accommodation in Luxor for the independent traveler

When choosing where to stay in Luxor you have to first define your priorities – what is most important to you?  Is it price, 5 star luxury, a chance to experience the unique or unusual or something else?

If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Luxor which will define your holiday experience in the best possible way – then your choice of accommodation in Luxor would have to be Mara House.

Choosing your hotel is more important than most people realize.  To many the hotel is just a place to sleep, leave your bags and crash after spending the day on the all-important sightseeing and exploring.


This statement may not hold true when you are visiting a country where your own language is spoken by everyone and the culture is not so different to what you are used to.  However, for most people coming to Egypt, there is an immediate shock when you realise that Egyptians have a very basic grasp of your native language – you think Egyptians for the most part speak English?  Think again!  You are now in a country where daily communication is your biggest problem

Your hotel is where you are going to seek local, expert advice on what to see, where to go, are there places it is un-advisable to go? where to eat; where to shop; how much to pay for taxis; how to bargain; how to avoid hassle; how to dress and you will also have a hundred questions at the end of every day about the culture and political scene from what you have observed during the day.  The list of questions is endless.

After 11 years in Egypt, living the culture, learning the language and watching the experiences of thousands of tourists, we have come up with numerous ways to unobtrusively guide and cushion our guests’ experiences – most of our guests at Mara House in Luxor, who are happy to be guided by us, have the happiest experiences and memories of their time in Egypt, and go away quite unaware of what they have been protected from experiencing.

There are always those adventurous people who want to arrive here without any preparation, to jump in at the deep end – so to speak, to ‘get down and dirty’ with the natives – I use this phrase in a fun sense and do not intend any disrespect to anyone.   I say “good for you!” to those adventurers – but unfortunately, they are the very people who run screaming from Luxor, Cairo or wherever, swearing they will never return and write copiously on the internet about the bad experiences they had!   What can I say?

  1. When booking your accommodation check out the facilities available in the accommodation e.g. if you are not very mobile does the hotel have a lift?  Mara House does not have a lift.
  2. If booking hotels online or through an agent from a travel brochure look carefully at the photos.  If the photos show outdated furniture and design it is quite likely that neither the beds nor the cleaning in that hotel is up to much either.
  3. When reading reviews on websites remember the person writing the review might not have the same preferences, standards or expectations you have!   Things that make a good review for him/her might not be important for you, whereas the absence of things that are important to you might not have even been noticed by that particular writer.
  4. If phoning your hotel before booking it, make sure the person on the phone understands your questions!  I once called a hotel to book a room and ASSUMED my reservation was being taken because the person at the other end of the phone was giving the appropriate “yes” and “no” answers.  I arrived at the hotel in Cairo late at night to find no reservation and was told that the person on the phone had been the cleaner who spoke virtually no English!!!
  5. Safety  It is safer in Luxor and anywhere else in Egypt to arrange to be picked up by the hotel from the train or plane….at least you will be sure to arrive at your destination as quickly as possible!



  1. If you’re going to Luxor, Mara House is a WONDERFUL place to stay! Great view from the top floor terrace, cosy and absolutely beautiful place. Perhaps even more importantly, though, Mara will organize your day tours for you – no huge tour buses, but your own little van and tour guide/driver (and not expensive at all). Huge thumbs up!!

  2. I visited Luxor with my family in January 2013 and we loved Mara house. We stayed with Mara for over a week, and it was a dream. She really made our trip relaxing and helped us arrange all our outings, and even picked up some felafel for us after a long day! I miss Mara house. 🙂

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