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“The most welcoming introduction to Morocco” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Riad Ajebel

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Riad Ajebel
derb chotuka 91, kasbah, Marrakech 40000, Morocco   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #172 of 461 hotels in Marrakech
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“The most welcoming introduction to Morocco”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2012

Riad Ajebel is everything I imagined Marrakesh to be-- friendly, inviting, relaxing, exotic, and the perfect get away. This small riad is tucked away in the Kasbah near the heart of the medina. The riad has a door that opens right out onto the main street--this was key to unloading luggage for our two week vacation and something that we wished the other riads we stayed in during our time in Fes and Rabat had. The accommodation are inside the medina but are on the outskirts near the tombs which means that the rooms are quite at night.

The location and the hotel were lovely, but the thing that makes this hotel really earn its 5 stars is the kindness and generosity of ILyas. We arrived in Marrakesh at 2 AM, not only did ILyas arrange transportation for us, but he showed us round the riad and offered us tea and snacks. The next morning, ILyas had a lovely breakfast waiting and he sat down when us and a map. He was able to help us get our bearings on city and able to tell us which historical cites were worth our time and which weren't. He also provided us with indispensable information about how much we should pay for things and gave us some interesting tidbits about the history and culture of the country. He walked us out to the main road of the medina on the first day to insure we didn't get lost, and then was waiting when we returned with a cool pool in the courtyard of the riad and mint tea. He was also able to give us an excellent food stall recommendation (it is stall 1 if you were wondering). ILyas speaks English fluently as well as French and Spanish.

We stayed in several other Riads after Riad Ajebel in our trip through Morocco, but all the others paled in comparison to the food, service and rooms of Riad Ajebel. My husband and I will most definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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.
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114 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
203 reviews 203 reviews
67 hotel reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2012

Our recent stay here was one of the most pleasurable we have had anywhere and as well travelled people we know a good thing when we see it. Uma, the Spanish owner, is a charismatic and charming hostess, overflowing with enthusiasm for Morocco and Africa. Ilyass, her right hand man, manages to combine genuine care and thoughtfulness for the needs of guests with calm efficiency at all hours. Fatima works tirelessly producing fabulous food that satisfies the heartiest of appetites. Uma and Ilyass speak Spanish, French & Arabic, hence the majority of their guests do too. Ilyass also speaks excellent English.

In addition to the particular qualities of the staff, Riad Ajebel is full of beautiful furniture, colours and scents. There is considerable attention to detail in the decoration of the Riad and how scents are used in different areas to enhance the visitors’ experience. The Riad's website gives a flavour of what to expect - www.riadajebel.com - and is a very accurate representation.

Turning to the practical aspects of our stay, Riad Ajebel has a particularly favourable location, being on the perimeter, and part of the actual wall, of the Medina. It therefore has two access doors, one of which is onto the Derb inside the Medina and the other which opens directly onto the road that passes the southern edge of the Medina, Bab Ighli. This greatly simplified access on arrival and departure as our taxis were able to stop outside the external door, avoiding a reliance on porters to navigate the Medina and reducing transfer times from the airport to a minimum, (15 minutes or so). The Riad had organized our transfer and the driver had waited in the arrivals area an hour longer than expected due to our flight being delayed. Despite this, he was courteous and welcoming, with no expectation of a tip despite carrying our bags from the terminal to the car park.

On arrival, Ilyass gave us a tour of the Riad and washed our hands with rose water before Fatima’s introductory lunch. We gave them a free hand in choosing the composition of all meals at the Riad and this lunch set the scene for a series of delightful and delicious meals during our 4 night stay. We were never disappointed or left hungry, and we simply felt it would be ridiculous to eat anywhere else for dinner after having been so impressed with lunch on the first day. Lunch and dinner, including bottled water, were charged at 18 euros each with wine being available as an extra if required. Marrakech food and accommodation prices we found generally to be good value compared to Western Europe, rather than bargain prices, and you would have to consider the street food options if you are on a very low budget.

The central courtyard of the Riad was covered when we first arrived but rapidly improving weather meant this was soon opened up. Our first floor room, (Suite Annar), was gorgeous and lived up to the excellent photography on Riad Ajebel’s website. Most noticeably, the scents of handmade toiletries permeated the room and the amazing ensuite bathroom. Moroccan plumbing made a small error in here and the cold / hot symbols on the bath taps had been reversed, plus they have yet to embrace thermostatic showers so be prepared to adjust the water flows yourself. We didn’t use the little courtyard pool or the room’s air conditioning as the weather was only just warming up.

Ilyass marked up the street map for us and explained how to navigate the Medina. He also gave us a card with address and telephone numbers should we get lost, we didn’t and we enjoyed walking through the Kasbah area populated by locals going about their everyday business rather than being in one of the more touristy areas. At no time did we feel threatened or uncomfortable, the area appeared safe even in quieter times of the day or night. The Riad Ajebel’s location also gave us the option of walking back by following the outside of the Medina wall, further reducing the chances of getting lost.

Breakfasts were generally taken on the attractive and comfortable rooftop terrace, which has clear views of the snow capped Atlas mountains due to the Riad’s Medina edge position. Breakfast was fresh fruit and orange juice, omelettes, two types of pancake and a lovely citrus cake plus coffee or mint tea. There is some traffic noise from the road outside when you are on the terrace but this soon becomes familiar background noise and it is more buzzy mopeds than heavy vehicles. These slow and sometimes ancient mopeds can be a bit smelly but traffic fumes are a regular feature of Marrakech as a whole so hard to escape wherever you are.

My wife and I both booked Hammams in the Riad, this being with some apprehension in my case. The favourable comments of our fellow, Belgian and French, guests encouraged me and I am very glad they did. The Hammam and subsequent massage were a great experience and left me completely relaxed, (I’m not known for achieving such states so it shows how good it is). It is a lovely space and again full of gorgeous scents.

Uma was keen to engage us in more genuine experiences and she arranged a special dinner for our last night with Gnawa musicians. All of the guests were consulted but we seemed to enjoy it rather more than the others, we attend World Music festivals so maybe it was a case of being more open minded. The lead musician has a kidney problem and is on dialysis so his performance was remarkable. Gnawa may not be everyone’s taste but it is an authentic sound of the region and worth hearing at least once.

We were travelling to Essaouira for the second part of our visit and the Riad arranged for our transfer at a cost of 110 euros. More expensive than using a Grand Taxi (circa 80 euros) or the bus but comfortable and with an English speaking driver who gave us a mini guided tour on the 3 hour drive. Before we left we bought some of the toiletries as gifts for friends and said a sad farewell to Uma, Ilyass and Fatima. Riad Ajebel has become a special place not only in our travel memories but in our hearts, we wish them well and hope many others will enjoy it as much as us. Tellingly, this Riad only has Excellent and Very Good scores in all of its reviews, so our very positive experience would seem to be consistent with all of the other reviewers.

Room Tip: Suites have a sofa and plenty of space, but all of the rooms are individual so look at the Riad Ajeb...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tunis
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2012

if you are looking for a place with special energy where you can experience warmth, calm, inner peace and soul tranquillity, raid ajebel and UMA and ilyas are the place and persons who will offer you all this with sincerity and love.
UMA's attention for details, her way to look into your eyes and transmitting feelings to you, will touch you for ever.
Difficult to explain how I felt there..... i just suggest you to experience it :)

namaskar uma :)
and see you soon somewhere in this world or in another one

giorgia

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled on business
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tunis
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2012

We had a fantastic stay at Riad Ajebel. We were with two toddlers and my parents, so we're not the easiest. Much better than another Riad we stayed in earlier in our trip in Marrakesh. What made the difference? The exquisite attention to style and detail throughout the Riad (rooms were beautiful; sheets really soft; great sconces; rose petals on the bathroom sink; bath towels in shape of swans...seriously awesome), the lovely shampoos and lotions...these were all great touches. But, the people are what made this place amazing. Uma was absolutely lovely. Even though she only speaks Spanish and we speak only a few words, we got along fine. She exudes warmth and sincerity; her love of Morocco and dedication to providing a top-notch experience for her guests is evident. She was fantastic with all of us, especially with our two young kids (4 years and 1 year) - she didn't make us feel stressed about having young kids in her lovely Riad. In fact she brought out toys for them to play with and sat with our 4 year old often to draw with him and listen to music. Ilyass was fantastic. He was great with all of us and absolutely charming with our 4 year old, spending time with him, teaching him how to juggle with an orange. Our son was entranced with Ilyass. He took care of us in so many ways. Arranged for beautiful meals in the Riad when we were too tired to venture back outside with our whole family, arranged for a great English-speaking guide and walked us on our first night with them to Dejmaa El Fna square so we were oriented. A very, very nice guy. He even stayed up til about 2am talking music with my husband (the DJ). Really can't say enough good things about this place. Nothing was too much for them to do for us. We truly felt at home and were sad to leave. It wasn't right in the heart of the medina, but close enough. Only regret is that I didn't make time for the in-house hamman/massage experience. Next time.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva, Switzerland
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2011

A wonderful and sensuous place ideally located by the city wall next to the Royal Palace gardens, amidst the scent of jasmine. This XIth century riad has been beautifully renovated and decorated to the utmost detail, including home made organic products in the bathroom presented in bottles with silver ornaments. The staff made me feel like a princess, and everthing they offered was done with care and a touch of magic. It has made my stay in Marrakech truly beautiful and special, and I recommended it without hesitation.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Riad Ajebel

Address: derb chotuka 91, kasbah, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Phone Number:
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #172 of 461 hotels in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Only a 15-minute walk to Jemaa El Fna Square, Riad Ajebel offers guest accommodation in a typically Moroccan, 11th-century building. A rooftop terrace with sunbeds, a hammam and massage rooms are at guests’ disposal.The air-conditioned, individually themed guest rooms feature local, hand-crafted furniture and free Wi-Fi access. All have a private bathroom with bathtub or shower and traditional berber carpets.A Moroccan breakfast is provided daily at Riad Ajebel and may be enjoyed in the room or on the terrace. ... more   less 
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