Having read about Marrakech we were expecting it to be different but nothing quite prepares you for the madness! The taxi drive from the airport is through tiny streets heaving with people, and then the last bit of the journey is on foot through narrow alleyways. When we finally reached the Riad we were welcomed into a beautiful courtyard, shown to a beautiful room and offered mint tea (delicious). It was tempting to stay in the tranquility and attempting to find our way through the tiny streets seemed more than a bit daunting.
The first time we left the Riad was intense and it took us a while to find the main square, but after we found it once we found it very easy to navigate to and from again. The more we walked the streets the more comfortable we felt - just watch out for the mopeds!
The Riad is in an area where there are few other tourists and can be a bit quiet later at night - there aren't many restaurants nearby so it is a good 20 minute walk back to the square to find places to eat, but there are plenty when you get there. Even though the streets quieten off later at night it still felt safe, even down the small alleyway back to the Riad.
Service was great and we got a different breakfast each day at whatever time we requested, and 3 were tradiitional moroccan breakfasts. We had breakfast on the roof terrace which was pretty. We also had dinner in the Riad one night - amazing Morrocan food cooked in the Riad for 240dirham (about £20).
The Riad is very well kept and very clean. We stayed in the room Lillac and it was very comfortable with a good bathroom and a safe (but we couldn't work out how to use it). At night the Riad is particularly romantic with candles lit. The only problem with the Riad was that we don't speak fluent French and the lady who runs it speaks no English so it was quite hard to communicate sometimes, although she tried very hard to understand us and was very patient! A French phrasebook is a must if you aren't fluent.
If you are looking for a relaxing quiet place to stay the medina probably isn't for you as it is very intense. Gueliz and Hivernage are much quieter and more spatious (and feel much more European), but staying in the medina feels like 'real' Marrakech.
The Riad was a beautiful place to stay and very romantic. It's great value and it feels very homely with great service, just bring comfy shoes for all the walking!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Inside the city walls of the Medina Marrakech in the heart of the picturesque Assouel district, near Door Bab Aylen, the Bed and Breakfast Riad Shalimar welcomes guests in a beautiful setting, steps from the Ben Youssef Madrasa and the Dar el PachaMuseum. The famous Jemaa El Fna square, the Souk as well as the main golf courses of Marrakech are accessible in a few minute drive. If you travel by car, you can park in the nearby parking facilities. ... more less
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