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“Your practically a local now”
Review of Mara House

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Mara House
Ranked #8 of 54 Hotels in Luxor
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 February 2013

Luxor makes a good base from which to explore pretty much the whole of Upper Egypt - that's from Abydos to Aswan - and more. Mara House became my little home from home from which I ventured out, mainly across the river to the west bank, where I walked, cycled, motorcycled, bused and taxied all over the place visiting temples and my friends in Qurna, the community of people whose villages ring the ancient Theban necropolis on its eastern flank. (visit www.mandoxegypt.wordpress.com for more stories about all that.) One could also ride (horses or camels but that ain't really my thing)

Whereas West Bank and Qurna is a very much more rural, very quiet experience. Mara House is situated in the Inner City right behind the very busy railway station and just 15minutes walk up El Nozri to Luxor temple and the lively area around the souk where little restaurants like Ali Baba offer has nice food (Egyptian or International) and beer plus one of the best views of any restaurant.

So I lodged my entire two weeks at Mara's where they looked after me very well. I was in room 4 - one floor up on last time - very nice quiet room - with a large glass topped dinning table on which i could lay out my books and laptop. Very comfortable there.

I also had the opportunity to go on one of the longer day trips to Abydos in the company of Mara, Mohammed and Amr. There should be links to some film of this on the mandoxegypt site or youtube. Journeying to this famous pilgrimage site has long been one of my ambitions. The journey on this new desert road was fantastic - desert scenery all the way then a gem of a temple - with not one but two guides to show me the special bits. We had a lot of fun and even managed to step briefly onto the Osireion, which was dry.

Several hours there wasn't enough enough and I must go back - if only for more gossip from Mara (but I am a nerd). We then got to Dendara for last two hours - which is best time to see it - more than enough there to keep one busy for the day.

Coming back in rush hour I think on reflection I'd get off at Jazeera on the west back and catch the public ferry over and walk back to Mara's rather than spend an hour via Luxor Bridge which is quite far upstream. Even so its probably a detour one should make at least once - just to see the bridge and uptown or is it downtown Luxor.

Many thanks to Noor, Asdar and Sahry for looking after me so well in the Hotel. Keeping my room looking so fresh and providing such nice breakfasts every morning and tea whenever I needed it. Coming back late I'd often get a call from Sahry just to make sure I was OK - which is nice really - people in Egypt really do go the extra mile ... thank you - hope to see you all on my next expedition.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank MandLuxor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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94 - 100 of 408 reviews

Reviewed 9 February 2013

Hi I stayed at Mara House for 5 nights in January along with 8 friends. The rooms were huge and beautifully decorated, and they did a great job of organising trips for us during the stay. Above all Mara and the team really made us feel at home and secure.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Duncan_Doughnuts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2013

I was part of a trip of nine who stayed at Mara House in January 2013 and I can't rate it highly enough if you're looking for a good-value B&B with excellent service. Even before we arrived, Mara (Irish lady who owns the place) sent us loads of advice and dealt effortlessly with our questions and schedule changes.

Arriving at Mara House is a little bit of a shock, as it's on a backstreet that (to our untrained Western sensibilities) looks a bit rough - but nothing could be further from the truth. The front door opened to an oasis of tranquility and calm, the people in Luxor are lovely and when we got there, Mara and her staff (Amr and Sahji) bent over backwards to accommodate us.

Mara arranged all our excursions, Amr accompanied us and arranged all the driving and let's not forget Mohammad, our hotel-appointed tour guide, who opened up a world of understanding at the sites including the Luxor and Karnak temples, Abydos, Dendera and the Valley of The Kings. If you stay with Mara, I thoroughly urge you to take advantage of the full service package they offer for excursions etc - you won't find a better deal.

On the longer excursions (requiring an early start) they provided packed breakfasts, which were just the ticket. And if you stay here and they offer you Amr's home-cooked Egyptian feast one evening, make sure you take them up on the offer.

Oh, and of course - the rooms were huge, spotless and comfortable, the service was impeccable and the roof terrace provided a lovely escape from the hubbub below.

If you don't know what to expect, in the first couple of days the Islamic call to prayer at 5am will jolt you awake - but it doesn't last long and you will have the same experience if you stay at the most expensive hotels. This is Egyptian culture - embrace it!

Thank you Mara and team - you were an essential part of making Luxor a great experience.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Smudgeboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 January 2013

I stayed at Mara House with my son for 4 nights in January 2013. The accomodation is in a "genuine" Egyptian neigbourhood away from the other hotels and about 5 minutes from the railway station. The accomodation was a large living room with a large bedroom. Breakfast, which was included in the price, was continental in nature and perfectly fine. Unfortunately time precluded taking some of the tours that Mara organised and unfortunately we were not able to attend the Egyptian feast as the chef was ill on the relevant day.

The biggest plus of Mara house is that the staff (and I will no doubt spell these names wrong) Sahry and his colleague (Amr). They genuinely cared that you had a good experience in Luxor and were always anxious to ensure that the vist was as hassle free as possible. In particular, we had a difficult situation with a caliche driver who upped his fee by a great deal and became very aggressive. Sahry and Amr came out of Mara House at what was 1 am in the morning and spoke with him, arranged a reasonable fee and directed us inside.

Overall I would recommend Mara House. Being in a genuine Egyptian neighbourhood, you really benefit from meeting real Egyptians who are not out to hassle you and we were touched by the acts of kindness shown to us (such as a local giving us a "no obligation" ride on the back of his moped to Mara House when we got slightly lost one night). It is slightly out of the town centre (15 minutes walk to Luxor temple) compared with other hotels and did not have a TV (if this is important to you) etc, but if you are willing to walk or use the fixed rate taxis/caliche that Mara House organises and wish to experience a less touristy side of Luxor, it is perfect.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank smcm980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 January 2013

Over the holidays, I stayed at Mara House with my parents (in their 50's), my sister (in her 20's), and my husband (in our 20's). We were a group of 5 Americans visiting Egypt for the first time. My husband and I live in Kuwait, so we knew a bit of what to expect, but were nervous to take my parents around the Middle East in such a busy country like Egypt. Thus, we booked Mara House.

Mara House made our vacation an absolute dream; we couldn't ask for a more helpful, friendly, hard working staff. The facilities are spotless and well-maintained. We had a whole "apartment" to ourselves, with breakfast included, at a great price! The beds were the most comfortable beds I've slept in the Middle East. Every night was a silent night's sleep; no honking horns to keep you awake! You arrive to a fully stocked refrigerator of local wine and beer (reasonably priced), chips, candy bars, and water, so you don't have to stress about finding the nearest bottle shop or corner store at the end of a long day. There were two sitting areas, a television, and a spotless bathroom. Trust me, this place is the cleanest, most organized places I've been to in all of the Middle East, and I've traveled to many, many places!

Not to mention Amr and Sahry (Mara's righthand men) helped us order felafel, hummus, even pizza every night we didn't feel like going out. They made us laugh endlessly. They arranged taxis, helped us with directions, recommended things to do, they are natural hosts. We genuinely miss both Amr and Sahry; I have traveled over 20 countries, and never have I been to a B&B where I felt this cared for. We wanted to hire a felucca one day, and had met a man along the Nile who we wanted to book with. Amr and Sahry wanted to make sure we had a good experience, so they called the man on his mobile (we got the guy's phone number when we met him) to talk to him about his services. They were super concerned about everything we did in Luxor, and wanted to ensure we loved every moment.

If you are looking for a comfortable place to relax, bask in the sun on their beautiful rooftop garden, talk with the friendliest people, and have a helping hand to make sense of the crazy tourism in Egypt, then book with Mara. You won't regret it.

Need I say it again? The place is spotless. Quiet. Safe. Friendly. Helpful. Great food. Good price.

Mara is a pro at email. She will email you back within 24 hours. (A rarity in Egypt!) Send me a private message if you want to know more or get a feel for what my itinerary was.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Kimberly J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2013 via mobile

I enjoyed my stay at Mara's. Mara wasnt there but staff was friendly and helpful. Also had a great meal in the dining room. I took 2 tours arranged out if the hotel which were certainly worth it in my opinion. As I plan to visit Luxor again I plan to stay here then.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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Thank willyddog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2013

Mara House in Luxor was truly an inspired find. It was a great bonus to discover the house is set back in the town and away from the large hotels and very insistant vendors in the markets. A walk along the street from the house will bring you by Egyptian front doors to be met by welcoming hello's from local adults and children.
Mara House is a new develoment built to a very high standard with large rooms or apartments, fully equipped to cater for yourself if you wish. Do not miss the "feast" a scrumptious meal of Egyptian cuisine, beautifully cooked and presented by the staff in the house. No shortage of help or advise with booking trips and arranging transfers from the airport or to the Nile. All the arrangments for our visits to the Luxor temples, Dendera and Abydos were made easy by the Mara House staff. The occasional power cut was the only down side and proved only a minor inconvenience. I heartfully recommend Mara House for its friendly service and excellent accommadation. I would gladly book it again and hope to do so in the future.

Room Tip: Choose a lower floor room if stairs are a problem. No lift.
  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank Pat F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mara House

Address: Salah Al Din Al Ayoubi | Luxor, Luxor, Egypt
Region: Egypt > Nile River Valley > Luxor
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#8 Family Hotel in Luxor
#8 Romantic Hotel in Luxor
Price Range: £18 - £44 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mara House is an Irish owned boutique hotel catering to the tastes of independent travellers who want to be sure they experience the best of Egypt. Mara House can only be booked directly via email to Mara. We help with sightseeing and itinerary planning for all of Egypt and steer our guests clear of tourist traps and pitfalls. Holidays are so important to us all and great holiday memories make such a difference to our lives - Mara ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Mara House Hotel Luxor
Mara Hotel Luxor

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