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“So glad we stayed at Mara House”
Review of Mara House

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Mara House
Ranked #8 of 54 Hotels in Luxor
Certificate of Excellence
South West London
Level Contributor
59 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“So glad we stayed at Mara House”
Reviewed 25 February 2013

We - me, my husband and our fifteen-year-old son - just got back from a fantastic week at Mara House. Full disclosure first: this is not a 5-star luxe hotel with a view of the Nile. If you want that, don't come here. If, however, you want to experience a little of what living in Luxor might actually be like, email Mara right now. She'll answer all your questions quickly and carefully and once you arrive make sure you have a hassle-free trip - no mean feat in a city where hassle is a given. We were met at the airport and shown our comfortable and spacious triple suite (three bedrooms, sitting room, bathroom, kitchenette) and felt immediately at home. The house is on a residential street the 'wrong' side of the railway tracks, but a swift 15-minute caleche ride or 20-30 minute walk to Luxor Temple. Mara organizes tours of all the main sites and we had pre-booked three of them. Our guide Mohammed escorted us to Luxor and Karnak Temples, to Dendera and Abydos and to the West Bank, taking in the Valley of the Kings, the Tombs of the Noble and of the Workers and the Medinet Habu. They were long days, but good ones. We learned a vast amount and it was all smooth and straightforward. We were met at the hotel, taken to good restaurants for lunch and returned to the Mara House at the end, where we could relax and absorb all that we had seen, whether in the cool of our room or on the roof terrace. Going out in the evening was a breeze, too. Mara's team (Zahry and Amr, who doubles up as chef at Mara's restaurant, Salahadeen) call one of the caleche drivers they use (we were lucky enough to have Ramadan, who was great) to pick you up, take you where you want to go and take you back to the hotel afterwards. This is a huge plus as it means you don't get ripped off and you don't get overly hassled by the dozens of taxi drivers and other caleche drivers looking for business. And you can understand why they might be. Tourist numbers are massively down since the revolution, and Luxor is very, very quiet. But don't let the political situation put you off. Cairo is 300 hundred miles away and Port Said even further. And most of the people you will come across are polite, funny, kind and if you treat them civilly, even when haggling, will do the same to you.

We're so glad we went - and so glad we stayed with Mara. We could have stayed in a posh hotel and spent our week in a protected bubble, but this way we got to see a little bit of the real city and to do it in a very easy and pain-free way.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Hotelsarelovely
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2013

My friend and I stayed at Mara House for five nights in February 2013. We chose Mara House because of Mara being english- spoken and because of her expertise and vast knowledge of Egypt. Right from the off, when we were emailing Mara back and forth with our ever-changing itinerary, we knew that we were making the right decision to stay with Mara. Mara's prompt replies (always within 24 hours) reassured us that we would always be in good hands. That was so true, from the moment our plane touched down in Egypt. Mara had one of her drivers meet us and take care of our visas before taking us to Mara House. It was lovely to be greeted by Mara at the door of the residence. Right away she made us a very welcome cup of tea and had our luggage taken to our room. We felt straight away that we had been friends with Mara for years! She was so welcoming and her Irish hospitality was second to none. Nothing was too much trouble for Mara. She organised all our tours to Tombs and Temples and even packed a breakfast and/or lunch for us. At very short notice, she helped organise (through her many contacts) a hot air balloon ride over Luxor. Our suite was spotlessly clean. We couldn't fault it in any way. The fridge was well stocked with water, soft drinks, wine, beer, chocolate bars and crisps, all of which were replenished each day. Staying with Mara made our trip so enjoyable and took all the hassle away. She's a remarkable lady! Thank you Mara for making or trip so exciting.

Room Tip: Mara's roof top terrace is a great place to relax after a hard day sightseeing. Loads of room to...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank kayk1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michigan
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2013

Our 3 generation extended family spent two nights at Mara House in January and the only problem we had was that we couldn't stay longer! Mara communicated well with us as we were making our arrangements prior to our visit, and everything came together as we hoped. Her staff, namely Amr and Sahry, were exceptionally attentive and helpful. They were always ready with a cup of tea and good advice. All the arrangements they made for us, from the hot air balloon ride to the tours to the calesh ride through Luxor, worked perfectly. Our tour guide, Mohammad, was interesting, patient and knowledgeable. The apartments were spacious, comfortable and clean and the rooftop terrace was lovely and relaxing. All nine of us would highly recommend Mara House.

Stayed January 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank MichiganScout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Essex, England
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2013

Stayed at Mara House 11-16 Feb 2013. Chosen because we felt we would be happier staying with a woman who spoke English! On arrival at the airport we were met by one of Mara's drivers who took care of our visas etc and guided us through the airport to the waiting car and driver. On arrival at Mara House the lady herself was on the steps to greet us in person. A member of her team took our luggage while another made us a very welcome cup of tea. Within minutes we felt completely at home. Our apartment was spotlessly clean and well appointed. We'd pre-booked some of Mara's trips but late one night we wondered, rather hopelessly, if we could also squeeze in a hot air balloon flight for the following morning. A quick call from Mara to one of her contacts and it was done. Egypt could have been a chaotic and daunting experience, especially when one doesn't speak the language. Mara's expertise and knowledge of Egypt took all the hassle away - leaving us to have an amazing, carefree, wonderful holiday. Thank you so much Mara.

Room Tip: There's a great selection of suites and a newly-opened roof terrace.
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JoyEssex_England
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
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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Helpful?
1 Thank MandLuxor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
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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Helpful?
Thank Duncan_Doughnuts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Smudgeboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mara House

Property: 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 Romantic Hotel in Luxor
#8 Family Hotel in Luxor
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
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 
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Also Known As:
Mara House Hotel Luxor
Mara Hotel Luxor

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