We stayed in Luxor for four nights in Mara House. Luxor is an overwhelming experience and I think we would have been completely lost had we not stayed with Mara House. If you are an independent traveller looking to really experience Egypt I cannot recommend Mara House strongly enough.
From the moment our flight landed at Luxor airport, Mara was looking out for us. She had arranged to have her driver meet us at the airport, and look after the transfer. (We later saw her racing off to the railway station to meet other guests coming by train.) When we were checked in and settled, Mara sat down with us and asked about the “style” of Luxor experience we were looking for. Did we want the experience of Ancient Egypt? Were we looking to for contemporary religious history or ancient astronauts? Or simply to experience modern day Egypt? And according to our answers she recommend a range of tours and sites to visit. She took an overwhelming array of choice and crystallised it down to a manageable itinerary for us.
Mara’s advise ranged from “how do deal with touts on the street” to “which were the best restaurants“. She even helped us when stomach illness struck. It honestly felt like staying with an old friend, rather than a commercial hotel.
We stayed in a 3 bedroom apartment on the second floor, with a balcony overlooking the street. The apartment was attractively furnished and set out. Every day we would awake with the distant sounds of Egyptian suburban life: the donkey pulling the gas cylinders through the street, or the call to prayer. It was exotic - but safe.
On the second night, one of her neighbours celebrated a wedding. As we walked down the street, the neighbours would smile and beckoning us into the festivities! The only reason we didn’t go inside was a shortage of time - if we had had weeks to stay we would have loved to have joined the fun.
Each morning and evening we would meet with Mara and her team, and the other travellers in the common areas and compare notes. Where are you going today? What did you enjoy? What was that temple like? Where did you eat yesterday? It was an easy way to share intelligence and to make friends. More than once we ended out on improvised excursions with other guests. It was all very cool.
We did two tours through Mara - the West Bank and the Abydos/Dendara tour. In each case the guide was excellent, and shielded us from the local hassle. The driver was safe and professional, but still Egyptian and delightfully charming.
Mara’s house is the opposite of an anonymous modern hotel. And if you want impersonal anonymity, then Mara’s place is not for you. But if you are looking for a friendly guest house with personalised advice and guidance, then I cannot recommend Mara House enough.
- 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
- Also Known As:
- Mara House Hotel Luxor
- Mara Hotel Luxor