10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Home Away from Home at Mara House in Luxor
"We have just returned after five nights at Mara House. The hotel is tastefully decorated with Egyptian style furnishings. We have never experienced such incredible personal service before and felt right at home, minutes after our arrival.
Our accommodation was a spacious 3 bedroom apartment style room with separate sitting room, kitchenette, good sized bathroom and balcony. The accommodation was spotlessly clean and the beds comfortable. There was no TV or telephone in the room, but we did not miss these too much. Afterall, Mara House does not pretend to be 5 star and is actually tailor made for those travellers looking for a private residence style of hotel accommodation.
This was my third visit to Luxor. In the past, I did stay in 5 star accommodation on the Nile. Of course they were very nice and well appointed. However, this time, as a more independent traveller -- I was anxious to get away from all the the noisy attractions and find some real peace and tranquility away from the tourist hassles with go hand in hand with travel in Egypt. Not only did we save a lot of money -- we also met Mara -- one of the nicest, friendliest and helpful people you will ever meet.
Mara House is situated right in the middle of a typical Luxor Egyptian family area. In the mornings, I would go out on to my balcony and see people going about their daily activities and even some children playing football in the street. The walk to the Nile takes around 10 minutes and takes you through the dusty local streets of Luxor. While to our eyes they may not be the most dust free, well paved or even the tidiest streets --- well, afterall, this is Egypt!! Nonetheless, we felt totally safe and remained intrigued with all the local sights along the way. Alternatively, taxis can be booked at a very reasonable price.
At first we were not sure of our way around, however, Mara was always on hand with maps, information, instructions - no matter how many times we asked. She was also very good at helping us arrange tours to visit the local sites.
Overall, I would say that this is one of the best hotels that we have stayed in, and I am extremely fussy. Perhaps Mara House is not the most convenient if you want to stay right on the banks of the Nile. However, if you want to mix your holiday in Luxor by living along side a real slice of Egyptian community life, lots of rest and relaxation, a safe family friendly environment ---PLUS your trips to the Pharonic Sites -- then experiencing "Egypt with Mara" is a must!"
- Travel date: Sat 24th of January 2009
A haven in Luxor
"If you're wondering whether or not to stay at Mara House then wonder no longer. Do it!!!
Mara and her team provide a highly personalised service with truly beautifully furnished and big rooms. We could hardly believe that our bedroom (which was actually a quarter of a house was really ours)
The prices are unbelievably reasonable for all this and breakfast is included. But particularly priceless is the advice and assistance Mara provides to help you get around in the hectic (but exciting and mysterious) environment of Luxor.
We highly recommend the restaurant with its 1 zillion courses...Mara also provides excellent recommendations for other places to eat (but we'd suggest you try for her restaurant).
Mara believes in the law of attraction - that good things stick to other good things. We like this idea because her haven in the heart of Luxor is sooooooooooooo good.
One tip - just because you can trust Mara doesn't mean you can trust all her staff. Our only negative experience was her driver who tried to fleece us for extra tips on the return trip to the airport. We would advise you to check with Mara before using his services what the appropriate price and tip is."
- Travel date: Thu 22nd of January 2009
Fantastic Mara House
"Stayed at Mara House for two nights .It was a wonderful experience.The situation of this hotel is away from the normal tourist area. This was a surprise at first but we were made to feel welcome not only at the hotel but within the area.I loved the hotel and would return again.The meal we had at the Salahadeen was an exellent introduction to the food of Egypt. Mara is a great source of information about the area so be sure to ask her advice if this is your first visit."
- Travel date: Sun 18th of January 2009
Very friendly and helpful
"Very much enjoyed staying here - Mara goes out of her way to be as helpful as possible to all her guests. Also the decor is very cool and Egyptian, the food is great and you can get a reasonably priced drink!"
- Travel date: Fri 16th of January 2009
Great Inn, Fabulous Feast in Salahadeen Restaurant at Mara House
"All the reviews posted here about Mara House describe what a fabulous host Mara is, how comfortable and beautiful the inn is, how Mara provides invaluable insights and suggestions on how to best use your time in Luxor. But not enough has been said about the restaurant she runs at Mara House, Salahadeen. The restaurant is open to people staying at the Inn and elsewhere in Luxor. The night we ate there, people who had stayed at another hotel joined us, but reservations are required.
The Egyptian Feast we were served at Salahadeen was the best food we had during our entire two week visit to Egypt. Dinner is composed of multiple courses of Egyptian food including soups, and meat and vegetable dishes, rice and a dessert. This may vary somewhat depending on what fresh produce is available. The food is brought out on large trays and set in the center of each table. Each tray contains six or so bowls of various foods which are eaten Egyptian style with bread, or with forks, as desired. The food is very fresh, prepared each day from local ingredients. It is a great opportunity to try a myriad of the exotic foods in combination with each other. The flavors were extraordinary.
The dining room the Egyptian feast is served in is beautiful with its dark wood, red silk drapes, beautiful lighting and fountain in the center. You can't improve on the atmosphere.
Mara runs the restaurant as she does the inn, with an eye to creating an experience not soon forgotten. The restaurant, like the Mara House itself is an oasis. Mara House and Salahadeen made our trip to Egypt. Thank you, Mara for an experience beyond our greatest expectations! Staying at Mara House and feasting at Salahdeen really were the highlights of our trip to Egypt."
- Travel date: Thu 8th of January 2009
A homely experience
"Mara House is not a typical hotel but more like staying with a family member. The rooms are very big and spacious and it is like staying in your own house, just missing the TV. There is a common area with TV and bar facilities on ground floor. Mara is very willing to assist any way possible to ensure your trip is enjoyable. Don't expect five star service as your not staying in a five star hotel, this is a more homely style arrangement.
The Eqyption food was very good in the attached restaurant. The location is a bit difficult to find and not close to main town area. It takes around 10-15 minutes to walk to town centre. Taxi is more preferable if you don't want to walk around the back streets. Mara can arrange when ever required. Price excellent and a great place to relax a bit and get away from the constant enquiries from the locals about where you are going and what you are doing."
- Travel date: Thu 8th of January 2009
"Mara House is run by Mara, A warm hearted irish lady who has been in Eygypt for a dozen years. She rents out apartments that have 2/3 bedrooms. Each apartment is spotless with tastefull Egyption decor.The rooms are big and have spacious lounge and balcony.Downstairs is a great living area with cold beer/tea on offer and a restraunt which serves up a great feast once a week. Salahdeen Restruant was a delicous feast, one of the best meals we had in eygpt...
Her house is situated on the outskirts of town, 20 mins walk to the Nile and all attractions, but dont let that put you off, The area is quieter and friendlier than the nile side which is heaving with heavy handed eygption touts and big hotels.
We stayed for a week with Mara,She was very personable and gave us huge amounts of care and advice as well as a bit of her own Eygption philosophy.We had two kids in tow, one who uses a wheelchair, Toys and books would appear on a daily basics as well as chocolate croissants for the kids all of which helped us as parents have a good time with happy kids.
Mara helped us to visit different sites and lent out her staff to us for the day, a driver and a helper who toured us around the sites and helped lift my son, All for about Â£40 a day...great value and a great experiece for us all.
We visited some of the bigger Hotels for lunch and to swim and I am pleased we stayed with Mara over one of these over priced kitch tourist hotels, Mara brings a unique friendly and special experience to you when you stay with her, its not 5 star impersonal staleness but more like staying with a friend who cares..... I Highly recomend you check her out and we send all our thanks to her....SNJK"
- Travel date: Thu 1st of January 2009
"Mara definitely makes you feel at home with her hugely spacious apartment style rooms. While we did not care for the city of Luxor, if we were to return to see the sights, we would choose Mara House without a doubt. Mara is someone who is always willing to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The location is a ten minute walk from the train station within a residential area. Most locals are not used to tourists being on this side of the tracks, hence we were always asked whether or not we were lost. The walk to the center of town is very short if you walk via the underpass of the trainstation. All in all, what Luxor lacked in character, was made up by the Mara House!"
- Travel date: Wed 31st of December 2008
Can't wait to return to Mara House
"What can we say other than a fantastic place to stay and one we will totally recommend to our friends who want a clean, homely and comfortable place to stay that will certainly not break the bank.
My husband and I are very familiar with life in Egypt having our own holiday home by the Red Sea, we now feel we have a second holiday home in Egypt - namely Mara House.
From the moment we arrived to the time we had to bid farewell (at least for the time being) we found Mara helpful and a total fount of information on just about anything and everything in Luxor.
I am now planning my return trip with a friend next January."
- Travel date: Wed 17th of December 2008
An oasis on the East bank of Luxor.
"We recently stayed in Mara House which is run by a delightful Irish lady, Mara, and we had a great time. Her attention to detail means the place is spotless and yet retains a warm homely feeling. Set in a residential area the location of Mara House is ideal as you are away from the tourist hub but only a few minutes walk from the railway station and city centre. Regardless of your budget, if you are looking for somewhere to stay in Luxor, look no further."
- Travel date: Sun 14th of December 2008