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“Great fun, great value, great food. Do try staying here!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mara House

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Mara House
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Salah Al Din Al Ayoubi | Luxor, Luxor, Egypt   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 59 Hotels in Luxor
East of England
Level Contributor
139 reviews
81 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 167 helpful votes
“Great fun, great value, great food. Do try staying here!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

Completely different from all the big hotels with their corporate beige interiors. Mara House is a genuinely attractive Egyptian house off the tourist track in the centre of Luxor. Bursting with colour and style, clean, bright and with a friendly welcome.

We stayed in an attractively decorated large double room. Good quality Egyptian cotton sheets and very effective air conditioning. The en suite shower room was large and clean.

Dinner was honestly fantastic - lots of different small dishes and the best soup we tasted during our three week holiday in Egypt. Breakfast comprised tasty fresh bread, cheese, yoghurt and fruit juice.

It is difficult to `star rate` Mara House. We arrived there having just come from the Oberoi Mena House rated the best 5* hotel in Cairo (it was excellent, see my separate review) and so you may wonder why I have also given Mara House 5* rating when its facilities are so obviously different. Well, Mara House is a taste of the real Egypt; something often missing from even the best big hotels. A real travel experience. Something authentically different from the norm. It is also amazing good value for money and I recommend it whole heartedly.

Mara also helped me book internal flights with Egypt Air. She was able to access flights considerably cheaper than I could - and without seeming boastful, I reckon I know my way round airline booking engines!! We also booked a private tour guide though Mara for our three day stay in Cairo. Again, I cannot recommend Mara`s service highly enough. Our guide spoke good English, the car provided for us was clean, air conditioned and fairly new and the driver expertly negotiated the horrendous Cairo traffic.

Do try staying at Mara House in Luxor if you can, you won`t regret it!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank supermummy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mara_House, Owner at Mara House, responded to this review, November 19, 2012
Thank you! It was a pleasure to help you with the tickets etc. and delighted you enjoyed our Cairo tours also. You know when I open emails where people are asking for general or specific information to help them plan their trip - a kind of warm feeling comes over me and I really, really want them to experience the best so I give the best advice I can. It can be a bit hair-raising at times like our race to get the best price tickets in the email triangle between you, me and the booking agent! But the feeling when it comes off it brilliant! Adrenaline! Then the real pay-off comes when people like you take the time to recommend my efforts :-)

So very happy that you enjoyed our Egyptian Feast at the Salahadeen - providing good-feeling food is important to me and also to Amr who spends hours with the Chef on the days we have the Feast. Both of us can tell the difference between food that is cooked by someone who loves their ingredients and the process of providing an experience for those eating the food as opposed to just feeding them.

Getting a 5* rating from a person as well-traveled as yourself, who is also used to 5* hotels such as the Mena Oberoi is priceless. Thank you again for taking the time to write and catalogue our aspects, you are wonderful!

Mara
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371 reviews from our community

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hong kong
Level Contributor
52 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2012

Ok, i will be fair here and I am sure Mara herself will rebuff all my comments as she is that sort of type and very defensive. Actually this place is overrated by the reviewers on TA. It is local yes and the neighborhood is interesting if you really want to go local. Mara herself is misleading in quite a few ways- she was in Cairo so anytime we had a request we had to call her as the mgr couldonly speak egyptian, the private tour arranged through her was not private even though she confirmed to other group and us - the other couple said oh well while Mara outright lied to both of us, tour guide had his own ideas where to go and would not take any input ( Muhammed) , Mara could not provide a receipt even though i requested to send by email afterwards- said the computer was down ( on the phone ) when we were checking out but the gentleman taking care of the place in her absence had no problem internet surfing, it was a bit creepy everytime we would leave the room for 5 minutes someone from hotel would come in and turn off he aircon, no water pressure on top floors so go for a lower floor- i am sure they are better options in Luxor and Mara is overpriced and bordering on a scheister!

Room Tip: Stay elsewhere!
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank nellieHongKong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mara_House, Owner at Mara House, responded to this review, November 18, 2012
Hmmmm defensive? I think when somebody punches you in the face it is fair to say one offers a defensive response.....so here goes. I am genuinely very sorry for your unhappiness but given your overall approach to the trip I can't say that I am that surprised. You might remember that it was I who repeatedly contacted you to try to tie down your itinerary and arrangements, which were altered several times.

The only private excursion requested by you or your husband was a fellucca trip for his birthday - per your email June 14. You did not book a private tour and the only tour you did share was the one to Abydos and Dendera. I never, ever tell anyone they can have a private tour to any temples but especially not to those temples - it is a 2 -3 hour drive to Abydos and I would not send two buses on such a trip at the same time.

As for the manager who only spoke "egyptian" - Amr's english is not perfect but, funnily enough, he seems to be able to communicate rather well with everyone else who stays at Mara House - in fact my guests seem to love him. If I am not at Mara House I make myself available, wherever I am in the world, to speak with my guests on the phone if there are any questions that need clarifying - such as yours.

The other couple who shared the Abydos/Dendera tour with you had booked a special offer of 3 nights and 3 tours and never mentioned a private tour either, which I also clarified with them that morning - I do resent being called a liar and a scheister as I think it is pretty obvious to everyone who stays with us that I genuinely do my best for everyone, from helping plan their trips to providing the best services possible.

When calling me a scheister I note you did not quote the cost of your stay and tours for 5 persons, nor the family reduction. Neither did you mention the fact that you had 3 bedrooms, two sitting rooms and two bathrooms for that price. You did not say anything about the water pressure to any of the staff and to the best of my knowledge there is nothing wrong with the water pressure. My own apt is above your suites as is the laundry and the water pressure is very good in both places.

I don't know what kind of "input" you wanedt to do with the guide - it is his job to guide you, not the other way around.

Air-con being turned off when you left the room for 5 minutes - I hardly call going across town to a restaurant 5 minutes. We clearly ask our guests to turn off the air-cons when leaving the room for fire safety and when they don't we can hear it from the street and the roof terrace - so, yes, we turn them off in those rare instances that guests ignore the request. There is also such a thing as being a good/considerate guest.

When you asked for the receipt I did not say the computer was down. I said it was not possible for him to print a receipt because all that information is on my laptop not the computer in reception which is only for keeping in contact with me. I told you I would send it to you. I didn't send it because your husband didn't seem to think it was important when he came on the phone to tell me "I don't get angry, I get even" - which I presume is what this review is all about.

So, yes - I think I have responded to every issue you raised. And again, I am sorry for your unhappiness and hope life will be kind to you and your family.

Mara
Owner of Mara House, Luxor
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012

From the pick up at the airport (charged separately) to the wonderful tour guide and tours to the well-appointed rooms, our stay at Mara House was great!

We arrived early on a Thursday morning and the guide was already at the house ready for the West Bank tour. We requested something light to eat as we had not had breakfast and it was served with warmth and hospitality. We spent the first day on an abbreviated West Bank tour in the comfort of an air conditioned van.

For dinner that night, a taxi pick up was arranged and we ate at an Indian restaurant recommended by Mara. Run by an expat Brit, A Taste of India was delightful and the food was excellent. The cold beer also went down a treat. :)

Friday we took Mara's suggestion and left the house with packed lunches and seven or eight other guests in a large air conditioned bus, from a tour of Abydos and Dendera. Our same knowledgable and friendly guide, Mohammed, accompanied us on this trip as well.

On Friday evening, we ate at the Mara House restaurant and enjoyed an Egyptian feast. We left, happy, on Saturday morning.

I can highly recommend Mara House both for its accommodation and arranging of tours. In fact, I already have.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank srushton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mara_House, Owner at Mara House, responded to this review, November 18, 2012
I am so glad you had a good time with your family at Mara House and want to thank you sincerely for taking the time to recommend us - and indeed for the guests you have already sent to us.

Mohamed also appreciates that you enjoyed his tours and "A Taste of India" is my personal favourite when I want to have a night out, happy that you like it :-)

It's great that it all fell into place for you and that you got to see Luxor before moving on - I hope you will be very happy in your new home and will look forward to seeing you if you get the chance to return.

Many thanks again for taking the time to recommend us.
Mara
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2012

Mara House was a wonderful retreat in Luxor. It is small and located in a neighborhood away from the main section of town. I vacationed here for two days with my wife and two children (then 3 and 5). Mara is an Irish expatriot who runs this lovely hotel. SHe is almost always available and takes great care of her guests. The accomodations are wonderful and quaint, with a/c in the bedrooms which is a must. The fridge is stocked and the food (especially breakfast) is fantastic. Mara will set you up with everything you need for sightseeing and getting to and from the airport. Of note is the fact that we felt completely safe and welcome in the neighborhood. My children played with the local kids on the street, and the walk to and from town was well lit and safe.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dave_Pittsburgh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mara_House, Owner at Mara House, responded to this review, November 8, 2012
Great to hear from you here and sincere thanks for taking the time to give us the "thumbs up" - July is hot and we are very appreciative of those who venture to stay with us in the summer!

Unfortunately our lighting in Luxor is not the best these days - we are subject to power cuts as the government attempt to tackle a power shortage, which is a bit weird because now the time for air-con is finished so demand should be reducing! However, it gives us an excuse to go more romantic, especially in the restaurant, by candlelight :-)

We have also just had two days of thunderstorms, very unusual but most welcome as now all the dust is gone from all the rooftops and treetops :-)

I hope the kids remember their holiday as they grow older and maybe (God-willing) they can holiday here when my Grand-daughter takes over (she's 12 now and loves Mara House)!

Again thank you for choosing Mara House and especially for remember to write us up.

Best regards to all the family,
Mara
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Taurinya, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Level Contributor
37 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2012

Trip Advisor's reviews of Mara House looked promising, and I found Mara's website helpful in the early stages of planning this trip. Mara herself was most helpful in the planning stages for the trip, and though she was away when we arrived, she kept in touch by email & continued to offer helpful advice. The highlights of our actual stay in Mara House were: firstly, the impeccable service provided by the staff, particularly Sahry and Amr, who were attentive to every need, and constantly offering help and advice; secondly, the beautiful, spotlessly clean and artistic decor which greatly enhanced the experience of staying there; thirdly, the excellent Salahadeen Feast offered by the restaurant.
Mara offers a good range of trips and activities, but we had booked these through another company so I am unable to comment on this aspect of her service. I would thoroughly recommend the guest house, and can vouch that the staff all take great pride in providing an excellent service.

Room Tip: Try to avoid rooms whose windows are situated in the air conditioning shaft, which is rather noisy...
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jackie E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mara_House, Owner at Mara House, responded to this review, November 8, 2012
Hi Jackie,

Being Irish - good food is very dear to my heart, seems Irish women always want to feed people, and I am delighted you enjoyed the Feast. Thank you for acknowledging Amr and Sahry, they have very good hearts and love helping our visitors get the best from their holiday.

The credit for the decor goes to my son, Stephen and his partner, Sara - they transformed Mara House during the year they were there, I would love to have them back but they are now comfortably settled back in Ireland - thanks to the Egyptian Revolution!

Sincere thanks for taking the time to write the review - they are vital to our continued success here as all my guests come through the internet and personal referrals. I hope your memories of Egypt will give you pleasure for many years to come.

Best wishes and thank you again,
Mara
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Davie, Florida
Level Contributor
36 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012

I stayed the nights of October the 16th and 17th 2012 at Mara House. This hotel is a great place to stay. My room was spacious, nicely furnished and most important to me super clean and neat. The hotel staff was polite, professional and always attentive to my needs. I arrived by plane and her taxi driver was waiting for me at the airport, i used this same driver for trips around town and he was friendly and his fares were economical. I booked with Mara tours of the Karnak and the Luxor temples one day and a complete tour of the West Bank the next day (highly recommended as this is an expansive area that would be a bit challenging to do independently on a time limited trip). Mara also arranged for me several excellent tours in Cairo, where i had spent four days prior to visiting Luxor. I was totally satisfied with them, my guide was a great friendly young man, Mohammed, that gave me not only an insight into the historical sites we visited but also was great teaching me about contemporary Egyptian culture.
Anyone considering a trip to Luxor (or Cairo) should visit Maria's website as this is a great source of information.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Michael C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mara_House, Owner at Mara House, responded to this review, November 8, 2012
Hi Michael,

I so appreciate your taking the time to write us up here This is the single most important thing that our guests can do for us but sadly so many forget they have even been on holiday once they are home for a few days! It was a pleasure to correspond with you and help you organise your time in Egypt and I regret not meeting you in person. The revolution has left me with trying to take care of two businessess many miles apart and at the moment I seem to be needed in Cairo more than Luxor. As you have said - Amr and Sahry are doing a great job in my place :-)

Delighted your memories of Egypt are good ones and if you get to this side of the world again I hope we meet up.

Sincere thanks for choosing Mara House and our tours in Cairo also :-)
Mara
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London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

We arrived at Mara House early in the morning after an exhausting night train journey from Cairo to Luxor; I myself had contracted what I thought was food poisoning only 7 hours before. Upon arriving, Mara's staff were more than accommodating by providing us with both tea and medication to sooth the detrimental effects of what I would later learn to be 'Pharaoh's Revenge' (a nasty bacterial bug that mimics the stomach flu). After hearing that I was ill, Mara immediately called to both inform me of the course of action I had to take to rid myself of this bacteria (using Antimol) and to confirm the day trips we had conversed about ahead of time via email. Everyone was incredibly helpful.

I have never been so 'spoiled' as I was during the 4 days we spent at Mara House. Our room and the house more than exceeded my expectations. It was obvious that considerable thought had gone into creating a traditional Egyptian atmosphere that felt both welcoming and homey, especially after long day trips. Sahry and Amr, the two male staff members running the place, were the most gracious of hosts. They both are completely devoted to making your time spent at Mara House relaxing and enjoyable. Their cooking was unreal; be sure to indulge in the Egyptian feast.

The West Bank, Karnak/Luxor Temple, Abydos and Dendera, and Aswan Tours were incredible and extremely well organized, providing us with an excellent Egyptologist as a guide to the history associated with each. Well worth the money.

I would recommend Mara House to anyone visiting Luxor. If you're looking for a place to help create memorable experiences that will last a lifetime, then Mara House is where you'll want to stay.

Thank you so very much Mara!

Aleisha & Kathleen

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank CanadianAG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mara_House, Owner at Mara House, responded to this review, November 8, 2012
Aleisha & Kathleen,

I am so grateful to you for choosing Mara House for your stay in Luxor and for taking time out to recommend Mara House here on TripAdvisor - which is the source of most of our bookings. Everyone promises to write but so many forget once they get home so a million thanks to you for such a glowing one.

The Antinal is a God-send and though I write about and leave on the reception table for guests you would be surprised how many people take stuff they bring from home which is not nearly as effective and quick-acting, so I am unashamedly plugging Antinal again here!

I showed your review to Amr and Sahry and they glowed after reading it :-) A little appreciation goes a long way and Mara House has become their life - I think they feel ownership of it now since I have had to be away a lot and that is fantastic.

Your appreciation for our Feast is wonderful - it's cooked with good feeling and intentions so I am sure that adds to the flavour :-)

Mohamed, our guide was also delighted at your comments on the tours.

Thank you so much again for taking time out to recommend us - I hope all our guests are as happy with us as you were.

Best wishes and thanks to you both,
Mara
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mara House

Address: Salah Al Din Al Ayoubi | Luxor, Luxor, Egypt
Location: 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 (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 
Also Known As:
Mara House Hotel Luxor
Mara Hotel Luxor

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