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“Great Stay - We Were All Sorry to Leave” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mara House

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Mara House
Salah Al Din Al Ayoubi | Luxor, Luxor, Egypt   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 57 hotels in Luxor
London
1 review
“Great Stay - We Were All Sorry to Leave”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 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, traveled with friends
    • 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
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343 people have reviewed this hotel

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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
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London
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 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, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

I stayed at Mara House with my son for 4 nights in January 2013. The accomodation is in a "genuine" Egyptian neigbourhood away from the other hotels and about 5 minutes from the railway station. The accomodation was a large living room with a large bedroom. Breakfast, which was included in the price, was continental in nature and perfectly fine. Unfortunately time precluded taking some of the tours that Mara organised and unfortunately we were not able to attend the Egyptian feast as the chef was ill on the relevant day.

The biggest plus of Mara house is that the staff (and I will no doubt spell these names wrong) Sahry and his colleague (Amr). They genuinely cared that you had a good experience in Luxor and were always anxious to ensure that the vist was as hassle free as possible. In particular, we had a difficult situation with a caliche driver who upped his fee by a great deal and became very aggressive. Sahry and Amr came out of Mara House at what was 1 am in the morning and spoke with him, arranged a reasonable fee and directed us inside.

Overall I would recommend Mara House. Being in a genuine Egyptian neighbourhood, you really benefit from meeting real Egyptians who are not out to hassle you and we were touched by the acts of kindness shown to us (such as a local giving us a "no obligation" ride on the back of his moped to Mara House when we got slightly lost one night). It is slightly out of the town centre (15 minutes walk to Luxor temple) compared with other hotels and did not have a TV (if this is important to you) etc, but if you are willing to walk or use the fixed rate taxis/caliche that Mara House organises and wish to experience a less touristy side of Luxor, it is perfect.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Madison, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
223 helpful votes 223 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

Over the holidays, I stayed at Mara House with my parents (in their 50's), my sister (in her 20's), and my husband (in our 20's). We were a group of 5 Americans visiting Egypt for the first time. My husband and I live in Kuwait, so we knew a bit of what to expect, but were nervous to take my parents around the Middle East in such a busy country like Egypt. Thus, we booked Mara House.

Mara House made our vacation an absolute dream; we couldn't ask for a more helpful, friendly, hard working staff. The facilities are spotless and well-maintained. We had a whole "apartment" to ourselves, with breakfast included, at a great price! The beds were the most comfortable beds I've slept in the Middle East. Every night was a silent night's sleep; no honking horns to keep you awake! You arrive to a fully stocked refrigerator of local wine and beer (reasonably priced), chips, candy bars, and water, so you don't have to stress about finding the nearest bottle shop or corner store at the end of a long day. There were two sitting areas, a television, and a spotless bathroom. Trust me, this place is the cleanest, most organized places I've been to in all of the Middle East, and I've traveled to many, many places!

Not to mention Amr and Sahry (Mara's righthand men) helped us order felafel, hummus, even pizza every night we didn't feel like going out. They made us laugh endlessly. They arranged taxis, helped us with directions, recommended things to do, they are natural hosts. We genuinely miss both Amr and Sahry; I have traveled over 20 countries, and never have I been to a B&B where I felt this cared for. We wanted to hire a felucca one day, and had met a man along the Nile who we wanted to book with. Amr and Sahry wanted to make sure we had a good experience, so they called the man on his mobile (we got the guy's phone number when we met him) to talk to him about his services. They were super concerned about everything we did in Luxor, and wanted to ensure we loved every moment.

If you are looking for a comfortable place to relax, bask in the sun on their beautiful rooftop garden, talk with the friendliest people, and have a helping hand to make sense of the crazy tourism in Egypt, then book with Mara. You won't regret it.

Need I say it again? The place is spotless. Quiet. Safe. Friendly. Helpful. Great food. Good price.

Mara is a pro at email. She will email you back within 24 hours. (A rarity in Egypt!) Send me a private message if you want to know more or get a feel for what my itinerary was.

  • Stayed December 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.
canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013 via mobile

I enjoyed my stay at Mara's. Mara wasnt there but staff was friendly and helpful. Also had a great meal in the dining room. I took 2 tours arranged out if the hotel which were certainly worth it in my opinion. As I plan to visit Luxor again I plan to stay here then.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Dublin, Ireland
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

Mara House in Luxor was truly an inspired find. It was a great bonus to discover the house is set back in the town and away from the large hotels and very insistant vendors in the markets. A walk along the street from the house will bring you by Egyptian front doors to be met by welcoming hello's from local adults and children.
Mara House is a new develoment built to a very high standard with large rooms or apartments, fully equipped to cater for yourself if you wish. Do not miss the "feast" a scrumptious meal of Egyptian cuisine, beautifully cooked and presented by the staff in the house. No shortage of help or advise with booking trips and arranging transfers from the airport or to the Nile. All the arrangments for our visits to the Luxor temples, Dendera and Abydos were made easy by the Mara House staff. The occasional power cut was the only down side and proved only a minor inconvenience. I heartfully recommend Mara House for its friendly service and excellent accommadation. I would gladly book it again and hope to do so in the future.

Room Tip: Choose a lower floor room if stairs are a problem. No lift.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
52 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

The location of Mara House, in a residential street on the "wrong side" of the tracks, might not suit everyone, but we really appreciated being away from the constant hassle of the town. It's only a ten-minute walk to the railway station, and a further 10 minutes or so from there to the river.

The street is a bit shabby and quite noisy but Mara House itself is an oasis of calm, decorated stylishly and spotlessly clean throughout. Our room was comfortable, with a separate sitting room and a simple bathroom. Breakfast is served in very pleasant surroundings.

The staff were wonderful, unfailingly helpful and polite throughout our stay. Mara should be proud to have such attentive staff working for her.

There is free wi-fi, with a reasonable signal in the bedrooms. This is a huge benefit, as some of the tourist hotels in Luxor charge $25 per day or even more for wi-fi.

The tour we arranged with Mara, to the temples at Dendera and Abydos was excellent, and good value for money. We travelled in an air-conditioned minibus with a very knowledgeable guide who really helped us appreciate what we were seeing.

The "Egyptian Banquet" dinner was excellent and is highly recommended.

We did have a few minor issues, not all of which are within the control of Mara or her staff:

No matter how soundly you sleep, you will be woken at 5am every morning by the call to prayer from the nearby mosque, which is so loud that it sounds as though they have set up a loudspeaker at the foot of your bed. (And then they repeat the call 15 minutes later, just to make sure you haven't gone back to sleep.)

Power cuts are a frequent occurrence - we experienced three during the four evenings we stayed at the hotel. They usually only last between 30 minutes and an hour, and the staff are very quick to provide candles, but they did tend to occur as we were getting ready to go out for dinner, which was a little inconvenient.

The water tank in the bathroom is not large enough to provide more than one hot shower and so if there are two of you you will have to shower at different times of day (or together!).

The breakfast is uninspired and a little mean - bread, jam, processed cheese spread, a yogurt, a boiled egg, a small carton of juice drink (10% fruit juice, according to the label) and a cup of instant coffee, served on a tray. Fresh coffee and fresh juice or some fresh fruit would have made such a difference. (We were given a small bowl of fresh fruit salad one morning, but that was instead of the egg and juice drink).

Overall, however, we felt we had made a good choice of accommodation and would recommend Mara House.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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): $
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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