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“Pretty, traditional and clean” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Riad Calista

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Riad Calista
195 der el tchouka, Marrakech, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #302 of 460 hotels in Marrakech
Buckinghamshire
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Pretty, traditional and clean”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2011

The Riad was very pretty, lots of nice features and a calm, relaxing feeling.

We had the twin room which was very small. It was clean and practical. The shower was in the room with no curtain or door. As the room is a twin room it is likely that the guests are friends. We managed to fashion a curtain using a sarong. Though it would have been nice if a curtain already existed.

We found it very difficult to sleep due to noise. Mainly outside as we had a window (many rooms have no windows). This is not the fault of the Riad. However the Riad itself was quite noisy. The very loud phone rang throughout the night, guests are not given Riad keys so have to bang loudly to gain entrance, you can hear everyone's doors, flushes and showers.

Breakfast was basic but adequate.

The biggest downside we experienced was due to us being on a budget. The Riad organised a taxi for us and charged 15euros. The return taxi we sourced ourselves and cost approx £8 paid in local money. A day trip to the mountains was offered for 100euros. But as there was just two of us it worked out cheaper to get the trip through a tour operator in town, the trip cost £80 total (this included lunch, tips and a guide up to the waterfall, which were not included in the 100euros). Dinner was offered at the Riad for 30euros which we declined and ate out for less than £5 each (including drinks) each night. The Riad owner seemed to be offended by us never using her more expensive options. This she expressed by not greeting us in a friendly manner, appearing annoyed when we declined her offers and by being incredibly rude to our taxi driver who called the Riad to inform us he was close by. To top it all we paid for the first taxi in Euros and our afternoon teas (no tea making facilities / fridges etc in room) as requested to be given change in local money.

One night we returned at 11pm and had to knock to get entry, this was met by disapproving looks. One morning we needed breakfast at 8am, again we felt like we were disturbing them.

The live in worker took a liking to my friend and wether it was innocent or not, him blowing kisses at her and trying to hug when he found her alone made her feel uncomfortable. Our room had a key (no other rooms did) and the key hole was filled with tissue when we arrived. After we came back from our first outing the tissue had been removed. They made us leave the key with them when we went out and whenever we returned the key was in the lock and the door unlocked. Not great.

Things to do and tips

The location of the Riad is good, its a good 20 minute walk from the Souks, but the road leading in that direction is busy and friendly. The closest landmark is the Tombs.

The Tombs, cheap to get in so worth a look.

Flat shoes!

Don't eat on the stands in the square, the restaurants around the Square and on the main road (lined with what looks like Christmas lights) had cheaper or same priced food but tasted much better. The stand on the square kept bringing food we didn't ask for and shouted when we didn't leave a big enough tip!

A trip to the Atlas Mountains to visit the 'cascade' waterfall. We didn't know how much of a climb was involved. We wore sandals and coped but would reccommend trainers!

If someone tries to offer directions, be firm and say no and remain where you are, we thought someone was being helpful and when we arrived at our destination (we had a map so knew the way) they asked for money and wouldn't leave. Some other guests in the Riad had a similar experience but their 'guide' was very aggressive.

A busy city with friendly people, remain vigilent and barter!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
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English first
uk
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2011

Starting from the beginning, the email communications were great and we organised an airport transfer (15 euros) and dinner (36 euros for 2 people) at the riad for our first night of arrival with Eveyln the French owner. No problems with the transfer and we were guided through the alley ways to the riad by the driver. The host sat us down in our private lounge on the ground floor next to the pool and served mint tea and showed us a map. All fine but she could speak very little English and soon disappeared. Nothing was mentioned about our dinner and as the lady had left we had to find the night porter who was sleeping on the roof. He said we didn't have a reservation and an hour of confusion ensued. Eventually we were given bread, water and vegetables, which were very nice but there was no meat and cous cous as booked. Later in the week when I spoke to the owner about paying a reduced price she only knocked off 3 euros each - so we paid 30 euros for bread, water and vegetables. Not happy.

The room (Jacaranda) did not appear to be the Superior Double we booked but was fine, nicely decorated and clean enough. There are no windows (as expected for a riad) and was quite cold as there was no heating (there was an air con unit though). Bed was quite lumpy and only one flat pillow each provided. Wardrobe space is ample but only 4 hangers provided, and the safe within does not work - Omar the night porter said it didn't matter as he was there all the time.

The bathroom is like a polished concrete shell within the room, toilet always clean, his and hers copper sinks were nice but shallow so water splashed about a lot. Shower taps are on the wrong way around so the tap that read "Hot" was in fact cold. The hook the shower head sits in was useless as when the shower head was in it and you turned the water in, the water flew out horizontally and hit the other wall, so you have to hold the shower head to wash yourself and balance it on the taps when shampooing etc.

The inner courtyard is lovely to look at, the plunge pool is very small and very cold - good to put your blistered feet in at the end of the day to numb the pain though! The open roof was covered as it was winter (I assume) and as we hadn't been given a tour or overview of the facilities we decided to go wandering and found the roof terrace. There are a couple of sun loungers and a covered seating area which was nice but we were not invited to use it or shown how to work the tv and radio up there. Again I think this was a communication problem as the staff could barely speak any English - I think they should provide an information sheet in different languages as this would have been very helpful. Having said that all the other guests over the 5 days we were there were French anyway, and they all seemed very well looked after. We were just left to it.

Overall I would say the riad is OK for the off-season price we paid, authentic not luxurious and basic but clean. Almost booked Riad 72 but we went for dinner there instead and it looked stunning with top notch service.

The riad is easy to find once you have been there - the staff do not know 'right' and 'left' correctly in english however so we got lost on our first outing. All you have to do is: turn right out of the door, turn right again (there is no left), turn left, then right onto the main street (little shop opposite sells water for 3 Dirhams) then head straight up Rue de Kasbah. At the end of this street are the Saadian Tombs (10mins walk from riad) and then turn left go though the arch way and turn right and head straight on to get to the the main square (20 mins from riad).

There is a cheap and cheerful rooftop restaurant on Rue de Kasbah which is clean and the lamb kofta dish and moroccan salad are fantastic - it is called Nid Cxxxx, on the left hand side, and overlooks a massive stork next on the Saadian Tombs. Directly opposite here is a small alley way leading to the Sultana hotel and and spa or there is Le Bains de Marrakesh round the corner to the left of the arch way for hammam and treatments. Essouria is a wonderful trip to the beach, 3 hours on coach and they tell you it is fully booked so you have to take the more expensive bus which is not scheduled and I assume is just laid on for tourists... Riad organised our trip to Ourika Valley - no options given, no group tours available, so we were forced to have a private taxi at the cost of 100 euros!! We were told the falls at the end were an easy walk - in fact it is a difficult climb up rocks and you are forced to pay a guide to drag you up to see a tiny waterfall. The beber village they described was actually a shambles of market stalls on any flat bit up the rocks - hardly the cultural experience we wanted. Tip: Dont bother going.

On the whole we will will not be returning to Morocco and would not recommend Marrakesh to anyone; despite being covered up and respectful of local customs I was spat on by an old woman, we were repeatedly sworn at by the unofficial "guides" we didn't want everywhere we went, and my husband's back pocket was slashed open - luckily nothing was in it. So... good luck!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham, England
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2011

A very authentic riad - felt like staying in a Moroccan home. Stayed in the Suite Royale which had its own private lounge area overlooking the small pool. Staff made you feel welcome and provided high level of discrete service. Enjoyed time on the roof terrace, using both the Berber tent and the sun loungers.
Riad is located deep in the Kasbah but had no problems finding our way thanks to Omar who showed us the landmarks on our first night. No reasonable restaurants close by so had to walk about 15 mins to the square through the Kasbah but never felt uncomfortable day or night. All roads/alleyways are paved and much cleaner than expected.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Uphallst
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2010

Madam was very kind, helpful and informative. The Riad was just what we hoped for, intimate and comfortable. Our room was basic but clean. Breakfast was a very enjoyable experience. The plunge pool was very welcome after hours of walking throught the souk
The only negative was something that we had been led to expect from previous reviews -the smell from the drains (We had the lower right room). Clearly no U bends in the shower drain. I wet a towel and put it over the drain cover and this worked quite well. The riad is quite isolated and difficult to find ( through a maze of alleys) - a 20 - 30 min walk from the main square. This would have been easier if we were younger and fitter and had some sense of direction). .
The Riad is a 50 Dh taxi ride from the train station not 100Dh as our first taxi charged. We would return to Riad Calista anytime - Not so sure about Marrakesh

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2010

Great little Riad in the heart of the Kasbah. It's a bit out from Jemaa El Fna but other than taht it's a perfectly carming Riad that's well done out and well maintained. Omar is the night-porter and very accommodating and ordered us taxis and brought refreshments whenever we wanted them - Khedijia was his daytime counterpart who was equally helpful and cooked a lovely moroccan style breakfast every morning. Very quiet in the south end of the Kasbah so the quality of sleep was good and the rooms were beautifully decorated in traditional Moroccan style.

Our only misgivings were that the terrace area and rooftop tent were a bit tatty and could have done with a bit of a renovation and the pricing was a little on the higher side considering you're not right in the heart of the Medina. Other than that it was a perfect start to our Moroccan adventure and the french owners Madame Evelyne and Monsieur Dominique made regular visits to check everything was to our liking and gave us advice both in Marrakesh and for other places we planned to go. All in all a lovely stay.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Nijmegen
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2010

We had an amazing time in this almost perfect Riad. It's a beautiful place with great rooms and lovely staff. Especially Kadisha was always there to help us.

The fresly prepared breakfast is served in the peacefull courtyard every morning. Standing on the spacious roofterrace you can see the snow covered peaks of the Atlas mountains, not far from Marrakech. It offers you great views!

This is a fantastic place that we can recommend to everyone!

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Riad Calista

Also Known As:
Riad Calista Hotel Marrakech
Riad Calista Hotel
Address: 195 der el tchouka, Marrakech, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#217 Romantic Hotel in Marrakech

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