entrance, stairway and seating area at Mara House

Mara House Luxor: Where History and Hospitality Converge

Discover Mara House, an exclusive haven nestled away 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.

Our Street and our Neighbours

Our street is named Salah al-Din as-Ayoubbi after the legendary Saladin of the Crusades.  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 neighbors 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 guests as part of the local cultural experience for which they choose to stay at Mara House.

Mara House: step across the threshold and enter a by-gone era

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 decoration.  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 Muhammad 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.

Mara House’s Exclusive Suite Accommodations

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.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.  Request a rate now from Mara and join the ranks of our esteemed circle of discerning guests and independent travelers, who relish the private ambience 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 roof 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 a memorable Egyptian experience.


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

  1. 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.

Mara House is only bookable via direct email to Mara.

You may see Mara House on some online booking engines, they do not have permission to do so and are not agents for Mara House – hence once you click on their links to book Mara House you are directed to a page which shows no availability and you are advised to book another similar property.

Book your accommodation now at Mara House – simply click here and send me a brief message telling me your preferred dates and how many people traveling.  Feel free to ask me any questions also.

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  1. Mara House is simply amazing in every way

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

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

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

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

    Reviewed on TripAdvisor Nov 2016 Traveled as couple, Luxor Holidays 3 nights package

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

  3. A Cool Oasis in Luxor

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

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

    Used the Luxor Package

  4. Good evening from Egypt Mara!

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

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

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

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

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

  5. I’m just now getting around to writing reviews from my travel experiences this summer. I spent 4 nights and 5 days at Mara House and absolutely loved it. My room was VERY big, quiet, and comfortable. Mara’s team does everything possible to make sure their guests have a comfortable, safe and pleasant stay. My luggage was lost during my flights to Egypt and I had only one change of clothing. But Ahmed made sure I had fresh, clean clothes ready every morning, so I barely missed my luggage. The food at Mara House is wonderful, fresh and plenty! I especially appreciate how Mara arranges and plans the tours. No stress! And as for price… You can *try* to coordinate your hotel, transportation, tours, tour guides, meals, etc yourself but you probably will pay more and things will not go as smooth as what Mara has in the plan. Mara does all the work for you and it’s a blessing! It is a science! I recommend Mara House to everyone. Everything went according to schedule, yet I was never rushed. I even had free time in the afternoons and evening to experience Luxor. If you’re a solo female traveler wondering if Egypt is safe, it seemed very safe to me. I’ve been to several countries, but Egypt was my first Middle Eastern holiday. Egyptian people are very warm, friendly and welcoming. I hope to return many many times

  6. Hi Mara,

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

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

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

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

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

    Cheers (Steve from Australia -travelled as a couple – Sept 2016) Cairo Holidays and Luxor Holidays Package

  7. Mara’s House is Wonderful!

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

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

    Traveled with friends – Cairo Holidays & Luxor Holidays Package

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

  8. Best tour of our entire Middle East trip!

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

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

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

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

    Traveled with friends. Reviewed on TripAdvisor July 2016  Tours in Cairo

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

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

  10. Incredible Service

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

    Traveled as couple May 2019 Reviewed on TripAdvisor Luxor Holidays Package

  11. Mara carefully organized every detail of our vacation, airport transfer, 3 tours, flucca picnic at the Nile & a calesh ride around town.
    We also had 2 amazing dinners in their restaurant which is a must try!
    Rooms are clean, large, suite sized.
    Ahmed, the manager and Amr were extremely helpful. Mohamed, the tour guide is well knowledged.

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

  12. A fantastic place to stay in Luxor

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

  13. “Discover Luxor with Peace of Mind”

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

    TerriChin, Bonn – Stayed February 2016, travelled with friends (Reviewed on TripAdvisor)

  14. “A fantastic experience money can’t buy”

    Mara House is far more than an absolutely fantastic place to stay. With Mara’s guides and driver, I felt absolutely safe and looked after (I travelled as a single female). Her lovely and well-spoken English speaking staff were on hand by SMS and email throughout my entire Egyptian trip. Her drivers and guides have been with her for several years and her guides are Egyptologists. The place is spotless. You get your own sitting room and kitchenette plus a well-stocked fridge. After a busy day sightseeing, free steaming hot cups of tea are brought to you if you send a text or email message downstairs. If you are lucky enough to stay when the cook does a Feast, this was the best meal I had in Egypt and I travelled from Cairo to Aswan. Mara treats her staff well and they love her. With Egyptian tourism quiet, this is a great time to go and everyone is so welcoming. I just had such a wonderful time. All due to Mara House. A very special place.

    Cindy73jl – Stayed February 2016, travelled solo – (reviewed on TripAdvisor)

  15. “Elegant and Unique with Exceptional Service”

    Mara House is exactly what we look for when travelling – a small boutique hotel that caters for guests tired of large hotels and indifferent service who want discreet, professional care from a team who know exactly what they’re doing.
    It’s the small things that count, right? Bedrooms are huge, the bed itself heaven; towels were plentiful, the water hot and everything is beautifully appointed with understated luxury. The rooftop terrace was a favourite spot with a cup of (complimentary all day) tea or coffee and the hotel is on a quiet street (not the huge hotel strip where you’re cheek by jowl with everyone else).

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

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

    I’ll end by saying come to Egypt, folks. We’re a middle-aged Australian couple from Canberra who just spent a month here and the welcome, security and overall experience was incredible thanks in no small part to Mara.

    P.S About that “Mara House” service? We decided to do a last minute day trip from Cairo and emailed Mara for help. She arranged it all over night and we woke up to another seamlessly easy and fabulous day out!

    Evie321, Canberra – Stayed January 2016, travelled as a couple (Reviewed on TripAdvisor)

  16. “Mara House in Luxor”

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

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

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

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

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

    Great place. Great people. Great food.

    Steve G – Stayed January 2016, travelled with family (Reviewed on TripAdvisor)

  17. “Not expecting 5 star but got it!”

    This amazing old world style hotel has spacious suites, enchanting sitting rooms, free wifi and top quality, attentive staff. You can sunbake on the roof too!!!  I have had the best Egyptian food of my entire 2 week trip here – just sumptuous!

    Mara also organized some great tours and the staff had really good suggestions for my days off there too.  Highly recommended and I will be staying there again when I return!

    Set k – Stayed December 2015, travelled solo (Reviewed on TripAdvisor)

  18. Mohamed is an exceptionally knowledgeable egyptologist and communicates wonderfully in idiomatic English. Mahmoud negotiated the daunting Egyptian roads with calm aplomb. We would also say that we felt completely adopted by the staff within minutes of arrival and you can’t really put a price on that feeling.

    We will definitely recommend Mara House to any fellow travelers to Luxor.

    HalesfromAD, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates –  Stayed December 2015, travelled as a couple (Reviewed on TripAdvisor)
    Note from Mara – these guests also recommended the Mara House Experience Package as being really good value but TripAdvisor would not publish the review with that recommendation in it.

  19. “An Oasis!”

    We were treated like royalty! Our “room” was a multi-room suite with incredible decorations. Wonderful ambiance, not just a hotel room, but an experience.
    The hotel is located on a small back street, you get to experience Egypt away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist. quite and safe neighborhood. Staff on call 24/7, breakfast provided, Supper was extra, but worth a lot more that they charged!
    They arranged private tours with a driver and guide of Luxor and Cairo for us. Great drivers and guides by the way! It seems like their only goal, at Mara House, is to make the whole experience perfect in every way!

    Philip M – Stayed December 2015, travelled as a couple (Reviewed on TripAdvisor)

  20. “Big, clean rooms, excellent staff”

    Room was large — really a suite, with large bedroom + sitting room with couch and stocked mini-fridge. Very clean, beautifully decorated, even smelled nice. The two fellows on staff were excellent — friendly, helpful, and always around if you needed them. Breakfast was good, with eggs, fruit, yogurt, and bread, and served at whatever time I asked for it. Just a lovely little place.

    LLRose Sammamish, Washington – Stayed November 2015, travelled solo (Reviewed on TripAdvisor)

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