We travelled to Marrakesh to run the Marathon. We stayed at the Riad Mariana in order to sample the real town and culture. The Hotel arranged airport transfers, the drive through the city showed the Royal palaces and main squares; then we travelled into the old town. This is very busy and dirty, and some people may find this disconcerting.
The Riad is down a few side streets and deep into the old town. Upon opening the front door the Riad is exactly as the pictures on the internet show. Six rooms, clean, large, and pure Moroccan. The staff cannot be any more helpful and the service is very personal. Breakfast on the roof is excellent with plenty of coffee and local cakes, yogurt and sides.
We ate one night at the Riad, a pure delight in excellent surroundings. Well worth the 18euro.
After the Marathon we had a massage and sauna. The ladies had a manicure and pedicure. Well what an experience. The surrounding and quality of service was top and worth the fee. Similar treatment to a Turkish bath but far more personal and helped stop the post marathon pains.
Abdul and his colleagues are a treat and made our stay a memorable time. Making sure there was plenty of drink and advising on good restaurants and places to visit.
To get to the main square and Souks (Bazaars) you will have to walk 15-20 minutes to the main squares and be prepared to get lost. Locals will offer to take you to the ‘Tannery’ and other places. They will always expect money as a thank you. The alternative is to get lost, however after several days you will recognise places and find moving around easier. The tannery is worth a visit but be prepared for the smell and the hard sell afterwards.
In short the location may put some fragile people off due to the local surroundings, however it is real Morocco. The Riad is a comfortable base and makes the city break a fantastic experience. The staff made the holiday and show that the Moroccans are very hospitable.
We bought a lovely wooden box, shoes, clothing and Moroccan bowls. Be prepared to haggle and pay no more than half the original asking price. Again Abdul helped out with advice.