Some background: we were traveling through Portugal and Spain with a plan to go to Marrakesh. Not being super planners, we didn't book a hotel before leaving the US. While we were in Spain, we got online and after searching a bunch of 4 & 5 star hotels (as rated by the Moroccan government, natch), we decided on Sirayane. Not having been to the city before, we didn't have a sense of layout or distance but we like boutique hotels and the reviews were good. We did the booking entirely online.
Fast forward a couple of days and we arrive in Marrakesh early morning on the night train from
Tangiers (side note, Frommer's guide couldn't be more alarmist and pandering about Morocco). We give the address of Sirayane to the driver who assures us he knows it and negotiate a price. As we are driving through the city, then out of the city, then what appears to us to be way out of the city, we think, hmmm, maybe we should have done more research.
I'm here to tell you that not only did we have nothing to worry about, staying at Sirayane turned
out to be one the highlights of the trip. The issue for us on the trip out was a bit of disorientation from the early hour and train ride and having no sense for the town. In reality, the hotel is only a couple of kilometers from the city center - something you come to appreciate after spending hours navigating the Medina and Souks. But I'll get there.
So we arrive at the hotel at about 9am and they are, understandably, completely confused as to who we are and why we are there. Remember, we booked online and never spoke to anyone. Once we told the front desk who we were, they couldn't have been more accommodating. Acting like it was their fault for not anticipating we would show up ridiculously early without notice, we were offered access to the spa to shower and change, breakfast and shuttle service into the city to spend the time before our room was ready.
We took them up on all of these and when we returned, we were shown to our room, which was very much to our tastes. The hotel simulates the feel of a riad with a courtyard behind the reception area (which has fantastic huge wood doors) and the hotel sitting beyond it while at the same time giving a modern feel with the faux concrete walls and wide but quirky staircases leading to the several wings. Our room was over the dining area facing the pool (heated, unheated and kiddie) with a balcony. There are poolside suites but we liked ours just fine.
The ceilings are super elevated in the common areas as they were in our spacious room and of course we had all the amenities. We were a bit concerned booking online because they say 'double' bed, but it means queen or king - not an American double or twin. Air conditioning if needed (it wasn't), plenty of closet space, quiet and a comfortable mattress. One oddity: a double rainwater shower with a view through frosted glass to the main part of the room - clearly couples focused.
The hotel runs a shuttle service into the city at regular and frequent intervals throughout the day
The drop off point is near the main square in the Medina so easy to find even if traffic is a bit
hectic. You can read somewhere else about how to handle all of the solicitations. We made good use of that service, usually going in around 11 and coming back at 4, then returning around 7 until 11 for dinner. Once we had taken the shuttle a couple of times, we realized it was only about a 15 minute trip and our perception of the ride on the way out was so distorted. The speed limit on the street is low, so it feels far away, but it's only about 2.5km. And that distance from the noise, smell and activity of the city is MUCH appreciated after a few hours beating the stones in that maze and haggling over rugs. Which I'm sure you will be doing.
Most of the other guests seemed to be European on extended stays, so though the shuttle has limited space and you have to reserve it, we never had a problem. Not many of the other guests seemed to want to go into the city at night. This means we didn't experience dinner at the hotel, but we did have breakfast and it was the kind of sumptuous buffet you'd expect with lots of fresh fruit and a killer variety of juices (beet? really? fantastic!).
In the afternoons we'd hang for a while at poolside and get cocktails, attended by the super
friendly staff. And I think that's what really needs to be called out - the staff. I try to make
a point to get names but I'm writing this a bit after the fact so I can't remember everyone. I'll
just say that in addition to super positive attitudes there were two exceptional people I'd like to
describe. One was a young man at the front desk/concierge who went out of his way to help us make reservations, explain everything from street directions to Moroccan culture and put up with my cliched and yet not ugly or alarming American gregariousness. The other special person was a young woman who appeared to be the hotel manager who was there morning, noon and night, attentive both to the guests and apparently every detail of the hotel. She was always ready with a smile and never ceased to make sure we had everything we needed to enjoy our stay. Neither made fun of me for busting out my high school French, though they shifted quickly to English (no worries there for you unilinguals). And the hotel owner popped by one evening to say hello. They care.
We did couples massages and the Hamman, which I highly recommend. I don't want to spoil it with description (surprise was part of the fun) it but it is relaxing, makes you feel great and is probably unlike anything you have experienced at an American or European spa.
So in summary, you will probably get better value at Sirayane than a larger hotel and you will
certainly get more personable service. You'll appreciate being a step removed from the Medina and city with convenient access. It's like an oasis on the other side of town with all of the
amenities you need after 'experiencing' Marrakkech.
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- Also Known As:
- Sirayane Boutique Hotel And Spa
- Sirayane Boutique Hotel Marrakech