Honeymoon, and Literally a Dream Come True – 29 June 2018 – Justin Vaughan, Colorado

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 marahouseluxor.com 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 marahouseluxor.com 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.  Egypt Holidays – 9 nights

D & J Family USA (Mara House Guestbook) 21 July 2018

We are so thankful to have found Mara House. Amr has made us feel so welcome and we have never had such amazing food. I can’t wait to bring our children to Luxor one day. Thank you for making our Egypt experience so perfect!

Booked the Luxor Holidays package

KR Milwaukee, USA 13 July 2018 (Mara House Guest Book)

Mara House Egyptian Experience- Thank You! Well earned TripAdvisor awards – excellent food and hospitality. Amr, not only a great cook (do you deliver to USA?) but also my first try at Koshari. I’m hooked!

Thank you for a most memorable stay. My momma heartily endorses all that you provided for this guest! Touring, transportation, a comfy place and good food and a most memorable experience in this country!!

Booked the Luxor Holidays package

Such wonderful hosts…and delicious food!! – 10 June 2018 – Bontaks, Sydney, Australia

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

Fantastic Cairo & Pyramids Tour – 7 June 2018 – Chris H, Australia

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 – Booked the Cairo Holidays package

10 Days in Egypt – 1 June 2018 – Moira and Jamie Loader, Sydney, Australia

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 – Booked the Egypt Holidays 9 night package

Best way to experience the wonders of Luxor and Egypt – 25 May 2018 – Linda L, New York City

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.

Reviewed on TripAdvisor May 2018 – Couple.  Booked the  Egypt Holidays 9 night Package

The tour with Mara was a great way to experience Egypt! – 15 May 2018 – Sheridan, Australia

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!

Traveled solo and joined Mara House Group Tours package May 2018 group  Reviewed on TripAdvisor 15 May 2018.  Review Deleted by TripAdvisor 25.10.2018

All around excellent experience!! 14 May 2018 – Pestopete1, Chiang Mai, Thailand

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 Holidays 3 night Package

Many thanks… – 14 May 2018 – Andrew and Linda Fraser, Melbourne, Australia

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.

Traveled as couple and joined Mara House Group Tours package May 2018 group  Reviewed on TripAdvisor 11 May 2018.  Review Deleted by TripAdvisor 25.10.2018

10/10 stars – 12 May 2018 – Kylee, USA

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!

Traveled as couple and joined Mara House Group Tours package May 2018 group  Reviewed on TripAdvisor 11 May 2018.  Review Deleted by TripAdvisor 25.10.2018

Exceeded My Expectations – 12 May 2018 – Julian Mathers, Melbourne, Australia

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.

Traveled as couple and joined Mara House Group Tours package May 2018 group  Reviewed on TripAdvisor 11 May 2018.  Review Deleted by TripAdvisor 25.10.2018

Could not recommend Mara’s tour highly enough – 12 May 2018 – Maxine Barr, Melbourne, Australia

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

Traveled as couple and joined Mara House Group Tours package May 2018 group  Reviewed on TripAdvisor 11 May 2018.  Review Deleted by TripAdvisor 25.10.2018

A truly awesome experience!! 12 May 2018 – Bill & Karen Chirnishoff, Melbourne, Australia

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!!

Traveled as couple and joined Mara House Group Tours package May 2018 group  Reviewed on TripAdvisor 11 May 2018.  Review Deleted by TripAdvisor 25.10.2018

We will never forget.. – 11 May 2018 – Chip & Wendy Morris, Melbourne, Australia

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!

Traveled as couple and joined Mara House Group Tours package May 2018 group  Reviewed on TripAdvisor 11 May 2018.  Review Deleted by TripAdvisor 25.10.2018

Mara is the Best You Can Do in Egypt! – 11 May 2018 – Eileen Weed

Mara House in Luxor (do a Google search to book direct on her website) is scrumptiously decorated in traditional style and features huge suites with kitchenettes. It really feels more like a comfortable home than a hotel. The delicious “Salahadeen Feast” there was the best and most authentic food I had in my entire time in Egypt – homemade by her chef!

delicious feast Mara House


For anyone wanting to fulfill their dream of visiting Egypt, I highly recommend Mara for a safe and hassle-free experience. She is an Irish lady who spent many years living in Egypt and therefore has a unique perspective; she gives us the trustworthy tours she wished she first had as a visitor. My trip definitely went above and beyond my expectations!

Downstairs lounge Mara House


During the 11-day group tour we visited several cities in Egypt (Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, etc) and it was smooth-running and thrilling from start to finish! 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. It was an unexpected bonus to be so completely awed and impressed by the amazing architecture and history from different eras!

selection of desserts after Salahadeen Feast – Mara House


Mara made sure everyone’s preferences were heard and the Itinerary was graciously adjusted according to need and group consensus. I loved and really benefited from this perk!

love this colourful chandelier at Mara House


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

It makes a HUGE difference seeing all the sites in Egypt in person vs just reading about it from afar (and dreaming about going “someday”). NOW is the time to visit Egypt and booking through Mara is the best you can do!

Traveled solo and joined Mara House Group Tours package May 2018 group  Reviewed on TripAdvisor 11 May 2018.  Review Deleted by TripAdvisor 25.10.2018

Last Minute Trip to Egypt – 9 May 2018 – C & J Hally

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 marahouseluxor website – booked the Cairo Holidays package

You need a guide at Giza! 27 April 2018 – Jeremiah Karpowicz

I had a little extra time after a work trip and did the Cairo Package, which was great.  There’s no way you can see everything in three days, but doing so is better than not ever making the trip at all.  And of course, you can do the Pyramids in a day, and honestly, there’s a reason doing so is on everyone’s bucket list.

What I really appreciated was how the guides provided direction and insight, but also pulled back to allow visitors to have their own experiences.  After the tours were over, they were there to offer info about restaurants and activity hubs if you wanted it, but that was up to you.  And as great as it is to have a guided tour of the Cairo Museum, taking some time to explore it yourself can be even more enlightening.

And if you’re like me and thinking about doing a trip on your own…just don’t.  Mara lays out all the insight you need about why it’s best to have a guide (http://marahouseluxor.com/do-i-need-a-guide-in-cairo/), and after being there, I couldn’t agree more with all of it.  It’s a question of whether you want to spend the trip seeing the sights or trying to figure out the best way to get to and see the sights.  The latter is definitely the way to go, for more than the seven reasons she lays out.

Reviewed on marahouseluxor website – booked the Cairo Holidays package

Perfect Experience – 15 April 2018, jpbrown, Farmington, Michigan, USA

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 Abydos 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 Holidays 3 Night Package

I Was Treated Like a VIP – 10 April 2018 – seejay54, Collingswood, New Jersey

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.

Mara House entrance

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.

lovely sitting with my bedroom

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 Holidays 3 Night Package

Grand Tour with 8-Year-old – 9 April 2018 – Robin D., UK

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 – Booked Egypt Holidays 9 Night Package

Thank you, Mara for wonderful trip – 7 April 2018 – JoAnn, USA

I want to thank Mara for the wonderful trip that we just finished. My daughter and I just left Cairo a day ago and already we miss it! We truly had the greatest experience of ur lives. The people, the culture, the city and even the traffic (lol) are all a marvel. I’m so happy that I found Mara online. I am 100% positive that without her service we would not have had the experience that we did. Our trip ran extremely well and smooth. Prior to leaving the USA I probably emailed Mara ten times with questions. And, I literally got a reply in seconds, no matter the time of day. It was that personal attention that made me feel very comfortable that this was a legitimate program. She gave us great instructions on how to get through the airport and find Fatma, our assistant. Fatma was waiting for us in a sea of people, with a big smile and warm welcome. Our driver was there and the next the we knew we were off to the hotel. The hotel was great. It was very safe, pretty, clean and the staff were all amazingly helpful and attentive. Fatma was extremely easy to speak to. Her English was fantastic and she immediately enlightened us about the area and what would transpire over the week while we were there. She was awesome! The next two days we were met by Mohammed, he was a wealth of information. In addition, to the traditional tours that Mara has on her website, we loved the fact that when we wanted to do other things, like a felucca ride, Fatma set the whole thing up for us, made sure we didn’t get price gouged, met up with us and took us for the boat ride. This kind of personal attention was priceless! The drivers were wonderful, the minivans were extremely clean, in great condition and air-conditioned. On a scale from one to ten I would give this experience a 100! everything went according to plan, it was easy, and smooth. In all honesty there is no better way to see Cairo than to use this service. I met someone on the plane ride back to the USA, who loved Cairo but was extremely unhappy since she didn’t have a guide service. She was constantly over paying and without an professional egyptologist, like Mohammed to fill you in on the history of Egypt she said she left not really understanding the things she was looking out. But that was not our experience at all. Great Trip! I completely recommend it!

Reviewed on marahouseluxor website – Booked the Cairo Holidays package

Incredibly Itinerary – 27 March 2018 – Mickey & John Williams

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!!

Reviewed on marahouseluxor website March 2018.  Couple.  Booked  Mara House Group Tours package  Feb 2018 group

Cozy, beautifully decorated, clean & excellent service! 24 March 2018 – 782robyn, Ellicott City, Maryland, USA

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 Holidays 3 Night Package

We had a trip of our life to Egypt – 3 March 2018 – Ling, USA

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!

Reviewed on marahouseluxor website Dec 2017.  Couple.  Booked  Mara House Group Tours package   Feb 2018 group

Perfect Day at Giza and Museum – 24 Feb 2018 – Melissa, USA

Mara definitely said it perfect, this Feb  day was definitely MIRACULOUS!! One of the main highlights of Egypt for us was the pyramids and sphinx, and we got to see this on our first day!! I loved the flexibility to change plans as lunch in front of the sphinx was so nicer than pizza hut. Loved the camel ride with pics in front of the pyramids. Also enjoyed the museum and highly recommend the photo ticket for inside the museum.

I really enjoyed the sufi dance with the authentic music as well. So glad I asked the next day for a better description of the meaning of the dance itself as that put it all together so much nicer. Would have been nice to have to explanation before the dance, but I still highly recommend as this is 1 of the only sufi dance performances left.

Review on marahouseluxor website – traveled with family and joined the  Mara House Group Tours package   Feb 2018 group

A different hotel experience with top notch service – 4 Feb 2018, Tam A., Kuwait

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 Holidays 3 Night Package

A wonderful stay – 2 Jan 2018, NKhor, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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 – Booked the Cairo Holidays and Luxor Holidays Packages

Absolutely outstanding travel experience – 19 Dec 2017 – Natalie R.

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.

Reviewed on TripAdvisor Dec 2017.  Traveled with family.  Booked 3 nights Luxor Holidays package and Tours in Cairo

This trip was everything we had hoped it would be – 3 Dec 2017 Prof. Michael Beeson, Kansas, USA

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.

Reviewed on marahouseluxor website Dec 2017.  Couple.  Booked Mara House Group Tours package Nov 2017

Fantastic Tour! – 1 Dec 2017 – Darryl & Maureen, Canada

We are a retired couple who like to travel. After reading the itineraries and reviews of a variety of Egyptian tours we decided on Mara’s November 2017, and are extremely 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!

Reviewed on marahouseluxor website Nov 2017.  Couple.  Booked Mara House Group Tours package Nov 2017

Meaningful & Comprehensive Experience – 25 Nov 2017- Weldon Casey, Nebraska, USA

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!

Reviewed on marahouseluxor website Nov 2017.  Traveled with family.  Booked Mara House Group Tours package Nov 2017

Four nights at Mara House and other tour content mostly organised through Mara – 24 Nov 2017 – boothgil, Longford, Australia

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.  Booked Tours in Cairo and Luxor Holidays packages

Best experience – 21 Nov 2017 – Sharmayne87, Singapore

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 – Egypt Holidays package – Reviewed on TripAdvisor

Spectacular Experience! 7 Nov 2017 – NikkiTTT, USA

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 – Booked Luxor Holidays package.  Reviewed on TripAdvisor

Organized, Comprehensive, Caring, Great English – 10 Oct, 2017 – Never_Easy_to_Please, Miami, Florida.

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 – traveled as a couple.  Booked the Egypt Holidays 9 night package

Luxor covered A to Z in 3 days – 16 Sept 2017, Donnald R, Luang, Prabang, Laos.

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.

Booked Luxor Holidays package.  Reviewed on TripAdvisor Sept 2017

This is a great little place to stay and love the people – Aug 2017, Jimmie F, Prattville, Alabama.

Marie Vaughan really cares about her people and the people who stay with her. She has a blog that reflects all her happy customers. I plan to return again next year and spend time with her because she will take me anywhere that is safe to go and will help me to have a great time.

Traveled as couple.  Reviewed on TripAdvisor Aug 2017.

Once in a Lifetime Trip Perfected – Aug 2017 – KelleCrown, Boise, Idaho, USA

I traveled to Egypt with two women in June 2017 and completed the Mara House Luxor package. Looking back, I wish I had used Mara House services for my entire time in Egypt! It was absolutely wonderful to have everything taken care of in a culturally sensitive way, allowing for explorations of the true uniqueness of Egypt without falling into tourist hypes.

Upon landing in Luxor, we were greeted at the airport by someone from Mara House clearly holding a sign so we knew where to go–exactly as Mara had instructed in her email. (As a type A individual, I greatly appreciated Mara’s detailed communication). We were driven to Mara House, which seemed more on the local side of town–something myself and my group were grateful for; we wanted to experience more of the “true” side of Egypt. Ahmed greeted us at the door–I cannot stress how wonderful Ahmed was in his attentiveness and respectfulness for our every need, going out of his way to assist in personalizing our trip and helping in any way possible. When we were guided to our suite (as we had more than two in our group), my travel companion gasped out loud because of how ecstatic she was with the room–a complete difference from our made up hotel room. It was luxury in what our minds was a dream of Egypt: traditional furnishings, pillows, tapestries, etc. This is exactly what I wanted for my once-in-a-lifetime trip to Egypt!

Dendera Temple

There is little time to catch your breath, as you are quickly whisked off to begin touring of temples in the early afternoon of the arrival day. Our tour guide was Mohamed for the three days, as well as accompaniment with a driver–Mohamed explained there is typically a driver because many individuals do not want to drive in Egypt because of how hectic the streets are! (very true) The first day was filled with Karnak and Luxor temples–iconic sights which were largely empty. This was true for two reasons 1) it was the off season during summer, but 2) the tourism industry in Egypt has suffered greatly since 2011 and is still recovering. While this has to do with many individuals not feeling Egypt is safe to travel to, this is false. We did not feel unsafe during our time in Egypt; the people even went out of the way to ensure our safety, sometimes giving us accompanied police escorts. The second and third days were filled with seeing sights I have only read about–such as the Valley of the Kings/Queens and Abydos Temple.

at Abydos Temple

Mohamed explained what we would see in detail within the tombs prior to us going in them because of tours could not be given within the tombs. I personally appreciated our guide’s tips throughout our time with how to respond when locals approach us and how to properly behave in a culturally sensitive way. Although seeing so many sights was at times exhausting, our time was paced in such as way that we never felt overwhelmed. Further, as the tour was essentially personalized one-on-one, we were able to make certain requests, ask questions, and not feel rushed. At many of the sights, a large tour group would arrive and leave in far less time than we were at a sight. I was happy for the time we could choose to do what we wanted without pressure to move on.

Dendera

On our departure from Luxor to Cairo, Ahmed and Mara’s team truly went above and beyond to provide us with exceptional service. We had an extended layover in Cairo before moving on to our next destination, approximately 12 hours. Instead of having us sit in the airport, Ahmed arranged for us to be met by a driver and tour guide from the Mara team to show us around some of the sights in Cairo we had missed in our time there earlier. This service was a fraction of the cost I had been attempting to research for finding somewhere to store our bags so we could explore the city–and included taxing around. We also got to meet Fatima, Mara’s tour guide in Cairo–who was just was wonderful and knowledgeable as Mohamed in Luxor.

Dendera ceiling

I cannot stress how amazing my time in Luxor was. If I ever go back to Egypt again, I certainly plan on doing the extended 10 day trip which covers Aswan, Cairo, and Luxor. I was hesitant to do all of Egypt this way because I consider it incredibly important to personalize travel and be able to learn about the true history and culture of a country. However, after such a wonderful time with Mara House and team, one which fulfills those goals I have for travel, I highly recommend using these services to make the most out of a beautiful experience!

Reviewed on TripAdvisor Aug 2017.  Traveled with friends.  Luxor Holidays 3 nights package

Hospitality Personified – 3 July 2017, Nick Y, Moorestown, New Jersey, USA

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…
Reviewed on TripAdvisor July 2017 – Luxor Holidays 3 night package

Perfect Way to See Egypt – 30 June 2017 – p15funk, Kempner, Texas.

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!

Reviewed on TripAdvisor – Luxor Holidays 3 night package

Australian Family Dream Trip – 22 June 2017 – Graham H., Australia

Well we are back from our trip in April and sort of settled down.  Fantastic trip organised by the Mara House team in Cairo and Luxor.  Australian family of 4 with 2 boys under 12.  Fantastic tours in Cairo and Luxor.

We toured in April and were kept fully up to date and directions for pick ups from airports and how to get through them as well.

Mara House was fantastic. My wife was eyeing off the furniture.  Great location and great staff.  Tour guides were fantastic, Fatima made our Cairo trip excellent.

Thanks guys it was the best trip we have ever done and would like to come back sooner rather than later.  Cannot recommend Mara Tours enough.

Reviewed on marahouseluxor website – Traveled with family and booked Luxor Holidays package and Cairo Holidays package

Great time with Mara team – 21 June 2017 – TravellerThruTime30

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!!!

Booked the Egypt Holidays package.  Reviewed on TripAdvisor May 2017

A Wonderful Personal Experience – 1 June 2017 – mossquad, Dallas, Texas.

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….

Reviewed on TripAdvisor  May 2017

Great Experience -17 May 2017 – Allorikshaw, Denver, Colorado

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 – Used the Egypt Holidays 9 nights package

Absolutely Brilliant 13 May 2017 – db2707, Sydney, Australia

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 May 2017.  Couple – Luxor Holidays package and Tours in Cairo

“Unforgettable Egypt trip” – 3 May 2017, JM C, USA

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)!

Reviewed on TripAdvisor May 2017.  Traveled solo in Mara House Group Tour in Nov 2016

newer reviews 8 …see older reviews .. 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Mara

Hi, I'm from Ireland and I built Mara House, a small, family run, unique boutique hotel in Luxor in 2003.....My promise is to deliver quality service, traditional food, comfort, enjoyable experiences, up-front pricing, no hidden extras.....PLUS I answer all your emails personally..... I provide professional, qualified tour guides who do NOT divert you to shops, restaurants etc. for commission.....We are best suited to people who like to be taken care of from airport entry to airport departure, people who want to avoid hassle, scams and tourist traps.....You deal directly with me... Hope you find my travel info helpful -//.. Mara
Mara