The first thing to mention about this riad, is that it is situated in a residential area, a few roads away from the Saadian Tombs and the Sultana Riad, but still not in a tourist area, so a very authentic atmosphere as you walk/drive up to the riad, with lots of locals milling about in the narrow roads, fixing bikes, selling bread and grilling meat. We arrived at the hotel in the afternoon, walked into the cool reception, and were whisked through into the garden to sit on the sofas and fill out a form while drinking mint tea and sampling sultanas and dates brought in tagine dishes. There was a wonderful display of flowers next to us in a fountain, all very relaxing and easy, and when we had finished, we were shown to our rooms by the porter.
The room we stayed in was a superior one, twin beds, two day beds/sofas which i actually slept on, split level, and a bathroom with bath/shower. The room was clean, freshly painted, although the decor was a little tired/sparse. It seems dark in the rooms in contrast to outside, but warm and cosy enough (it gets cold at night and in the morning in November)
There were rooms around the riad which seemed to have their own private balconies etc, but we found plenty of private spaces to sit, the roof being particularly lovely. The windows at the back of the room which opened onto the road were double glazed, and cut out the 'atmospheric' noise quite well, the front windows were shuttered and you could hear quite clearly the hotel noise (people walking to their rooms). Having said this, i am an extreemely light sleeper, if i get to sleep at all, and after the first night, i did tune out of the noises, calls to prayer, etc none of them were what i would class as annoying noise, no hotel music etc. The bathroom was ok, tiled under floor heating, a bit of mould round the fixings. Nice deep bath. Lovely big long mirror.
The accomodation was set on three levels around the garden, quite substantial in size, with lots of hidden hammocks, and little seating daybed areas. The planting was lush, with tall palm trees, hedges, grassy areas, lots of bird life, and apparently chameleons and tortoises which we couldn't find! Our favourite place to sit was on the roof terrace, as it was sunny, although in summer season, i'm sure the cooler garden would be best! The pool looked lovely although we didn't go in.
There was a hammam on the ground floor, a small shop, a cookery school and a massage/ beauty centre on the roof. We had massages - very relaxing and generous with the oil, in a nice warm room where two people can have massage at the same time.
The restaurant was next to the pool, with outdoor and indoor seating. The chairs indoor were more comfortable, and a grander affair, whereas the outside area was more relaxed with heaters to keep off the cold.
One thing to mention is that the staff were not competent English speakers, this is really a French hotel, and the lunchtime menus were all in French. The staff were not able to translate all of the dishes, so it was a bit of pot luck. There were also no vegetarian options, so fish was the closest choice.
The evening menu was varied, but not big on traditional Moroccan food which was a shame, the dishes all looked lovely, and were quite experimental, for example john dory and lychees, duck, sweede and kiwi fruit! Some hits, some misses.
For food elsewhere, i would reccomend the Sultana, up an alleyway next to the Saadian Tombs - amazing atmosphere, extreme luxury and food excellent, and also Al Fassia in Gueliz area for exceptional Morrocan food, and Cafe16 in the New Town for lunch and cake.
Room service was limited to a smallish menu, with omlettes, burgers at certain times, and other more fancy food all a bit strange. There were no tea making facilities which was annoying, and meant frequent calls to try to explain that we wanted black tea, not mint tea, cold milk, hot water, sugar etc, which would then turn up with no spoons! They got used to our order in the end, and were really friendly and fun. I happened to celebrate my birthday whilst i was there, and they found this out, presumably through the card i had in the room, and made me a cake and brought me a present, and all came to sing me happy birthday! Even more strangely this happened to me in another restaurant i went to - marrakech is an unusual place.
A word of warning, the taxis charge all sorts of prices, usually much higher than they should. Petit taxis should be on a meter, but some insist on charging 50 dirham instead of 6! The ones called from the hotel were just as bad, so don't assume they are vetted.
Overall a nice pretty riad, with friendly staff, in an interesting residential area. Quiet inside the garden, apart from the generators. Not bad noise in the rooms, and fairly comfortable.
If you want total luxury try the nearby Sultana. If you prefer relaxed open air prettiness this is the one.
In response to the negative feedback -
the walk to the Saadian Tombs we didn't find as difficult as some people have said, although you do have to dodge lots of people, carts, cars and worst many mopeds. I would worry if i had children with me that they may be run over. Nice atmospheric walk, (you may be the only tourists) although as with everywhere in Marrakech, extremely polluted from moped fumes. Walk to the Djemaa El-Fna for us was too far, and we got taxis, then walked.
All windows and lights worked perfectly.
Menu was inflexible, nothing very light, or vegetarian. Expensive.
It was clean, the bedroom maids would get you anything you need, just not the standard of a luxury hotel bedroom, but big.
As for the food, we eat most of our meals here, and were not ill at all, i have a very weak stomach but had no problems. However we were careful and avoided salad, peeled fruit and only used bottled water for our teeth etc.
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- Also Known As:
- Les Jardins De La Medina Hotel Marrakech
- Jardins De La Medina