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!
- 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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