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“You will be treated like family” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mara House

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Mara House
Salah Al Din Al Ayoubi | Luxor, Luxor, Egypt   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 57 Hotels in Luxor
Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“You will be treated like family”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

Wonderful room and hotel
The service is super friendly
They will arrange anything you need to feel good there
So much better staying here then on the other side of the station where you will be driven next to insane by the aggressive people, sales men, cabbies etc...
The walking map needs updating but google maps will get you into town and back safely
Olympic drawback is it feels like re local mosque as installed their speakers in the rooms
You will not miss the am call to prayer at 4:45am even with ear plugs

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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344 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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English first
Northbrook, Illinois
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

My wife and I stayed at Mara's house for 5 nights. The house and location was exactly as described on Mara's website, so there was no surprise. We made all our tour arrangements through someone else. Mara herself was not present during our stay, but then again if you have good personal working for you, it's not necessary to be there all the time. My first complaint is that after arriving from Amman, Jordan (getting up at 3AM), the first thing Amr asked us to settle our bill for the 5 days. Amr told us that breakfast will be served at 7AM, but we made arrangements with our private tour operator to pick us up every morning at 7AM. We really had to beg him to serve breakfast at 6:30 AM. Breakfast is very basic food on a large tray put on small table. Very inconvenient serving yourself. I haven't had instant Nescafe coffee in 30 years, but I had to get used to it for the next few days. On the last day we asked Sahny to call a Taxi to bring us to a Restaurant. After a few minutes I looked outside, and there was a Taxi waiting. My wife and I got into the Taxi when Amr and Sahny came out and told us to get out of the Taxi because this is not the Taxi they called. Well, we didn't get out and they were not happy.
The neighborhood itself looks like a construction zone, dusty and dirty, I don't know why anybody would waste time walking through these neighborhoods with so many interesting things to see in Luxor and vicinity.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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 22, 2012
I am sorry you were not impressed and am sad if your stay at Mara House was less than you expected. However you do say that Mara House was as described on my website so I thank you for your confirming I make no false claims to be something we are not.

Yes, you are 100% right in saying the neighbourhood is like a construction zone and you got an experience of what it is like to live here. The dust and dirt from the streets drive me crazy. It is one of the things that has got worse since the revolution despite President Morsi's promise to clean up Egypt. The street cleaners only pick up the papers etc (when they even do that).

Everyone is taking advantage of the lack of enforcement of building regulations from the City Council and while there was a revolution happening in Tahrir there has been an ongoing building boom in Luxor. At one stage my staff used to clean the street from each end of the block with water hose and the big squeegies but our neighbours objected so we had to stop.

Repeated visits on my behalf to the Governor's office and calls to the cleaning dept have been to no avail. It is one of the things I have to accept for the moment because cracking up about it has gotten me nothing except indigestion :-) We can only keep our own small area in front of the house clean for now. Once the neighbours have finished their construction I have no problem hiring men and a truck to clean it as I have repeatedly done in the past. The only area of Luxor being properly cleaned by the council is the tourist strip along the Nile and the road to Karnak Temple and around Luxor temple. So sorry it annoyed you.

I do think you may misremember a couple of things - Amr did not ask you for the bill payment on arrival at 10am - you saw it the request in my information book and came downstairs to pay the bill. You came on a flight from Cairo so they did not know you were up since 3am. Quite apart from that all guests are requested in our terms and conditions, read prior to booking and repeated in the letter of confirmation, to pay on arrival in cash in any currency. It is therefore agreed by the guest that they will do so, why would you object then even if he did ask you to pay on arrival? Mara House is not a big hotel, we are a small operation and we have to pay in cash daily for our expenses therefore predicting our daily cash flow is important.

Breakfast is bread rolls, eggs, butter, jam, cheese, yogurt, fruit juice, tea/coffee or herbal teas - yes simple and basic. Served on a large tray - Egyptian style. Sorry our coffee is only nescafe - but every cup you had was free hospitality :-) Breakfast is served from 7am onwards because of our staffing hours and we are rarely asked for breakfast earlier. It is our policy to provide breakfast boxes for guests before that time, which they can take with them.

Amr simply told you our policy and Zahry had no problem coming early to serve you breakfast at 6.30am

Hmmm yes, the taxi on your last night. It usually takes about 10 - 15 minutes for a taxi to come after we call them and we tell our guests this so they are not waiting. The taxi you took, as Amr and Zahry pointed out to you, had been booked for that specific time by two other guests, so yes again Amr and Zahry were not happy to have to tell the other guests that you took their car instead of waiting for yours to arrive. Would you be happy if your taxi was taken by someone else?

I understand also that not getting a free lunch box for your trip to Abydos/Dendera and the request that you pay for the broken bedside lamp brought forth the comments that you were going to review us badly on the net, not nice!

We, as hotel owners/managers, are fortunate to be allowed address comments by our guests. It is unfortunate that the replies have to come from a defensive side on occasion. It might be an idea for TripAdvisor to open a section where we could review our guests - another provider is doing so at the moment and seeing those reviews give us the opportunity to accept or reject bookings based on others experiences. I think it would level the playing field and remove the threats we are occasionally subject to as service providers.

Again, I am sorry that these details detracted from your Mara House experience.
Best regards,
Mara
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East of England
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
68 hotel reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
140 helpful votes 140 helpful votes
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
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Mara_House, Owner at Mara House, responded to this review, November 20, 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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hong kong
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
43 helpful votes 43 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
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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Houston
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 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
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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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Pittsburgh
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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 9, 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
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
22 helpful votes 22 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...
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  • 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
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Mara_House, Owner at Mara House, responded to this review, November 9, 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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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:
#4 Romantic Hotel in Luxor
#5 Family Hotel in Luxor
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mara House is a newly refurbished hotel 10 mins. walk from the train station and Luxor Temple. Three course Salahadeen Egyptian feast on request. Fully licensed bar downstairs and roof terrace. Special offers available on accommodation/tours packages. Irish owned and run. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mara House Hotel Luxor
Mara Hotel Luxor

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