The following are some of the reviews which were posted to TripAdvisor by Mara House guests and some were posted directly to their relevant trip page here on my web site.

Honeymoon and Dream…

My wife and I were planning our honeymoon in January. Initially we were thinking about touring the British Isles. But then I asked her: “Is this the one place you’d like to go in the entire world, if you could choose any destination? Because this may be our only opportunity.” She replied, “I’ve always wanted to go to Egypt, ever since I was a little girl. But I guess it’s too dangerous.” Being a graduate student of middle eastern history, I have kept abreast of current events in the region and therefore immediately dismissed her fears. (If that is a concern, let me tell you that I felt safer there than I do walking around Denver.) I then proceeded to research Egyptian tourism. Mara House came up once I got away from the major booking websites. Encouraged by the reviews I found on numerous travel websites and the descriptions on of the tour packages she offered (and seeing that she has the same last name as me, which is utter coincidence but I saw it as a sign), I requested information on the 9-day tour package she offers. The moment I saw the price my jaw literally dropped and I immediately booked the trip. We arrived the last week of May.

Everything went incredibly well, and our expectations were either perfectly met or —more often than not— wholly exceeded. Her staff was courteous and attentive, going above and beyond to make our stay in Luxor absolutely joyous. Mara has spent years vetting the people with whom she entrusts her clients and that was evident in every way. The hotel in Cairo and the cruise ship Mara booked for us were more luxurious than I’m used to. The tour guides were extraordinarily knowledgeable — and believe me, I tested them with some rather esoteric questions, particularly during the Medieval Cairo portion of the tour since that’s in my wheelhouse. For that reason I’m confident that the entire tour presentation was based in fact, as opposed to some tours whose guides, I think, would prefer to make something up rather than admit they don’t know the answer. If they were expressing an opinion or didn’t know the answer to a question (which was rare) they said so. Moreover, they were excellent at running interference and warning you about unpleasant encounters with locals who, and this is no secret, can be very aggressive. It simply can’t be avoided so be prepared, but also know that the guides won’t leave you to be harassed if you follow their recommendations. Or you can just be a total mark like myself and end up buying way too many souvenirs… I mean, gifts for all my friends back home because I totally intended to do that.

The group we were in was small; the difference that made on the experience was apparent when we encountered other groups at the sites comprising dozens of people following around one beleaguered guide. And I will say this: when booking, you have to decide if you want cooler weather or fewer crowds. The peak season is from October to April. Personally, I can attest to the fact that the heat was difficult at first, but you do get used to it quickly and there are strategies for coping with the heat that really help. Regardless, the tour buses and drivers Mara arranged for us all had powerful air conditioning, as did her hotel in Luxor, the cruise ship, and the Cairo hotel.

Now I’ll address some concerns from other reviews I’ve read.

First, if anyone complains about Luxor House itself, they must not have looked at the website very closely because Mara does not conceal anything. The hotel is very nice, clean, and has a really authentic feel. Breakfast is served before the tours and it’s terrific in my opinion. On one evening you will be served a traditional Egyptian feast and it was the best meal of the entire two weeks my wife and I were in the country. And, if you just got married a couple of days before arriving, the staff may surprise you with a small little something special, but that’s just me saying that so you better not insist that “well this guy on TripAdvisor said….” My point is just that the staff is simply terrific and will go well out of their way to make your stay very enjoyable, even magical. Our room did not have a television, and we weren’t expecting one because nowhere on does she say that the rooms have TVs. Just as well anyway; why would you want to watch TV on a trip like that? Mara House is not in a central, touristy area. Its pretty much right in the middle of a densely populated residential area. Honestly, my wife and I liked that better than the super-mega-luxury hotel in Cairo (though I’m certainly not complaining about that either.) It is not in a “construction zone,” as some people complained about years ago. The bathroom was just fine, very spacious, and exactly as described. Everything in the room worked and it was, of course, as clean as can be.

Next, things than be a bit complicated concerning arriving at the airport, traveling throughout the country, local customs, tipping; etc. Mara gives you everything you need to know up front. If anyone was caught off guard by any part of the process, it was their fault for not reading her informative emails carefully enough or for failing to do their own research and consequently having completely unrealistic expectations. For instance, if you think that tipping is not a part of the expenses of traveling in a place like Egypt, you have only yourself to blame if it surprises you. Seriously; who travels to a foreign country like Egypt without doing their due diligence and finding out what to expect before they go? Fortunately, that is one of the things about which Mara provides detailed instructions, and for that I was extremely grateful. I don’t want to have to guess at things like that.

Mara herself was not in the country when we were there, which was a bit disappointing simply because my wife and I were looking forward to meeting her as she had been so helpful in planning our trip. However, she and I had some terrific conversations on facebook messenger during our time there, sharing my posts on her page and what have you. She is perfectly accessible even if she isn’t there in person (she was in Ireland, which I plan on visiting someday myself) and as someone pointed out, if the staff is extraordinarily capable then what does it matter if the owner of the hotel isn’t present? All of her staff speak perfectly adequate English. Amr, Fatma, Ahmed, they speak better English than many people born and raised in America. Some minor changes were made to the itinerary (that honestly worked out better for my wife and I, but I can see how that might be an annoyance) but they weren’t done out of convenience or sloppiness; there were legitimate reasons why they needed to be made and basically out of the hands of Mara House.

Upon our return to Colorado, everyone wanted to hear about the trip. The most accurate thing I could say was that it was indescribable, and then proceed to describe it as best I can. I’ll just say the same thing here: Egypt is indescribable. The next thing I say to people is that seeing as how there is no other place like it in the world, if you have even the slightest inclination to go I strongly suggest that you do, and don’t hesitate. You never know how future events may prevent you from taking the opportunity, whether they be political events in Egypt or here at home, or just in your own personal life. And then I tell everyone that they should contact Mara Vaughan in Luxor. I cannot possibly conceive of a better way to experience Egypt. If you would like to hear from me directly, find me on Facebook.

– Justin Vaughan in Colorado.

Justin Vaughan, Colorado — 29 June 2018

Such Wonderful hosts..

Our accommodation in Luxor was lovely. It was basic 3 star, but it was clean, comfortable and decorated in classic Egyptian furnishings. From the moment of our arrival we basked in the feeling of being taken care of in this cute and traditional little B&B. Ahmed, the manager, was a charming man who loves his work and clearly is fantastic at it! His happy presence and thoughtfulness made our stay in Luxor a delight. The extremely talented chef, Amr, made every breakfast a culinary treat, and the traditional dinner he created for us on our last evening was superb. The owner, Mara, was away so we did not get a chance to meet her, but she had been fantastic with her communications via email and all assistance with our travel preparations.

The guide provided with the tours we booked, Mohamed, was knowledgeable and friendly, and we learnt a lot about the amazing places he took us to. Mara also arranged our Nile cruise and Mohamed accompanied us on this, as well.

We had a wonderful time in our 3 nights in Luxor, but if we visited again, we would spend more nights and do things at a more leisurely pace.

Reviewed on TripAdvisor – couple – Luxor & Nile Cruise Package

Bontaks, Sydney, Australia — 10 June 2018

Fantastic Cairo & Pyramids Tour

My wife and I had booked a cruise from Singapore to the Middle East and when we realised that Cairo is only 3 hours flying time from our last cruise port we thought why not visit. Well I am glad we did because our visit to Egypt was the unexpected highlight of our trip!

Mara’s pre-trip information was excellent and her team in Cairo were the best. Fatma met us at the airport on arrival and her driver transported us to the comfortable Steigenberger Hotel in the heart of the city. Fatma had already visited the hotel and negotiated a great room on our behalf. Fatma stayed with us through the check in procedure to make sure the process was smoothly handled and this set the tone for the rest of our visit to Cairo. Fatma is a very knowledgable guide as well as a very nice person. Nothing was too much trouble as she expertly guided us through the unbelievable history of Cairo.

Together with the assistance of Reham, an expert Egyptologist we were provided with fascinating insights to the pyramids and later at the Egyptian museum. This was a very memorable trip for us and we can unreservedly recommend Mara and her team (particularly Fatma) for a private tour of Cairo.

Reviewed on TripAdvisor – Cairo Package

Chris H, Australia — 07 June 2018

10 Days in Egypt

My husband and I recently enjoyed 10 days in Egypt on Mara’s 9 night tour. We couldn’t have been happier with our decision to forgo the ‘tour companies’ in favour of the private tour we had with Mara’s team.

The itinerary was so well planned and the logistical organisation faultless. Cars, boats, calash and camel rides appeared just as we needed them and we never had to queue for tickets or deal with the obvious language barrier.

We felt safe and welcomed the entire time; due to the confident and calming presence of our tour guides, the careful manoeuvring of our drivers, and the talented chef and manager at Mara House.

Communication with Mara prior to the trip was personal, efficient and helpful. Communication whilst on tour was also exemplary. Given we both have management/organisational jobs in Sydney, it was so wonderful to be able to truly relax whilst in Egypt and totally entrust our days to this impressive team. Our motto to each other was “Let go and let Mara!”
It’s a formula that works.

We highly recommend booking your Egyptian tour through Mara House. We are certainly glad we did.

Travelled May 2018 – Egypt 9 night package

Moira and Jamie Loader, Sydney, Australia — 01 June 2018

Best Way…

My husband and I just returned from the most wonderful journey and experience all thanks to Mara and Mara House. Mara is the maestro who will help organize everything for you. All the pre-planning communication is timely, clear and smooth. Her team at each stop is superb and the coordination is excellent. Our journey started in Cairo where we were greeted at the airport and taken to our hotel. For 2 days her guide Mohamed escorted us to the famous as well as the lesser known sights. His in-depth knowledge, insights and humor enriched every stop.

Then it was off to Mara House in Luxor for a truly unique and authentic experience. Mara House is a gem. It’s a unique and charming oasis.The accommodations are much better, more personal than a big name hotel. Ahmed the manager is warm and caring, very attentive to any needs. The rooms are really suites with comfortable beds and a separate sitting room with a well stocked refrigerator and literature about the area. The breakfasts were delicious and the Sahaladeen Feast on Friday night was outstanding. Our schedule was well managed and coordinated to maximize our experience and not have us wilt in the heat.

Our guide in Luxor, also named Mohammed was amazing. He brought the Egyptian history of the Pharoahs and their gods to life with vivid imagery and relevant comparisons to life today. He also accompanied us on our 3 day Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan. Again taking us to the best sites along the way and revealing their history, meanings and secrets. At the end, he made sure our airport connections home went smoothly.

My husband and I can’t say enough good things about Mara House and her whole team. So if you’re thinking about traveling to Egypt, this is the way to go.

Egypt 9 night Package

Linda L, New York City, USA — 25 May 2018

Great Experience

The tour with Mara was a great way to experience Egypt!

There’s no doubt we saw the most amazing number of extraordinary things – Mara’s view is we will only be here once so she puts in as much as possible. It was full on, with generally long days with lots in them but I really feel as though I’ve been immersed in experiencing Egyptian history and culture, put together by someone who does tours because she loves Egypt and wants others to love it too.

The hotels have been outstanding, the cruise ship was fine (although about C grade by European cruise ship standards), the guides were great and I learnt a lot, and the organisation was generally good, except for a few times when things were derailed by the Egyptian way of doing things, and Mara stepped in and got them sorted out.

The only thing we missed was Abu Simbel, but there were no flights at all from Aswan that day, and after all the temples we’d seen, no-one really wanted to do a seven hour round trip by minibus, getting up at 3 am, for an hour there.

I would have preferred one less day in Cairo and an extra day in Aswan, so we could have done both the Philae/Nubian Village visits on one day and Abu Simbel either by plane or minibus on another.

I’m really pleased I’ve seen Egypt and that I did it with Mara. It would be difficult, frustrating, uncertain, and scary to see Egypt without doing it with a good tour company. You would be driven insane, miss a lot and take ages to do it.

I’m a solo female traveller and Mara and her team took out all the worry and the hassle and I had a great time.

Thanks Mara!

Mara’s Group Trips

Sheridan, Australia — 15 May 2018

All Around Excellent Experience!!

All around excellent experience!!

We spent 4 days at Mara House and enjoyed their 3 days of tours. All communication in advance was prompt and clear. Everything promised was delivered as stated. The small apartment was well decorated and had all amenities. Including free bottled drinking water! They make the little things count at Mara House and will fulfill any special request. It was so easy to go out to dinner each night with the use of the horse and carriage and fun too! Ahmed the hotel manager did a great job in making us feel welcome. The 3 days of tours were certainly busy but we had enough time to visit each place in a relaxing manner. Mohamed our guide knew all the history and details of each site and was happy to answer all questions. Thanks for making our visit to Luxor a smashing success!!!!

Luxor 3 night Packge

Pestopete1, Chiang Mai, Thailand. — 14 May 2018

Many thanks…

Many thanks to Mara and her very friendly and professional team for an absolutely incredible egypt experience. The knowledge of her guides was first class and the way Mara and they explained the amazing history and stories of Egypt from the ancient pharaonic period through to the present day was very entertaining and easy to understand. The logistics of the trip from Cairo to Luxor to Aswan could not have gone more smoothly. We felt safe, secure and relaxed during the whole tour. The hotels we stayed in and the Nile cruise boat were of a very high standard.

Mara bent over backwards to make sure that all our specific needs were catered for and the itinerary was flexible enough to ensure that we always came first. We really enjoyed the more personable approach from Mara and her team that was possible with a smaller tour group.

Our trip to Egypt was unforgettable and exceeded all our expectations and then some. We highly recommend a Mara Egyptian tour.

Mara’s Group Trips

Andrew and Linda Fraser, Melbourne, Australia — 14 May 2018

10/10 stars

Couldn’t recommend Mara’s tours highly enough. From ancient temples to the streets of modern day Cairo, Mara’s team of expeirnced guides gave us an incredible expirence that fee could match. As a solo female traveler, I felt safe, included, and engaged throughout the entire trip-a quality which speaks both about Egypt as a country and the wonderful people I was allowed to meet along the way. Truly, I don’t believe there’s another, or better, way to experience Egypt!

Mara’s Group Trips

Kylee, USA — 12 May 2018

Exceeded My Expectations

Mara and her guides provided a terrific, once in a life-time, experience of ancient Egypt and so much more insight into the country and it’s people past and present.

Good hotels, transport (our trip included buses, horse & carriage, luxury Nike cruise, small Nile water taxis), security, and shopping. Exceeded my expectations.

Mara’s Group Trips

Julian Mathers, Melbourne, Australia — 12 May 2018

Could not recommend Mara’s tour highly enough.

Loved all aspects, especially the friendly and knowledgeable guides: Ahmed, Haider and Mo.
We considered making our own itinerary, but when we saw Mara’s, it was a no-brainer to choose hers. There is no way we could have covered the ground we did on our own.
Mara has an affinity with Egypt that is contagious, if you are thinking of going to Egypt, look no further! Thanks for a brilliant experience Mara

Mara’s Group Trips

Maxine Barr, Melbourne, Australia — 12 May 2018

A truly awesome experience!!

Mara and her band of fantastic helpers made our trip to Egypt an unforgettable one!
The history and architecture are truly beyond belief. No photo really really does the place justice. The chaos of Cairo just added to the appeal for us.
Logistically a small tour is by far the best way to see this amazing place. The difference with Mara’s tour is that we visited no shops or places where the guides received commissions for us purchasing items.
We found flexibility and friendliness were the norm from Ahmed, Amer and the two Mohameds.
Karen and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Egypt and have no hesitation in recommending Mara’s tour!!

Mara’s Group Trips

Bill and Karen Chirnishoff, Melbourne, Australia — 12 May 2018

We will never forget..

We will never forget this tour of Egypt, and thank you, so much, Mara and Ahmed, for putting this all together and making it so easy for us to see and do it all. Despite being seasoned travellers, we felt beforehand that seeing Egypt via a small group tour with informed Egyptologists was really the best way to do it…. and now at the end, we are really glad we did it this way!

The ancient sites were sublime and important to us both, aesthetically and spiritually and visually. That is really why we came. We loved the Pyramids, and for Wendy we had a special time re-enacting a much valued family photo of her grandfather in World War 2, riding camels in front of the Pyramids. At Luxor, both Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple were amazing to experience. A special dinner at Mara House was a real treat.

We had a very long bus drive day from Luxor to enjoy visits to Dendera, and especially Abydos Temples, another favourite …. but the ride was a fantastic way to observe the daily life of rural Egypt….. ever revealing new surprises. We liked our visit to the Luxor West Bank Valley of the Kings tombs, though it happened on a very hot day that got up to 46 degrees C… even hot for us Australians! However for most of the tour we managed the dry heat with just a special soaked neck wrap… though Chip also sometimes used a soaked Hyper Cool vest.

Life on the criuse boat was easy.. though we are not ‘cruise boat’ people, and we soon tired of the buffet food and poor coffee …. Loved the caleche ride to Edfu Temple, and were fascinated by the Kom Ombo Temple duality and the mummified crocodiles … though horrified at the huge congestion of diesel-belching cruise boats that all seemed to arrive there at the same time.

At Aswan, Wendy found the Nubian Village a valuable and interesting remnant of a now destroyed culture, almost entirely flooded by the High Dam, but was sad to see it now just a tourist shopping trap. Though the retailers there, better than elsewhere, had got the message that not hassling visitors could get them better results. In fact, overall in Egypt, we did not find the sellers hassling of us too bad most of the time. At Aswan, Philae was our final temple, on its pretty little island. Then back to Cairo.

Throughout, it was remarkable to experiece the excellent condition of these remaining Pharaonic temples and tombs. We had tried to get flights to Abu Simbal, but could not, and were not willing to do a six hour drive for a short visit. But on reflection, we were not disappointed with our substitute activities in Aswan.

We were disgusted by Cairo’s filth and congestion on the roads, and the lack of pedestrian safety for those needing to cross the major streets. We understand there are ‘plans’ to re-create the ‘Parisian’ central Cairo of old. We hope that this work happens…. but first just fix the footpaths and add in more traffic lights for pedestrians!

We were initially daunted by the high level of security, which presumably was needed. We felt safe but protected throughout. And gradually we got up our confidence up to wander out alone…. and were amazed by the warm and friendly welcome of many Egyptians… including the children smiling and saying ‘Welcome to Egypt!’ to us. We saw relatively few other Westerners in Egypt … most tourists seemed to be from Asia and other Middle Eastern countries.

Chip did not enjoy anywhere near as much the tours of sites around Cairo itself, including the (too) many mosques and churches. And the long stints stuck in Cairo traffic. But the visit to Cairo’s Garbage City/Mountain was fascinating… both very impressive and horrifying at the same time!

The interpretations of the ancient sites were very good (especially Mohammed’s in Luxor and beyond). We learnt so much. The logistics management on occasions was not as good in our view, but perhaps that is attributable in part to Egypt itself! Certainly things could go off schedule. But we did see everything in our program.

Altogether, an amazing experience with a great group of compatible and friendly people…. it will take some time to digest!

Mara’s Group Trips

Chip & Wendy Morris, , Melbourne, Australia — 11 May 2018

Dream Trip

For anyone wanting to fulfill their dream of visiting Egypt, I highly recommend Mara’s Group Tours for a safe and hassle-free experience. The tour went above and beyond my expectations!

It totally makes a difference seeing everything in person vs just reading about Egypt from afar. Everything was taken care of and ran smoothly, and the Itinerary covered all the highlights of Egypt and more, from the Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings to lesser known wonders such as the Christian and Medieval Cairo communities.

Mara’s attentive presence and the knowledge of her outstanding and personable manager Ahmed Hasanein let me fully be immersed in Egypt without juggling any tedious logistics. It really made a difference that we stuck with the same Egyptologists: Mohamed Haider (in Cairo) and Mohamed Ahmed (in Luxor), both were enthusiastic and eager to answer all the questions we had.

NOW is the time to visit Egypt and booking through Mara is the best you can do!

Mara’s Group Trips

Eileen Weed, Mount Shasta, California — 11 May 2018

Perfect Experience

My son (18) and I stayed there last week and had a wonderful time. With the tourism downturn we were the only guests and Ahmed basically treated us like family. The hotel is kind of classical Egyptian with beautiful public rooms where you have breakfast or the feast on the last night. The room was a one bedroom suite with two single beds which suited us beautifully. Nicely provisioned fridge as well (appreciated the beers at around $1.60 each).
The availability of a horse and carriage to get you around town is great – the streets are torn up locally due to gas main installations and the carriage is way more comfortable than any car or the Mara House van. Also very cheap – but please give the guy a good tip! The Nile sailing is great fun as well.
The tour guide, Mohamed, was excellent as well – lots of knowledge and an interesting guy to talk to. The tours are great – though the one to Abidos is a lot of time in the van – take a book or some music or both for that day. Mohamed also does a god job helping to fight off the folks trying to sell you stuff and is good for advising on who to tip (which is pretty important). All is all the whole package is superb value for money and will give you a great experience – but the little additions like Ahmed getting you to good reliable restaurants locally (the Indian place is really good) and Mohamed knowing where to go for lunch on the Valley of the Kings day is also special.
Finally – Ahmed – thanks again for getting us to your coffee house for the Liverpool Man City game. That was a truly special night (for us Liverpool fans anyway – which seems to define the whole of Egypt these days!)

Reviewed on TripAdvisor – Luxor 3 Night Package

Jonathan B, Farmington, Michigan, USA — 15 April 2018

I Was Treated Like A VIP

Visiting cities vastly different from one’s own, especially when traveling solo, can lead to a sense of imbalance, so it’s important to stay somewhere comfortable and safe. Upon my arrival in Egypt, Mara House was that place for me. Hungry, stressed, and exhausted when I arrived, I realized quickly I was in excellent hands with Ahmed, the manager, who helped me get oriented and called a taxi to take me to a nearby restaurant. Later, after a hot shower, I settled into my cushy, comfortable bed and enjoyed a great night’s sleep. The following morning, after a delicious breakfast, I felt completely renewed, energized, and ready to enjoy the splendor of Luxor’s temples.

I’ve looked at some of the negative reviews and noticed they fall into two categories: Those who misunderstood something/ didn’t read information sent to them, and those who expect the street and facilities to be like home. Yes, the neighborhood looks very different from my own: Well-off Egyptians spend money on extravagances inside their homes and keep the outside very modest-looking. But the area is safe and provides the chance to see how Egyptians live. For me that made it more special. If you aren’t looking for that kind of authenticity, a chain hotel might better suit your needs, but you’ll be missing out on the unique charm, outstanding customer service, and excellent food at Mara House.

The facilities and service exceeded my expectations in a number of ways. I normally travel far more modestly, but prices in Egypt are currently so reasonable I was able to afford more. The house is beautiful, spacious, and impeccably clean, and my suite felt luxurious. I was treated like a VIP. Ahmed was incredibly kind and responsive to any question or request. And one evening, after a long day of sightseeing, I enjoyed one of Amr’s sumptuous dinner feasts; Cleopatra herself never ate so well!

Other touches I appreciated: The bottled water (a must for visitors) and snacks in the kitchen area of my suite cost the actual prices one would pay in an Egyptian shop instead of the usual 3-4 times as much. Also, Mara’s binder of practical information (in your room) is very helpful. She really does think of all the details so you don’t have to.

If you are considering traveling to Egypt, DO IT! It is a safe and friendly country, and you will be amazed by all the temples. It was the most fascinating trip I’ve ever taken. And while in Luxor, do yourself a favor and stay at Mara House.

Reviewed on TripAdvisor – Luxor 3 Night Package

Christina K, Collingswood, New Jersey, USA — 10 April 2018

Grand Tour with 8-Year-old

Grand Tour with 8-Year-old

We’re just back from 9 full days in Egypt, totally planned by Mara of Luxor’s Mara House. Wonderful experience for both me (67) and my granddaughter. Mara’s guides were all excellent, knowledgeable and helpful. Other reviewers have praised Fatma and Mohamed in Cairo, as well as Mohammed in Luxor. I totally agree. I would also like to add freelance guide Hassan Mostafa, who accompanied us on our 3-day Nile cruise. Added to his skills as a guide was a playfulness and connection to kids that made it all more fun for my granddaughter. Hassan also showed us Karnak and Luxor Temples.

I had been nervous about visiting Egypt, and especially taking a child into what might be a potentially dangerous country. Mara had been very reassuring, and I’m so glad that I listened to her. I always felt we were in good hands, and quite as safe as possible in today’s world.

Our schedule was packed so little time to improvise. It would have been nice to have more time for shopping and just walking around. We were limited by having the parameters of Spring Break. We did squeeze a short visit to the beautiful Luxor Museum, which I highly recommend. Also, after our visit to the Valley of the Kings, I asked if we could see some local artisans at work. Mohammed took us to an alabaster workshop, which was quite interesting.

Mara House itself is like a little museum, with high quality art works an integral part of its charm. Manager Ahmed was an impeccable host. A very comfortable place to stay. We loved our spacious suite.

I don’t know if I’ll make it back to Egypt one day. I would like to. The people are open and friendly, and the magnificence of its attractions can’t be exaggerated.

Reviewed on TripAdvisor – Egypt 9 Night Package

Robin D, UK — 09 April 2018

Incredibly Itinerary

We just wanted to let everyone know about our amazing trip with Mara and Ahmed. We still can’t believe how much we saw of Egypt, and how wonderful the other people on our tour were. We travel a lot and have been to many phenomenal places, but Egypt really stands out for us.

Mara and Ahmed have really come up with an incredible itinerary, a nice pace and first class accommodations everywhere we went. If there is something special that you want to do, or see, they will make it happen. The sites are unbelievable, and it was unimaginable that the next site was better than the previous one.

The history is overwhelming, the treasures are staggering, the people are delightful and Mara and Ahmed are the perfect hosts for this marvelous adventure! Thank you both for our magnificent trip to Egypt!!

Mara’s Group Trips

Mickey & John Williams, Tennessee, USA — 27 March 2018

Cozy, Beautifully decorated..

Cozy, beautifully decorated, clean & excellent service!

I first inquired about staying at Mara House via email one week prior to my anticipated visit. Mara sent a prompt email response which included options for day trips to temples. The entire package price was affordable and to my surprise included a driver and tour guide to the temples, a sunset cruise on the Nile, and a fabulous dinner on my last night! My 3 awesome nights at Mara House were made unforgettable by Ahmed, the hotel manager, the driver Ahmed, and the tour guide, Mohamed. Breakfast and the final dinner on my last night was great and the chef accommodated my vegetarian diet. I received impeccable service in a cozy, clean, and beautifully decorated hotel! Thank you Mara!

Reviewed on TripAdvisor – Luxor 3 Night Package

782robyn, Ellicott City, Maryland, USA — 24 March 2018

We had a trip of our life to Egypt from 2/13/18 -2/25/18. Mara and Ahmed are our tour leaders. They are superb, sweet and kind and organized. My husband just had a quadruple bypass and everyone take such a good care of him . We had a awesome,memorable trip.Both of our Egyptologist guides are so knowledgeable. It make our trip more fun and educational. Thank you very ….. much for our international ground members. You guys are the “Best”. You are sweet , thoughtful , kind and helpful. We sincerely appreciate it.
Hopefully in the future, we will have a reunion.
Missed you!! Take care!

Mara’s Group Trips

Ling, Tennessee, USA — 3 March 2018

A Different Hotel Experience

This was quite different for us, in the sense that we were the only people in the hotel. So my daughter and I had a large family room, but with only one bedroom. It has a huge living area with a fridge and sink. It’s very clean and well maintained and while the bathroom is different than most Westerners are used to (no shower stall), it is scrupulously clean, no mold, nothing. No elevator so be prepared to get a leg work-out on the stairs.

The location is in a residential neighborhood. No, you can’t just walk to restaurants or shops and yes, there is major construction all around (including the city which was ripping up streets to replace gas lines, nothing the hotel had any control over) but while the views from the roof top terrace might not have been stellar it was lovely up there in the sun.

The breakfast is basic but fresh and prepared whenever you want it. 7:00, 10:30, complete flexibility. We found this hotel through a package. We got 3 nights and 3 days and it included tours on each day, a carriage ride, boat ride, etc. The best part was the flexibility. Because we were leaving at midnight on day 4, they completely arranged the tour so that we didn’t end up having a whole day with nothing to do and made another suggestion to keep us busy. There was no pressure to follow the schedule, it was completely at our desire.

We had the same guide for all three days. His name was Mohammed (not sure last name) and he was great. He spoke perfect English, was pleasant and knowledgeable and it was great to have the same guide with only 2 of us (1 extra the last day but not an issue) and I would highly recommend him. He also didn’t try to force us to take extra tours on the side for more money, was very helpful in letting us know who we had to tip where and how to avoid tipping if we didn’t want assistance and never once pressured us to stop at a tourist shop or buy anything. It was refreshing to have a guide who was focused on guiding and not getting a cut from a friend’s shop.

Our main driver was Ahmed Modi. He had a taxi and except for one big tour out of town, was our driver for all tours and when we wanted to go out in the evening for dinner. He spoke great English, was charming, always made sure we got where we were going, we were again never “suggested” we go to X or Y, and went out of his way to help us out. It was like having a personal driver and while you are not downtown, it is fairly inexpensive to take a taxi there.

Reviewed on TripAdvisor – Luxor 3 Night Package

Tam A, Kuwait — 4 Feb 2018


We planned a year end visit about two weeks before the leaving Malaysia. Despite this short notice, Mara and her team made our stay a most wonderful experience. One key ingredient is that Mara delivers exactly what she promises.

Our stay was made special by the attentive Ahmed, who is the manager at Mara House and also our guides Mohamed (Luxor-Aswan) and Fatma (in Cairo).

We started out in Luxor instead of Cairo and Mohamed made our tour most interesting as there is a clear understanding of his ancient heritage, so whilst we did the usual visits to the Valley of the Kings, Karnak and Luxor temples, we also visited less the worker’s village and the Hellenistic temples at Abydos and Dandera.

Also, Fatma gave us a grand tour of Cairo showcasing what contemporary Egypt has to offer. Despite what appears to be a rather packed schedule, Mara and her team made sure there were quiet moments floating down the Nile in a Falucca. It was indeed a magical and wonderful experience.

Stayed: December 2017 – reviewed on TripAdvisor – Cairo and Luxor Packages
NKhor, Malaysia — 2 Jan 2018

Absolutely Outstanding

I traveled to Egypt recently with my parents who I can honestly say would not have set foot in the country were it not for Mara and her wonderful staff.

From allaying our initial nervousness and providing us with a detailed itinerary for a day in Cairo and 3 in Luxor, to detailed travel advice, professional & knowledgeable guides and gorgeous accommodation, we didn’t have to worry about a single thing, and loved every minute of our time in this incredible country.

Mara House is so beautifully decorated, the rooms are huge and very clean and comfortable, and the Feast is a fantastic experience. I wish we could have stayed longer!

The tours (we did the Giza plateau in Cairo, and the West Bank and Luxor/Karnak temples in Luxor) were all fantastic, and we can’t speak highly enough of the guides.

Special mention must be made of Ahmed, the manager at Mara House – we were late arriving at Mara House after a missed connection, and Ahmed went above and beyond helping us navigate a detour to Aswan and a train journey to Luxor so that we didn’t miss out on our planned tour! Thanks so much Ahmed, we’re so grateful for your help.

In summary, don’t do Egypt without stopping at Mara House; these guys are absolute professionals with a passion for sharing the wonders of their fascinating & beautiful country.

Natalie, Australia — 19 Dec 2017

Group Trip Nov 2017 – Michael Beeson

We are a retired professor and a retired elementary school teacher, who were on the November, 2017 tour. This trip was everything we had hoped it would be, and then some. We are experienced travelers, but we chose to go on a guided tour in Egypt rather than on our own, and we are glad that we did. Our tour had 12 tourists, so we fit into a van, which was our typical mode of local transport. A tremendous amount of planning and local arrangements went into the “infrastructure” of this tour; I believe that Mara planned the overall structure of the trip, so that we saw absolutely as much of Egypt as possible in 10 days; but her right-hand-man Ahmed probably handled the details, of which there were MANY. Everything was flawlessly handled. Vans appeared out of nowhere when they were needed. Tickets were purchased. We were, for example, let into a theater a little early so we could all be seated together for a fabulous Sufi Dance exhibition in Cairo. Lunch appeared when required. Airport transfers went flawlessly; our luggage moved magically from airport to hotel, hotel to boat, etc. You could never in a million years plan your own Egypt trip so well. Don’t even think about trying.

Mara is a native of Ireland, who fell in love with Egypt. In conducting this tour business, she wants to share her Egypt with others. She is not in this primarily for the money, as her prices should make absolutely clear. I don’t believe you would be able to see half of what she showed us, on your own, for the same price. Moreover, what we paid was just what she said we would pay. You can trust Mara.

As for what she showed us, there was a tremendous variety, more than we would have known to arrange for ourselves. Our primary interest was the antiquities of the Pharaonic period (pyramids, tombs, temples). We were unaware of the Islamic, Graeco-Roman, and Coptic periods of Eqyptian history, and the resulting melting-pot nature of contemporary Egyptian society, but Mara and Ahmed made sure we saw everything.
Nor was the focus always on history: we visited a kindergarten in the Nubian Village, and learned how garbage is collected in Cairo.

I must also praise the talents and learning of the two Egyptologist guides that Mara and Ahmed hired to explain everything to us. (One in Cairo and another in Luxor and Aswan.) These two have many years of experience as tour guides and the erudition and knowledge you would expect from a professor. They answered every question (and without needing Google),
and were absolutely helpful. We did see a lot of temples and as a result, at some point it came to life for me: I saw in my imagination what it was like thousands of years ago on one of their festival days, when the god of the temple would be taken out in his boat by the priests and carried across the Nile to visit the god of the temple over there, in the middle of a celebrating throng of the whole local population, with music, dancing, eating, and drinking. The oracle would speak from the back of the temple to answer the people’s questions.

Finally I note that our group had one thing in common: each of us had been told by some friends and relatives, “You’re crazy to go to Egypt”,
and had concluded “Let’s go anyway!” Well, we are glad that we did.
If you’re worried about it, take up your concerns by email with Mara.

Mara’s Group Trips

Prof Michael Beeson, Kansas, USA — 3 Dec 2017

Fantastic Tour!

We are a retired couple who like to travel. After reading the intinaries and reviews of a variety of Egyptian tours we decided on Mara’s November 2017, and are extreamly happy we did. We were on the same tour as Weldon, whose comments will be below. We whole heartedly agree with all his comments. The tour was fantastic!

Along with the great selection of sites we visited – with excellent guides – we wish to emphasize how well organized the tour was. Transportation and rooms just happened with little or no wait for us. Lunch was organized so as to minimize wasted time. (Be it back to the boat, to a restaurant or great Egyptian fast food on the bus.) Breakfast and dinner was (usually) back at the accomodation. Cairo’s streets are packed and slow moving (although often interesting). A well thought out plan for the day was essential.

One highlight for us was the bus drive from Luxor to Abydos, and back. For a while we travelled along an irrigation canal. There were lots of people to watch. as they started their day. People were heading to school and work. Some had already loaded there vehicle (small truck or donkey cart) with agriculture products (sugar cane, corn, etc). They were dressed in a variety of ways, from western type clothes to traditional Egyptian. Later we drove through desert where we could see modern irrigation projects and new cities. VERY interesting.

Other highlights we had not anticipated: two exceptional Egyptian meals, and an amazing Sufi drum and dance performance.

If you are considering a trip to Egypt, then we strongly recommend a tour with Mara!

Mara’s Group Trips

Darryl & Maureen, Canada — 01 December 2017

Group Trip Nov 2017 – Daryl & Maureen

We are a retired couple who like to travel. After reading the intinaries and reviews of a variety of Egyptian tours we decided on Mara’s November 2017, and are extreamly happy we did. We were on the same tour as Weldon, whose comments will be below. We whole heartedly agree with all his comments. The tour was fantastic!

Along with the great selection of sites we visited – with excellent guides – we wish to emphasize how well organized the tour was. Transportation and rooms just happened with little or no wait for us. Lunch was organized so as to minimize wasted time. (Be it back to the boat, to a restaurant or great Egyptian fast food on the bus.) Breakfast and dinner was (usually) back at the accomodation. Cairo’s streets are packed and slow moving (although often interesting). A well thought out plan for the day was essential.

One highlight for us was the bus drive from Luxor to Abydos, and back. For a while we travelled along an irrigation canal. There were lots of people to watch. as they started their day. People were heading to school and work. Some had already loaded there vehicle (small truck or donkey cart) with agriculture products (sugar cane, corn, etc). They were dressed in a variety of ways, from western type clothes to traditional Egyptian. Later we drove through desert where we could see modern irrigation projects and new cities. VERY interesting.

Other highlights we had not anticipated: two exceptional Egyptian meals, and an amazing Sufi drum and dance performance.

If you are considering a trip to Egypt, then we strongly recommend a tour with Mara!

Daryl & Maureen, Canada — 1 Dec 2017

Meaningful and Comprehensive Experience

Our family’s November 2017 Group tour with Mara just ended, and here I sit at the classy piano bar at the Ramses Hilton in Cairo reflecting on one of the most extraordinary adventures our family has taken… the full Egypt tour with Mara House.

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone that wants a meaningful and comprehensive experience of this diverse and amazing country!

From an historical perspective, we delved into ancient, Pharonic Egypt in unexpected ways… visits to the ‘mainstream’ sites like Giza were complemented with visits to lessor known and often even more extraordinary sites like Abydos, Dendara, and sites of nobles tombs and workers tombs that provided a spectrum of insight into ancient Egyptian civilization from the mundane and essential to the mysterious and divine. On many occasions our small group had sites entirely to ourselves… that’s due entirely to Mara House planning using their knowledge of local environments from Cairo all the way to Aswan.

This tour also included historical views of the Greek/Roman period in Egypt as well as ‘Coptic Egypt’ and the impact of 1400 years of Islamic evolution, all the while giving us an experiential grounding in contemporary Egyptian life today. It is impossible to imagine a better way to experience… in a single trip… the enormity of Egyptian history and culture than the experience Mara House provided.

The guides and Egyptologists that accompanied us brought it all to life with astounding depth and clarity. Our tour guide general manager, Ahmed, managed the complex logistics of this nearly two-week trip with precision that left our group with little to do but be educated, be mystified, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

A word about Egypt: not once on this entire trip did we ever feel ‘not safe.’ The Egyptian people are brilliant… cheerful, friendly and positive… and uniformly welcoming and warm and eager to share a hello… it is really a joy to meet and interact in Egypt. The street hawkers can be a little annoying at times, but that goes with the territory in most heavily touristed sites around the world. Egypt has been through a lot in the last decade and is really receptive and accessible to tourists and cross-cultural exchange… if you’re thinking of coming to Egypt this is a great time… and if you want a fabulous tour, Mara House has it all.

Thank you Mara, Ahmed and team for sharing your love of Egypt with us… it was a trip of a lifetime and sincerely: may we meet again!

Mara’s Group Trips

Weldon Casey, Nebraska, USA — 25 November 2017

Group Trip Nov 2017 – Weldon Casey

Our family’s November 2017 Group tour with Mara just ended, and here I sit at the classy piano bar at the Ramses Hilton in Cairo reflecting on one of the most extraordinary adventures our family has taken… the full Egypt tour with Mara House.

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone that wants a meaningful and comprehensive experience of this diverse and amazing country!

From an historical perspective, we delved into ancient, Pharonic Egypt in unexpected ways… visits to the ‘mainstream’ sites like Giza were complemented with visits to lessor known and often even more extraordinary sites like Abydos, Dendara, and sites of nobles tombs and workers tombs that provided a spectrum of insight into ancient Egyptian civilization from the mundane and essential to the mysterious and divine. On many occasions our small group had sites entirely to ourselves… that’s due entirely to Mara House planning using their knowledge of local environments from Cairo all the way to Aswan.

This tour also included historical views of the Greek/Roman period in Egypt as well as ‘Coptic Egypt’ and the impact of 1400 years of Islamic evolution, all the while giving us an experiential grounding in contemporary Egyptian life today. It is impossible to imagine a better way to experience… in a single trip… the enormity of Egyptian history and culture than the experience Mara House provided.

The guides and Egyptologists that accompanied us brought it all to life with astounding depth and clarity. Our tour guide general manager, Ahmed, managed the complex logistics of this nearly two-week trip with precision that left our group with little to do but be educated, be mystified, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

A word about Egypt: not once on this entire trip did we ever feel ‘not safe.’ The Egyptian people are brilliant… cheerful, friendly and positive… and uniformly welcoming and warm and eager to share a hello… it is really a joy to meet and interact in Egypt. The street hawkers can be a little annoying at times, but that goes with the territory in most heavily touristed sites around the world. Egypt has been through a lot in the last decade and is really receptive and accessible to tourists and cross-cultural exchange… if you’re thinking of coming to Egypt this is a great time… and if you want a fabulous tour, Mara House has it all.

Thank you Mara, Ahmed and team for sharing your love of Egypt with us… it was a trip of a lifetime and sincerely: may we meet again!

Weldon Casey, Nebraska, USA — 25 Nov 2017

Four nights

This boutique hotel is located on a very Egyptian side street in Luxor but from the threshold one is inside a delightful Mara’s version of the Cretan Woman’s House in Cairo. My rooms (bedroom, shower/toilet/kitchenette/extended lounge area) were huge for a solo traveller, clean and well presented. Wonderful hospitality and organisation by Ahmed. Very good quality food and recommendations. Mara made my visit to Egypt an enjoyable, educational and enriching experience. People with mobility issues may find the stairs interesting.

Solo Traveller – Nov 2017 – reviewed on TripAdvisor

Bothgill, Longford, Australia — 24 Nov 2017

Best experience

Being two females travelling alone to Egypt, my friend and I had all the typical words of caution before setting off on our journey.
We did the 10 days in Egypt through Mara House and I cant imagine seeing it any other way!  Every step of the way was so well thought out and meticulous. Starting with the communication before leaving with Mara.  She had everything so well documented that you knew what to expect every step of the way.  Every single transport had a professional and on time driver.  Each and every guide was so knowledgable, personable and down to earth.  This is huge considering you will be spending a substantial amount of time with these individuals.
Mara House itself is absolutely beautiful! From the decor to the spacious rooms, you really felt welcomed and comfortable. The cook is AMAZING, our breakfasts were always perfect and the Salahadeen Feast was to DIE for!  The manager of Mara House is such an amazing human.  Mara really picked the perfect people to run things for her.

You can trust that if you do this tour you will be well taken care of.  Go see Egypt and experience it for all of its beauty and gracious people!

Travelled with friends – Oct 2017 – Reviewed on TripAdvisor
Sharmayne87, Singapore — 15 November 2017


Spectacular Experience!

My husband and I just spent three days and nights with Mara House in Luxor. We can’t say enough wonderful things about the staff, the rooms and the location. Each room is its own large apartment/suite with a sitting room, balcony, kitchenette, a wet room bath, very comfy beds, laundry services, and AC. Also provided is very fast Wi-Fi!

Because Mara House curates the experience for you with the best Luxor has to offer, they helped us with transportation (we had the best drivers!), hooked us up with a guide (Mohammad was fabulous!!) and every morning Mara House manager Ahmed was there to meet us with a HUGE and delicious breakfast and get us ready for our day, and every evening he was there to help us find the best restaurants Luxor has to offer! He was so amazingly thoughtful as well. We’d mentioned how much we’d loved one of the cheeses provided at breakfast and like magic a couple of boxes showed up in our room for us to take back to the USA with us! He was so very thoughtful! We also were lucky enough to experience their full Egyptian dinner as well. This was by far and away the best meal we’d had while we were in Egypt.

Don’t hesitate. If you’re in Luxor, this is the place to stay! I can’t give Mara House and the staff enough stars!

Travelled as a couple – October 2017 – Reviewed on TripAdvisor

Nikki T, USA — 7th Nov 2017


We did a bit of everything with Mara House and it went incredibly well.

The house is beautiful. The rooms are large (apartment like). The space is clean and comfortable. The wifi internet is fast for Luxor. The team is caring, speaks great English, and is always available.

We went on tours in Luxor (and across Egypt) all organized by the Mara House team. They've vetted the best guides who know the ins and outs and will even get you behind the scenes). The guides are experts on the history, the temples, the tombs and will fill you in on the local approach to life. We went on a boat ride - awesome, enjoyed a feast at Mara House - also awesome, rode on a horse-drawn carriage - perfect, had our laundry done - fast and excellent, and had breakfast provided each morning - delicious.

The team is exceptional. They made the visit incredibly easy and covered us from airport arrival to departure and everything in-between. If you've got questions, they've got answers and we were incredibly informed which made our visit easy, fun, relaxing and educational.

Mara House is a great place to stay. We had an extraordinarly experience.

Reviewed on TripAdvisor - travelled as a couple.
Never_Easy_To_Please, Miami Beach, Florida — 10 October 2017

Luxor Covered

Luxor covered A to Z in 3 days

We arrived into Luxor at noon and were promptly greeted by an employee of Mara house. Following check in, we relaxed for an hour in what could only be described as an apartment, and then left for the first day of tours, visiting two amazing temples (Luxor and Karnak).

The next 2 days, beginning at 8 a.m., we visited a number of sites in the area with a very capable guide by the name of Mohammed. Intelligent, knowledgeable and very patient, Mohammed showed us the best that Luxor could offer. His English was impeccable and he took the time to make certain our questions were answered.

Each evening when we returned “home”, the host at Mara house, Ahmed, greeted us warmly and inquired on what we had seen. To our surprise upon returning each day, he has turned on our room air conditioners (it was 114 F our final day), so that our rooms were comfortable. Ahmed went out of his way, morning and night, to make us feel welcome and comfortable.

The refrigerator in our room was stocked with cold drinks, wine and chocolate, as well as other snacks to munch on. But the golden gem of Mara house were the meals. Amir prepared a delightful breakfast each morning. Delicious and plentifil, we left for our daily tours full and content each morning. One evening we were treated with a “traditional ” meal. The time and care Amir put into preparing this meal was obvious. It was superb!

Every detail at Mara house was well thought out to provide for comfort and a feeling of being cared for. With out a doubt, for lodging, tours and meals, this is the place to be.


Donnald R, Portland, Oregon, USA — 16 September 2017

Hospitality Personified

June 28 to July 1, 2017.
Mara House and Ahmed made me feel very welcome. It’s a beautifully appointed hotel
(more like someone’s home) and from the moment you are greeted at the door by Ahmed and his colleague Amr (I spelled his name incorrectly…my apologies) you feel welcome and safe.
Ahmed helped me in small ways (eg. got me toothpaste) and in more complicated ways eg. he lined up for 40 minutes at the train station to buy my train tickets to and from Cairo and Alexandria. He didn’t have to; I didn’t ask him to; but he volunteered to it which shows the quality of the man and level of customer care of Mara House.
My guide, Mohamed, was exceptional in his knowledge and willingness to share his country’s history and culture. The drivers I had were good. No problems at all.
I never did meet Mara, but my interactions with her via the Internet were always exceptionally professional.
If I was to ever return to Luxor I would not hesitate to use Mara House again…

Englishman217, New Jersey, USA — 3 July 2017

Perfect Way to See Egypt

This was my first trip to Egypt and I was a little unsure what to expect. Mara House couldn’t have been a more perfect choice! The location in Luxor is fantastic – just a few minutes to the Nile, the temples, and the markets. The hotel is beautiful, with an open sitting area, large formal dining room, and large suites with a small in-suite kitchen and mini bar.

The staff are fantastic – honestly, the best group of people I’ve ever worked with through all my travels. The hotel manager, Ahmed, is warm and accommodating; every detail is worked and runs like clockwork. He is there if you need anything. The guide for Mara House – Mo – is so knowledgeable about both modern and antiquities Egypt and answered every question I had. He provides information about each one of the stops on the tour, so you get more than just snapshots on your trip. All of the drivers for Mara House are fantastic and will get you anywhere you want to go.

The itinerary Mara House has worked for the “3 Day Luxor Package” is perfect. You see enough sites without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. And with Mo’s help, you’ll understand the significance of each stop in the itinerary.

Overall, an incredible experience from start to finish. I would absolutely recommend Mara House to anyone, whether it’s your first trip to Egypt or your 20th.

Thank you to Mara and the staff at Mara House!

p15funk, Kempner, Texas, USA — 30 June 2017

We booked a 10 day trip with Mara House. Her team handled all arrangements as documented on her website. We arrived in Cairo and Fatima picked us up and transferred us to the Ramses Hilton.   Over the time we where in Cairo Fatima was attentive and available for all questions.

While in Luxor Ahmed was extremely attentive and coordinated our entire stay. He went above and beyond what any hotel concierge or staff would.

Mara House is very nice and the food was great, however if you want a hotel experience Mara House may not be for you since its on a residential area, but I would take this over any hotel in Luxor.

The tours were great, we learned a lot and the best part for us, not for Egypt, is that most tour sites where empty. Thank you Mara and team!!!

TravellerThruTime30, — 21 June 2017

A Wonderful Personal Experience

We had the pleasure of staying 3 nights at Mara house in March, 2017. From airport pick-up to airport drop off, things went perfectly! Mohammed was wonderful and a great host. The food at breakfast was plentiful. The accommodations were more than adequate and the A/C worked! All the tours were lovely as well. They arranged a great dinner at a local restaurant which was delicious! We did a sunset cruise, a day in Dendera and the Valley of the Kings. One day I was too sick to join my husband and stayed back in the house. After a rest, Moh’d took me to the local museum in the horse carriage, got me some medications and kept me company. It was terrific! A wonderful respite from the usual hotels….

mossquad, Dallas, Texas, USA — 1 June 2017

Great Experience

The idea of going to Egypt scares a lot of people these days, but Mara house provided a wonderful and safe experience at a reasonable price. Mara house is a boutique hotel in Luxor that caters to foreigners and acts as a travel agent, booking trusted private drivers and guides for the duration of your stay. They also provide information on how to navigate Egyptian social interactions on your own.
Our experience: the accommodations were second to none (in Egypt), the staff was fantastic, and the trip went very smoothly. We didn’t love our guides in Luxor, but we’ve seen much worse, and my guess is that they were actually the best available. We did, however, LOVE Ahmed Dahab, our guide in Cairo (ironically, this was the first time Mara house had used him). I actually taught high school world history, so my questions tend to be advanced, and Ahmed was very able to understand the precise nature of my questions and respond to them very intelligently (he had a master’s in Egyptology). I highly recommend Mara house and Ahmed to anyone.

Travelled as couple – May 2017

allorickshaw, Denver Colorado — 17 May 2017

Absolutely Brilliant

We were hesitant about going to Egypt however Mara put all our doubts aside. Her organisation was brilliant. The guides, Communication, accommodation, food and transport exceeded our expectations. We are now in the middle of a four month middle East and Europe holiday and by far Egypt has been the very best. These people could not do enough for us and we really appreciated the extra care and concern they showed to give us a great time. I cannot recommend this organisation more highly. This is a great team that works together to give you an excellent holiday. We felt safe in Egypt the entire time. You are in good hands with Mara house

Reviewed on TripAdvisor

db2707, Sydney Australia — 6 May 2017

“Unforgettable Egypt trip”

Reviewed yesterday NEW

I took the Mara House Luxor group tour in November 2016. Over five months later, I am still in awe of the experience. If you are looking for a trip that is forgettable the next month, you don’t want to use Mara House. However, if you are looking for a trip that you will fondly remember long after the journey has ended, Mara’s House is such a destination.

As a single female traveler, I was hesitant about safety. Prior to the trip, Mara quickly got back to me on every question that I emailed her. I wondered if she ever slept since I never had to wait long for her replies. Booking that trip was one of the best things I have ever done. Our small group was a joy to travel with on the daily adventures Mara planned out for us. On the first night meetup, she had us go around the group to not only introduce ourselves but ask what we wanted to accomplish for this trip. I was impressed that over the next 10 days, she worked to make each of our dreams a reality.

There were opportunities some of us took such as a side trip to Abu Simbel and touring the recently opened tombs such as Sety I. For the extra money and the expectation that this would be a once in a lifetime trip, I did it all and have no regrets. The days were busy but not hectic.

Mara is passionate about what she does and it shows in the exceptional staff that she has assembled to make your stay a pleasurable one. It was also educational not only learning about Egypt’s past but the present hopes and future dreams of its people. I cannot sing enough praises for the staff. They were remarkable! After all, that is what travel should include in being able to get a taste of the culture of the country that you visit.

Speaking of taste, you will not get any better food than what is prepared at Mara House. The stairs to the various room levels may be a little challenging for some, but I found it not an issue. The room was clean and I had fun using the shower in the bathroom. After all, travel is about new experiences. It is located on a side street and if you are lucky you might get to see the camel right down the road.

If you are thinking about visiting Egypt, don’t let this opportunity pass to experience the hospitality at Mara House Luxor. You won’t forget it (in a good way)!

JM C, USA — 03 May 2017

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The crew at Mara House are some of the most hospitable people we have ever encountered travelling. We were made to feel very special and the service was exemplary. The tours are high quality and thoughtful, accommodation is high class and the food is top restaurant quality and authentic.
Whilst other supposedly cheaper tours take you to shops where they get kickbacks and refrain from telling you admissions are extra, Mara House includes everything and only has in mind providing the best service and best time spent for the whole trip. We packed an enormous amount into 10 days but never felt rushed or uneasy. The guides, drivers and all the staff were so friendly and immensely competent making us feel always at ease and intrigued but the beauty of this uniquely interesting country.
We felt completely safe too the whole trip, I only wish we could have stayed longer so we will be back and will be coming to Mara House again.

Andrew H, Western Australia — 15 April 2017

Great Tour Packages

  • Like some previous reviewers, I was originally a little concerned about the price of this hotel compared to others in the area. However, I decided to book because I felt my husband would appreciate the tour package for his birthday since he and Mara share a love of Abydos and Dendera. We found it was all worth it because that the team behind Mara House is absolutely fantastic, and their care and efforts are what make the place special. The real value is ultimately not in the location, or even in the hotel itself (although it is lovely), but in the tour packages they provide and the team that works to make the experiences memorable.

We got their 3-day Luxor package, and also booked through them for some Cairo tours. I cannot sing enough praises about the outstanding tour guides that Mara House provided for us. Hamdy, Fatima, and Mohamed were so knowledgeable and fun and were happy to talk about all topics, not just ancient Egypt. We learned so much from them.

Ahmed and Amr, the staff of the hotel, went to great lengths to make us comfortable. Ahmed rebooked a tour for us extremely last minute and was on top of every detail, and Amr even got my husband a delicious birthday cake on our last evening.

Ending note: If you are looking for a more relaxed vacation (like with a pool), to care for your budget, or for a traditional “high end” hotel experience, perhaps look at other options. But if you want some seriously good touring and a more intimate introduction to Egypt and it’s culture, book this hotel. The team will make it a great experience.

Reviewed on TripAdvisor – couple

CameliaLTB, Annapolis Maryland USA — 8th March 2016

Mara House Tours

We did four consecutive days of tours with Mohamed as our guide, all arranged by Mara: Luxor and Karnak temples; the West Bank; Abydos and Dendara and Aswan. These all went very smoothly indeed. Mohamed was an excellent and very knowledgeable guide who exceeded all our expectations. He is obviously very familiar with all of the sites and this enabled us to see far more than we could have seen on our own. He was particularly helpful in allowing us to select tombs to be visited on the West Bank. When we mentioned we would like to try a felucca trip, he immediately arranged this for us. We would not hesitate to use Mohamed again on any future visit to Egypt and our thanks to Mara for setting this up.

David , UK — 01.03.2017


We just came back from a 10 days trip in Egypt with "Mara", we did the itinerary proposed by Mara from Cairo to Luxor and the cruise on the Niles to Aswan. I don't think there is a better way to visit Egypt. The tours and the entire 10 days were perfectly organized, and we did not worry at all during the entire trip.

From beginning to end we were very pleased with the guides, the drivers and the housekeeper. Mara house in Luxor is a fabulous oasis. The room are spacious, the food is amazing and the staff very helpful and friendly. When I think of my trip in Egypt all I think of is "luxury". For a SAFE and a REAL vacation in Egypt, if you are eager to learn and visit the best of Egypt I highly recommend everyone to book with Mara.

Note from Mara - This review was deleted from TripAdvisor 24 hours after it published.

Sandra B - couple - Egypt Package, USA — January 2017

Hospitality is priceless here!!!

I doubted the stay before but when i decided to take the 3 nights package to relieve my planning headache, it was the best decision ever made in Egypt.  Well planned and I need not worry about anything, even to the extent of getting a train ticket with help of Ahmad.  Mara House shows me there are genuine locals who are welcoming and proud to talk about their culture and history. I will come back!!!

Jacey W - travelled solo - Luxor Package, USA — 10.01.2017

A fantastic, real Egyptian experience

By staying at Mara House, my family experienced a real Egyptian hotel/apartment.  The rooms are very spacious and the decor is full of authentic rugs, lamps and furniture.  The staff are very helpful and friendly and the food is amazingly good (make sure you book a dinner because the chef is 5 star trained).  Our tours of Luxor were well organised and reasonably priced. Highly recommended

pgnewton - travelled with Family - did Cairo & Luxor, Dubai — 30.12.2016

Unexpected Luxury

My wife and I stayed at Mara's House for an extended vacation and were very pleased with the accommodations. The stairs were a bit challenging but the rooms were very good. The food and service were outstanding. The staff very accommodating. This is an oasis in a typical Luxor neighborhood. We were even visited by camels!

John Capello - travelled with Mara Grou Nov 2016, Argyle — 22.12.2016

More than I could have ever hoped for!

Mara House was simply amazing! The hotel was stunning and the rooms were just as beautiful. The staff was great. They went above and beyond to make me feel welcomed and comfortable during my stay. The food was amazing. I was hoping to get as much authentic Egyptian cuisine as posible during my stay and I was not disappointed in the least. Overall my stay at Mara House was a dream and I highly recommend anyone traveling to Egypt to stay at Mara House, you will not be disappointed.

Dawn C, USA - travelled with Mara Nov 2016 group — 20.12.2016


First, I want to say that Mara is a very professional woman and is super expedient on her responses to any and all questions I had for her. I often wondered if she ever slept, that's how quick she responded!

I had decided to join her 11 day tour of Egypt, November 2016, and I am SO SO HAPPY I did! All of her employees are super friendly, professional, knowledgeable and were just all around great people to enjoy the experience with! I'm not sure I would have had such a great time if I had scheduled the trip by myself. I'm very blessed to have come across her Hotel site when I did!

The Mara House Luxor was a beautiful stay. The rooms were spacious and cleaned daily. The food was DELICIOUS! It was the best food I had my entire trip in Egypt. The cook definitely took a lot of pride in his skill- just mouth watering good!  Her employees made sure to accommodate us on even the smallest requests.

As she says on her page, the hotel is set up as a local home would be, so you can experience true Egypt; honestly, I felt like I was home there. I was really amazed and so thankful for the whole experience. I will be back again, hopefully next time with my son!

GGAmore, travelled with Mara group Nov 2016, Beaufort, South Carolina. — 13.12.2016

This was awesome

We have been to Egypt many times but hesitated after the Revolution. We were extremely safe at all times and Mara and her staff only wanted we had the best experience possible. Each day, she asked to be sure she had accomplished our dreams. Fatma met us at the airport, all of our transfers were handled, everything was adjusted to make sure she gave you everything promise us plus anything that could be arranged. We will be back to Luxor and stay as home base with Mara and her most wonderful people.

Jimmie F - travelled with Mara group Nov 2016, USA — 12.12.2016

Amazing Egyptian Adventure

Ok so am not really much of a writer but I wanted to review an incredible trip I just took with Mara House.  I have never travelled overseas before and had always dreaed of going to Egypt and was fortunate enough to find Mara's Egyptian adventure online which was a 10 day journey including Cairo and Luxor as well as a cruise to Aswan.

From the beginning Mara was absolutely super speedy getting back to e with details about the trip.  The itinerary was well packaged with many sightseeng advetures.  On this trip I made some incredible new friends and got to explore many destinations that Mara organised.  In addition, we also got to spend a few nights at Mara House in Luxor which was a splendid cozy and decorative bed and breakfast where we were treated to several authentic Egyptian Feasts.

The 10 days I sent with Mara and our group were so wonderful and I really appreciate all of the great details she added to the trip which truly made it a great adventure.  I am more of a photographer than a writer but in closing I want to say that if you're considering coming to Egypt please give Mara House a shout, you won't be disappointed.

(Note from Mara:  Lynn posted this to TripAdvisor but they deleted it)

surrealbox - travelled with Mara group Nov 2016, Los Angeles, California — 11.12.2016

Best Egyptian Experience

I was in Egypt for 12 days, visited in November 2016 as a solo female traveler! A place I've always wanted to visit and it surpassed all expectations especially with the help and guidance from Mara House and her staff. She helps plan tours all throughout Egypt, giving you far more than the "tourist experience".

All her staff were really dedicated to their work, making sure you got the most out of your stay and were SO knowledgable about their craft, anywhere from the egyptologist to the chef!
I initially had my concerns about traveling there (as most do) especially being female and going by myself. But i think its more so how the media portrays Egypt.  It is a very safe and welcoming country to travel to and anything that you are feeling unsure about, mara house staff was always there to lend a helping hand and offer guidance.

Anzalone24The location of Mara House is very central in Luxor, the downtown is within walking distance but the hotel is on a quite side street so your away from all the noise (Egyptians seem to start another day after 10pm lol). The place is very clean, well decorated (that sort of thing matters to me *shrug*), and affordable. Really would recommend to anyone, great for all ages and kids. I will be back! 🙂

Anzalone24 - travelled with Mara group Nov 2016, New York City — 10 Dec 2016

From a “Thank You” email received

Good evening from Egypt Mara!

My goodness....what an incredible place you have here!  I could not have been more fortunate and owe you a debt of gratitude!  All of the men have taken such good care of me -- from the room and meals to the tours.  They have been gracious, patient, attentive "handlers" and I could not have asked for more.

The heat has been an issue for me. I have experienced 123 degree F heat in Arizona but that does not compare to this.

Last night my stomach felt queasy and this morning was worse. That combined with the heat I made the decision to cut our long day of touring short.  I feel bad but I knew that my feeling poorly would cause more problems if we kept visiting temples.  Coming back Ahmed was gracious in getting me the "Mara medicine" and now, at almost 7pm I am beginning to feel better.

So Mara.....I have only one suggestion.  Way too much food!  I feel embarrassed to only eat an amount that is appropriate for my stomach and then leave so much left.  I do not like waste!
You have truly put together a wonderful package for travelers and I will tell everyone I know!    Also, you are so very well we were out and about so many said such positive remarks!

The staff that you have along with drivers and tour guide are all very fortunate to have been in their presence!
Thank you again Mara...

Teresa, USA — 25.09.2016

Wonderful Experience

We stayed at Mara House for 5 days in November 2016. It was the best hotel we had while in Egypt. Why? From the moment Mara's staff picked us up at the airport to the moment we checked out, we felt as if they really cared about us. They knew us on a first name basis and always greeted us as we were coming and going.

We really liked that Mara House was in a neighborhood where we could go walking every night and enjoy the Egyptian culture. The perk of it being in a more residential area is that you can walk the streets without the hassle of all the touts. We had many people approach us on the local streets to welcome us to Luxor and they genuinely wanted to talk to us, not sell us something.

The room was clean, big, decorated well, and had good air conditioning. Mara arranged all our tours in Luxor and for our trip to Aswan. We also had her arrange our tours in Cairo.

We are very independent travelers who do a lot of research before we travel and are not a big fan of tours...but, in Egypt I recommend having guides. They are inexpensive compared to other countries and they can help with the cultural & language differences.

Stacye199 - couple - Luxor & Cairo package, Kansas, USA — 22.11.2016

Local immersion in Egyptian Life

We are a same sex male couple who recently travelled to Egypt.

Mara House Luxor is off the beaten tourist track in a safe and respectable part of Luxor, Egypt is a country of contrasts and to really experience how Egyptians live, book your stay at Mara House and live amongst those who rely on working in the tourist areas. Simple.

The staff are unbelievably flexible and are totally dedicated to helping you to have a "Mara House Experience". Seriously dedicated. Not a fault in sight in this regard.

If you yearn for Ancient Egyptian monuments and mystery, this is an ideal place to pursue your desires in this regard. Mara and her extremely capable staff have connections with some extremely knowledgeable local guides such as Mohammed and deserving of particular mention (for us anyway), Ahmed, whose mastery of story language will have you mesmerised on the Nile temples and itching to visit the next temple/site. Mohammed is like a walking encyclopedia on the Luxor sites, ask him any question and he will happily provide the information for you.

You can't do all this without the support of the stupendous drivers such as Mahmoud (if he likes you you get to call him by his nickname - much easier to wrap those western vowels around, but you have to earn it), whose road mastery was a lesson in diligence and safety. He knows those roads backwards, he has some great shortcuts that will give you photos no-one else could provide. Bonus if you are a smoker and ask to stop in the middle of the desert!

If you yearn for an 'authentic' experience, this is also a place for you. Just discuss with Mara or Ahmed what it is you would like to do and hey presto it is done. An enviable thing to arrange things in Egypt so quickly! If you ask for the moon, be prepared for at least a 12 hour wait while Ahmed and Amr organise it for your next day! Truly amazing.

The food and service and feeling of secure safety more than compensates for any supposed inconveniences westerners may feel by having a wet room as part of the bath rooms. Don't compare to western style five star hotels, you will not enjoy yourself if you do, and that will be your own fault, not theirs. Toughen up and focus on why you are there. Mara House becomes your bolt hole from which to experience both Modern AND ancient Egypt. Vital to your stay. Location is great for quiet walks where you can say good morning to the neighbours, have a local coffee and chat with real Egyptians.

Did we mention already, the food. Incomparable Amr has a real gift of his heart when he prepares your food. My partner was taken shopping in the local markets to gather the ingredients for our feast that evening. That experience alone is more than enough excuse to visit. The food is to die for, really. There are not enough superlatives to describe it, you must visit to experience genius, good simple and wholesome food. (I had a cold while there, was given the 'cold' drink - next day boom I felt fantastic.) We in the West seem to have forgotten this and rely on pills and 'modern' medicine. The Egyptians have been doing this for millenia, tried and tested.

Again, did we mention the food ?

Seriously, Ahmed and Amr were welcoming and we were treated as part of their family. Having a local with you while you walk the streets is invaluable to help you communicate and learn (also to help you avoid being taken advantage of when trading - listen to their advice - it works). As Mara says you gotta walk like an Egyptian - watch how you are then treated compared to westerners who perhaps don't. Much more respect and people are much more likely to invite you for Shisha or tea, without the hassle. A great chance to kick back, relax, watch life and have some GREAT international conversations that lead to better understandings between the West and Egypt. Ask questions and be prepared to answer questions, it will be revealing I am sure, if you have an open mind and heart.

Again, did we mention the food ?

Seriously worth considering, read terms and conditions and have no expectations when you arrive for a mind blowing and memorable experience of Egypt.

You should know that a mosque is close by so take your good earplugs that first call to prayer in the morning is loud!!

jamiepolich1 - couple - Egypt Package, Perth, Australia — 20.11.2016

Superb Experience

If you're going to Luxor, it's worth spending a couple of days at Mara House. You'll feel like you're at home among friends! Never felt so safe traveling abroad - if you want to discover the mysteries of Egypt without the pileup of tourists, this is the time to go!

tkikuchibr - Luxor package, Sao Paulo — 19.11.2016

Mara House is simply amazing in every way

Mara House is a truly special place in the world and much more than a place to lay your head. We have travelled to over 35 countries in Asia, Africa, Middle East, and Europe and have not experienced a better staff, guides, food, and accommodation. It is truly a home away from home.

The Saladin Feast is one of the best meals We've ever had. The cook, Amr, comes from a background of 5 star hotels and personal chef for Egyptian leaders. The host, Ahmed, is personal, professional, kind, knowledgeable and willing to help out in any way possible to make your stay enjoyable.

Guides Fatma, Manar, and Mohammed are exceptionally knowledgeable (like walking encyclopedias), friendly, kind, and became truly friends. Egyptology is complex and can be overwhelming, but these guys made it entertaining and so much fun to learn the layers upon layers of Egyptian history while visiting the temples and museums.

Go to Egypt and experience the magic of Mara House! You will be amazed.

SeeTheWorld47 - couple - Egypt Package, Portland, Oregon — 16.11.2016

Excellent, stay here!

Mara's House is excellent and I'd stay here again. She's from Ireland but has been living in Egypt for a long time, so she knows a lot about the place. Hotel is spotless and she makes sure you feel great too. I used her touring services too not only in Luxor, but in Cairo, and she didn't dissapoint. Mohammed was my tour guide and he knows a lot about Egypt. Glad I stayed with Mara.

phuerta, New York Ciry — 13.11.2016

A cool oasis in Luxor

Mara House is little gem in Luxor. From the warm welcome by Ahmed the manager to the excellent services provided by Amr the chef, the driver and Mohammed the guide to the ancient Egyptian sites in the Luxor region, it was an experience to remember.

The rooms were cool, extremely spacious, comfortable and spotlessly maintained.
I would not hesitate in recommending Mara house as a base to explore the archaeological points of interest in the area.

oztravellerAustralia - solo traveller - Luxor Package , Australia — 06.11.2016

Best tour of our entire Middle East trip!

We'd like to thank and recommend Mara's services for providing a safe, solid, and unforgettable tour of the Giza Plateau, Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Khan-el Khalili, and the Islamic district of Cairo. Mara was very straightforward and accessible via email as we booked our last-minute tour and thank goodness we did because arranging visits to these amazing sites in Cairo is definitely challenging, even for the more experienced international traveler.

Our guide, Manar, was just precious and is literally one of the most educated and kind tour guides we have EVER been paired with. She knows literally everything about Egyptian history and culture and we felt so safe and spoiled with her the entire time.

We entered the tomb of Khufu's pyramid, saw the solar boat, Sphinx, and Valley Temple in the morning before the heat really set in. Our driver was very safe and efficient (Cairo traffic/driving is seriously overwhelming) and it was a newer air-conditioned Toyota minibus.

We just loved Manar's tour of the Islamic district and Khan el-Khalili. Even if you consider yourself a more experienced international traveler, we highly recommend booking through Mara if you are visiting the sites in Cairo. I can honestly say we 100% would have encountered incredibly frustrating situations had we not been with our guide Manar. Now, we have amazing memories of our trip to Egypt without a single hassle! Thanks so much!

qcourts - with friends - Cairo tours, Dallas, Texas — 10.07.2016

“Thank You” letter from Steve

Hi Mara,

Sorry I haven't got back to you sooner but I was waiting untill the end of the stay to be able to sensibly comment.  We are really impressed with your Boutique Hotel - great room size, spotlessly clean, all required facilities  (can't tell you how appreciated constant hot water is !)

Service provided by Ahmed and Amr has been first class- nothing is too much trouble. The meals just got better each time we ate, and were a step ahead of any thing we tried on the street.

I can see the location of the hotel might shock a few novice travellers, but from the moment one stepped inside, all those worries would evaporate.

Really pleased with the 3 day package - it was great value and all the included tours and activities meant that we didn't have to arrange transport and tickets ourselves.

We leave tomorrow and we will certainly recommend your place to other future travellers- good luck and I really hope future tourist numbers pickup again.

Cheers (Steve from Australia -travelled as a couple - Sept 2016)

Steve - couple - Cairo & Luxor Package, Australia — 27.06.2016

Solo Travel to Egypt

I'm just now getting around to writing reviews from my travel experiences this summer. I spent 4 nights and 5 days at Mara House and absolutely loved it. My room was VERY big, quiet, and comfortable. Mara's team does everything possible to make sure their guests have a comfortable, safe and pleasant stay.

My luggage was lost during my flights to Egypt and I had only one change of clothing. But Ahmed made sure I had fresh, clean clothes ready every morning, so I barely missed my luggage.

The food at Mara House is wonderful, fresh and plenty! I especially appreciate how Mara arranges and plans the tours. No stress! And as for price...

You can *try* to coordinate your hotel, transportation, tours, tour guides, meals, etc yourself but you probably will pay more and things will not go as smooth as what Mara has in the plan.  Mara does all the work for you and it's a blessing!  It is a science!

I recommend Mara House to everyone. Everything went according to schedule, yet I was never rushed. I even had free time in the afternoons and evening to experience Luxor. If you're a solo female traveler wondering if Egypt is safe, it seemed very safe to me.

I've been to several countries, but Egypt was my first Middle Eastern holiday. Egyptian people are very warm, friendly and welcoming. I hope to return many many times.

Lucielu2002 - solo - Luxor Package, Coburg, Oregon, USA — 11.09.2016

Mara’s House is Wonderful!

We wanted to visit Luxor and found Mara's House through a friend. I am so glad we did!! Mara helped us plan our 3 days in Luxor and took care of finding is awesome guides and drivers. THEN she asked if we needed help with planning our Cairo stay! She arranged the worlds best guides (Fatma and Manar) for Cairo and we wouldn't have been able to see all that we did with out them. I seriously think we saw more than possible in 2.5 days because Mara was so organized and helpful!!

Also the food at Mara's house was AMAZING!! I would highly recommend getting in touch with Mara if you are planning to come to Egypt!!

(Note from Mara - Kate put this on TripAdvisor but it was deleted and efforts to submit another came to naught.)

Kate59601 - with friends - Cairo & Luxor Package, Helena, Montana, USA — 25.07.16

Take the Cairo tours too…

I've put off writing a review because I've been trying to think how to do justice to Mara House. Anyone who looks Luxor up online is bound to find the incredible resource that is Mara's website. There was never any question I was going to book my stay through her. But I wasn't prepared for how helpful and comprehensive a service Mara offers. She's full of information and tailors a trip to exactly what you want. I've never had a tourist experience quite like it. My stay and the tours in Luxor were exceptional (and the Egyptian breakfast was to die for).

But what I really want to recommend are the tours in Cairo. My two tour guides there were the best I've ever had anywhere. In fact, I enjoyed meeting them more than the amazing sites they took me to! Such sweet and interesting people. I only booked my Cairo tours through Mara as an afterthought, but they were the best decision I made, and the tours were the highlight of my time in Egypt.

Mealdvisor - solo traveller - Cairo & Luxor Package, New Zealand — 09.07.2016

Incredible Service

All the staff at Mara house really went above and beyond any reasonable expectations for generosity and kindness. Best food we had in Luxor, expert tours, and the chef volunteers to track down an ebony vase at the market for us at a great price. Good Times, Danny

Danny H - couple - Luxor Package, — 02.05.2016

Mara House Experience

Mara carefully organized every detail of our vacation, airport transfer, 3 tours, flucca picnic at the Nile & a calesh ride around town.  We also had 2 amazing dinners in their restaurant which is a must try!

Rooms are clean, large, suite sized.  Ahmed, the manager and Amr were extremely helpful. Mohamed, the tour guide is well knowledged.

Mara House is a small amazing place hidden outside the usual tourist area, a wonderful experience.

Guk67 - couple - Luxor Package,

A fantastic place to stay in Luxor

While Mara House is not on the Nile, it is a fabulous place to stay. I was with my sister and we had a comfortable two bedroom suite. The manager Ahmed looked after us so well -- he arranged great tours of the Valley of the Kings and Abydos/Dendera as well as a reliable taxi driver and carleche. Strongly recommed a stay in Mara House.

Miketoole - friends - Luxor Package, Melbourne, Australia — 27.04.2016

Arabian Nights Fantasy

This is a superb little hotel and I say this as a guest of many years. Indeed, I have visited "Mara House" in Luxor on 6 or 7 different occasions during the last 5 years and have always found it to be a wonderful experience. The help is polite and well-informed, they provide outstanding customer service and the rooms and public spaces are delightful. Located in a pleasant, middle class neighborhood within walking distance of the Nile (and train station), "Mara House" is a charming and affordable "Arabian Nights Fantasy" which offers a luxurious taste of the Egypt that I'd always dreamed of experiencing. Highest praise. Enjoy!

Ronald Kirchhoff - solo traveller - Luxor Package, Jeddah, Makkah, Saudi Arabia — 14.04.2016

A fantastic experience money can’t buy

Mara House is far more than an absolutely fantastic place to stay. With Mara's guides and driver, I felt absolutely safe and looked after (I travelled as a single female). Her lovely and well-spoken English speaking staff were on hand by SMS and email throughout my entire Egyptian trip.

Her drivers and guides have been with her for several years and her guides are Egyptologists. The place is spotless. You get your own sitting room and kitchenette plus a well-stocked fridge.

After a busy day sightseeing, free steaming hot cups of tea are brought to you if you send a text or email message downstairs. If you are lucky enough to stay when the cook does a Feast, this was the best meal I had in Egypt and I travelled from Cairo to Aswan.

Mara treats her staff well and they love her.  With Egyptian tourism quiet, this is a great time to go and everyone is so welcoming. I just had such a wonderful time.  All due to Mara House.  A very special place.

Cindy73jl - solo traveller - Luxor Package, Melbourne, Australia — 28.03.2016

Discover Luxor with Peace of Mind

Having visited Cairo and Luxor, I can now relate to and appreciate what Mara writes in her blog.  Sadly these are not cities to navigate on one's own and having Mara organise our tours took off a huge burden.  All we did was immerse ourselves in the splendour of ancient Egypt.  Mara House is an oasis to return to each day, and Ahmed the manager is a wonderful host.  The dinners whipped up by their resident Chef is a delicious sampler of Egyptian cuisine.

TerriChin - with friends - Luxor Package, Bonn — 29.02.2016

Mara House in Luxor

We were picked up as promised at the airport even though our flight had been delayed. This boutique hotel is located on a quiet back street, which is great because of the noise on busy Egyptian streets. Our suite was great and perfect for traveling with our two kids.

Ahmed and Amr were the staff during our stay and they were great. Amr is an amazing cook. Our breakfast had a variety of interesting Egyptian foods. We treated ourselves to dinner and the sauces and soups were outstanding. Definitely have dinner there.

They kept the mini-bar updated which is great since my kids live on snacks.

Our horse carriage driver, Ramadan was a hoot. He let my daughter have a try at driving the carriage.

We stayed for six days in order to get a feel for Luxor. Luxor is some much cleaner and quieter that Cairo. The restaurants were good and of course the temples are unique in the world.

Great place. Great people. Great food.

Steve G - Family - Cairo & Luxor Package, — 03.02.2016

welcoming staff

Kind and thoughtful owner and staff gave excellent local information and organized great tours for me. The interior of the hotel was lovely and comfortable on the inside.
I didn't like the location--small street with a tall building facing the hotel, few windows, no view. Still, it's a great place to stay if you want personalized service and very helpful suggestions and planning of itineraries and tours.

hellopiper - solo - Luxor Package, Sausalito, California — 02.02.2016

An Oasis!

We were treated like royalty! Our "room" was a multi-room suite with incredible decorations. Wonderful ambiance, not just a hotel room, but an experience.

The hotel is located on a small back street, you get to experience Egypt away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist. quite and safe neighborhood. Staff on call 24/7, breakfast provided, Supper was extra, but worth a lot more that they charged!

They arranged private tours with a driver and guide of Luxor and Cairo for us. Great drivers and guides by the way! It seems like their only goal, at Mara House, is to make the whole experience perfect in every way!

Philip M - couple , — 02.02.2016

Elegant & Unique with Exceptional Service

Mara House is exactly what we look for when travelling - a small boutique hotel that caters for guests tired of large hotels and indifferent service who want discreet, professional care from a team who know exactly what they're doing.

It's the small things that count, right? Bedrooms are huge, the bed itself heaven; towels were plentiful, the water hot and everything is beautifully appointed with understated luxury. The rooftop terrace was a favourite spot with a cup of (complimentary all day) tea or coffee and the hotel is on a quiet street (not the huge hotel strip where you're cheek by jowl with everyone else).

The real point of difference with this hotel however was the service. This began before we arrived. The owner, Mara, responded promptly and generously to all email inquiries. No question was too small and her responses were direct, incredibly helpful and aimed at ensuring we had the best experience for us, not anyone else, possible - no waffle, no sales pitch, just generous info and honesty.

Her team is also spot-on, both in the hotel and around Luxor. We're not ones for guided tours of any kind but decided to give it a go and found it so enriching we kept her guides for the whole time. Do the day-trip to Abydos and Dendara temples if you can - worth every second.

I'll end by saying come to Egypt, folks. We're a middle-aged Australian couple from Canberra who just spent a month here and the welcome, security and overall experience was incredible thanks in no small part to Mara.
P.S About that "Mara House" service? We decided to do a last minute day trip from Cairo and emailed Mara for help. She arranged it all over night and we woke up to another seamlessly easy and fabulous day out!

Evie321 - couple - Luxor Package, Canberra, Australia — 02.02.2016

A stay at Mara House is definitely a treat

For sophisticated travelers who are looking for a unique and exclusive visit to Luxor, this is the perfect place to stay. From the prompt and friendly emails with Mara who arranged everything, to Amr and Ahmed who looked after the two of us in person and were so attentive and kind. It was a seamless and enjoyable visit to Egypt.

Mohamed is an exceptionally knowledgeable egyptologist and communicates wonderfully in idiomatic English. Mahmoud negotiated the daunting Egyptian roads with calm aplomb. We would also say that we felt completely adopted by the staff within minutes of arrival and you can't really put a price on that feeling. We will definitely recommend Mara House to any fellow travelers to Luxor.

HalesfromAD - couple - Luxor Package, Emirate of Abu Dhabi — 07.01.2016

Not expecting 5 star but got it!

This amazing old world style hotel has spacious suites, enchanting sitting rooms, free wifi and top quality, attentive staff. You can sunbake on the roof too!!!

I have had the best Egyptian food of my entire 2 week trip here - just sumptuous!

Mara also organized some great tours and the staff had really good suggestions for my days off there too.

Highly recommended and I will be staying there again when I return!

Set k - solo - Luxor Package, — 02.01.2016

Mara House comfort and care

All of Mara's staff are hand picked to be caring and attentive to the smallest detail for personal service. From the driver waiting for you at the airport to Ahmed at breakfast or a special run to the Germans for incredible ice cream I had a blast! Thank you Mara!

211Cynthiar, USA — 06.12.2015

Something Different

Something Different
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 25 January 2014

I had planned to stay at a 5 star hotel in Luxor but cancelled my booking after reading reports on Mara House on Trip advisor. I loved staying at Mara House which I found homely, comfortable and the staff and Mara very accommodating and friendly. Mara arranged transfers from Aswan with stops to Luxor and a taxi on the West Bank all of which were competitively priced and I compare prices. The house is in a residential area, where there is construction and the streets surrounding the hotel are filled with the sounds of daily Egyptian life, which I enjoyed. The walk to the station may not suit everyone, but I found the neighborhood safe and interesting, the locals are just interested in who you are, laughing, teasing, children asking for money, but all good natured. If you enjoy 5 star hotels and everything that comes with them, this hotel may not be for you. If you are looking for something more authentic, give it a go. I would stay with Mara and her team if I returned to Luxor in a heartbeat

Stayed January 2014, travelled solo
Johannesburg, South Africa

fantasic stay

Mara House and Mara herself is all one could want in a calming relaxing stay in Luxor.

Clinton  Porter

Chelmsford, Essex, England


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