My husband and I have just returned from a wonderful week long stay at Villa Makassar. Having spent a while reading the previous reviews on trip advisor before we went we arrived with high expectations.
The Riad surpassed all our expectations. As soon as you walk through the door it is like walking into an oasis of calm and tranquility. We were greated by the owner and Souheil the general manager, paperwork was kept to a minimum and we were shown to a lovely cool lounge area with mint tea and pastries before being offered a tour of the riad.
The Riad itself is about 15 mins walk from the main square and only about 5/10 mins walk from the square for the jewish quarter with shops and restaurants as well as palais badi and the saadian tombs.
The Riad itself is just beautiful, the courtyards, lounges and seating areas are maintained to a high standard, the roof terrace was one of the highlights of our stay. Perfect for a relaxed breakfast, chill with a book on one of the daybed sun loungers - lovely padded cushions with towels and lovely big straw hats so you can stay nice and cool, or a sun downer drink watching the walls glow orange in the sunset - just gorgeous and so peaceful it is easy to forget you are in the middle of a city!!
We also used the pool area - the pool isn't heated but is warmed by the sun during the course of the day - it is rather chilly but lovely to cool off in! I only ever managed a paddle but my husband swam and assured me it warmed up over time.
One of the great things about the Riad is the peace and quiet, you don't have waiters hovering over you every minute making you feel you should be buying drinks etc. Instead there are buttons around all the public areas that you press should you need assistance like towels or drinks. I loved this aspect of the Riad as it meant you could really enjoy time together and as there are only 10 bedrooms and plenty of different areas to relax, often we didn't see any other guests despite the Riad being pretty much full the whole time we were there.
As the weather was so good whilst we were staying and we did so much sightseeing we didn't have much opportunity to use the spa but did have a 1 hour massage each. The spa area itself looked lovely with a jacuzzi pool, the hammam and treatment rooms. My massage was excellent - very relaxing and well done
We ate at the Riad 3 nights out of the 7 we were there. One was a complimentary meal we received as part of our booking. On one of the evenings we chose to have a cookery lesson with Fatima the chef where we learnt to make moroccan salads and tagine - a great experience and the Riad arranged for Abdul to translate for us as our French is a little rusty!! On our final night we tried the couscous and a lamb tagine. Every meal was equally as good - the food is freshly cooked - you need to let the Riad know in advance if you plan to eat that evening as Fatima goes to the market and buys the products and herbs and spices fresh for each meal. Fatima is an extremely talented chef who seems to put her heart and soul into her cooking!
Breakfast was a great experience. We ate on the roof a few mornings and sometimes down in the restaurant - it is really up to you. Breakfast again is freshly made - we usually had homemade yoghurt or fresh fruit followed by a selection of baked goods - varying from moroccan pancakes, cakes, french toast and rolls. Different every day - served with Fatimas homemade jams and then the opportunity to have eggs as well. - we only managed lunch one day as the breakfast was so substantial! The orange juice served at breakfast tastes amazing!!
What sets this Riad apart from others is the staff who work there. Having spent time in Asia last year we didn't think we would find the kind of service experienced there again ... how wrong we were!! The staff go above and beyond to ensure your holiday is as special as possible! Nothing is too much trouble, everyone in the Riad smiles at you and over time it really felt like a home from home.
During our stay it was our first wedding anniversary and Souheil and the rest of the team did so much to ensure we had a special stay. We were given a cake, had our room covered in rose petals, and as a suprise after spending the day out of the Riad visiting Essaouria we returned to find out that our room had been packed up and we had been upgraded to a suite for our last two nights - they had even moved everything for us!
One of the nicest things about the way the Riad is run is the fact your happiness and enjoyment of your stay is at the centre of everything. Throughout our time at Villa Makassar the whole team provided excellent service recommending restaurants - including booking for us and arranging the taxis, directing us to points of interest, arranging guides, making sure we had a drink after we checked out before we set off for the airport, giving us our room until we need to leave for the airport late afternoon.
They are so determined to improve and be the best they can - we were asked by a number of the staff how our stay was if there was anything that we thought could be improved on.
We have never been so sad to leave a holiday and would recommend Villa Makassar to anyone who wants to experience "Real Morocco", have a unique experience and have the relaxation and flexibility that comes from being in a small riad compared to a large hotel.
We will definitely be back!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.