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“New Year 2011/12 Maison Africa” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Riad Maison Africa

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Riad Maison Africa
287 Derb Sidi Bouamer | Quartier Riad Laarouss, Marrakech 48000, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #538 of 1,046 Marrakech B&B and Inns
Albufeira, Portugal
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“New Year 2011/12 Maison Africa”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2012

Careful.. there is now Maison Africa ( 3 bedrooms) and Riad Africa...some confusion between taxi drivers occurred whilst we were there... (we were at Maison Africa)....We arrived in the airport at about 18.00 hrs and the taxi and transfer was smooth and uncomplicated, once you got used to the driver heading straight for oncoming traffic, which seemed the norm after a few Kms!..The arrival at the drop off square was interesting and we were immediately surrounded by a crowd of Porters, which was quickly dispersed by Todd the manager, with Abdul, who is Zahiras ( the house maids) husband, and were quickly on the way down the alley to the Maison Africa. It is a three minute walk and there are a couple of little shops just before you get to the villa..hint water is 6DH per 1,5l and the little flat breads are 1DH each...they sell all the basics and I found the one on the Riad side the most honest!
Arrival at the Maison was great.. all we expected and more...the place was great. The wifi was on ( with 4 Ipads out of 5 people.. that was imperative!) and we never suffered any breaks of service, the TV worked fine..but limited channels in English, news mainly..and we didn't need that!...The DVD worked, but films limited.. take some ..especially if you have kids... and the hot water etc worked fine...all good. Tod gave us a starter talk, and showed us round, very informative. We had our excellent arrival dinner ( Lamb and prunes, and the little samosa parcels were delicious.) And now think that at 150DH per head it is good value. There is reasonably priced wine , beer and pepsi, available on an honour basis, but would suggest that you buy duty free spirits and bring them with you, as these are harder to get hold of..we took spirits and champers with us, and decimated the house red wine.
We did have some trouble finding maps and directions...so I left some hints on the house computer, desktop doc file....to help future guests find and easy way to Fnaa square ( an easy walk). Dont ever take a taxi..they rip you off.. or get a rate before you get in. Horse carriages also...total rip off...when they ask for 600DH.. offer 200. A days wage for a tradesman there is about 150-180 DH...so work on that as a base.....
We had no problems at all with the house, and Zahira is ( as everyone says) a sweet gem, and helpful..) I speak good French so had an easy time with her. Abdul her hubby took my daughter and I on a tour of the tanneries.. really NOT for the fainthearted...smelly and dirty but fascinating..for which I tipped him 200DH..he is a nice guy and worked in the tanks for years and knows everyone around there! We stopped in at his house on the way back and met the whole family, and had mint tea with them....high spot!....
The roof terrace is great and had a few sundowners up there...great sunsets and the echoing muzzein calling is spooky...it also starts at about 5am!....be warned...one local one occasionally starts at 4am.. so I think he probably uses one of the 'rolex's' that you will inevitably be offered.....
Generally we had a good trip, take some immodium or similar , as you may get a bug, two out of our party did....hit it fast and it shouldnt slow you down too much.
We did a tour into the Ourika hills, very interesting day and worth it.. the Essouaira tour was a bit too long for our party so we missed out....but people said it was good.....
As a rental property area manager of over 40 years experience in the Algarve, I have to say that we found nothing to criticise about the house or the staff, ( unusual for me!)....it is a real hideaway, and comfortable...and we were always glad to get back in after the bustle, hustle and exhaust fumes.
By the way, along the Rue Larousse, there are a couple of local eateries one left one right which were cheap but a bit dissapointing, further down, the Cafe Arabe a) has booze.., b) has a better menu choice, and the bar terrace at the top has snacks and stuff. Wine from 150DH bottle, cocktails from 90DH.. 1 euro is approx 10 DH. You must get money at the airport to start you off..I canged 100euro at the desk... get some small ( 20 and 50) notes, and some coing for initial tips and purchases. The ATMs are a bit far away, but work fine.

Generally I found the souk wearying, as the prices start at 3-4 times the base price...andI felt like I had a target on my back by the final days....I was with 4 females, and shoved to the front every time.. except my daughter quickly overtook me on negotiating for herself...winner!..but as she is 20 something and tall blonde.. they probably didnt have a chance anyway.....fat old dad was left in the cold!
I never felt I made a deal which was good for me.. except at the grocery shop! Retreat to the Maiso, and open another bottle of vino was the best solution!
It is a culture shock, and prepare yourself for the onslaught.
PS my wife is paranoid about snakes, and we never saw any except in FNAA square, but they dissapear after sunset....and the 'Winner winner chicken dinner' stalls appear..they are a hoot!.. Take a flask of the good stuff, and add it to your coke! Have fun!
Alistair

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 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.
africanick, Owner at Riad Maison Africa, responded to this review, January 24, 2012
Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed account of your stay at Maison Africa - I'm sure future guests will find it extremely useful. I've noted your point about local information / maps - we'll make sure that we work on this to provide a more comprehensive info. pack in the house. We have a complete 'Made in Morocco' movie collection at our other larger riad - Riad Africa - so we'll replicate that for the Maison. We hope to welcome you again sometime in the future!
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22 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2011

Awe were three women travelling by ourselves. The riad is in a central area of the medina, and is a quiet and safe haven away from the busier areas of the medina. We rented the entire house for the three of us, and the spaciousness was perfect for us. The riad is tastefully decorated and spacious. Zahira the housekeeper took wonderful care of us! She cooked delicious breakfasts and dinners for us, and made us feel so comfortable- despite our lack of French/Arabic language skills, we felt right at home.
However, there were many "wrinkles" that really need to be ironed out to make this a great place to stay. Apparently the current manager has been there for the past month, and it shows. There was a "communication" mishap that resulted in our reservation being completely forgotten. So when we arrived to the airport at 8:30pm, no one was there to pick us up. Two hours after arrival and a frenzied phone call to the manager, the driver finally arrived. We were starting to feel very nervous, as we were the last few people left at the airport. The riad was not ready for us, and the housekeeper and her husband had been called in to hurriedly clean up the riad and get it ready for us. By now, it was 11pm, and our pre-arranged dinner was also not available, and the manager had to run out and grab some restaurant food. We had no hot water for the first 2 nights (the manager eventually had to fix some wiring on the hot water heater). The Wifi never worked during our entire stay, making our later trip planning very difficult. One of the heating units in the rooms didn't work, and the manager didn't really know how to fix it (I eventually figured it out for myself later). The satellite TV was not working on the first 2 days either (although we didn't really have any desire to watch).
On more positive notes, in addition to wonderful Zahira, the tour guide that the manager obtained for us was excellent. Karim was an entertaining guide with an excellent sense of humor. Definitely ask for him!
Overall a very nice riad and wonderful housekeeper and tour guide. The details really need to be addressed, because even these small things can quickly add up to an unpleasant experience!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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africanick, Owner at Riad Maison Africa, responded to this review, December 26, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on your stay at Maison Africa. Since your review I have spent some time investigating the shortcomings you experienced with Tod, our locally-based house manager. I agree that at the time of your stay Tod was relatively new to his role of managing Maison Africa and in a perfect world he would have been completely familiar with all operational aspects and facilities of the riad. I apologise that this was not the case during your stay.

If I may comment on your points:

1. Delay in airport transfer / pick-up - this was not caused by the transfer company whom we contract. They are very professional and punctual. The delay was as a result of a systematic problem we experienced with gmail whereby the email sent to Tod advising of your arrival dates, time and services required did not reach him. To avoid this issue from arising again we have put in place two additional pre-departure communication procedures / diary deadlines. This will ensure that should an email not arrive for any reason, as a back-up an sms is sent, and a phone call made to reconfirm a guest arrival.

2. As a result of the failed communication mentioned above, the house (and dinner) were not prepared for your arrival as Zahira was unaware of your impending arrival. Should she have been aware everything would have been ready for you.

3. The lack of hot water for your first 2 nights was due to a gradual erosion of the cable leading from the mains electric to the solar water heater (which requires a mains boost in winter months). This fault was the first of its kind we have experienced since intsallation of the system in 2009. We shall now undertake bi-annual checks of the cable to avoid this problem from arising again.

4. The quality and reliability of wifi in the medina is usually out of our control, as was the case during your stay. Often when our wifi goes down, or runs slow, so do our neighbours. Maroc Telecom cannot guarantee how long it will take to fix the problem. I will warn future guests that wifi reception is reliant on Maroc Telecom's service. We will also purchase a mobile internet dongle for use by guests should the network go down in future.

5. Each suite and the main salon has a reversible a/c-heater unit. All units are working and Tod is now familiar with their operation. All units are serviced every 6 months to ensure they function to the maximum of their capability.

6. The satellite TV was not working as a result of strong winds prior to your arrival which nudged the satellite dish slightly out of position resulting in loss of picture. Each time this occurs (usually 5 or 6 times a year), the dish has to be realligned by a satellite TV specialist. This can take a couple of days as specialists are in high demand following storms.

Finally, thank you for your positive comments - Zahira has been a real star since joining us in 2010 - and remains a consistently excellent cook and diligent housekeeper.

I am pleased that despite the wrinkles you experienced you still found the location of the riad, the value, the rooms and cleanliness to be excellent. Rest assured we will work hard to get back to our previously excellent ratings for service as soon as possible.
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York, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2011

I agree with all the positive comments made about this Riad, secure, safe, well equiped, spacious, clean, great roof terrace, centrally located. Nick organised everything for us which went like clockwork.
Mustafa the manager, and Zahera, the housekeeper were brilliant and a massive bonus. I would wait and let Mustafa recommend tours etc. According to the previous visitors he is great tour / mountain guide and knows everything. Zahera is an amazing cook and she cooked the best food we had by a mile. Breakfasts were fairly simple but beautiful, fresh orange juice, coffee, fruit, pancakes etc. Zahera only speaks French but you will want to speak to her as she is lovely. She is also a good masseuse so bear this in mind before you pay a fortune a hammam. The riad is well furnished and the plunge pool is welcome. I would definately recommend this Riad to anyone.

Room Tip: All the rooms are really good.
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  • Stayed April 2011, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2011

Recently came back from spending 5 nights in Riad Africa. The Riad was just amazing. Totally authentic and lived up to our expectations. We ate in the Riad on 3 occasions and the food was delicious and there was plenty of it. We could not have been looked after any better anywhere. The people we met in the Souks were very friendly and we very much enjoyed bartering for our goods. Although the Riad was just minutes away form the Souks it was a haven of tranquility and just far enough away from the hustle and bustle. Our experience came to an end all too quickly.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yorkshire, England
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
52 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
101 helpful votes 101 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2011

Four of us stayed for 4 nights.

We were picked up at the airport as arranged and dropped off in the nearby small square where Mustapha met us and walked us to the Riad (3 mins down some little alleys - very atmospheric at night!)

He showed us round the Riad and made us some Moroccan mint tea. The Riad is perfect - better than the photos on their website. We had the whole place to ourselves, four of us where 6 or 7 could comfortably be accommodated.

The roof terrace is fantastic - views over the rooftops to the Atlas mountains beyond. Sun bathing (even in March!).

Breakfast is prepared by Zahira at 8-8.30am. Pancakes or omlettes cooked to order plus bread, jam, pastries and freshly squeezed orage juice.

Zahira is the most wonderful cook. We arranged for her to cook for us one evening and we wished she had made us more. Her home cooking is far better than anything we tried in town (and cheaper - 150Dm a head for 3 courses).. She is also very friendly and knowlegeable. She showed us how to cook the pancakes she made us for breakfast (not at all how English or French crepes are made). She even prepared a "tonic" from herbs and spices to sooth one of our group who had a queasy tummy - it worked a treat! She only speaks French (and a very local dialect French) but show a little patience and make a little effort and you will be very rewarded by her friendliness.

The only thing that let us down was a lack of alcohol! We asked Mustapha to get us some wines (there is beer available to buy in the fridge and in theory there is also wine available at the Riad). Unfortunately he forgot and the nearest (only) supermarket that we could find that sells alcohol is over a mile and a half away. If alcohol is a main feature of your holidays make sure it is prearranged for you!

The location is perfect. Close enough to be around 15 mins walk to the main square, but far enough away from the bustle. You also get to see a bit of local Marrakech when walking to and from the main sites. The walk through the souks is noisy and hectic - dodging the scooters, donkey carts, cyclists, people, horse drawn carriages. It's a miracle there aren't more accidents!

We arranged too stay late on our last day - we checked out at 5pm and were taken back to the airport (transfers are included). Everything went very smoothly and we knew we had Mustapha on hand if we needed anything and Zahira to provide our home comforts. We would definitely stay here next time we visit Marrakech.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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 Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2010

Alas, it all went too quick! But we will always have such a memorable holiday of discovery into a different new world – it has always been a long cherished dream of mine to see Morocco and soak in Marrakesh. The call to Marrakesh for me has at last been fulfilled and as I dreamt it to be and more …… ! More so because of our stay in such an amazingly beautiful and may I say “awesome” Riad Africa! (I believe this term should only be reserved to and denote God / Allah!).

Riad Africa met more than our expectations – a peaceful oasis of calm, serenity and tranquillity to come back to from our exploration of the nearby Medina and losing ourselves to the intrigues of its Souk. We enjoyed the splendour of the Riad, the warm and attentive care & hospitality of the dedicated staff, the Manager Mustapha, Fatima, the housekeeper and cook.

And above all the authencity and splendour and prime spacious location of Riad Africa, the early daily wake up calls to the wonderful cheerful song birds, whose wide variety and names, Mustapha gladly displayed his amazing knowledge of, and the early calls to prayers ……….. yes after the 1st morning, a balm to the soul and a reminder of our own fragility and the frailness of the human life……...! I’m so glad of having enjoyed the experience!

We enjoyed Riad Africa mostly for ……………… sleeping with the doors open all night safe and secure, the most daily melodious dawn chorus that never failed us to waking us up to a new exciting different day, the cleanliness and comfort, its courtyard – its heart to a cosy resting meet up place for family and share our daily experience after exploring the Medina and our discovery of the Atlas mountain, Toubkal and the Ouirgane valley and its treasures, the different cooler Essaouira, a glimpse of the Atlantic and its ruggedness along this side of the coast,

Cannot think of a nicer place to rest and relax and come back to time again hopefully ………. Would love to return to Riad Africa again definitely! Let it speak for itself! We feel invigorated and re-energised from our wonderful hols in Marrakesh enhanced by the calming serene splendour of Riad Africa and all its high standard amenities

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with friends
    • 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
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Scotland
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2010

We were a group of 6 ladies on their first visit to Marrakech and to be honest were just a bit apprehensive beforehand. We needn't have worried though as the trip was fantastic and Riad Africa played a huge part in this. We were picked up by minibus from the airport and then met by the Manager, Mustapha to take the short walk from the drop off to the Riad. Initial impressions of Marrakech are a bit of an assault on the senses with the noise, the colours and the smells and then the door to the Riad opens and its just a haven of peace and tranquility. We had mint tea with Mustapha and then dinner which was delicious, our best meal of the trip. The rooms were all great, all with their own bathrooms, and beds were comfortable - one of our party wanted to take the mattress home. On our first morning after a lovely breakfast from Fatima, Mustapha returned to check everything was okay and was kind enough to walk us to the main square - think we would have got lost without him! It can be difficult to buy alcohol in Marrakech and we had bought some at duty free on the way out but the Riad also has a stock which you can buy from. We made use of the rooftop terrace and dipping feet in the small pool at the end of a hard day shopping at the souks was delightful! From my early conversations with the owner Nick to the service and friendliness offered by both Fatima and Mustapha, we could not fault anything and would thoroughly recommend.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with friends
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riad Maison Africa

Address: 287 Derb Sidi Bouamer | Quartier Riad Laarouss, Marrakech 48000, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #538 of 1,046 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With 3 spacious suites, a courtyard with plunge pool, palm and fountain and an elevated roof terrace with fine panoramic views of Marrakech, Riad Maison Africa offers discerning travelers real privacy in homely, atmospheric and stylish surroundings. Traditional Moroccan dishes can be prepared for lunch or dinner, and for those that like cooking - we offer local cooking courses. Riad Maison Africa is ideal for couples, friends or families. ... more   less 
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