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“Fantastic stay”
Review of Mara House

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Mara House
Ranked #8 of 54 Hotels in Luxor
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 10 June 2014

This is a great little place to stay in Luxor. It has character, is interestingly decorated, certainly not one of the sterile 5 star resorts that could be anywhere. It is very welcoming with nice rooms at a great price. It is located minutes from many attractions in Luxor. Mara herself is one of the friendliest people you will meet, and it is her that will go out of her way to make sure you are comfortable, and will give you tips and help you plan your days in Luxor should you need it. Although the kitchen was closed while I was there, I have heard from several people that they have the best Egyptian food in town. This is definitely the place to go to, and if I ever go back to Luxor this will be the place I stay.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Ryan F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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64 - 70 of 408 reviews

Reviewed 31 March 2014

Two week stay with the good people at Mara House. These days it is skeleton crew keeping the place ticking over; so a little bit the feel of being on a ghost ship. Despite difficult times with very low bookings all over Luxor they manage to maintain good standards. In fact this time there was actually another guest in residence (first time I experienced this) for some of the time and thus a few late nights chatting over several beers in the bar.

I made a point of keeping to my usual routine, walking through the streets to the rail station then through the underpass and for short walk to Luxor temple or the Ferry port to cross over to the west bank for a days "work". I did more trips via Caleesh as they seem most in need of support and one can pay LE5-10 for quick hop to ferry or up the street. Saves a lot of sweat.

Among the excellent facilities at Mara House is the internet and ability to pay by debit card, something becoming less common in Luxor and which can make money management difficult. The bookshops seem to be good at taking plastic, including the rather well priced (with a bit of haggling) bookshop/giftshop in the Mummification museum.

I've a feeling Mara is passing on the baton for managing the hotel to her son John - much as I missed seeing Mara this time round I feel the place is in very safe and competent hands.

Room Tip: Number 4 has great TV and is higher up
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled solo
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4  Thank MandLuxor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 January 2014

I had planned to stay at a 5 star hotel in Luxor but cancelled my booking after reading reports on Mara House on Trip advisor. I loved staying at Mara House which I found homely, comfortable and the staff and Mara very accommodating and friendly. Mara arranged transfers from Aswan with stops to Luxor and a taxi on the West Bank all of which were competitively priced and I compare prices. The house is in a residential area, where there is construction and the streets surrounding the hotel are filled with the sounds of daily Egyptian life, which I enjoyed. The walk to the station may not suit everyone, but I found the neighborhood safe and interesting, the locals are just interested in who you are, laughing, teasing, children asking for money, but all good natured. If you enjoy 5 star hotels and everything that comes with them, this hotel may not be for you. If you are looking for something more authentic, give it a go. I would stay with Mara and her team if I returned to Luxor in a heartbeat

Stayed: January 2014, travelled solo
3  Thank BDBUnitedKingdom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2014

"We had a wonderful stay at Mara House last month, and the real gem is the proprietor Mara Vaughn. Although her place is beautiful, immaculately kept and hospitable, it was Mara who singlehandedly assisted me and my fiancee plan the trip of our lives to Egypt. She was giving and kind, helping me throughout the months leading up to our Dec. 2013 trip there with endless emails and advice. She organized tours in both Luxor and Cairo, and although she does not make a lot of profit on the Cairo tours, I really do believe her motivation is to see others have a wonderful trip to Egypt. She helped me more than she knows, and we had a flawless trip as a result.

On Mara House itself: It is situated close to all the major sites in Luxor, as well as selected restaurants. Upon arrival, we were greeted with welcome tea, and given a lot of information about our stay, surrounding sites and suggestions for activities. Our place was a suite, and was plenty of room for the two of us. The staff were attentive to our needs, including laundry service and tea on demand. The room and bed were very comfortable, and the decor was had taste and was thoughtful. Our fridge was stocked with plenty of drinks, wine, snacks, all for a nominal fee, and although we were so busy, the rooftop lounge looked mighty appealing after long days exploring the temples.

Amr, Mara's assistant, kindly took us around Luxor several nights, arranging taxis and coordinating our trips out to town. He was really essential in making sure our Luxor experience went smoothly, from the minute we got there. The breakfasts were good, and Amr packed me a boxed lunch to explore Abydos and Dendera on my birthday (my fiancee was in bed with "mummy's revenge), which helped quite a bit. You might want to pack ear plugs or listen to some relaxation music before bed, as the street in front of Mara House tends to get loud, especially on wedding weeks (we happened to hit one down the street).

Mara has a few suggestions for restaurants in the area, including Taste of India and Sofra, the latter being our go to restaurant for several meals. We were disappointed not to be able to eat at Mara House's restaurant, Salahadeen, but the low volume of tourists dictated it's closure for now. Ask Amr for the "orientation book," in which you'll find all the suggestions Mara has vetted for you to optimize your trip to Luxor.

The other bonus is that Mara knows how to find all the right people, from staff to drivers and tour guides. We had a very talented and experienced tour guide and driver during our time in Luxor, as well as Cairo. She works with Djed Egypt in Cairo, a company I could write glowing reviews about. Luxor has been hit badly by the lack of tourists. This is glaringly obvious everywhere you look around town. My hope is that reviews like this will spur people to come back to Luxor, and to Egypt in general.

At no time in Luxor, or Egypt for that matter, did my fiancee and I feel threatened or even uncomfortable at the sign of danger or political volatility that would have prevented us from doing activities or being around certain places. The people of Luxor are kind, giving, professional and desirous of more touristic activity, so go there. You'll have the experience of your life. And stay with Mara at Mara House."

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Jason F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mara_House, Owner at Mara House, responded to this reviewResponded 16 January 2014

Hi Jason,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a glowing and detailed review - in these times especially your actions are much appreciated.

I especially appreciated your recognition of my genuine intention to do what I can to help visitors experience the best of Egypt and it is such a shame for everyone that the media coverage over the last 3 years have kept so many would-be-visitors to Egypt away - needlessly.

To anyone who might be reading my response here I would like to ask you to:

CHECK the most updated Travel Warning from the US STATE DEPT - it is dated 6 January and it NO LONGER advises travellers to avoid Egypt. It also states that Luxor and the other tourist spots have "been calm" which is as far as they will go in saying we have not had any trouble of note. Unfortunately, despite several notifications TripAdvisor from myself over the last 9 days TripAdvisor is still directing you to the old November 2013 Alert.

Again, thank you so much Jason for choosing Mara House and for your wonderful review :-)

Mara

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2013

Stayed at Mara's House in both Cairo and Luxor. Both Mara and Stephen were most helpful and welcoming to us, and kept us clear of the usual tourist traps that are rife in Egypt. They even recognised our food poisoning symptoms before we did and gave us special 'Egyptian grade' medication to prevent the onset, so we owe our whole trip to their helpfulness since it would've otherwise have been quite unpleasant. They helped us organise tours, recommended restaurants, told us the do's and don'ts and generally gave us a lot of inside info that we would've never have found out ourselves. Accommodation was clean, tidy, comfortable and good value. Would not stay anywhere else and glad we found them.
You won't be disappointed!

Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
4  Thank Aussie-in-the-desert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 September 2013

I recently visited Egypt and spent a week in Luxor. While there I stayed at Mara House and was very pleased and welcomed. I loved the house and Mara's service was outstanding. I was there during the month of August and always felt safe and absolutely in no danger whatsoever. It was such an enjoyable place to visit. The temples, the Sook (marketplace) was a great place to find wonderful handcrafted items and great bargains.

Mara's House was so beautifully furnished and I enjoyed tremendously my breakfast every morning as well as the wealth of information that Mara could provide of Luxor and Egypt in general.

Room Tip: Beautiful and spacious rooms
  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled solo
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3  Thank RedheadedLady7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2013

Mara is a very unique hostess. Her determination and skills of matriarchal wisdom resound with dogmatic focus. The digs are very clean and, the building as a fortress is very secure. The neighborhood is another story. The House is located away from the hustle and bustle of hotel and history "strip." The breakfast is above par, and bountiful. You may arrange for tours along the other side of the Nile where the archaeology mainly abounds and, you may take a taxi to Karnak and Luxor Temple complex on the city side... With the affairs current as of 2013, who knows if the water runs, the sewers drain or the power comes on with the flip of a switch.....

Room Tip: Good Luck......
  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with friends
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3  Thank MDFS333
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 Romantic Hotel in Luxor
#8 Family 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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