entrance, stairway and seating area at Mara House

Mara House Luxor, a Hidden Gem in the Ancient City of Thebes

Discover Mara House, an exclusive haven nestled far from the bustling tourist strip in the legendary city of Luxor, a mere 10-minute stroll away from the ruins of the renowned Luxor Temple.  This hidden gem resides within a regular Egyptian neighborhood, where life moves along at it’s own unhurried pace.

Almost every building in the street is home to an extended family unit of parents, children, their grandparents and in a few instances even great grandparents.  The tradition is for a family to buy a piece of land and build each floor as they can afford it, every floor being a complete family apartment for one of the generations.  The primary focus is on completing livable units and completing or decorating the exterior is the final focus.  The street is relatively quiet in winter but in summer time it is teeming with children playing and neighbours mingling, taking advantage of the relative cool night weather until the early hours.

Street weddings and engagement parties are still the norm here.  The nearby mosque can be annoying to some visitors but the early call to prayer is taken by most as part of the local cultural experience for which they choose to stay at Mara House.

As the weighty iron doors of Mara House swing open, time itself seems to succumb to the enchanting allure of the past, ushering you gently into a bygone era.  Stepping across the threshold, a treasure trove of history unfolds within the interior, revealing an eclectic blend of Middle Eastern furnishings, art, and decor.  Here, with a little imagination, you may immerse yourself in a symphony of history, as tales of ancient intrigue and romance seem to whisper through time.

Find yourself enchanted by the Moh Ali sitting room, an exquisite enclave adjacent to the entrance hall, paying homage to the illustrious lineage of Egypt’s rulers.  Adorned with a unique collection of images and photographs, this room unveils the illustrious genealogy of Egypt’s Royal Rulers, spanning from the era of Turkish Sultans to the modern-day descendants of King Farouk, whose reign unexpectedly ended in 1952.  Mara herself shares a profound connection to this royal lineage, entwined within her family tree through a series of ancestral and modern unions.

Within the walls of Mara House, the concept of “rooms” transcends the mundane definition of hotel accommodations.  Here, guests get to experience a touch of grandeur from bygone eras before the majority of hotel suites were downgraded to mere bedrooms.  Each suite at Mara House provides not only a bedroom and bathroom but also the indulgent luxury of a private sitting room with balcony.  The Family Suites, a testament to cherished togetherness, offer the added splendor of two or three bedrooms, allowing families to bask in the comforts of home, unlike the customary hotel setups with separate chambers. Rooms/Suites

Mara House, a sanctuary where history breathes life into the present, beckons you on an extraordinary journey.  Traverse the delicate balance between antiquity and modernity, as the ethereal allure of this timeless escape leaves you with unforgettable memories etched in your heart.  Reserve your place at Mara House, where you become a part of an esteemed circle of discerning guests, who relish the privilege of this timeless retreat.

SALAHADEEN RESTAURANT: a culinary experience not to miss



Amr – the House Manager is also our amazing Chef.  

The restaurant was the brainchild and work of my son, Stephen and his wife, Sara. 

Steve & Sara

The popularity of the authentic “Salahadeen Feast” served in the charmingly elegant Mara House restaurant gracefully catapulted Mara House to the pinnacle of TripAdvisor’s rankings during its public opening, a position it held until it’s closure to the public due to the events of 2011.  Our culinary offerings embody the very soul of traditional, nourishing Egyptian cuisine, a cherished heritage lovingly passed down through the generations.  The remarkable Chef, Amr, learned his culinary skills from a tender age, from his own mother.  Today, the Feast stands as an exclusive indulgence, a cherished delight reserved solely for esteemed in-house guests.”


At Mara House, the sun terrace is a serene oasis adorned with cacti and bougainvillea.  It’s the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy the night sky, after a day of sightseeing, as the clear skies offer an excellent opportunity for star-gazing.  During winter, the newly built BBQ becomes a hot favorite, where guests can savor delightful meals outdoors even in the Egyptian winter.

Mara House welcomes a diverse range of guests:

  1. Independent travelers seeking a unique accommodation experience akin to an old-style private house rather than a standard hotel. Enjoy the luxury of spacious personal sleeping and living areas, distinct from the common spaces like the roof terrace, restaurant, and downstairs sitting room.
  2. Families yearning for a private sanctuary to unwind and converse at day’s end, free from the hassle of moving between separate hotel rooms.  Mara House caters to families, ensuring a family-friendly and child-friendly environment.
  3. Adventurers hungry for fresh perspectives, seeking unique insights and off-the-beaten-path tales about historical and contemporary Egypt.
  4. Food enthusiasts craving nourishing, wholesome, and authentic home-cooked meals that reflect the rich traditions of Egyptian cuisine.

Mara House caters to these discerning travelers, offering an inviting haven where cherished memories are woven into the tapestry of an unforgettable Egyptian experience.


You can book the entire Mara House for a diverse array of private events, providing exclusive experiences for our esteemed guests:

  1. High-profile individuals seeking utmost privacy by reserving the entire house, while exploring Egypt’s wonders incognito, accompanied by family or close friends.  We can arrange properly trained security personnel to ensure your comfort and peace of mind. Experience a different facet of Egypt without the formality of black tie service, as we value and respect your privacy without compromising on exceptional service.
  2. Dreaming of a destination wedding that transcends the ordinary, an experience that exudes authenticity, spirituality, and a touch of magic?  Look no further.   Our offerings are enchanting yet tastefully curated, ensuring a special day that’s far from cheesy, but deeply rooted in the romance of Egypt through the ages.  Amidst the marvels of ancient sites, your love story will find its timeless backdrop.
  3. Companies seeking to treat their valued employees to a unique and intimate team-building holiday experience  will discover Mara House as the ideal setting.  Our offerings are tailored to promote team building, encouraging meaningful connections, and providing ample space for getting to know each other better.  The focus is on a rejuvenating and memorable escape, where shared experiences become lasting bonds.
  4. Celebrate family milestones and reunite with loved ones from different corners of the globe in an extraordinary holiday location that extends beyond sun, sea, and sand. Mara House offers a captivating backdrop for cherished family celebrations, ensuring a meaningful and unforgettable experience for all.

Mara House embraces the spirit of exclusivity and personalization, crafting private events that leave an indelible mark on the hearts of our cherished guests.

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  1. So glad we went with the Mara house team for our first trip to Egypt. Ahmed is the superstar of logistics and took care of everything we needed. The guides (both Mohammad’s) were so knowledgeable about all things Egypt and taught us so much. The sites were amazing and the people were friendly, what more could you ask for on vacation. If you have been curious about visiting Egypt – definitely go and don’t hesitate to plan through the Mara House team.

    Traveled as couple. Booked Luxor Holidays 3 Nights Package and Cairo Holidays 3 Nights Package

  2. Treatment Second to None
    “My husband and son and I just returned from a Spring Break trip to Luxor and Cairo. In Luxor, we stayed for four days and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

    Best points:
    1) Mara communicated with my husband and was infinitely patient and generous with her recommendations of suggested activities prior to us leaving for Egypt.
    2) While Mara was on a cruise with a group, she left Amr, the chef and house manager, to tend to us. He is capable, kind, and accommodating — perhaps single-handedly offering us the best service possible. Amr arranged taxi cabs for us, coordinated with Mohammed our tour guide, accompanied us on a falucca ride, cooked us unbelievable food (barely flinching when we said the word “vegan”), did our laundry, and probably a dozen other things for which we will always be grateful.

    In short, our time in Luxor would never have been so delightful without Mara House. While Mara House isn’t (like) a hotel — and who wants that anyway? — it was clean and comfortable and we felt like family. Highly recommend.”

    RGVD, Washington DC, USA. April 2019. Traveled as family. Reviewed on TripAdvisor. Luxor Holidays 3 night package

  3. We had an incredible stay at Mara House Luxor last month……. what amazing hospitality. The dinner feast was one of the highlights of our trip, and the accommodation – a spacious apartment with atmospheric decor in an atmospheric Luxor neighborhood – was miles better than your typical hotel room. Mara and her team also looked after our daily tours in both Luxor and Cairo. There is no way we could have prepared and organized such a seamless visit on our own. It was truly a vacation we will never forget. Thank you!

    Booked Cairo Holidays 3 Nights Package and Luxor Holidays 3 Nights Package

  4. The best thing about Mara House is Mara herself. Mara is warm and personable, and an invaluable resource with a wealth of information about traveling in Egypt. Before booking with her, she took the time to answer all of my questions about what to see, and the friendly email exchange helped to alleviate my concerns about booking. The rooms are well appointed spacious apartments, with strong internet connection. Meals here are delicious. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back.

    Mikan, USA – travelled solo March 2019. Reviewed on TripAdvisor. Luxor Holidays 3 night package + stayed extra 4 nights.

  5. We had an incredible stay at Mara House Luxor last month……. what amazing hospitality. The dinner feast was one of the highlights of our trip, and the accommodation – a spacious apartment with atmospheric decor in an atmospheric Luxor neighborhood – was miles better than your typical hotel room. Mara and her team also looked after our daily tours in both Luxor and Cairo. There is no way we could have prepared and organized such a seamless visit on our own. It was truly a vacation we will never forget. Thank you!

    Booked Luxor Holidays 3 Nights Package and Tours in Cairo

  6. During the month of February 2019 & for 8 days, my son & I shared a wonderful adventure to Egypt courtesy of Mara Tours. Mara provided us with excellent flights, excellent accomodations, excellent food & ample opportunity to explore the cities of Cairo & Luxor.

    At times we felt like we were in a movie! Mara made sure we were surrounded with caring & informed guides as well as making sure we had a fine sense of the kind & great people of Egypt. Mara truly exceeded our expectations ensuring our comfort & accommodating our curiosity of a land that is rich in sights, sounds & history.

    Mara’s house is richly decorated which in turn invited us to enjoy Egyptian living & culture. We couldn’t be more pleased that we chose Mara tours for our adventure. Until we meet again, thank you Mara. Respectfully,
    Matthew J. Voytek, III.

    Travelled as Family Feb 2019 Booked Cairo Holidays 3 Night Package and Luxor Holidays 3 Nights package Reviewed on TripAdvisor and Google Maps

  7. This was our first trip to Egypt, and it was fantastic! My wife & I stayed with Egyptian relatives in Cairo & Alexandria at beginning & end of trip, with a 3-night stay at Mara House in Luxor tucked in the middle – and the feeling of being taken care of by family was seamless!

    Mara makes it easy to set-up via email, Amr welcomes you into your beautiful home away from home (and cooks excellent meals), and Mohammed is the scholarly cousin who guides you professionally through Egypt’s wonderful ancient history! We’ll be back.

    Mac Whipple USA, Traveled as couple Jan 2019. Luxor 3 nights package

  8. My family booked the 3 nights package at Mara House during the 2018 holiday season. My twin daughters and my wife really enjoyed visiting the ancient tombs, temples, and the sunset sailing on the Nile. We are very impressed by Mohamad’s knowledge of these ancient temple, and he made the visit a very enjoyable and educational experience.
    Amr is very caring and considerate and made our stay very enjoyable, arranging transportation to local restaurants and the Luxor museum. In additional, the meals he prepared were delicious. We also had our breakfast at the roof-top garden, which was beautifully arranged with succulents and flowering plants. .

  9. Very professional hotel and tour company that will make sure your tour of Egypt is well organized, safe and efficient. We gained deep knowledge of the history and culture of ancient Egypt from our excellent guide, Moh. And Amr who runs the hotel is an extremely nice guy who also makes excellent food – in fact the best food that we ate on our entire trip! Thank you Mara House for the great experience.

    Greg Pritchard USA – traveled as couple. Luxor 3 night package Reviewed on google maps.

  10. Mara, Amr, and Mohammed were all great! The accommodations were fantastic, while our guide, Mohammed, was better than I could have hoped. Best way to see the sites and I would definitely recommend it!

    Travelled with family – Mara House and tours – Reviewed on Google Maps

  11. Brilliant, seemless service and gorgeous rooms. Mara House offers a different experience to the giant soulless hotels along the waterfront. Mara’s staff are caring and personable, and have an attention to detail that is a breath of fresh air in Africa.

    I booked the Luxor package which includes accommodation, transport, and a guide for three days, including a day trip to Dendera and Abydos. I left extremely satisfied. I’ll be back to do their cruise to Aswan for sure.

    Travelled Solo Dec 2018 – reviewed on google maps. Luxor Holidays 3 night package

  12. We (three people) have just spent 8 days in Cairo and Alexandria, organised for us by Mara. Everything worked well, from the pick-up at Cairo airport in the middle of the night, to our return there at the end of our trip.

    We had a driver, minibus and guide for the whole time. Our driver, Imed, was pleasant and helpful and always punctual. Mohamed Hedar, our guide, was excellent. We learned a lot from him, he was good company, and he really went the extra mile to show us anything he thought might be interesting.

    We took all of Mara’s Cairo tours plus a number of special requests of our own.

    The overnight in Alexandria was well worth doing. There is a lot to see there, and we were glad that we had not just taken a day trip from Cairo.

    We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Egypt and certainly plan to return. We shall not hesitate to ask Mara to organise our next trip.

    Travelled Nov 2018 – UK. Tours in Cairo – reviewed on google maps

  13. If you would like to be well taken care of while touring the sites of Luxor, Mara House will take care of both your stay and your touring. House manager Amr was amazing, seeing to every day’s itinerary and arranging horse carriages, Nile river trips and even cooking delicious meals.

    The crew of guides and drivers employed by Mara will take great care of you whether exploring urban Luxor or taking a long day trip to Abydos.

    The room was spacious, clean, quiet and the AC was good (important in September when it gets really hot).

    Travelled solo Sept 2018 USA. – Luxor Holiday 3 night package – reviewed on google maps

  14. 5 stars just isn’t enough for Mara House! An absolutely beautiful house with amazing decor situated in a cute Egyptian street which will give you a good feel of local life as well.

    Mara organized a trip to the Temples which were spectacular, the finest in Egypt. The trip was stress free and the guide was brilliant explaining everything.

    The room was very specious and spotless clean. The staff were excellent & always on hand to help! And the feast.. WOW! Thanks a million Mara & the staff at Mara House for an unforgettable stay.

    Traveled solo – Co. Kerry, Ireland – Nov 2018 – reviewed on Google Maps

  15. Dear Mara,

    M and I have just returned from our trip to Egypt and Jordan. I wanted to write to express our sincere thanks to you and let you know that your tour was one of the highlights of our visit.. Fatima was a delight; knowledgeable, informative, accommodating and helpful. We know we were privileged to have such a special and unique experience. Thank you, and Fatima for making this possible.

    Wishing you, Fatima, and everyone in your organization our very best! Tours in Cairo

    C & M, USA

    Excerpt from email received from M & C on 28 Oct 2018

  16. Mara House provided the perfect experience for my first time and my Dad’s second time in Egypt. It was the best combination of culture and style. We were able to see how Egyptians truly live without being blinded by tourism.

    Our guide was wonderful and the planning of our schedule made everything easier to experience.

    The Feast was amazing and the chicken was fantastic. Amr was the best host imaginable and we will forever recommend Mara House.

    Thank you for everything!
    G & B S., Seattle Wa., USA 11 Oct 2018 (Mara House Guestbook) Luxor Holidays package

  17. Where to begin? Thank you so much for helping me realize a childhood dream. This trip was amazing from start to finish. Ahmed, Mohamed and Susie were great in Cairo. Amr and Mohamed in Luxor went above and beyond to make sure I was not only delighted with the tours but to make sure I did not miss out of Luxor experience.

    Mara House was clean and well looked after, perfect for relaxing after 43 degrees C days at the Temples and Tombs. Amr’s feast was phenomenal and service you will not find in many places.

    My favourite sites in Luxor -Tombs of Ramses III, IV and IX, Sety I and the Hypostyle Hall of Dendera. In Cairo, it was Saqqara and climbing inside the Great Pyramid.

    Thanks to Mara for excellent communication to make all this happen. Hope you are in Luxor next time I come so I can thank you in person.

    David R (Mara House Guest Book 2 Oct 2018) Booked Egypt Holidays 9 Nights package

  18. It has been a dream of mine to come to Egypt since I was a little girl. When we were deciding on a honeymoon location, it was a “no-brainer” So glad we stumbled across Mara House and the programs you offer.

    Throughout our trip we have felt so well taken care of and looked after. Mara and Amr, you have been one step ahead the whole time making sure we have the best experience possible and we can honestly say we have.

    We will be back to Egypt and to Mara House
    H & J – New York, USA. 15 Sept 2018 (Mara House Guest Book) Egypt Holidays package

  19. Dear Mara, Amr and Ahmed,

    Thank you so much for your hospitality! We could not have picked better hosts for our time in Egypt. Thank you for sharing your love for this beautiful country with us.

    The Salahadeen Feast was, hands-down, the best meal we have had in Egypt!!! Everyone needs to try this once in their lives. Wish we could hire Amr as our personal Chef forever! 🙂

    A & K , Canada/Singapore. 25 Aug 2018 (Mara House Guest Book) Egypt Holidays package

  20. Honeymoon, and Literally a Dream Come True

    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. Reviewed on TripAdvisor. Deleted by TripAdvisor 25.10.2018 Egypt Holidays package