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First Timers to Marrakech

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Liverpool, United...
posts: 1,021
reviews: 37
First Timers to Marrakech

Hi everyone

We're lucky enough to have the chance of a holiday in October & seriously considering Marrakech. I love the idea of going somewhere steeped in history & rich in culture, and this is on the bucket list for both of us.

I'm in a bit of a quandry as to which type of accomodation though, I love the idea of a riad, but as it's our first time I'm not sure whether we'd be better off in a hotel! We will also need wifi access & I'm not sure a riad would have this. I know this is a big ask, but any experiences you've had or want to share would be useful at this point. I'd love somewhere that has a bit of character, is really comfortable & has good food. Any advice would be useful!

posts: 7,421
reviews: 30
1. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

i know it is time consuming, but you are going to be spending a fair bit of money, so do the work and spend it right!

go through the list of riads and read a few reviews. when you find one you like, visit its website and see if it has wifi. many do.

as for hotels - i went through the same thing as you. i found the majority of the 'safe, unchallenging,' places were too far out to take in the culture and atmosphere i was hoping for. take a deep breath and look at the riads in the medina if charachter is what you are after.

i'm going in a couple of days. will be able to say more when i get back. wish me luck!


Edited: 4:03 am, June 26, 2012
north yorkshire
posts: 977
reviews: 111
2. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

We stayed at Riad Miski. See their reviews. They offer Hammam, massage, day trips, cooking lessons with Raja and have WiFi in the courtyard. In addition Christine is French and speaks really good English.

Cardiff, United...
posts: 925
reviews: 30
3. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

Having stayed in hotels around Marrakech on my first few visits, then changed to riads around the Old Medina, my advice would be to stay in a riad. The experience is totally different and something you can only experience in Marrakech.

Most of the riads around the old medina are very comfortable, the riads I have stayed in have all offered free WIFI access and the speeds are very good. My personal favourite is Riad Dar Najat . It has great staff, great food (some of the best traditional food I have tasted in Morocco) and a relaxed atmosphere. The owner Olivier is a long time tripadvisor member and I am sure he will look after you. There are hundreds of riads to choose from, have a look at the hotels tab on the right.

Most of the hotels around Marrakech are located in the Guliez area, when you stay in that area, you could be anywhere in Western Europe, it has modern buildings and a Western/Modern feel about the place (McDonals, KFC and Pizzahut......). When you stay in a riad in the Medina area, you know you are in Marrakech, it is like taking a step back in time, walking around the alleyways of the medina, you can feel the history and culture whilst you are there.

Good luck in finding your perfect accommodation and let us know what you think of Marrakech when you get back.

Edited: 6:03 am, June 26, 2012
Thornton Cleveleys...
posts: 599
reviews: 23
4. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

Okay, if you want to experience Marrakech for its culture and history then you should stay in a riad.

If you want to spend a week sunbathing and drinking cocktails around a pool that could be anywhere in the world, stay in a hotel.

Believe me, the enchantment of Marrakech is found in more than just the beautiful architecture, the noise and the heat. It is found in talking to local people, in being inside the living, beating heart of a real city. The last riad we stayed in overlooked a yard where leather goods were being made. Each night until midnight, you could see groups of men cutting out the leather patterns for babouches ready for stitching whilst others buffed the finished article and added them to a pile. Children and cats were playing amongst dust and old scooter parts and listening to the radio of the workers. Real people earning real (hard) livings.

Depending on your budget you can find riads that are as opulent and luxurious as 5 star hotels. There are riads with modern, sleek, monochrome styling; riads with traditional Moroccan styling; riads with a French feel...........the list is endless. You can have a riad with its own spa and hammam or a riad that only has a dipping pool the size of a bucket! There really is a riad to suit everyone.

The downside of having so much choice is that you need to put the effort in to find the one that is right for you. For me, the planning is an exciting part of the holiday and I never see it as a chore. Look through reviews on TA, visit websites, visit hotel comparison sites in case they throw up new ideas and enjoy it all.

Have an idea of what you want ie: -small or large riad

-small room or suite

-what kind of bathroom you like - traditional tadelakt or Western tiling etc

-size of bed

- whether you want a ground floor room or one on a higher floor (courtyard rooms have the potential to be noisy)

-whether you want a pool

-what knid of decor you like

-whether you have a preference of location

- do rooms have AC and minifridges to store drinks

-whether WiFi is in all rooms or just in the main lounge/courtyard

-whether alcohol is served in the riad or, if not, if you can bring your own in

there are a million questions that only you can answer because only you know what you like. Recommendations are always useful but they are no substitute for doing your own research - one man's palace is another man's hovel!

The more you find out about Marrakech before you go, the more you will enjoy it. Although, even when you know what to expect, it is still a glorious assault on the senses

Edited: 11:29 am, June 26, 2012
East Gwillimbury...
posts: 2,232
reviews: 74
5. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

Excellent guidance there, LaLico!

Thornton Cleveleys...
posts: 599
reviews: 23
6. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

Ah, you know you can't shut me up once I get going!

Castril De La Pena...
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 6,055
reviews: 39
7. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

And find out how much the alcohol is.

I don't mind paying high prices for excellent accommodation, but 45dh for a 250ml bottle of Flag (£7.42 per pint) is taking the micky.

Destination Expert
for Sun Valley, Ketchum, Beach Vacations, Idaho
posts: 8,998
reviews: 310
8. Re: First Timers to Marrakech


don't ever be quiet!! your words are perfect.

i also think, the OP would love a riad. as they are also, a great respite from the craziness of marrakech, great craziness.

walking thru the medina will give you great history and culture. mococco is such a wonderful country. have a great time!

Thornton Cleveleys...
posts: 599
reviews: 23
9. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

aw bless, thanks charley and Tim's post has reminded me.......CHECK PRICES of drinks in the riad before you drink!

We stupidly didn't and we were charged €20 for drinks when checking out. That was for 8 cans of diet coke, so €2.50 per can! There were no prices in the room so we foolishly assumed it would be the same as the riad last year and be around €1 per can.

It's much better to pick up water and pop outside in the little shops in the medina

Liverpool, United...
posts: 1,021
reviews: 37
10. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

Thank you everyone for your honest replies. I do want to experience the real Marrakech & I suspected that a riad is the way forward but you've all confirmed what I was thinking! I do want this to be an adventure, but at the same time we'll have no kids on this trip so whereas normally we look & pay for places that cater for kids I'm hoping we can swap that for a little bit of luxury & indulgence, even if it's in the form of nice bedrooms & bathrooms! Not Dubai style five star, but just a little bit of comfort.

Normally when we go away I'm a nerd & spend ages researching the hotel & location, but dare I say it but I turned into a holidayzilla last time. I just wanted it to be perfect..& so this time I'm a little cautious as to spending ages researching! I think I'm going to look upon this trip as a little adventure..and from what you've all said it will be magical all on it's own! One more question though, how do people usually book? We were planning on getting a last minute deal but not sure now how to go about things or whether you can even get last minute deals! Thanks again, genuinely touched by all of the help & advice offered!