What a wonderful holiday. The Riad was beautiful and the care taken by Jamal and all the staff at the Riad was outstanding and made the holiday very special. The room that we stayed in (Atlas Room) was comfortable and beautiful and the rest of the Riad was equally stunning. Breakfast was delicious and plentiful as was the evening meal we had. Whenever we returned to the riad we were treated to mint tea which was very welcome. The riad is about 15 minutes walk from the main square along a very interesting and busy street with shops that are not aimed at tourists, the street changes from day to night, if you use shops as landmarks finding the way back to the riad is easy. The walk is safe and the locals very friendly - you will be told that you are going the wrong way to the square but as soon as you say you are returning to your riad you will be left alone. A massage at the riad is highly recommended.
There is so much to say about Marrakech its hard to know where to start. The souks are bonkers and amazing, do people hassle you - yes, are they intimidating - no, if you enter into the whole haggling business with a clear idea of what you are prepared to spend, a smile and sense of humour then it is great fun - once in a shop it can feel hard to leave but its OK to do this. Many of the people we met were so lovely and friendly, it is amazing how they remembered us when we returned to the souk the following day greeting us with a hand shake and a smile. Be prepared to get lost!!! but enjoy it, we found some really interesting places when we were lost - there is always someone offering to show you the way but we were warned that they may take you they long way round and want payment - again a smile and a clear no thank you is usually enough although there are times when you need to be a little more insistant that you do not want them to guide you. Allow loads of time, go off the beaten track, have fun.
The red tour bus was a great way to get around all the sights, it cost about £10 a person and was a good oppertunity to see the difference between the old and new parts of the city. You can hop on and off allowing you to visit the Saadian Toombs - stunning, Badi Palace - huge, Baahia Palace - absolutely beautiful, all these things cost 10 dirhams (75p!!!!!!). The Menara Gardens on first sight do not seem all that impressive, stick with it beacuse when you get to the far side of the pool the view of the Atlas mountains is magnificent - again entrance is 10 dirhams. The Majorelle Gardens although beautiful were the least impressive of all the above sights and the most expensive (50 dirhams). We managed to do all of this in 1 day, the rest on the bus was very welcome.
A visit to the Ben Youssef Mosque is a must - go early to avoid the crowds, the Marrakech Museum is also well worth a visit for the beauty of the buliding alone.
The food is great, we ate in a variety of places from fairly smart restaurants - Cafe Arabe, Souk Cafe, Kozy Cafe all with lovely terraces, to the restaurants that overlook the square and the pop up eating places in the night market. Eating at the night market is an experience in itself the men that try and pursuade you to eat at their place are very funny, the food lovely and incredibly cheap. My fears of getting food poisoning were completely unfounded we ate there twice. Drinking orange juice from the stalls in the square is a must - delicious. A drink in the Cafe du Glacier on the corner of the square is a must in the evening, the view and the noise are amazing, great for people watching.
Jamal arranged a trip to the Atlas mountains for us, an interesting trip in a taxi (1 hour) took us to meet our guide Siad. We walked for about 1 1/2hours before stopping at his home for a cup of mint tea and a rest before a further hours walk to the home of a family member for tagine. The views were stunning and Siad was a brilliant guide.
If you decide to visit Marrakech stay at Riad Menzeh, read up lots, use trip advisor, take a relaxed approach (getting uptight wont help), use you common sense, smile, embrace the culture and recognise the huge difference and go with the flow.
Thank you Jamal - we will be back.
Atlas Room is lovely and peaceful and out of the way on the roof terrace.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.