. After we finished up showering, there was a large squeegee which we used to dry off the floor.
The bathroom had its own hot water tank. Unlike our hotel in Luxor, the water was kept extremely hot which allowed enough hot water for both Andy and I to shower one after the other without running out of hot water. While the water pressure wasn’t amazing, the shower was overall very good.
The toilet was on the other side of a wall from the shower which protected it from getting wet when we showered.
Nubian Holiday House – Amenities
As always, we look for a hotel with free breakfast whenever possible. The breakfast in Aswan was good and very filling. We had omelettes, crepes, pita bread, cheese, falafel and yogurt. The variety was great since we could eat different things each day that we were at the B&B.
As we walked around Aswan, it didn’t take long to realize that most people seem to eat at home. There were very few restaurants around town and those that we did see were very touristy.
Since we love home cooked food, we ate at our B&B which offered both lunch and dinner for 70LE or $9 per person. It was a little more more than we would have ideally liked to pay, but the meals were always delicious, filling and extremely fresh. During our 3 nights here, we ended up eating at the B&B 3 separate times.
After our overbearing host in Luxor, I was almost a little worried about booking a tour through the hotel. Our experience could not have been any better. We initiated the conversation about getting to Abu Simbel and our host gave us an extremely fair price of 230LE or $30 per person to get from the hotel to Abu Simbel and back to the city. Since it was so reasonable we booked it on the spot.
In order to get to Abu Simbel, you have to go with a police convoy which leaves Aswan at 4am. Since we had to get from our hotel to the city, we left at 3:30am. Knowing that we would not have time to eat but would be hungry on the road, our host packed us a box breakfast including a hard boiled egg, yogurt, pita, cheese and bottle of water.
The B&B was located right on the Nile river which afforded a great view. The best place to take in the view was on the rooftop deck which had numerous places to sit and relax.
In addition to the rooftop deck the Nubian Holiday House also had other common areas both inside and outside where you could sit and relax. The inside area included couches, chairs and a TV (although we never saw the TV being used). On our last day in Aswan we spent the last couple hours hanging out in the common area before we left to catch our train to Cairo.
When we staying at the B&B we had wifi issues every evening. I believe that there were too many people on the network and the overload didn’t allow anyone to do anything. Fortunately, when we were around in the afternoon and late at night, times when others were not on the network, we had no issues connecting to the internet.
I believe that this issue was addressed on our last day, as there were technicians at the house working on the wifi.
In Egypt you have to haggle for everything, even something as simple as a bottle of water. When our host showed us that there was free filtered water, we were very excited. This allowed us to refill our water bottles saving us both the hassle of haggling and the expense of continually purchasing bottles of water.
We had just done our laundry in Luxor so there was really no need to do our laundry in Aswan. During our stay, my pants got a stain on them. Knowing that I would need my pants cleaned before we did laundry next, I asked our host if he could wash them. He did so at no charge, something that I appreciated greatly.
Our B&B was located on the west bank of the Nile, away from the city which was on the east bank. This worked out very well for us as our area was very peaceful and everyone that we talked to that was staying on the east bank complained about the noise.
Getting to the east bank was extremely easy as there was a public ferry a 5 minute walk away. Even though locals pay only 1LE or 13 cents, as foreigners we get charged more. There is no exact price, we heard they just size you up and give you a rate between 2LE and 4LE. To get away from being overcharged, we always had 2LE or 26 cents in coins per person, handed it to the attendant and kept walking. We figured if it seemed like we knew what we were doing, they wouldn’t stop us which was exactly the case.
Taking the ferry felt like a step back in time. All of the men sat in the back of the ferry and the women sat in the front. It felt odd to sit away from Andy and I have to admit, I felt a little awkward wearing my pants and t-shirts since all of the women were in their traditional clothing.
If we were to return to Aswan we would absolutely stay at the Nubian Holiday House again. The owner was great – he made sure that we had a great time, but gave us as much space as we needed.
Our room was large, cool and had everything that we needed. The food was great and the views from the rooftop balcony were beautiful. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.