Mara House is a hotel with a difference, completely unlike any hotel you are likely to come across in your travels.
- We don’t have “rooms”. We have Executive Suites – defined in terms of hotels, this means a space containing one or more bedrooms with separate living/sitting room. Mara House has 9 Executive Suites.
- Each Suite is unique and furnished differently to all the others.
- While being most respectful to our guests, we treat you informally as we would friends or family invited to stay.
- Before you arrive I try to find out your specific interests and do my best to open the doors to the experiences you desire.
- We don’t just provide tours, guides and access to the historical monuments, we do everything we can think of to make those place come alive for you. Our guides do their best to talk to you about the aspects of Egypt you are specifically interested in.
- We don’t just want to show you Egypt, we want you to go back home with a new and deeper understanding of a wonderful and amazing country. We want you to want to come back. We want you to return home feeling that in coming to Egypt you have, in some way, returned home.
The only aspects in which Mara House is similar to normal hotels is that we provide, bed, breakfast, lunch, dinner and local information.
Since Mara House is way outside the scope of the usual hotel, most of this page is going to be taken up with how we are different – not the usual type of hotel descriptions talking about rooms and services.
This picture only shows you HALF the bedroom in our Executive Suite 2. Please click on the image to see the full photo gallery of all our suites.
MARA HOUSE TOURS
I’ve lived in Egypt, more or less full time since 2003. I still have not seen half the places I want to see – mostly because the authorities don’t know I want to see those places. Like many countries, tour operators, the media and consequently visitors keep talking about, writing about and photographing the same, same old places! It’s not that there are no more exciting places to visit, there are! Many are just not open. Worse still some are open and nobody knows about them so the people who have the door keys don’t even always show up! If you were to live with me for a year, you still would not have explored the depths of the historical treasury that is Egypt.
So we don’t want to waste your precious time (speaking now to the visitors who really want to visit the places we love). Consequently there is no stopping for shopping during our tours. For example where most tour operators take you to 2 or 3 sites on the West Bank and spend the next few hours in an Alabaster shop, we take you to 5 sites – no alabaster. This doesn’t mean we won’t give you the chance to shop – we will if you ask – just not during a tour.
- Tours in Cairo
- Tours in Luxor
- Tours in Alexandria
- Luxor Holidays incl Mara House accommodation and tours
- Cairo Holidays incl accommodation and tours
- Most popular – our 9 night Egypt Holidays covering Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and Nile Cruise with the options to extend.
TIME TO CHAT
I work with really great guides, full of knowledge, always researching and learning more themselves. They give you info on architecture, history, egyptology, archeology and much more during the tours to the sites.
Personally, I can talk to you for hours on end about my passion for the various aspects of Egypt and I make myself as available as possible to you during your stay. I am also NOT insulted in the least when guests just want to chill out on the roof, in the lounge, in their suites and not have their heads filled with more info and chatter.
My personal passions are
- Pharaonic era – my interests lie in the personal lives of the people, the rulers, the priests, their religion, practices, beliefs and ways of life. I don’t just want to know the history of their achievements and defeats. I want to know how they thought, how they felt and how they got through their days – because maybe I can learn something from that info. So I do a lot of my own research into that, as well as the mystery and magic that we think of when dreaming of ancient Egypt.
- Then there is the evidence of the Egyptians ruling Ireland way back in the days of Tutankhamum, the stories and legends surrounding Thoth the God of Wisdom and how much of this connects with modern day meditation and healing practices – not to mention Sekhmet – gotta stop here – it might just be easier to write a few books.
- The Ottomans, the Mamluks, Mohamed Ali and his dynasty. I’m the type of person that when an idea gets hold of me, sometimes I just run with it – those times are magical. The latest one is the transformation of the bar downstairs at Mara House into the “Moh Ali Lounge”. The entire room is given over to more than 160 photos of the Moh Ali Dynasty right down to it’s present day personalities – many of whom are still in Egypt. That project took me only three weeks to bring it to it’s present state but it is far from finished. Their stories are totally amazing and interesting.
- The Sufis – not easy to find them!! Much less talk to them. I need more time on this – really my days are not long enough!
- You might not think it but ponder on the thought that if the events of 2011 happened in any other country in the world, would it have survived? I sincerely doubt it. So, understanding the modern day mystery of that is a subject you could spend a lifetime examining and I have my own beliefs on that. Again this is something my guests usually want to talk about – that and 2011.
- The charisma, the achievements and the lives of the Presidents of Egypt who came after the abdication of King Farouk. Those people – Mohamed Naguib, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat, Hosni Mubarak and Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, in my book, are on a par with the greatest in the history of the world – ok, you gotta come to Mara House and hear me out on all that before you laugh or deride me on this subject 🙂 You have to have some grasp, not only of Egyptian politics but international politics, history and economics before you can give me a flippant rebuttal on that statement 🙂
I can’t really explain how Egypt affects me. The above is a list of my current and main passions, there are more and I can spend hours discussing as much as pleases you.
WHO IS MARA HOUSE SUITED TO?
- Independent travelers who want to stay in a different type of hotel – more a grandiose private house than a hotel – with really spacious personal sleeping and living accommodation
- Families – Mara House is both family-friendly and child-friendly.
- People who want to hear different views, opinions and unusual aspects to historical and present day Egypt.
- People who want good, wholesome, healthy, traditional, home-cooked meals.
- People who want to meet with normal Egyptians, talk about and experience daily life in Egypt.
Mara House can be booked entirely for Private Groups for events such as the following:
- High profile people who want privacy while visiting the sites, want to travel incognito as much as possible. Maybe bring along some family or a few close friends. Yet still may need to have properly trained security personnel, (we can provide). At the same time, looking to experience something different – a different aspect of Egypt but not looking for black tie service etc.
- People wanting a destination wedding, a bit on the fantasy side,( but not cheesy), authentic, native, spiritual and magical. A special experience outside the norm, while still seeing all the major sites and getting into the romance of Egypt through the ages.
- Companies wanting to take special employees on a different type of holiday – nothing as strenuous as rock climbing or bunjee jumping, but intimate and team building – perhaps bringing along a motivational trainer.
- Family celebrations or organising a holiday to bring family members living in different parts of the world together in a holiday location that has something to offer other than sun, sea and sand.
Amr – the House Manager is also our amazing Chef. The restaurant was the brainchild and work of my son, Stephen and his wife, Sara. The Salahadeen Feast took our restaurant to #1 on TripAdvisor while it was open to the public. Our food is traditional, healthy, wholesome Egyptian cuisine which Amr learned from his mother at a very young age. These days, the Feast is a treat reserved for our in-house guests only.
Mara House has a sun terrace filled mostly with cacti and bougainvillea where you can relax and it is especially enjoyable at night. We always have clear skies so if you like star-gazing you will truly enjoy this space. Our newly built BBQ should quickly become a favourite with everyone this winter. Yes – BBQ in the winter in Egypt.
Most Common Questions Asked About Egypt
- Do I have to tip in Egypt and how much?
- What currency should I take to Egypt?
- What should I wear in Egypt?
- What to do if I catch Egyptian Tummy Bug?
- Is it safe to go to Egypt? 19 things not to do, 14 things to do.