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.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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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.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.