“A great hotel for independent travellers”
Mara’s House is very welcoming and thoughtful. The rooms are massive and come with a stocked fridge at local prices. The service is great, very considerate and no hassle. Mara herself is incredibly helpful, both through her website and the tips and advice on travelling in Egypt. The location is just behind the central train station and not in a touristy area, but still well located. I would recommend this to anyone who does not want to join the maddening crowds and is willing to try something a little off the beaten path.
Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on TripAdvisor by mikeynom, London
We stayed at Mara House for one night in April 2011 whilst on holiday in Hurghada. Mara arranged pretty much everything for us from a mini-bus to pick us up from our resort, to providing a guide for our trip to the West Bank. Staying overnight in Luxor gave us the opportunity to see as much as possible of the real Egypt. We were made to feel so welcome, we felt like we were at home.
The family room we were allocated was huge and extremely comfortable, there was even a mini-bar provided so you can purchase drinks. We were recommended an Egyptian restaurant to eat dinner and the manager arranged a taxi for us.
We visited the Karnak Temple, Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Nobles and the Valley of the Workers (Deir El Medina) along with Hatshepsut’s Temple, the temple at Medinet Habu and the Colossi of Memnon. We wouldn’t have seen so many sights if this hadn’t been arranged for us by Mara.
For anyone visiting Luxor, I would recommend staying at Mara House for the most amazing experience ever.
Stayed April 2011, travelled with family. Reviewed on TripAdvisor by shazza4024, Bristol, UK
“As close as possible to Egyptian life”
First of all I’d like to thank Mara for keeping us updated re events in Egypt. If it wasn’t for her updates we would’ve missed on the most beautiful experience! We absolutely loved our stay and Luxor was the place where we started feeling truly relaxed and safe. It all can be attributed to the setup, location and staff of Mara House.
At first we were disappointed to come to Luxor to find out that Mara herself was in Ireland, but this disappointment lasted only a few minutes. The guys who were in charge of the hotel, Azez and Amr, were incredibly helpful, thoughtful, professional, polite, friendly. I guess you can see that we liked them 🙂 Also Mara has a very detail guide to the city, customs, etc that was invaluable to us. So her absence wasn’t a problem after all.
The rooms are so tastefully decorated in the Egyptian manner, they are spacious, immaculately clean and comfortable. The showers were clean and spacious too, we read that some people didn’t like the setup (wet rooms), but as we knew what to expect it was no issue at all.
I am a light sleeper, so mullahs were waking me up with their prayer calls, but otherwise it was nice and quiet.
We loved that the house is in the midst of an Egyptian suburb, we chose to walk to the center and back every day and enjoyed the interactions with the local people. We even ventured into eating from streets stalls, etc, it was a great experience that we would’ve missed if we stayed elsewhere.
We took advantage of tours that Mara facilitates. Enjoyed the trip to Abydos and Dendara. Also saw a sunrise from a hot air balloon.
We are extremely happy with the stay, not only we enjoyed Luxor, but we became totally relaxed and started enjoying our trip to the full extend. Thanks Mara, Azez and Amr
April 2011, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on TripAdvisor by NowCallAusraliaHome, Melbourne
A change from faceless hotels
This is a small and very welcoming hotel in a very down to earth part of luxor – a working class area with no other tourists around – the people around were very friendly and there are several interesting workshops and other local businesses. The hotel staff are very helpful and efficient and the owner Mara is exceptionally helpful.
It is a fair walk to local restaurants – luxor temple is 10-15 minutes on foot – but despite this I was very happy with the location given the total lack of touts and hassle and the pleasant rooms.
“Home away from home in Luxor, or even the whole Egypt”
Stay at Mara house with Mara was absolutely awesome!!! It was located in a residential area, so you got see a slice of local life. and very good location, 10 minutes walking distance to train station. Mara who runs Mara house was absolutely fantastic. It’s her that actually gave us the awesome stay in luxor. She provided her guests detailed information regarding direction. And she trained her staff very well.
The room was spacious and charming, with middle eastern decor. And I love the sofabed that you could read book in a comfy way. Unfortunately she closed her restaurant but we were fortunately enough to try her cooking. It was the best meal I had in Egypt!!! The mutton soup and onion soup were soOooo delicious, just love them so much!!! However, breakfast was quite simple.
And we also visit abydos and dendera as per suggested by Mara. The experience was priceless. A knowledgable Egyptologist with very beautiful temple.
And on the last night, we forgot that we asked Mara to organise a taxi for us to train station and we actually had another. Yet, she still didn’t blame us.
Anyway, there are only 8-10 rooms available, so if you want to stay here, book it quick before it get booked out. And you’ll definitely get a unique but absolutely awesome stay!!! And Mara, a big hug to you!!! We miss your hospitality and you!!!
January 2011, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by Pysilvia, Melbourne, Australia
“Best hotel in luxor”
Mara house was an amazing find for my wife and I, we both thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. We took tours to Abydos & Dendra as well as the west bank, on both occasions the tour guide was excellent as well as the tour bus and lunches. The staff were very attentive and friendly and the room was spacious, tastefully decorated and meticulously clean. I would recommend this hotel to anyone planning a trip to Luxor. Staying at Mara house made our trip even more special.
February 2011, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by monkey_abroad, London
“Unique experience in Luxor”
We stayed at Mara House in January, 2011 with our two sons. Mara was able to provide us with the local knowledge that enabled us to maximise our visit. She always had time to talk to us and share her extensive knowledge of the region. Her staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful. Located over the railway line and away from the Nile, it is about a 10 minute walk to central Luxor. Once you get your bearings, it is easy to find. You are living away from the majority of tourists and you have a clear sense of living among the locals. We recommend Mara’s taxi services, which were charged at a fixed price. We would highly recommend Mara House. As a family, we thoroughly enjoyed our Luxor experience.
Jan 2011, travelled with family. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by McKinnon4, Melbourne, Australia
“Live like a Pharaoh in true Luxor”
Mara and her very able team made my wife and I feel like we were ancient royalty living in a palace in the suburbs of real Egypt. The rooms are HUGE! Our room was made up of two big rooms plus bathroom. The first – a grand sitting room with veiled couch, kitchen table and fridge and the second – a bedroom complete with 4-post bed. Tea and coffee anytime on request. Great breakfast. All situated 10 minutes walk from the train station and 15-20 minutes from the market and centre of town.
Mara offers to organise tours to the Valley of the Kings and Abydos and Dandera temples. The Valley of the Kings tours took us to the best of the must see attractions and also to tombs of workers and artisan rarely seen. Abydos and Dandera temples are out of Luxor but are some of the best preserved temples in upper Egypt.
I should note we were staying with Mara when riots erupted at the end of January. Mara held briefing sessions explaining the situation with each guest every morning and evening and before any tours to keep us informed of the situation in and around Luxor and in all of Egypt. Mara made all of us feel very safe and made sure that we could keep in touch with our family and embassies. She also organised for our safe transfer to the airport.
Jan 2011, travelled as a couple, Reviewed on Tripadvisor by babycondor, Melbourne, Australia
“Amazing experience at Mara House”
Luxor was empty at the time of our stay, but I have a feeling that treating the customers as welcome guests is standard at Mara House. The staff was incredibly friendly and was very attentive to our every need. Incredibly helpful with transport around Luxor, though it is only about a 10 minute walk to the Nile. The rooms are clean and very tastefully decorated. The water is hot and the pressure is excellent. Free tea and coffee is pretty standard in most lodging in Egypt but I never get sick of it. The tours arranged through Mara House were informative and comfortable, as well as reasonably priced. I would highly recommend Mara House to anyone traveling to the area. We had a wonderful time in and around Luxor. The lack of tourists made us feel as though we were at Disney World and had the opportunity to skip to the front of every line. Don’t be worried about visiting Egypt – this is the perfect time!
Stayed March 2011, Reviewed on Tripadvisor by blushresponse, Cairo.
“Superb hotel with an excellent host”
We travelled through Egypt as part of our honeymoon. This is the first time I have ever written on this website and was moved to do so by my experience at Mara House. The hotel was beautifully furbished and immaculately kept. The rooms are big, spacious and traditionally furnished. Breakfast was good and was delivered to the room. Nothing was too much trouble. Mara offered help in organising our trips and recommended bars/restaurants to visit. All in all, we loved every minute and would recommend the hotel to anyone.
Sept 2010, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by websofwarmley, Bristol
“Great room and helpful staff”
We travelled to Egypt in such a special period (Jan 30 – Feb 7, 2011). We’re happy to be Mara’s only guest during our stay in Luxor. Due to the travel alert, all the guests cancelled their bookings except us.
We have a rather luxury room with two bed rooms and a spacious living room with dining and cooking area. The room is very clean and we love the towel with apple smell. The room is especially good for those who travel with kids and big families.
Mara and her staff are very helpful during our stay in Luxor. Abydos and Dendara temple are the most impressive tempel for our trip. Thanks to Mara who recommend them and arrange the trip for us. Mara also provides many useful travel tips in Egypt which is very helpful during sightseeing and bargain with locals. Although the hotel locates a little bit far away from the center of Luxor, it is in a local neighbourhood. You can enjoy local children say hello and shake hands with you when going into / out the hotel.
It takes about 15 – 20 minutes walk to the Luxor temple across the Luxor train station. I should say walking in the city can help us enjoy the city more. We really enjoy friendly Egyptians who are always smile and happy to say hello to us. We love Egypt and will surely come back again. Mara House will be our first choice when we come back.
Feb 2011, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by Luca_Luo Shanghai, China ******
“Caring, helpful, and knowledgeable Mara”
My father and I stayed at Mara at during the worst time in recent Egypt history: the beginning of the popular revolt against the Mubarak regime. The streets were not always safe but Mara was able to recommend the best activities for us during our stay. With her contacts, she knew when the best time for sightseeing was, and when was the best time to go to town to enjoy the souk and sample local cuisine. Her staff is very kind, friendly and exceptionally for Egypt: very efficient.
Our trip was cut short due to political unrest but my father and I already plan our trip back. Mara House will be our first choice when we will be back in Luxor.
Stayed January 2011. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by Khata62, Montreal, Canada
“The best bet for the Independent Traveller in Luxor”
Mara’s House is a great choice in Luxor. My husband and I just returned from a 21 day holiday in Egypt (during the riots too). I would unhesitatingly recommend Mara’s House. We found Luxor to be one of the most expensive cities in Egypt, and Mara’s is a great value.
The rooms are spotless and large, and tastefully decorated. The location is unexpectedly convenient, even though it is on the “backside” of the train station and city center. This is a good thing, too, as Luxor is one of the most intense tourist sites in Egypt.
Mara’s pricing is consistently fair, and her staff and Egyptologists very good. You could probably haggle a better deal somewhere, but you also might get surprised by some fee or whatever that wasn’t included. Plus Mara has a no tip policy til checkout. It’s a real relief for the independent traveller to enjoy a reprieve from the constant tips and haggling!
As to Egypt as tourist destination generally, given the recent riots: Go as soon as you can!! We just left this past Friday February 4, and can honestly say we were treated wonderfully, and experienced ABSOLUTELY NO HOSTILITY whatsoever. This is not surprising though, as tourism has been a major Egyptian industry for 2500 years!
I wish Egyptians the best of luck in their political struggles BUT speaking strictly as a tourist: Words cannot describe the luck of a lifetime to have had Blue Lagoon, St. Catherine’s Monastery and Mt. Sinai all to ourselves. Go, go as soon as you can to experience this beautiful country in relative solitude….
Jan 2011, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by Fran1333, Washington DC, District of Columbia
“A 5 star stay!!”
We stayed at Mara House for two nights at the beginning of our holiday in Egypt and it was by far the best hotel that we experienced on the trip (easily outclassing the supposed 5-star hotels and 5-star Nile cruise ship).
Mara was extremely helpful, both before we arrived and during our stay, arranging a driver to meet us at the airport and providing advice on the best things to do and excellent local knowledge.
We enjoyed our stay that much. that we tried to book another couple of nights on our return from Aswan, but sadly Mara House was full.
Nov 2010, Couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by candm2009, Perth, Australia
“A fantastic experience – Thank you Mara!”
Staying at Mara House was a fantastic experience. We travelled to Egypt with our two daughters, aged 7 and 9. Our suite at Mara House was charming and you could see that a lot of love, care and attention to detail was exercised in the building and decoration. Family accommodation in Luxor is limited and this was a great find. Set in a friendly neighbourhood and close enough to walk to the station, the town, Luxor Temple and the Nile. The personal service and Mara’s orientation of Luxor and the vicinity insured that we maximised our limited time there. All of the staff were welcoming and made us feel right at home. The breakfast was great too! I would recommend Mara’s without a doubt!
Dec 2010, travelled with family. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by johninjoberg, Johannesburg, SA.
“Best place to stay in Luxor”
Tired of those big hotels with their endless boring corridors? Want to experience Luxor in a small, intimate setting? I know just the place for you – Mara House, which, incidentally, received the top rating for hotels in Luxor in 2010. We have just returned from our second stay with Mara — and once again have nothing but praise for her hospitality. The rooms are large, probably the largest you’ll ever stay in. The staff is eager to make your stay a pleasant one, and when you enter Mara’s front door you leave the hustle and bustle of Luxor behind you. You are immediately welcomed into the family, offered a cup of tea, excellent advice on sites to see, and a willingness to arrange for guides and transporation. In my opinion, there’s no better place to stay in Luxor so make your reservations now. Until we meet again, Mara. Libby and Ed
Jan 2011, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by sojourner1941, Massachusetts
“It is wonderful staying with someone who knows Luxor as well as Mara”
Mara’s House in Luxor provided a perfect base for our family to enjoy the marvellous and intriguing city of Luxor. Mara offered us excellent and frank advice regarding how to plan our days to get the most out of our holiday, and organised a wonderful guide for us. The room was very clean and all the staff were exceedingly pleasant. Mara was also extremely accommodating when one of our party was unable to attend the trip at the last minute. I would recommend this accommodation without hesitation and wish Mara and Steve all the best with their endeavours in the future.
“Cozy guesthouse in a fascinating place”
Mara House was a great place to stay with our 8-year-old twins. We had a “family apartment” – two bedrooms with a HUGE living room, so the kids could go to bed, and we could still stay up (and read guidebooks!). There was more than enough room for the kids to build their “tomb”, inspired by the sights, adorned with various purchases from the bazaar.
The rooms are decorated beautifully, and are welcoming to come back to. Mara and her staff are wonderful.
One of the many things we loved about Mara House is the fact that Mara will arrange a taxi/car to take you to any of the sights, at a quite cheap price (and you can get a boxed lunch, if you like). She truly does care that you have a good time, as opposed to getting one more dollar, which makes a huge difference. She’s also an amazing resource. We had a great time.
We really enjoyed the location. It was perfect for us – a 10-minute walk from Luxor Temple, but just a little bit off the beaten path, so you get a bit more of a sense of the “real Egypt”, but you are still quite, well, cosseted!
We also very much liked the roof terrace (especially with a drink from the mini-bar)!
Highly to be recommended!
Jan 2011, travelled with family. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by AK252, Brussels, Belgium
A warm welcome from the start. We were immediately made comfortable in our exotic and very spacious, comfortable rooms. Mara believes in the personal touch and gave us her full attention and the benefit of her vast experience in Luxor. Meals other than breakfast (which my two boys – 13 and 11, loved) were not available but Mara suggested we could order a take out when we wanted and even did the ordering for us. Teas/coffees are available on request – a very civilised touch! The staff at Mara House are helpful and friendly and not a bit solicitous (unlike so many other locals) which makes returning to Mara House each evening feel like coming home.
Stayed December 2010, travelled with family
Reviewed on Tripadvisor by teamCollier, Abu Dhabi
“Exceeded our expectations”
We stayed at the Mara House for six nights in November. Having read all the fantastic reviews we wondered if the Mara House would live up to our expectations. It did in every way. The rooms were large, spotless, well decorated and very comfortable. The beds great.
We really appreciated the stocked refrigerator (at reasonable prices). It was wonderful to return after a long day of touring and not have to lug back water, drinks and snacks.
Mara and her staff were great. We really appreciated that we could fully trust and rely on Mara’s advice, the Mara House drivers and tours (with no detours for shopping). Mara’s map got us oriented and kept us from getting lost. Her restaurant suggestions were fantastic.
Our only disappointment was that the restaurant was closed for remodeling during our stay.
Just a note: the Mara House is in a residential/small business neighborhood. As tourists we were obvious “outsiders.” But except for the children wanting to talk to us, no one took much notice of us (actually nice after running into one tout after another on the corniche). Further, we had zero safety concerns.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and were very happy that we hadn’t chosen the cocooned artificial reality of the chain hotel. Our experience of Luxor would have been very different if we had and not nearly as memorable.
As a last note we also stayed in the Mara House Apartments in Cairo and have a great time there as well.
Nov 2010, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by BlueskiesnCA,
“Great value place to stay”
We had an apartment at Mara House for two nights. It was comfortable, spacious and beautifully furnished. We really felt that we had arrived at somewhere special. The price was less per person than we would spend on most B&B’s in the UK. It was also nice and quiet at night despite being quite close to the centre of Luxor, very convenient for the train station. Mara was very helpful and arranged teas, taxis and trips, as well as a special dinner of Egyptian dishes that was served in our room. The minibar was very well stocked with reasonably priced drinks.
Jan 2011, travelled with family. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by Gaynor06, Flamborough, UK
“Best place we have stayed in Africa and the Middle East”
Mara House is almost too good to be true! Mara is a fantastic, warm, helpful host that makes you feel at home and looked after. Mara house is clean and new and lovely. The rooms are huge and spotless with a kitchenette. They also have balconies and a clothesline (so useful for a traveller!!). The attention to detail at Mara House is amazing, the breakfast is great, tours are of a very high quality and reccomendations are spot on. We leave wishing we had booked more than two nights here.
Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by Sarkin, Sydney, Aus.
“Warm, welcoming, a familiar face”
We arrived at Mara’s house and immediately felt relaxed. It’s a lovely house and the suite was so beautifully clean and furnished.
Mara was a welcomed relief – nothing against Egyptians but it is nice to communicate with a someone also from your neck of the woods (Irish) as there is no language barrier or feeling of being sold something.
We appreciated Mara’s advice on our day of exploring. And take away menus! as we arrived very late!
She provides an exceptional service. I want to go back to Luxor and stay a week to really explore and would definitely look at going back to Mara’s.
Top Tip – bring ear plugs – that call to prayer at 5ish am – it way too early for my liking!
Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by nihnih, London, UK
We really enjoyed our stay at Mara House. The rooms are a great size, we had a good sleep each night as it’s very quiet and it’s brilliant value for money. In terms of location we really liked being out of the main tourist area and found it to be a really easy walk to the station (allowing us to see where the locals live) and on then on to some of the sights in Luxor but if you need to go further, taxis are cheap.
Our travel requirements were a little different to most as we were traveling with our 4 month old son. Mara gave us great advice on tours and how to get about and see things that were suitable to do with a baby. She was so helpful when we arrived and throughout our stay, organising delivery of meals on a couple of nights so we could stay in and our baby could sleep, as well as giving us a kettle to use in the room for boiling water/sterilising bottles etc. and having our breakfast brought up to our room on one day when our baby was having a nap. The information book Mara gave us on arrival is full of great information to make your stay in Luxor (and Egypt overall) as easy and enjoyable as possible. We thought the tour we booked through Mara (to Abydos and Dendara) was very reasonably priced and it give us peace of mind as we are aware of the scams that can face tourists booking tours in Egypt.
Mara offers a level of service that is really exceptional and this made our stay in Luxor, and Egypt in general, very memorable. Whenever we returned to Mara House, Mara was there offering a tea or coffee which was promptly brought to our room. Mara even offered to be available over the phone if we needed any advice when we were in Cairo. I would have no hesitation recommending Mara House to anyone but it would particularly suit people who want to avoid the homogeneous experience you get in a bigger hotel.
Stayed December 2010, travelled with family. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by rachkLondon
I booked this hotel as we like to get away from the 4 & 5 star hotels and find some local places with local knowledge. This is an amazing place down a small side street with the local kids running to greet you every time you step out an dall very freindly and not too much hassle. The rooms were enormous, very comfortable beautifully decirated and extremenly clean and well maintained. Plus lovely roof terrace.
Mara is extremely helpful, arranged for a taxi to collect us from the station, booked trips (the cost of which was added to the room bill saving our cash ) thoroughly recommend the balloon trip and star gazing. Nothing was too much trouble, would definitly stay there again and recommend to friends.
Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by annier80, London
“A Unique and Wonderful Place to Stay in Luxor!!”
We had a great stay at Mara House in December 2010. The rooms are large and beautifully decorated, and Mara is a wealth of information about all of the Luxor sites and Egypt in general, not to mention restaurants, medicines for upset stomachs and, above all, honest guides and drivers, which was a welcome relief, as it is very easy to get taken advantage of in Egypt. We’ve stayed in plenty of 5-star hotels that didn’t hold a candle to the value and service we got at Mara House. We recommend it enthusiastically !!!
December 2010. Family. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by cazp59,Los Angeles, California
Stayed December 2010, travelled with family. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by Marqc, Brussels, Belgium
“A warm welcome and a haven after intensive sightseeing”
As others have said before, Mara is a wonderful hostess in Luxor – full of great tips on how to get the most out of your trip to the Nile Valley. We were very glad to have found her accommodation and found all her advice reliable and helpful.
Stayed December 2010, couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by MaGabriel, London,
“Smart choice in Luxor”
The hotel is extremely clean and confortable. Our room was a real apartment (even bigger than our house in Italy). Overall the feeling of a 4-5 stars hotel, but with the warm welcome and the helpful suggestions Mara gave us every time we needed them.
Warm, clean, perfectly managed and friendly, when we most needed it.
Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple. Reviewed on Tripadvisor by mauranie, Como
Mara House and Mara Were Absolutely Wonderful!
Having visited Egypt for the first time two years ago as part of a tour group, we were a bit apprehensive about coming back with another couple all on our own. Thank goodness we found Mara and Mara House on the TripAdvisor website.
Mara House deserves its number one TripAdvisor ranking. From the moment we arrived, Mara made us feel safe and secure, and we had an absolutely wonderful week in Luxor. I can’t recommend Mara House highly enough.
It is beautifully decorated, and Mara, Stephen, Sarah and all the staff were just wonderful. Mara House is spotlessly clean. The rooms are actually suites. We had a large sitting room that had a kitchen area with a sink and a well-stocked small refrigerator. Breakfast was brought to us each morning.
Our large bedroom was lovely, and our bed was more comfortable than our own at home! On the top floor there is a rooftop terrace with many plants and lounges for relaxing. The ground floor has a lounge and full bar on one side, where hotel guests often chat and have drinks before dinner, and on the other side is the magnificent Salahadeen Restaurant.
The evening dinners at Mara’s Salahadeen Restaurant were feasts indeed, with the meal consisting of two delicious soups, followed by a dozen or so different Egyptian dishes that were absolutely amazing in their delicacy and tastefulness. The dinner ends with a delightful Egyptian desert served with hibiscus tea. The ambience of the restaurant was outstanding with its beautiful décor, fountain in the center, and the excellent service and food.
Mara is indeed to be congratulated for having the number one ranked hotel in Luxor on the TripAdvisor website, especially as Mara House has only been open for a few years. After staying in Mara House I understand why.
Having traveled all over the world in my profession as a university professor and scientist, I must say that Mara House is one of the nicest, most pleasant hotels that I have ever known. I give Mara and Mara House my highest praise.