The Riad Dar Alhambra is a gem hidden amongst the warrens and alleyways of the heart of Marrakech. Getting to the Riad is a little bit difficult the first time, especially at night. The taxi could not enter the area of the Medina where it is located so we have a 5/10 minute walk. However be careful of people who will see you as a tourist as they will initially say they will take you there but will want paying. Having said that some people are genuinely helpful. The Riad is located right next to the famous Ben Yousef Mosque, which is also next the to Marrakech museum.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the owner, Hamid. He does speak a little bit of English, French and Arabic is the language widely spoken and understood. We were fortunate as in my party I could converse with Hamid and his staff in basic French and Arabic.
Once we arrived, Hamid took us to the lounge room where a lovely roaring fire welcomed us in a very traditionally laid out room. whilst we waited to be taken to our room, we were served with some wonderful Moroccan mint tea,
After about 30 minutes we were taken to our room which was on the first floor. going up the stairs and towards the room, everything screamed of traditional Morocco (which is exactly what we were looking for). The actual room was a little narrow, but it was fine. The bathroom was a separate room connected to our room. Again the decor and design was all traditional.
Following morning, we woke up and went for breakfast downstairs, which is served in the courtyard (this is covered during the winter). We just turned up and sat down. Within 5 minutes breakfast was served to us. We didn't even have to ask. The staff are very friendly and helpful, but obviously limited with language skills, but don't let that put you off. you do get a feeling that they are genuinely interested in your comfort and well being. The best way to describe them is.... they are there... but not obtrusive, just in the background whenever you need them.
We even decided to have dinner one evening in the Riad. The food was superb. From the warm breads, soups and incredible tagines, it was a delicious meal. The dinner table is laid out in the lounge and it has such a warm homely feel to it.
Access to your room is by a key, which you keep during your stay. However the outside door is always locked and you have to ring the bell or knock, and they open it straight away as the staff room is right inside and next to the front entrance.
As it was winter we couldn't really spend time on the terrace, but one day it was sufficiently nice for us to spend an hour there and the long distance views of the Atlas mountains are fabulous as is taking in the whole ambience of Marrakesh Souk itself.
I will certainly look to stay there again in the future. The souks start within 20 yards of the Riad and the hustle and bustle along the tiny alleyways transports you back into a different time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Magnificent 16th-century Riad, a haven of peace in the very heart of the Medina, lovingly restored in the pure Moroccan tradition - painted cedar ceilings, sculpted stucco, zelliges, marble floors...Impeccably clean, all rooms with private bath, and air conditioning. Extremely friendly and helpful staff. Superb 360 view of the Medina, the Koutoubia and the snow capped Atlas mountains. One hundred yards from the Medersa Ben Youssef and the Marrakech museum, 15 minutes from Place Jemaa al Fna. Excellent cuisine! ... more less
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