We stayed for 2 nights. The staff were friendly and helpful enough. I can't help noticing that most of the people who think the staff are rude seem to also expect them to speak English so would have had trouble communicating. You're in another country. If they came to your country and expected to be able to only get by in French or Moroccan Arabic you'd want them to go home. I've never learnt French, only picked up a few phrases here and there. I downloaded some phrase lists in French & Moroccan to my phone, so I was able to make an effort to do whatever I could in French. They seemed to be grateful for that and tried to speak in English for me as much as they could.
Even though we saw local young guys wearing shorts & T-Shirts & sandals or crocs, we dressed mindfully, wearing light long-sleeved clothes (it doesn't hurt to make an effort to be noticed for the right reasons & I felt it made a difference). We were respectful and considerate of their culture and the people we were served by showed appreciation and were respectful and friendly back to us.
The things I liked:
The traditional breakfast (croissants, Moroccan fried bread similar to Malaysian roti, coffee, orange juice, mint tea - see photo)
The little pool in the middle of the building - a strong smell of chlorine & a few drowned wasps, but it was good to cool your feet in or have a little dip which we did (very hot there in August!)
The room was cleaned daily and well looked after.
The bed was comfortable & clean.
The cupboards in the room were a good size and convenient for putting our stuff out of site.
The tents on the terrace on the roof were a nice place to chill out.
The security guards sternly sending away a guy who tried and follow me home from the street hassling for money.
It is an easy walk from here to Jamaa el Fna (the big square) with plenty to see along the way (via Sidi Boulabada & Dabachi)
The locally (hand) made brass taps in the bathroom sink look really cool (see photos) and I like the burnished concrete basin & tub/shower tray in the bathroom.
The things that weren't so great.
The plug holes & drains in the showers are tiny, locally made of brass & don't seem to be cleanable, so they don't drain the shower fast enough. (mine at home is wide, and made of plastic, I can pull it out and clean the drain to unblock it when it needs it... theirs stay blocked)
The shower trays are hand made from concrete (stained red & burnished - see photos) & look like a round bath, with walls about 15-25cms wide. Just as well, because once you start having a shower, the disgusting water backs up from the plug hole & the tray/bath thing starts filling up, so you need to stand balanced on the top of the wall to keep your feet out of the stinky sewerage water & keep your showers short enough that it doesn't fill up and flood. Once you've mastered that you can have a shower with not too much problem, but it's really what you want and it's not great that they don't do anything about it.
I had read about this on TripAdvisor before I went, not expecting we'd get the same - but I was forewarned, so wasn't too bothered.
Also on showers - the cheap plastic & metal domestic shower hose had been given too much punishment and had basically burst inside near the head and was spraying water out sideways (i.e. over the floor) when you used it. I told the staff and they weren't bothered to do anything, so I later pulled the head off the shower and fixed it up as best I could (which involved removing some of the torn plastic lining) - this stopped the worst of the spraying sideways, but meant you had to be careful the head didn't blow off the hose from the pressure. Again - not ideal.
I was grateful that there was Air-conditioning in the room, because I'd never experienced 43-45 degrees before... BUT the aircon unit was VERY noisy. I found the best way was to turn it on for long enough to cool the place down, then turn it off and go to sleep. After a while it would get too hot, so you'd turn it on again, but it was so loud you couldn't sleep. Let the room cool, turn it off and go back to sleep till it gets hot again. It had an infra-red remote, so you could do it without getting up.
The next place we stayed in (a big hotel) had great aircon which was almost silent when on the low setting and could be left like that all night leaving the perfect temperature. That's how it SHOULD be.
While we were there the whole place seemed to be run by 3 people. 2 security guards, one who did the day shift and one who did the night shift (there's someone in the office by the front door 24x7) and the woman who cooked the breakfasts & cleaned the rooms. I don't think she could speak any English, but she was friendly & helpful. The security guys could speak some English, and were helpful and polite too, not overly chatty though.
Don't get the security guys to order you a taxi - the taxi they get will cost a fair chunk more than you'd pay elsewhere. Bargain your fair with a driver yourself (or better still more than 1 driver) and you'll get a much better deal. Don't be in a hurry, or desperate or your bargaining position is weakened.
I'd stay there again if by myself, but my partner's had enough of Morocco after our trip (the difference in culture & lifestyle & climate isn't really her thing) I'd rate it as average to good, not "Very Good"
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Al Tainam Hotel Marrakech