To quote Monty Python - "And now for something completely different". Forget about staying in tourist hotels in the New City, where you will only get a sanitised version of Morocco. Riad Tamarrakecht is situated in the heart of the medina - the Old City - where you are surrounded by the "real" Morocco, but in no way does this involve slumming it as it is nicely decorated in local style, it is peacefully quiet, the food is good and the personal service is excellent. Whatever you do, make sure that you ask them to arrange transport for you to get from and to the airport as they will meet the taxi at the gate of the medina (Bab Aylen) and take you and your bags to the Riad - without it, you will never find your way. As soon as we arrived, Sara drew us a map showing the way to Jemma El Fna, the main square where it all happens in Marrakesh and which will inevitably be your focal point, and we had no difficulty in getting around. However, I would not recommend the experience to anyone with a severe mobility problem as the route is crowded with street vendors, motor-cycles and hand- and donkey-carts - though, having said that, my wife was recovering from a recent broken leg and managed fine. I would also suggest when you first venture out into the medina that you identify a landmark by which to identify the turning to find your way back to the Riad as it is down a rather anonymous-looking alleyway. Sara arranged for us to take a one-day excursion over the Atlas Mountains to Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate and her brother took us to make sure that our transport was waiting. The money for this, as well as for our accommodation and airport transfers, was payable in dirhams or euros (we chose dirhams), but Sara was totally relaxed about payment and I think I was more anxious to pay her than she was to receive payment! Incidentally, it might help if I mention that on leaving Marrakesh you will need to stand in the queue at the airport to get your boarding card stamped even though you may have checked in on-line, as you will not be allowed through security without this. In summary, a most enjoyable 6-night stay, largely due to the attentiveness of Sara and her brother - and of course those cats!
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