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Salah Al Din Al Ayoubi, Luxor Egypt
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About

#2 of 73 hotels in Luxor
Location
4.0
Cleanliness
4.9
Service
4.9
Value
4.7
Mara House is an Irish owned, unique, private hotel catering to the tastes of discerning travelers who want to be sure they experience the best of Egypt. I help my guests with itinerary planning for all of Egypt, will steer you clear of tourist traps and ensure you have a relaxing stay. I know the importance of holidays with family and friends. The number 1 priority of everyone who works with me is that you have the best possible Egyptian experience. - Mara
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Wifi
Free breakfast
Airport transportation
Rooftop terrace
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Non-smoking hotel
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Private balcony
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HOTEL STYLE
Boutique
Quiet
Languages Spoken
Arabic
476Reviews1Q+A39Room tips
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Joan B. wrote a review Apr 2022
Chicago, IL2 contributions
I chose Mara House because of her helpful and informative blog. I found Mara herself to be equally helpful and informative at all stages of my travel planning. She knows Egypt well and was invaluable at helping us to prioritise what we could do during our short stay. For us, the highlight of the trip was Cairo. Mara's guide Suzy was excellent--knowledgeable, friendly, and overall a complete delight. She helped us negotiate our camel ride at Giza and buy things at the grocery store without getting ripped off, and she directed us to restaurants with prices printed on the menus so we didn't have to negotiate the price of dinner. She made visiting Cairo completely hassle-free, which was just wonderful for us. We also enjoyed staying at Hotel Steigenberger in Cairo, which booked through Mara. She was able to match the price of booking.com but threw in free breakfast for the 5 of us (and the breakfast was excellent!). In Luxor itself, we had a nice stay too. Mara House is a B&B off the beaten path. Our room was very spacious--more room than we needed for our family of 5, which was a surprise and delight. Amr was friendly and hospitable and a great home cook. We were surprised to have our sleep disturbed at dawn by the call to prayer, but in retrospect we shouldn't have been--that's just life in an Islamic country! I think we would have preferred to stay closer to downtown Luxor, but again, in the context of a comprehensive travel solution that included a chauffeur for anywhere we wanted to go, it was not a deal-breaker. Mohamed, our guide in Luxor, was also very knowledgeable and personable, and did his job as a tour guide well. However, I found him less assertive than Suzy at protecting us from the hassle of street vendors and unwanted "helpers" at various points along the way (especially on the Valley of Kings tour). I think Mohamed is empathetically looking out for the livelihoods of the people whose economic circumstances are regrettably not great by not denying them opportunities to earn tips--and I understand and even respect that (even though it feels a bit like emotional extortion to have to tip for a service that was neither desired nor useful). But I was a bit disappointed at the level of hassle for me while touring Luxor, especially after a perfect trip to Cairo with Suzy. But all in all, I would recommend Mara House as a travel agency as well as a B&B. We had a great trip and the level of hassle was lower than it would have been without the presence of our guides and drivers in both destinations. And I very much appreciated Mara's help as a travel planner--she saved me from several potential pitfalls and guided me towards a vacation we will always remember.
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Date of stay: February 2022
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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David S wrote a review Mar 2022
23 contributions7 helpful votes
We had a great stay. We were very comfortable in our suite and were extremely well looked after by Anr and the team. The guided tours worked out perfectly. And we found getting in and out of central Luxor quite easy. A great opportunity to see an area of the city that’s untouristed. Thank you Mara
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Date of stay: March 2022Trip type: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Explore691424 wrote a review Nov 2021
2 contributions1 helpful vote
This is a review to cover both a stay at Mara House, Luxor itself (3 nights) and the more general tours package organised by Mara. Mara House: Excellent place in downtown Luxor. Approx. 10 min walk to Luxor railway station and so about 15min walk to Luxor temple and various streets of shops (both "regular" and "tourist focused") coffee houses, etc. Amr, the House Manager, is one of the nicest and most helpful people I have met - was more than happy to walk around Luxor on my first (free) day to try find some things I had forgotten to pack and also get a local SIM for my phone. Also a great cook (even if he always seemed to cook enough for 2 of me - and I have a hearty appetite)! He also came and found me when I found that the location of Mara House on Google Maps is actually not correct and so I was struggling to find my way back after a walk one evening. I will also mention that you get far more space for your money at Mara House than you would at any conventional hotel. Only downside of the house itself is the shower - namely the fact you have to turn on the heating c. 30mins before you want a shower, otherwise you get lukewarm (ambient temp) water. The optional extras I did in Luxor were the Luxor museum and a felucca trip in Luxor (organised by Amr). Luxor museum (unguided): only takes about an hour but worth the 140 LE fee. Ensure you see the 2 mummies there as easy to miss . Felucca ride: as mentioned, this was organised by Amr and it was clear there was a particular boat he wanted to use. Unfortunately, it was a shambles and we spent over half the time punting along the bank of the Nile. Amr kept saying the issue was the lack of wind, but other feluccas seems to be managing just fine. This was 300 LE (approx. £15) and something I could have done without. It also would have been nice to be told the cost upfront (along with the cost of a taxi for the afternoon - not really needed as everything was actually quite walkable - at another 400 LE (£20)). Tours: I did the full suite of tours from Luxor down to Abu Simbel, all organised by Mara. Abydos & Dendara: Both definite "must do's". It is though a lot of driving. Valley of the Kings: I paid the extra to do the Rameses V/VI (80 LE) and Seti I (1,000 LE) tombs and thought both were definitely worth it. I also paid the 300 LE for the photo pass (required to use a proper camera inside, rather than just a mobile phone). While the ticket does not state a limit, practice seems to be this allows you to take photos in 3 tombs, although the ticket is not always asked for, particularly if you let a guard take some photos of you and give them a decent tip (20-50 LE depending a bit on the tomb and how helpful the guard is). N.B. Other than 1 tomb at the Tombs of the Nobles, guides are not allowed inside the tombs (they are allowed at the outdoor sites though). I did not go to Valley of the Queens as the only tomb there on the itinerary is an optional extra (tomb of Queen Nefertari (1,500 LE entry fee and you are officially only allowed 10mins inside)). Karnak temple: Another must. Massive and amazing in equal measure. Luxor temple: Very much the "smaller brother" of Karnak. Did not get the best of it as there was a lot of scaffolding up, staging, etc. for a big event (the official opening of the Avenue of Sphinxes, connecting Luxor and Karnak temples) in early Nov. Nile cruise: personally, this was not to my tastes. Each to their own, but think this is better who want a slower pace, starched uniforms and international food. Personally, I would have preferred an extra day at Mara House and then done a day trip down to Aswan, covering the temples en route (early morning and buy day, but that is fine by me), and shaving a day off the itinerary. Temple of Horus at Edfu (Idfu) and Kom Ombok: definitely worth a visit if you are passing, but add little to those you will see in Luxor. Temple of Isis at Philae: Note this is not actually at Philae island anymore - like Abu Simbel, it was moved due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam. By this point, I was probably getting a bit templed-out. Abu Simbel: long drive, but definitely worth it! I do though very much recommend you look to leave Aswan between about 8-9am so you arrive late morning/just gone midday so then the crowds (from all the tour busses) will be leaving/have left. That does though mean that when you are outside (e.g. walking between the carpark and the temples, or between the temples) you are in the midday sun - so prepare accordingly. However, If you leave Aswan at c. 6am like most do, expect it to be a zoo! The temples though are amazing (do see both - if anything, the small (Nefertari) temple is actually prettier than the Great (Rameses II) temple). N.B. Guides are not allowed inside and you also need to purchase a photo pass (another 300 LE) to use a camera other than a smartphone. The main road back to Aswan closes at 5pm so you need to be aback t the checkpoint (Abu Simbel side) by about 2:30pm - otherwise you will have an enforced overnight stay. Mohammed was my guide for all the tours (inc. those visited via the Nile cruise). Lovely guy, very softly spoken - reminded me of an old fashioned university professor! Always helpful and it was nice to have the guided tours then be given a bit of time to wonder around sites myself. It definitely was a pity not being allowed to have a guide inside the tombs/Abu Simbel though. Also, personal preference, it would be nice to have had a bit more talk about things other than the temples when travelling between sites (particularly on the long journeys) - I did find that car journeys were pretty quiet. Overall, while it is possible to do a lot of this solo, I do think having things organised on a private / small group basis can really help in Egypt and I think Mara does this well and she is very good at answering any questions you have between booking and arrival and I would definitely recommend Mara House for your time in Luxor.
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Date of stay: October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Justin_U_CGAM wrote a review Oct 2021
Atlanta, Georgia5 contributions1 helpful vote
I have recently stayed at Mara House in Luxor Egypt and thoroughly enjoyed my time here! I opted for a three night stay and the three day tour of Luxor. The accommodations are incredible! The room really blew me away. It doesn't feel like a hotel, it feels like someone's home. The location is in a residential area but a short walk to downtown Luxor and the Nile. The staff are amazing. Amr, the property manager, literally went above and beyond to make sure the trip was perfect. I cannot speak more highly of someone who just wanted to actually make my stay nice! The room is immaculate, the showers are awesome, air conditioning is cols, internet is fast, and the breakfast was delicious. Staying at Mara House was was highlight of my trip. Definitely recommend.
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Date of stay: October 2021Trip type: Traveled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Tina S wrote a review Jun 2021
4 contributions
When our flight to Cairo unexpectedly was changed to a much later departure, Emo Tours booked us into Mara House so that we would have several hours to rest and relax before heading to the airport. It was a good choice -- the gentleman who checked us in very friendly and polite and the room was comfortable with good mini split AC and otherwise well appointed if we had been staying longer (kitchenette, living room area). We also appreciated that 30 minutes before our scheduled pickup for the airport, the same gentleman provided a wakeup reminder.
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Date of stay: May 2021
Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Response from Marie Vaughan, Owner at Mara House
Responded Oct 13, 2021
Thank you so much for taking the time to write the lovely review. I am happy you enjoyed your brief stay. :-) Mara
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
traveler484 wrote a review May 2021
Raleigh, North Carolina22 contributions19 helpful votes
My wife, grown daughter, and I came to Egypt on Mara’s 9 day tour. As you know, the sights and food in Egypt are wonderful; this review will focus on post-Covid concerns you might have. We decided to come despite Covid because we are all vaccinated and Egypt has a low covid prevalence. We almost missed our flight out of the US because they said our Covid test done on Saturday was too old for our flight on Monday. We had a rapid re-test on Monday am. I would suggest getting tests two days before your flight and then the day before your flight. Get the tests late in the day; for example if your flight leaves at 4pm, get swabbed at 4:30 pm. You want your tests to be as “fresh” as possible. Mara made sure the Egyptian logistics were all very smooth. The guides (Mohammed Hedar and Mohammed Ahmed) were both very friendly, knowledgeable, and vaccinated. Most of the drivers were also vaccinated. I encouraged the hotel staff to get vaccinated also. We were touring from 9am to 3-5pm every day, after which we were tired and happy. The Steigenberger hotel in Tahrir Square was modern and clean. It was near great restaurants including Felfala, Abou Tarek (khosary), and El Abd Pastry. The Old Cairo Museum was directly across the street. We walked 20 minutes to the Cairo tower. We were the first group at Mara House since the pandemic began. As others have noted, the House is not in a scenic or walk-friendly area, but the rooms are huge, comfortable and cool. The chef, Amr, prepares very nice meals. On our free evening Amr arranged a car to take us to the Luxor museum and to watch the sunset from the waterfront. The Nile cruise was on the Steigenberger Royale ship. It appeared to be the cleanest and newest boat in operation. It was limited to 50% occupancy. The staff did temperature checks, wore masks, etc. I don’t know whether they were vaccinated. Our family was required to have a new Covid pcr test prior to departure due to regulations in Jordan, our next destination. The guide was very helpful in organizing this. It was pretty expensive but the nice printed documents were helpful in getting through the international flights. Overall it was a great trip. We had Egypt basically to ourselves! What a great opportunity. I encourage you to email Mara and set up a trip soon before the crowds return.
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Date of stay: May 2021Trip type: Traveled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Response from Marie Vaughan, Owner at Mara House
Responded Oct 13, 2021
I have only seen your review just now and am very grateful for the time you took to write and post it. Glad you enjoyed the trip and you were our first "experiment" with the way things are :-) Thank you also for your bravery in setting out on the trip.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
900ali83 wrote a review Oct 2020
Dubai, United Arab Emirates10 contributions2 helpful votes
Yes; believe the negative reviews - she is quite rude and indecent in her communication. I thought maybe, just maybe I made a mistake but looking here I realize I was right. She lacks any decency or respect in responding. It’s like she takes it upon herself to be ruder each time. Please understand that my inquiries where because she didn’t update her website - not that I wasted her precious time. And my English was good, question was short — but I guess anything is considered a waste of time for this person with white savior complex. Looking at the reviews here validated my experience. I now know 100% something is absolutely off with her manners. You’d think someone who lived in an Arabic country such as Egypt would have respect, hospitality, and manners rubbed off on them but no - her tactlessness is rooted. Please believe the rest of the negative reviews; and notice how her replies are absurd and answers nothing actually : everyone is anonymous everyone must be lairs. If you can stomach ill manners and rudeness then go ahead and contact her.
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Date of stay: October 2020Trip type: Traveled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
2 Helpful votes
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Response from Marie Vaughan, Owner at Mara House
Responded Oct 13, 2021
As this is anonymous I am not 100% sure I know the author but having taken the time to go back over the sparse emails of that time I am 99.99% sure. Yes... he took the time to write about me based on the exchange of a few emails. Sometimes, one just doesn't have the energy that someone else wants to suck out of them for nothing. I am not actually rude in my emails - sometimes a bit short and to the point when answering questions.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Val S wrote a review Jun 2020
4 contributions3 helpful votes
Words cannot describe how awesome Mara is. I am a seasoned solo traveler and never hired a guided tour, it's not my thing. Until I found Mara. I carefully plan my trips and I have never had major issues, but when I started researching the Egypt leg of my Middle East and Africa trip, I realized I may need to cave in and go on some sort of tour. Some sort... I didn't want to go on these inflexible tours that did not leave me any time to wander by myself. I started asking around, a friend of mine recommended me a tour guide that she said was "fantastic". I asked him for quotes, he was promising me a great hotel but doing further research I was told that the hotel was in an area not up to North American standards (this is not exactly what the Egyptian person I consulted said but let's leave it at that). In addition every service you think you are entitled to, as spelled out in your country's Constitution or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in my case, is extra and this includes the use of toilet paper. I then decided to ditch the guided tour and do it by myself, that is when I came across Mara's web page. Her blogs helped me realize that I really needed help if I didn't want to end up getting into a brawl over money in a foreign country. Her level of detail is second to none, for instance, when I got to the Cairo hotel, a suitcase lock and a box of antibiotics for gut bacteria were waiting for me. Her guides are deeply knowledgeable, respectful people and you are treated like a human being, not like cattle going in and out of a bus. Mara was extremely flexible with the schedule of tours, activities, time off to myself, arrival and departure times, etc... so many things to mention! Her house in Luxor is so beautiful and Amr's cooking so incredible that I regret not having eaten enough, it was ridiculously hot in July after all. One day I will go back just for the cooking. I could probably go on and on about Mara but at this point I am probably losing you, so I am getting to the deal maker for me. Mara's service includes EVERYTHING, except for tips, and this should not come as a surprise if you read her blog about tips, which regretfully I did not, and it is on me. She goes above and beyond by paying extra to her tour guides so they do not make you waste an afternoon shopping at a bazaar in exchange for commissions, something that every tour guide does and would have bothered me. You can go to the bazaar by yourself if you want to, Mara's tours leave a fair bit of time for you to do as you please if that is your preference. Don't get me wrong, it is not the cheapest way to go but definitely the most money-wise one. Sorry folks, getting to the end now. If you truly want to live the Egyptian experience within North American standards, Mara is your person. Her house is located in a Luxor neighbourhood, not in the five star hotels strip, and that is what I loved about it. The house has all the comforts: very spacious suites, comfortable beds, A/C, extremely clean and beautifully decorated. The cooking is sublime, I still dream about the food I could not eat because it was 46 degrees in the shade. One last observation: if you suffer the hot weather avoid Egypt in July - August at all costs, unless you want to have the temples and tour guides all to yourself. Sometimes tolerating a bit of heat has its rewards. Best of luck on your trip to Egypt and I hope you have as much of a blast as I did! If you don't, there is an "I told you so" with your name on it. :)
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Date of stay: July 2019
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Response from Marie Vaughan, Owner at Mara House
Responded Oct 13, 2021
A tad late with my response - Thank you Valeria for your lovely words, they are much appreciated by the guys and myself. It was wonderful of you to take the time. I know I say this in almost all my responses, but it is because I am conscious that our lives are made up of the hours and minutes we have and they are all precious, so yes I am most grateful when my guests are gracious with their time to write us reviews :-)
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
sly1028 wrote a review May 2020
Sidney, Canada2 contributions1 helpful vote
We were taken care of from the moment we arrived at the airport through our departure after 10 days in Egypt. I can't say enough about the accommodation, food, tour guides, tour managers and the quality of our itinerary. We saw the best of the best and the timing was designed to minimize waits. Just one example was arriving at the great pyramids in Giza before the tour busses arrived so that we were actually the only ones in the great pyramid at the time. Mara usually has more guests but as it turned out we were the only ones on our tour. I am willing to bet that any other tour company would have cancelled us. Because every guide, driver, tour coordinator we had was Egyptian, we feel we had a more authentic experience than we would have with a North American Company. Egypt itself was awesome, and even better with Mara and her fabulous local staff.
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Date of stay: September 2019
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Room Tip: Mara's house
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
1 Helpful vote
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Response from Marie Vaughan, Owner at Mara House
Responded Oct 13, 2021
Thank you so much for the great review and in particular for taking the time to do it. It was lovely having you with us. Mara
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Marshall Weigand wrote a review Mar 2020
1 contribution
I typically like to book events on my own for my trips. I was researching Egypt and realized that trying to get myself around was not going to be easy. As I searched online, I found Mara. I worked with her for several weeks to setup a 10 day visit to Cairo and Luxor. After many e-mails we basically came up with here standard tour....lol. Mara and her setup guy / fixer in Cairo, Ahmed, made the entire time go very smoothly. Every day for the 5 days we were in Cairo, Ahmed met us at our hotel with the guide for the day and made sure everything was going well. The 5th day he gave us the Medieval Cairo tour himself. That was the day it rained and Cairo was totally flooded. In addition, we were to fly to Luxor that afternoon but no flights flew that day due to a sandstorm in Luxor. Ahmed helped us thru the whole ordeal including booking an extra hotel in Cairo for that night. Because of this problem our itinerary was messed up. Mara stepped in and made changes so that we still could do all the temples, etc. we had planned to do. Also, this was during the corona virus scare. All of our flights inside and outside of Egypt were cancelled and changed. Ahmed helped to identify a direct flight to the US that got us home before any closure happened from Egypt. Even will all the tenseness, we had a great visit. I would recommend, if you are doing your bucket list Egypt trip, give Mara a shout. I'm sure you will be happy you did.
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Date of stay: March 2020
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Response from Marie Vaughan, Owner at Mara House
Responded Oct 13, 2021
Because our standard tour is made up of the best :-) So glad you managed to get through everything before it all went "belly up" as they say. Thanks for taking the time to write for us and sincere apologies for the delayed respose. Life has been hectic while at the same time standing still, practically. Mara
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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PRICE RANGE
$100 - $199 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
ALSO KNOWN AS
mara house hotel luxor, mara hotel luxor
LOCATION
EgyptNile River ValleyLuxor
NUMBER OF ROOMS
6
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Frequently Asked Questions about Mara House
Which popular attractions are close to Mara House?
Nearby attractions include Lotus Papyrus (0.6 miles), Luxor Market (0.7 miles), and Voyage sur Le Nil (0.6 miles).
What are some of the property amenities at Mara House?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, free breakfast, and free parking.
What food & drink options are available at Mara House?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast during their stay.
Is parking available at Mara House?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Mara House?
Conveniently located restaurants include Sofra Restaurant & Cafe, Tutti Frutti Restaurant, and Quick Pizza Luxor.
Does Mara House have airport transportation?
Yes, Mara House offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Is Mara House located near the city center?
Yes, it is 0.6 miles away from the center of Luxor.
Are there any historical sites close to Mara House?
Many travelers enjoy visiting Temple of Karnak (1.8 miles), Valley of the Artisans (Deir el-Medina) (3.9 miles), and Howard Carter House (4.5 miles).