The arrival is daunting to a newcomer. After a journey through a maze of streets we had to leave the airport taxi in a dusty, bustling square, walk a few yards down a narrow street, and turn left into a narrower one to reach the imposing front door of Riad 58 Blu. The Judas gate which was opened to our ring revealed the entrance hall of a truely unexpected interior.
The riad's five bedrooms are arranged on three floors around a soaring and marvellously decorated courtyard with a pool into which we never plunged (well this was January). Here were tastes of many of the architectorial conceits we were to see in various palaces and museums during our first trip to Marrakesh. Mosaics are used to effect, as is the splendid moulded plasterwork. The roof terrace where breakfast is served is quirkier adopting a zebra motif.
Our ground floor suite, had a vestibule, sleeping area, sitting area and bathroom stretched across one side of the building. It was clean and very tidy until our luggage hit it and, as with the rest of the riad, was kept to perfection by the housekeeping team. The room had a safe, a minibar and a phone. There was no hairdryer and the lights were generally dim. But we asked for, and were willingly given, a brighter bulb to allow reading.
Breakfasts were plentiful including yogurt, many local breads, weak orange juice and strong coffee. We also had omeletes and, on request, fruit salad. We had our first evening meal at the riad: a three course affair consisting of Moroccan salad, a chicken tajine and fruit. Cost 250 MAD.
That meal effectively got over the first night nervousness at seeing such a different culture close up. The next morning Paulo, the owner, was there to greet us and conduct us to the old city's main square. With the manager, Mohammed, and his aide, Ibrahim, there was always someone on hand in the riad to answer questions and offer help. Trips to the Atlas mountains were arranged; hammans contacted for massage appointments; directions given; suggested prices for taxi rides made. We were made to feel that they wanted us to be happy during our stay. Paulo provided the transport to and from the airport in the price of our trip.
The riad is well placed to explore the old city. Place Jemma el Fna (the big square) takes about seven minutes on foot. From there the walk to the northern medina and Medersa Ben Youssef could take a lot longer as it takes you through the souks. Heading south to the Mellah and the Kasbah takes about 20 minutes as does the trip east to the Tanneries. All are walkable and there is plenty to see along the way. There is a restaurant off the square near the hotel but it was much more interesting to eat in el Fna which has many eating terraces and the famed night market.
- Also Known As:
- Riad 58 Blu Hotel
- Riad 58 Blu Marrakech
- Riad 58 Blu Hotel Marrakech
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enter Riad 58 blu, discover this little treasure, this relaxing oasis in the very earth of the lively medina, just a few steps from the excitement of the famous Jema el Fna square.Let yourself be captivated by the magic of its Moorish style and by the warm welcome of Paolo and Cinzia: Paolo Lombatti, its Italian owner who, after ten years experience in Morocco, will suggest you to take advantage of your stay in Marrakech and how to discover its surroundings. ... more less
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