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“No frills oasis of peace in the middle of hectic Medina” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Riad Smara

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Riad Smara
3.0 of 5 Specialty Hotel   |   2,derb Ferrane Arset Houta, Marrakech, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #18 of 205 Specialty Lodging in Marrakech
Certificate of Excellence
Arlington, Virginia
1 review
“No frills oasis of peace in the middle of hectic Medina”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2014

Riad Smara is an unpretentious small hotel (riad) situated in the middle of the Medina, which means it's surrounded by poor streets and buildings. Medina itself--the historic neighborhood of Marrakech and the city's poorest area--will overwhelm most first time visitors from the West. It overwhelmed and at times even scared me, but I soon learned that its streets are much, much safer than they look. Anyway, my advice is for you to look for something else if you need the comfort of a 4 star hotel.

However, if you are looking for the experience of living in the Medina, Riad Smara is a great choice. Clean, decently sized rooms, with large bathrooms; free Wifi with good signal (which is very good in the beautifully decorated common spaces); free breakfast (which I didn't have the chance to taste, since I had to leave early in the morning on both days I stayed at Smara). But la piece de resistance is the manager, Brahim. He simply is a good-hearted man. He gave me useful orientation tips and a map after receiving me with cookies and mint tea... The first morning he woke up to offer me a small breakfast at 7 am, that is, an hour an a half before the regular breakfast time, and on the next day he walked me at 6 am to the main square (Jemaa El Fna), from where I took a cab to catch an early morning train to Casablanca. He was so kind, I feel I didn't thank him enough. And, anxious to catch my train, I didn't even take the time to say a proper good-bye, which of course now I regret...

P.S. Take a cab to drive you to the address. Being hidden on a small street, Riad Smara isn't easy to find on foot. But once you are there, getting from the Riad to James El Fna isn't hard.
P.P.S. Something else to consider: loud prayer callings will wake you up if you don't have protective ear plugs. They didn't bother me, since I had to wake up very early...

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled solo
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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117 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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
    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 (5)
Date | Rating
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English first
Tamworth, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

We really enjoyed our stay. The manager Brahim and the staff were very friendly , The riad was immaculate and very peaceful, It was easy to find from el fna and just a short walk. Breakfast was very nice and varied, Rooftop terrace was fabulous. Couldnt fault it. Would def go back. One regret didnt get chance to say goodbye to Brahim

Room Tip: Dont know our room was fine
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  • Stayed January 2014, 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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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2013

I stayed here with my boyfriend for two nights at the end of November. We both absolutely loved the Riad and the very helpful manager, Ibrahim.

As previous reviewers have noted it is a little hard to find but once we did (with a little help from an insane taxi driver and some opportunistic local youths) it was well worth it. Our room was comfortable, bathroom was roomy, the pancakes and orange juice at breakfast were out of this world and the centre courtyard was just about the calmest place in Marrakech. It was a beautiful place to retreat to at the end of a busy day/night.

The only negative I can think of is that we were woken at 5 each morning by the call to prayer, it was deafenly loud and seemed to go on for about a million years. I assume this is a problem common to many of the Riads in this part of Marrakech though.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Pula, Italy
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

As we arrived we paid immediately - the breakfast was included in the price. Before our flight to Morocco we have already booked some one-day trips, for every day we stayed. So , even though we did already paid for breakfast She (the owner) did not gave it to us (we had to leave before breakfast every morning (before 8am) because of our trips). Her explanation was that they do not serve bf before 8.30am. So we had to buy our own bf the day before. Also we asked if she could put our drinks in the fridge overnight and she refused. She was extremely rude and agressive. We tried to speak to her in english, german and italian, but she spoke only french and answered to us in french. When we said that we speak 3 foreign languages but we don't understand french she said to us that Morocco is French!, and there, the only language she speaks is french.
To this converation with the owner , Ibrahim was present and he translated. It's not about the money it's matter of principle and the owner behaviour in relation with her guests. I really don't know how could they receive the tripadvisor 2013 award for the best riad

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Bucharest, Romania
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2013

Breakfast is pretty common; dinner is very good - traditional tajine; rooms (we have visited 4 out of 6 because we had a small problem with the reservation) are very nice traditional decorated; but the "cherry on top" is Ibrahim - the manager of the riad, if you have the time and curiosity to "discover" him you will get a lot of usefull information.
Very nice quiet place with a nice terrace and a small pool, ideal place to regain your peace after a few hours in the souks.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2013 via mobile

Stayed here for 2 nights at the start of our morocco adventure. A little hard to find but so worth it when you do. Beautiful room with air con and the bathroom was amazing! Enormous bath. Pool was perfect for a dip before and after the hustle bustle of marrakech. We had breakfast and lunch here and the tagine was by far the best we have tried so far. Run by a lovely and very helpful french couple who were very patient with our limited french.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Yekaterinburg, Russia
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2013

Beautiful quiet hotel - riad in oriental style, in the center of the old city, with little pool and gorgeous terrace. Very nice bed&breakfast , with good service and great design. The owner is very polite guy who will suggest you places to see and restourants to eat out. They also offer hamam (banya) but it s quite small and doesn't worth it

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riad Smara

Address: 2,derb Ferrane Arset Houta, Marrakech, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 of 205 Specialty Lodging in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Riad Smara 3*
Number of rooms: 5
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