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“Authentic not luxurious and service not great” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Riad Calista

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Riad Calista
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195 der el tchouka, Marrakech, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #385 of 490 Hotels in Marrakech
uk
Level Contributor
41 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Authentic not luxurious and service not great”
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
Helpful?
2 Thank traveller85Uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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42 reviews from our community

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Durham, England
Level Contributor
113 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 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
Helpful?
Thank hetha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Uphallst
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 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
Helpful?
Thank Uphallst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
45 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 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
Helpful?
Thank parismcmahon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nijmegen
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 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
Helpful?
Thank Kefs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riad Calista

Address: 195 der el tchouka, Marrakech, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #385 of 490 Hotels in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates):
Number of rooms: 183
Also Known As:
Riad Calista Hotel Marrakech

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