I was travelling with my mother to Marrakech for the first time and what a brilliant time we had. But I can honestly say that this is down to Riad Shambala and it's wonderful host, Mohammed.
We had read the reviews about how helpful he would be and we were not disappointed. He was wonderful! Travelling as two women alone, and having never visited Africa before we were quite apprehensive! Especially when we arrived at the Medina wall and saw how busy and confusing the place was! But step through the Riad doors and you're greeted with gorgeous smells and beautiful, tranquil surroundings. Our room was perfect for us and the terraces were a lovely place to relax before heading out into the chaos of Marrakech! Mohammed made us feel really special and when he found out it was my mother's birthday he went out of his way to get a cake for her and the staff all sang happy birthday in Berber! We won't forget this kind gesture.
When we arrived Mohammed talked us through where to go, where not to go, who to avoid, how not to get ripped off/hassled.... and thank god he told us all of this! The guide books and what I'd read online were not nearly as helpful as he was. He also recommended us a great restaurant which we highly recommend - Jad Mahal - where you'll find a stunning low lit restaurant with belly dancing and a great atmosphere. Mohammed arranged taxi's for us when we went out in the evening and we would get escorted to the restaurant door which we really appreciated as Marrakech can feel a little threatening at times. Although all in all, it's a pretty safe place and the Moroccans are so friendly, with a great sense of humour!
The Riad is extremely quiet at night and in the morning you're woken by little tweeting birds which is lovely. The staff were lovely and nothing was too much trouble. It really did feel like a home away from home.
I highly recommend Riad Shambala. I honestly believe we would have had a different trip had we not met Mohammed and his team.