I'm just back from a week-long conference in Marrakech where two colleagues and I stayed at the Riad Menzah. We chose it as it had been recommended by a friend and we are so glad we did. While our fellow delegates were moaning about the dire service and inflated prices of the conference hotels in the Nouvelle Ville, Bernard, Jamal and the team were taking fantastic care of us.
The riad is down a quiet little lane, just outside the tourist area, so it is very peaceful and you get to see a slice of the real Marrakech. Don't be put off by the location being outside the tourist area. As a lone woman traveller, there were a few times when I walked to and from the riad by myself and I never felt the least bit concerned (not something I can say about many places I've travelled). The only thing that happens as you walk out of the tourist areas is the people assume you are lost and will try to give you directions back to the main square.
Inside, the riad is stylish and spotlessly clean with a cool, shady central courtyard where you eat breakfast and can also arrange to have dinner. I will warn you that Fathia's breakfasts may do some damage to your waistline. Her Moroccan pancakes are so delicious I couldn't stop eating them and ate way too many. You have also got to try her couscous for dinner, it is the best you will ever eat.
The riad builders knew a thing or two about hot climate architecture and rooms are cool and shady. I never needed to use the air conditioning even when it was 38 degrees outside (my hotel-based colleagues had to use it all the time). This was great as aircon makes me feel rotten and really irritates my eyes.
The highlight of the riad is Bernard and Jamal. Bernard is French and has lived in Marrakech for 9 years and Jamal is a local. The service, advice and insight they give you are priceless. Nothing is too much trouble and their recommendations and tips were always spot on. They organised taxis, trips and tickets for us that meant we avoided being herded around with the tour parties and had a much better time. On the first day when me and my colleague managed to get ourselves hopelessly lost (our fault as we didn't realise there are two Mohammad V schools in the Medina) we called Bernard and he and Jamal staged a Medina rescue. Fifteen minutes after our SOS call Jamal came riding through the crowds like a knight in shining armour on a two-stroke steed, got us in a taxi back to the riad and then managed to get back before us to meet the taxi at the other end!
I absolutely loved staying at the Riad Menzah and the team really made my trip. If you are going to Marrakech I can't recommend this place highly enough and, having compared notes with the dozens of others delegates at the conference, I don't think there is anywhere better.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Riad Menzeh is located in a small and peaceful street in the heart of Marrakech old city. 10 minutes walk from the well known Marrakech main square of Jemaa el Fna, Riad Menzeh is the perfect place to enjoy this amazing city. Bernard and his staff will be happy to help you discover Marrakech the Red City of mysteries, sounds, smells and flavors. Activate your senses in this unique part of the world. Above all, we'€™d like to share with you our passion for this stunning and colorful city and its people, incredibly nice and friendly. Indulge yourself in a traditional spa massage over a steam bath and warm pore cleansing with scented black soap and ghassul (clay) in our private Hammam. ... more less
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