Exceptional hospitality along with great accommodation and food make Riad Menzeh very special.
The warm, friendly welcome began before we reached the front door, when Bernard came to meet us at Sidi Ayoub square from the taxi he'd arranged for us from the airport. We were familiar with the short walk to the Riad from the video on the Riad Menzeh website, and once we'd arrived it was easy to take literally Bernard's statement that 'this is your home in Marrakech'.
Jamal made us welcome straight away with mint tea and biscuits in the central courtyard, and the first of many conversations. His ability to listen, be attentive to our needs, and to share useful information and advice in a gentle, friendly and unobtrusive way hugely enhanced our experience of staying in Marrakech.
On our first foray into the streets of the medina Bernard walked with us to the central square, Djemaa el fna, (about 10 minutes walk when the streets are busy), pointing out landmarks on the way so that we could easily navigate by ourselves the next time, and stopping every so often to greet his friends and to answer a raft of questions from us.
Our room was the spacious, cool 'Suite Menzeh', on the first floor, with a huge and very comfortable bed, a sofa, and a really good size bathroom with very grand looking bath and a good over-bath shower. Everything was spotless and worked perfectly. This room has the 'menzeh' after which the riad is named - a latticed window over the central courtyard below, from which the women of the Pasha's household would have looked out unobserved to see his visitors. It's a lovely feature which lets a certain amount of daylight, but not heat, into the room, and preserves a sense of privacy at the same time.
We'd requested dinner for when we arrived and, in the courtyard again, were treated to a real feast of Moroccan specialities including a light, frothy traditional avocado dessert, (avocados are regarded as fruit not veg in Morocco). As vegetarians we often expect that there will be limited options, but when we ate at the Riad for a second time later in the week, Madame Karima made a point of making completely different dishes from our first night, including Harira, (soup), and a traditional Berber wedding feast dish, which we enjoyed immensely.
Up on the Riad's peaceful roof terrace it was possible to take in the sunshine and an amazing view across the rooftops of Marrakech - lots of satellite dishes, the Koutoubia Mosque minaret and faint traces of the mountains on the horizon - and after dark a brilliant view of the smoke rising from the vast number of Djemaa el fna food stalls.
As part of our 'package' at Riad Menzeh, ('packs' are listed on the website), Bernard arranged for us to travel to Amizmiz, at the foot of the atlas mountains, and to stay overnight with Berber mountain guide Ali Bella and his family. Ali is immensely experienced, but was happy to accommodate our wish to do just some light walking. It was a great opportunity to enjoy a little of the Atlas Mountains scenery and Berber culture, and this was a good break from the frenetic pace of Marrakech. The hospitality and food were excellent .
Also included in our 'pack' was a couples hammam treatment in the Riad's own small hammam. It isn't something either of us would usually choose to do, but we're both really pleased we overcame our reticence. Madame Rachida, who oversees the ablutions, ensured we came out with skin softer than a baby's and washed cleaner than even our mothers ever got us! I'd recommend giving it a try, even if you're a bit nervous about the idea.
We would gladly stay at Riad Menzeh again and highly recommend it.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.