My partner and I have just returned from a five-day trip to Morocco, the first two-nights of which were spent in the Riad Hadika Maria.
To start with the positives, the rooms are relatively clean, and the rooftop terrace is a relaxing place to have breakfast. The breakfast itself is adequate - croissant, crepe, coffee, jam and honey. When I stayed there was wi-fi access with no PIN required; not sure if this was actually there for residents' use though, so I wouldn't rely on it.
Now on to the negatives.
Firstly, there is no hot water. I showered in ice cold water and my partner didn't wash at all. She is quite fragrant, fortunately.
Secondly, none of the doors have locks on the outside. There is a sliding bolt on the inside so you can lock the door whilst you sleep, but you cannot lock the door when you leave for the day unless you have had the foresight to take your own padlock. I did ask the owner if I could borrow a padlock but it never materialised. Consequently we had to take all our valuables with us when wandering around the medina, which only added to our anxiety.
Thirdly, the pool is too small to swim in - not really a massive negative, but I thought I'd mention it in case a keen swimmer chose this place on the basis of the pool.
Finally, and this is a much bigger negative than it may sound (were it not for this factor I would have given it a "3") this place is almost impossible to find. It is located in the middle of 6,000 virtually identical, featureless alleyways with hardly any signposts or landmarks. It is, quite literally, a maze. It took us 2-3 hours of desperate wandering to find our way home each time. The alleys are teeming with quite threatening young men who will pester you and follow you relentlessly in an effort to profit from your misfortune. At first, we naively accepted help from a man who seemed genuinely eager to help us find our way. It ended up quite ugly though when he started demanding (quite a lot of) money and rejecting what I tried to give him (which was all I had at that point). You have to very quickly develop a stern, no-nonsense demeanour and bark "NO THANKS", or "LA CHOUKRAN" several times a minute in order to fend off the constant assaults from moneygrabbing locals.
The owners will provide you with a basic hand-drawn map to help you find your way home, but it is pretty useless. I am quite well-travelled and usually unfazed by being pestered, but the intensity and aggression of the harassment in this area was something else. Me and my partner were left quite exhausted by the time we did manage to get home each time. At one point she became really upset as it looked like we would either be out all night or have to enlist the help of a dodgy teenager who would most likely rip us off and/or threaten us.
It baffles me how a place can sell itself as a tourist destination and yet be this un-user-friendly. A few signposts, some decent maps, some street names, the odd policeman, anything would help make this place less of a nightmare. Yes, it might sound cool to "lose yourself in a labyrinth of patchouli-scented souks amidst a multitude of Berber arts and crafts" but really it's not like that. It's more like endless, desperate gauntlet-running between thousands of unctuous predators bent on abusing you. I am convinced I now know what hell feels like. It is unfortunate that the Riad Hadika Maria is situated right in the middle of all this, as otherwise it is a passable place to stay.
All in all, our stay in Riad Hadika Maria left us with a very bad impression of Marrakech, and we were glad to escape. Not that Agadir was much better - just easier to navigate home amidst the obnoxious salesmen.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The riad Hadika Maria has 8 rooms around two patios, the one with fountain, the other one with swimming pool. The charm of this riad is characterized by its decoration traditional Moroccan and its numerous trees and plants.Situated in a family and quiet street of the Medina, you will be woken by the birdsong in the morning!!! The Moroccan traditional breakfasts are served on terraces brightened up for winter periods or at the cool at the edge of the swimming pool for warmer periods.The riad has a service snack bar at any time but you can also taste earthenware cooking pots and others couscous, made by Halima our cooker who fetches fresh products to the market every morning. The meals in private can be served to the lounge in front of the fireplace. You will find on the spot a service of shuttle airport or station, a massage room, an office of excursion, board games or coloured pencils for the children and books. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Hadika Maria Hotel Marrakech