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.
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!
- Also Known As:
- Riad Calista Hotel Marrakech