Greeted at the airport, driven as far as the car could go down the narrow cobbled streets, and greeted again by Hosein who carried our suitcases down another narrow cat-filled street to a small front door. And what a surprise- it was beautiful inside.
Right in the heart of the souk it is impossible not to get lost, and Hosein gives you a mobile phone with his number on it for that purpose. With, I believe, 19km of winding souks to wander through, you quickly lose your bearings, and it can be frightening. If you don't choose to phone for help please don't ask one of the young boys who are on every street trying to "helpfully" direct you. They will either send you in completely the wrong direction and/or demand money from you (but get used to that- almost everyone seems to be demanding money)
However back to the lovely Cinnamon. On arrival we were greeted with mint tea and patisserie and then shown to our room on the first floor. Our room was on two floors, with a mezzanine level bed at the top.
Our room was very clean, bathrobes and slippers supplied. An adaptor plug, a shoe shine kit, and even a luggage weighing scale (I guess if you buy too much and are worried about the weight of your suitcase) All thoughtful touches. Our bed was superbly comfortable and I only have two criticisms, both of which the Riad Cinnamon can do nothing about. Our room was very dark (but there are no outside windows, all windows open onto the interior courtyard) - and the Cinnamon is next to a large mosque with probably the worlds loudest loudspeaker attached.
The first Muezzin call of the day is 5.30am. It stops and starts for about ten minutes....we managed to laugh, and indeed by day three I slept through most of it- but believe me, it's loud.
Most people seem to eat in on the first night and it's a great idea. There is no restaurant as such, just a pretty table laid just for you with rose petals and THE most delicious lamb tagine of our entire trip, cooked by the most lovely girl, who's name, sadly, I didn't find out.
Until a few weeks ago you could buy wine at the hotel. They are now not allowed to sell it. They are perfectly happy for you to drink your own and will supply wine glasses and a corkscrew. But it is a problem to buy wine. We only know of two places, both miles away. We did walk to the supermarket in the New Town but had to get a taxi back.
My advice is bring your own (buy some duty free on your way out)
There is a pretty roof terrace at the Cinnamon with views of the Atlas Mountains in the distance, across the crazy rooftops....
Breakfast is lovely at the Cinnamon, again served in the indoor courtyard, wonderful bread with honey, a selection of home made jam, coffee, tea, fabulous fresh orange juice, and eggs any which way you want them.
After two days the craziness of the souks got too much and we asked Hosein to book us a taxi drive to the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. We left at 11 and returned at 15.30- we could have gone a lot further and seen the waterfalls, but the parts we did see were magical. Villages (all with the standard pots/rugs/jewellery to catch the poor tourist even up there) but the most lovely fast flowing river with cafes lining it- get access to the cafes by scrambling across rather precarious rope bridges.
We DO recommend the Riad Cinnamon.
It is beautiful. It is also the real Marrakech, which you just wouldn't see if you were staying in a large hotel in the New Town.
We are not very sociable by nature but we met two lovely fellow guests, and we know they will remain life long friends. It is important to share experiences of Marrakech with other people- we would not have found the divine Cafe Arabe restaurant, or Le Jardin restaurant (both close by and open for lunch coffee or dinner).
We will go back to Marrakech, but next time I would like a 2 stop trip- perhaps 3 nights at the Cinnamon, and 3 nights further up towards the Atlas Mountains, away from the craziness.
Go with an open mind and no pre-conceived ideas. It is a trip you will never forget.