i visted as a single traveller in August 2012. I can't do anything about the weather, but when the AC failed once or twice at the Riad when it was over 50 Celsius I was not impressed. The Riad is tucked away down a series of alleyways which are dark and dirty. There are young boys/men on every corner, even in the middle of the day, trying to get money from you to accompany you to the Riad. They are insistant and even though I knew a few words of Arabic, telling them to 'yallla, yalla/ go away, go away' had no impact. They will tell you that 'this way is closed' (there are no closed alleyways!) and they hope that you will then go with you. They then take you on an unecessary circuitous route. When you refuse them money, they become extremely rude and shout at you, using the most dreadful expleteives. It's because people continue to give them money that they continue to do this. I know it's a poor country but continuing to give them money just sanctions their practices. It was certainly difficult to navigate your way back and forth to the main square, but not impossible: it would take me about 15 minutes to walk through the alleyways.
The Riad itself is very basic. No TV, no Wifi, although it is very quiet.There is nothing to do there. Breakfast is only bread and jam and very strong coffee from a thermos which sometimes had food stains on the outside. The host made lovely, fresh orange juice which was very appreciated. The family is lovely, but there are 3 young children and the youngest one is a toddler. I could hear him crying late at night and the sound echoes up through the Riad. I worried as to why he was crying and what was done to stop him crying. I could hear doors slamming when he started crying, then muffled crying, then it would stop,
The bedding and the towels weren't changed in the whole 7 days. There is a very basic shower area in the room but the shower head to the shower in my room had come off and I was expected to use the shower with only the 2cm nozzle to the shower lead. As I realised within hours of arriving there that I'd made a big mistake, but that, as it was all prepaid, I could do nothing about it, I just put my head down and waited until I could leave.
Marrakech is NOT the place for anyone remotely concerned about animal welfare and animal cruelty.I was appalled at the backwardness of these people, but we must remember that this is the way they live, and we cannot force change in such a poor country. I felt physically sick at the extent they still use horses, ponies, and poor donkeys as transport, in temps exceeding 50 C in the summer. Even seeing the little chimps in the main square, tethered to chains by their leg and their neck and expected to do 'tricks' while sitting on tarmac which was unbearably hot, was difficult to stomach. The French seemed to be the worst offenders in terms of continuing this practice: they willingly gave money to be driven around the square in carriages. If we stopped doing this, if we stopped putting money in these people's hands, then they would have to abandon the practice of using animals like this. If you care about animal welfare, please don't go to Marrakech/Morocco.
Seeing beggars deliberately positioned in the street was also difficult, but again, this is nothing we can do anything about. Poor women with virtually new born babies would hold out their hands and beg for money. I tried to find some peace and quiet in a park near to the main square but predictably, I was constantly approached by men walking past,either begging or leering at me. Some of the men took the opportunity to wash in the park next to the mosque Al Koutoubia, and I found men having completely stripped off and hosing themselves down with the water jets used to water the shrubs and flowers.Ironically, these people seem to look after their plants better than animals.
Having lived in the Middle East,Ii thought I would enjoy seeing the vibrancy of the souks again, but even this was a trial: if you hesitated for a second as you walked past in order to just glance at the bags or scarves, you would be accosted and shouted at. If you ignored them and walked on, you would have something unpalatable shouted at you.
For me, this 'holiday' was a terrible mistake and I will never go anywhere near Morocco again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A beautifully restored guest house in 2010 by Master Craftsmen hidden in Marrakech medina, keenly priced and very chilled. Riad Hcekarram offers his guests charm, comfort and tranquility.Located in a very old quarter in the north of the Medina, Sidi Ben Slimane, the spiritual part of the ochre city, at 02 steps from the famous Restaurant Dar Zellij. ... more less
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