Abdou made us most welcome on our arrival, meeting us from our taxi at the top of the street near which the riad is located and helping to carry our luggage.
The riad is in unpromising location down a narrow alley off a small, busy street which assails you with the typical sights and smells of the Medina. Do not be put off by this. Stepping into the riad is a delight. It is in striking contrast to its surroundings - quiet, pretty and restful. It is about 30 minutes' walk from the main square, Jemaa el Fna, going on a straightforward route via the city walls. It is possible to walk more directly through the Medina but very easy to get lost that way!
The riad itself is charming and attractive with an open courtyard where breakfast is served and which contains a small plunge pool, a rooftop sun terrace with hammam and massage room, many plants, carved dark wood and beautiful Moroccan artefacts.
Our room was attractively decorated and furnished, perhaps a little narrow and dark (typical of riad architecture) but generally a very pleasant space with safe, TV and adequate storage. The shower room was spacious with stone walls and lovely local fittings and accessories. One minor challenge was that the lack of a shower curtain meant water from the shower cascaded beyond the shower basin to form a pool on the bathroom floor.
Abdou serves a breakfast of fresh orange juice, yoghurt and bread and offers variety in the form of pancakes, galettes or croissants on different days and a choice of tea or coffee.
Abdou is an unfailingly helpful and courteous host. He welcomed us with mint tea and pastries, provided us with a map, marking the the main sites and the route to the square, let us use the fridge to store purchases and was generally concerned to make our stay as comfortable as possible. He is assisted by Mariam who is also charming, unassuming and kind.
We booked our five-day trip as a package through Voyage Privé so do not know the exact price we paid for the accommodation but are sure it was good value.
Overall, this is a lovely place to stay - a beautiful and peaceful oasis with good facilities and helpful hosts. We are happy to recommend it.
Recommended restaurants: Terrasse des épices at the northern end of the souks
Taj'in Darna in Jemaa el Fna
Chez Aicha, No 1 street stall in Jemaa el Fna
Other tips: Immigration and emigration through passport control at the airport are slow and take around 40 minutes.
There is a currency exchange desk just after baggage collection which had a long queue on our arrival but there are two other desks offering the same exchange rates in the arrivals hall.
You will be constantly harassed, particularly in the Medina, by people offering to take you to places and events e.g. a Berber market which is held only today. They are generally trying to lure you to a site or shop where efforts will be made to separate you from your money.
You will almost certainly get lost and, if so, there will be no shortage of young men offering to show you the way. When you arrive at your destination, you will be asked to give them "un petit cadeau" i.e. a tip and they will complain if they consider it too modest. This service is sometimes a lifesaver, however!
Try not to be put off by any of this. Just keep your wits about you, embrace what the place has to offer and enjoy it!
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