We booked for my wife's birthday and we are both used to travelling for work so were looking for something 'extra'. We definitely found it.
This review has a mixture of advice and info which I hope will help someone like me who had not been to Morocco / Marrakech before.
First off we took up the option of transfers to and from the airport. Arriving at night in the south of the Medina and walking through small alleys to the Riad is a little daunting and I would not have liked to do this with an unknown taxi driver. We were well met by a very friendly driver at the airport and he explained some of the sights and districts on the way.
Upon arrival at the riad we immediately felt at home. The riad is small, but exceptionally clean and atmospheric. The welcome session was excellent and all the staff are a mine of great information about life in Morocco. I had no idea of what to expect in Marrakech and without the sound advice of Laurent, Ahmed and Bousta I think I may have found the hustle and bustle of Marrakech just too much. They explained tipping customs, how to avoid certain tourist traps (like the ever helpful guide who walks you somewhere when you ask for directions) and the ever perplexing customs behind haggling.
The room was delightful and breakfast was served whenever and wherever we wanted. There was more than enough food, it was all home made and it was presented in a style that would grace most five star hotels. We had two evening meals in the hotel and two evening meals out in the Medina. The food in the Riad was the best food we ate in Marrakech. The tagine we had on the first night was amazing and the food on our last night was incredible...salads we had never even though of and beef tagine with artichoke and peas!
The Hammam the riad organised at Les Bains de l'Alhambra was brilliant. Strictly for the tourists and done with brilliant over the top style (I shall never forget the rose petal bath next to my wife in a double tub.) The massages were also very good.
They booked dinner for us at the Dar es Salaam restaurant for my wife's birthday, which was beautifully kitsch with amusing waiters, good entertainment and good food (see separate review).
The Riad staff organised a ride in a Caleche (horse drawn carriage) for us and made sure the driver knew to go through the parts of town we had not yet seen. Every evening we arrived back at the Riad to a warm welcome and general interest in our day.
Marrakech is an exhausting and exhilirating city. The people are friendly in a way which requires understanding, as was explained to me by Laurent, it is all a little piece of theatre that is intended to be enjoyed on both sides. If I compared the experience of the Souks in Marrakech with Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, the Souk is so much more polite and done with an air of fun, but without this 'briefing' from Riad staff I would still have misconstrued what was going on.
Ahmed and Laurent both suggested we visit the 'centre artisanale' and this is good advice, if nothing else than to get ball park figures for asking prices in the Souk.
Two final suggestions for Marrakech - the Maison de la Photographie is amazing and the lunch on the roof was fantastic; second there is a small shop selling 'throws' on the way to Place Blanche Fer, the price is half that in the Souk and the lady is lovely. Ok sales pitch over, but get ready for more of the same in Marrakech.
Overall our stay in Marrakech was incredible. I am sure there are lots of good riads to stay at and different places suit different people. The little bit 'extra' for me at this hotel was the staff and the help they provided in being able to get the best out of Marrakech. As the saying goes life is what you make it, and in this case all the team (Samira, Hanane, Fatima, Bousta, Ahmed, Laila, Abdel Haddi and Laurent) made life in Marrakech that little bit better and easier to enjoy!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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I thank you so much for this lovely review that went straight to our hearts. Ahmed and the all team join me to express you our heartfelt gratitude for your stay at Riad Al Badia. We all really enjoyed every moment shared with both of you during our time in Marrakech. It was a true privilege to receive you for Madam’s birthday and it was a pure delight seeing you every day discovering our culture and customs, so different from « western » and understanding our city and its people. Your true interest in our history, our culture, our cuisine, our customs, our values were very much appreciated and this is an other meeting that is over the words. You just reminded us why one day we decided to operate in the tourism and the hotel industry. Thank you so much to both of you, our very interesting conversation will remain in memories and we keep a very elegant souvenir of both of you. We all wish you the best for the nearest furture and hopefully this new year 2014 will bring you back to Marrakech, you are always welcome. Thank you for all this emotional moments you offered us and see you very soon. Take good care of both of you and please do not change a thing, you are both fabulous. Thank you ever so much.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.