We spent 5 nights in Riad Chayma in Jan 2013
The trip was a birthday present and the location was only revealed to me a couple of hours before getting on the plane. Days before departure I felt very much under the weather and had been sick numerous times, almost to the point of where we can very close to cancelling the whole trip. However, high on medication and a bit of courage we jetted off. It was our first time to Morocco and we had no idea what to expect.
At the airport we were greeted by Aziz, who was waiting there with surname on card, something that was also organised as part of the present and of course is not the norm.
Aziz drove us to the gate of Bab Doukkala; proudly mentioning he had worked on building the Riad in which we were staying. I must admit when Aziz turned off the ignition and said “we are here” my heart sank. He had dropped us in what seemed to be the middle of an old-school market, the noise and hustle and bustle of the locals carrying out their trades or day to day activities was immense and chaotic. I remember thinking “you are a long way from home now!”. To be honest as Aziz helped us carry our bags to the Riad I was extremely worried I could get better in this sort of environment where cleanliness and sanitation seemed very minimal from the outside.
Alas, open the doors of the Riad Chayma opened and I think myself and my partner both made a collective sigh of relief!. The contrast between the hustle and bustle of the street outside and inside the Riad was amazing. This would be out solace from the madness outside, peaceful, clean and seemingly friendly staff, still feeling absolutely terrible, I though there is at least a chance I can get better here.
Once settled in the guest lounge we were greeted by Shareef who took the time to sit with us offering out some Moroccan tea, biscuits and a map to keep with ideas about where to go and routes to take.
The first evening we ate a 3 Course dinner at the Riad and it was indeed one of the best traditional dishes we received during our stay.
We stayed in the Saffron Suite, which while not the biggest of all the rooms was very comfortable. It had a seating area, an iPod docking station and free Wi-Fi access could be reached. The room shape and black marbled bathroom were standout features.
By the time I woke up the next day –health had improved and it was time to start enjoying the holiday.
Breakfast is on the roof top (weather permitting) and it was fantastic. Our favourite meal of the day, we used to look forward to waking up to it. The Omelettes were a clear winner.
The Riad is ideally placed so everything is within 10-20 minutes walking distance. New city on one side, the medina on the other. The Jamaâ El Fna square is a 10- 20 min walk depending on your speed.
There are two ways to reach this - dont always go throught the souks to reach the square if you want a little peace and quiet.
I would highly recommend the bus tours which can be picked up just at the front of the square. We were able to view a lot of the city and sights via this mode of transportation for a relatively cheap price. You can get 1 or 2 day tickets for use when and where you want – pop on – pop off at very regular intervals.
On the 3rd day with very little notice Shareef organised a trip to Essaouira for us. Anas was our driver for the trip and he was extremely professional with good English and a good sense of humour.
There are a lot of things going for this Riad but the one defining thing that would make me return is the staff.
On the final night I came home to surprise birthday cake that Shareef and my Partner had organised prior to arriving. Nothing had been overlooked – everything “I” was dotted and “T” crossed.
Thanks again to everyone at Riad Chayma for making our trip one to remember - Shareef, Adil & Sana
Adil was fantastic and over obliging but a special mention must go to Shareef, who even walked us to a restaurant one evening so we wouldn't get lost. Also I believe he had a part in the birthday cake (as he was a chief in a former time) so thanks very much for that. ;)