We first went to say in Jean Pierre's lovely Riad in Oct 2010...we enjoyed a wonderful week and vowed to return and we did 10 days ago...it was like returning to old friends....Riad Ida Ou Balou is small glowing gem in the heart of Real Marrakesh....you get the unvarnished reality of life in the medina right outside your door. We stayed in the Sahara Room and it was typically decorated with Soap polished walls and decor. It was a quiet haven with English channels and Air Con...which came in handy when I was unwell one evening...Jean Pierre went out of his way to show us a pharmacy to resolve the issue...Breakfast each morning was enjoyed with enthusiasm...a variety of breads, spreads and fresh juice.
Jean Pierre is an extrovert with a kind heart...completely suited in his role as Host within this lovely place and his staff are enthusiastic, friendly and willing to solve any problem or give advice. Hisam made many cups of mint tea for us, advised on Medina prices, offered to locate anything we wished to buy at the right price if we were not in form for haggling and in general made our stay a joy.. my husbands PC was damaged during our flight and he located someone to fix it for 35 euro in the three days we were there...he was overjoyed!!!
Jean Pierre insisted in taking us to the bus station when we were returning to our base in Agadir...be warned he is James Bond in a Car ...we will no doubt see him again in the future. the Museum of living arts is just around the corner from the Riad and the edge of the Medina or Souk a 5 min walk...Haggle hard....and be prepared to walk away as the initial price quoted will be very high...if you offer a third you will be nearer to the real cost ...so stick to what you think the item might be worth...keep it light hearted and smile...Marrakeshi's are very pleasant people and its a very safe place to visit...no alcohol, no rows, no thieving, genuine friendliness from people who have very little. the Jemma de fnaa square is exciting, intense and unlike anywhere I have ever been...the cafes offer great Moroccan food at a small price...make sure and visit the Mellah or jewish quarter, some of the Palaces and the Jardin de Majorelle...its a wonderful oasis of tranquility in a teeming city...and for those who hate haggling...visit the Ensemble Artesinale fixed price artisan studios who offer good value for lovely products...So break outside your comfort zone and enjoy this atmospheric city knowing that you have a lovely haven to return to...
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