My husband and I stayed at Riad dar More in late February 2012 for our anniversary. We were looking for something convenient to the Medina and Jma el Fnaa square, and after ALOT of researching, we picked Riad Dar More.
I arranged the booking via email with the owner Dominique who communicates excellently in english, and her replies were prompt and informative.
As part of our reservation, transport was arranged from the airport (which was a lifesaver, as we would've NEVER found the place on our own on day 1). We were sure to take out cash at the airport as soon as we landed, to make sure we had $ for tips.
We were driven to the entrance of the medina, dropped off by the cab driver and greeted by a porter (also arranged) to cart our bags down the alleys to the Riad. It's DEFINITELY a little intimidating making your way back through the bustling alleys with all of the sights, sounds and SMELLS (mind the motorbikes and the donkeys!!) but it took just under 5 minutes to walk to the Riad.
The Riad (ALL of it) is exquisitely decorated! We were looking for somewhere modern with Moroccan flair. From the entry to the salon, the terrace and the rooms - everything is beautiful...you feel like you've just stepped into a spa!
Upon arriving at the Riad, we were met by Malika (I'm sure I spelled that wrong) the hostess. She couldn'tve been more friendly...but just a tip...the hostesses (there are 2 other young girls as well) do NOT speak any english! French and Arabic only. We had communicated with the owner Dominique in English about the reservation, and had assumed others at the Riad would speak english as well (this was a selling point to me as my french is TERRIBLE!). What we could not understand in words, we mimed! (Haha) So we were able to get by without too much fuss.
We were shown to our room which was spotlessly clean and beautifully decorated. Very cool and relaxed but with a few exotic moroccan touches in the furniture, rugs and lighting. Although we were a hundred yards or so from the mayhem of the square, the hotel was very quiet and relaxing. The hotel also offered free Wi-Fi, but remember a converter for your laptop!!
Each morning at our leisure we enjoyed breakfast either downstairs in the lobby/lounge area or upstairs on the terrace (the bees on the terrace were very interested in our breakfast so sometimes they chased us off!). Breakfast was continental, but different each day, consisting of some variety of fruit, crepes, fresh bread, delicious moroccan tea, fresh juice and yogurt. All was arranged beautifully each day. We were not left hungry!
From the Riad, it is about a 5 minute walk to the main square (snake charmers, monkeys, shops, etc) and about 5 minutes in the opposite direction down the same road to the main road to catch a cab else where.
I did read a few reviews regarding the call to prayer from the adjacent mosque. The first morning at 5am it was DEFINITELY a wake up call! My husband was able to sleep through it but it goes off like a siren and is VERY loud, especially echoing through the stone walls/floors of the Riad! I found it quite enchanting though, and a unique part of our stay that did not bother me at all!
All in all, the Riad was beautifully kept and always VERY clean, the breakfast was well presented and generous for a continental breakfast and the hostesses were incredibly kind and helpful.
We travel quite a bit, and we felt prepared for the "experience" in Marrakech. It is not a place for the fainthearted traveler...(it just isn't.) We did not feel unsafe during our stay (especially at the Riad) but the Riad is located at the end of several long alleys, that are very dark at night, which took a little getting used to! Once we were confident of where we were going, we felt fine.
A few things I learned, always carry some coins in your pocket, just a small amount (100dh or so, in 20s) to use a tips. If you open your wallet and are carrying a big wad of cash...it WILL be noticed, and your price for items just doubled...or tripled! All reviewers are right about haggling...for EVERYTHING (except food in restaurants and services in Spas). Anything you buy in a shop or any cab you take has been marked up, many times by several HUNDRED percent. So don't be afraid to haggle! Shop owners/cab drivers WILL act offended!! It's all part of the act so just be firm and smile alot :) A typical cab ride around the medina area cost 30-40dh, and a cab to Palmeraie wil be around 80-90dh each way. If you do take a cab for travel, agree on the price in advance!
Another shopping tip - don't stare at items in shops (or take photos) unless you are prepared to go inside and get the schpiel (and likely leave with something). Also - do NOT be tricked into taking pictures with monkeys/snakes in the medina. The prices are extortionate and the monkey handlers will become highly agitated if you do not pay their prices (which they will NOT give you in advance) and DEFINITELY don't let them catch you taking a photo from afar...they WILL come up to you and demand payment!
Overall, Marrakech was beautiful and a feast for the senses. The beautiful palaces, luxurious hammams and overall atmosphere is definitely worth the trip! Just be prepared for a little bit of hassle on the side of the beauty!!
Our experience at the Riad was the highlight of our (first) trip to Marrakech. I would highly recommend anyone looking for a boutique hotel experience on the doorstep of the medina to stay Riad Dar More!
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Dar More Hotel Marrakech