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“Get a real feel for Egypt at the Mara” 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 58 Hotels in Luxor
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Somerset
Top Contributor
160 reviews 160 reviews
73 hotel reviews
Reviews in 96 cities Reviews in 96 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
“Get a real feel for Egypt at the Mara”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2009

Very friendly, clean and fantastic food in the restaurant. Mara was in Ireland but her son Steve was incredibly helpful and organised everything for us including trips, guides, restaurant bookings and taxis. This is a fabulous place to stay to get a feeling of the real Egypt.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
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359 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (22)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Boulder, Colorado
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2009

Mara's house is clean, beautiful and my favorite place to stay in Egypt. I have stayed in 5 star hotels around the world and Mara's house is better than any Ritz (especially the one in Sharm). The tasting dinner was our best meal during our two week trip throughout Egypt. If you are looking for a taste of the real Egypt in terms of the location with the comfort of a great small, quiet hotel then Mara's House is for you. If you are afraid of walking and talking with the local Egyptians then you might want to stay in one of the fancy hotels along the Nile with the other tourists.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Edinburgh, UK
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2009

A huge thanks to Mara, Stephen, Sarah and the team who put so much effort in to making your stay as enjoyable as possible. We arrived from Hurghada after a 7 hour bus trip and after a shaky start a quick phone call to Mara saw a taxi arrive to pick us up from the train station to take us to the hotel. The hotel is in a residential area about a 10 min walk from the Luxor Temple, we had a huge room, seperate living room and bathroom. Mara is a wealth of knowledge on Egypt and the history and clearly has a passion for her subject, which she was willing to share over breakfast. Mara arranged a full day's sightseeing to the West Bank with our own guide and driver (big thanks to Ali our guide) which was very reasonable and meant that we could stay as long as we liked in each place.

A must is eating in the resturant, Stephen's egyptian family feast is fantastic with approx. 10 different traditional taster dishes, food was wonderful, it was just a shame we couldn't eat it all!

Luxor itself is a lovely small city, we did Karnac and the Luxor Temple on our own, yes you get hassled but either smile politely and move on or better engage with people, they are not all out to rip you off and the Egyptians are very friendly with a good sense of humour, we met some great people.

Can't recommend Luxor and Mara House enough.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
herts
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2009

I was in Mara's house less than five minutes when i had a cup of tea in hand, sitting on a sofa, chatting with Mara and being introduce to the staff. She, and her staff, are friendly and relaxed which made the stay the same.

I stayed for 6 nights in a fantastic suite (Suite! I thought I'd just booked a room!) with the bed the size of Yorkshire. I made this place my home, something encouraged by Mara. She also gave me hours of her time talking about the sites, the history and the myths of luxor.

From the outset Mara's communications were excellent, she organised an airport pickup at a very good rate well in advance. The suite was large, clean, with airconditioned bedroom and a balcony. The house has 9 apartments and is situated about 10 min walk from the shopping centre of town, another 2-3 mins to the Nile itself. The rooms come with a "briefing pack": services provided by the hotel (no surprise), guide to getting round Luxor (nice), guide to prices, tipping, negotiation etc (very useful) and some history around Abydos and Dendara (very nice).

The tours offered are excellent: high quality airco'd busses, EXCELLENT guides, no stopping at "papyrus factories", "alabaster factories", "my cousin's emproium of finest imported Dirt in the mountains" etc. This was refreshing. Something else refreshing was that the descriptions of time was accurate - you know exactly when you'd be home, how long each leg would take and what to expect - very jolly.

The resteraunt is, again, excellent. It does not open every day, but most days when the house is busy. The only food provided is a mini banquet of a variety of Egyptian dishes: 2 soups, 9-11 various dishes of meat and vegetarian, a desert (these all changed each day). All brought to your table and the staff exlpain what each dish is, how it's made and what from. And one cannot, physically, eat all of it. There was loads, and very fresh and tasty.

In summary: Highlight of my holiday: I am looking for a reason to return.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Ahmedabad, India
Top Contributor
134 reviews 134 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
109 helpful votes 109 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2009

Mara House was fully booked the 1st night we were to spend in Luxor, so we spent that night at the Sheraton. It was comfortable and we considered extending our stay at the Sheraton itself, but we are so glad we stuck to our original plan.

Our subsequent nights at the Mara House were amazing. We often walked to town or back. It is a bit of a distance from the touristic part of town, but it is definitely worth staying at. The rooms are large and tastefully done up. It has a very homely feel about the place. Breakfast is simple, but served with warmth.

Guests get to know each other really well and exchange stories and experiences and advice freely without any awkwardness.

I'd highly recommend staying here if you don't mind being a little bit away from the town center.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2009

This place is an extension of Mara and she is quite a character. It's some distance from the sites and the river but if you don't mind walking you go through some of the residential parts of Luxor which as a tourist you often don't experience. The apartments are great - very spacious and can easily accommodate 6 and the roof terrace is a real bonus. Dont stay there without experiencing the Egyptian feast in the restaurant run by Mara's son and daughter in law.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
55 hotel reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2009

Form what we saw in Luxor, Mara House is by far the best place to stay. The rooms are huge, as they are really flats rather than hotel rooms.

When you arrive, Mara has a map of the neighborhood on which she has identified all of the good restaurants, sights etc. This is far better than a tourist map and something that we wish all guesthouses provided.

Mara is an incredibly caring and gracious host. We are usually pretty low maintenance guests, but in Luxor we were a bit more of a handful. Mara provided medication when my fiancee got sick, allowed me to plug into her modem for internet access for several hours per day (meaning she had no access when I was using it), gave us very detailed information about what to see and what to miss, arranged the tours for us to accommodate my restricted schedule, and shared great conversation along the way.

The only possible negative is that it is not in a high end neighborhood (this is a plus for many). Some people may be a bit uncomfortable walking from the train station to Mara House after dark, but it is fine for most. You could easily stay there without having to wander around after dark. Mara has some great drivers that will drive you anywhere, including a private full day, aircon minibus tour of the WestBank (driver, not tour guide).

We were there in low season when the restaurant is closed, but we were fortunate that they were having a dinner prepared for Mara's son's friends who were visiting. What an amazing meal. As vegetarians, we were served two different kinds of soup, ELEVEN sampler entrees, and an absolutely delicious desert. If you're fortunate enough to visit when the restaurant is open full time, don't even think about eating anywhere else. It was the best meal we had in Egypt.

One other small thing that I really appreciated was that they sold water and other drinks for the convenience of the guests, rather than to scrape out another few pounds. It always annoys me when my guesthouse lobby (like the one I am writing this from) charges 9 to 12 EGP for a bottle of water that is 2.5 - 3EGP around the corner. This forces you to either go out at 11pm, or pay 4x the price. Mara only wants 3EGP for water, which was great in 40+ degree heat.

Mara House is one of those places that gets all of the small things right, and it adds up to a memorable experience that can't be rivaled by the 5 star hotels.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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
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:
#5 Romantic Hotel in Luxor
#6 Family 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 
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Also Known As:
Mara House Hotel Luxor
Mara Hotel Luxor

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