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“Great design, staff, service, location” 5 of 5 stars
Review of El Fenn

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El Fenn
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Derb Moullay Abdullah Ben Hezzian | Bab el Ksour, Medina, Marrakech, Morocco   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Rate
€200 (EUR)
Ranked #55 of 461 hotels in Marrakech
san francisco, ca
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Great design, staff, service, location”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

We visited during the low season, and had the Riad to ourselves. The rooms are impeccably decorated with Moroccan decor & modern art. There are several dipping pools & sitting areas. The breakfast on the terrace was great. Staff was at our service as needed.We felt very secure & didn't even lock the room. I will visit El Fenn again.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
willemsmit2011, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, September 26, 2012
Dear guest of Riad El Fenn,

thank you so much for your kind words, it means a lot to us you have take the time and effort to share your experience. We hope you will visit again although it is quite a journey from California.

warm regards, The El Fenn team
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (92)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2012

We visited Riad El Fenn last week for a short two night stay before travelling within Morocco and we had the most amazing, relaxing experience. The service and attention to detail were impeccable and shone through from the very beginning when we were handed chilled bottles of water by the Riad driver who collected us from the airport in the stifling midday sun and continued with the lovely fresh pot of coffee (kept warm in a thermos flask so that you can enjoy it when you want), mint tea and pastries left outside of the room each morning. We were given a warm greeting on arrival and nothing was too much trouble for the staff, it felt more like staying a friend's home rather than at a hotel. It has a real feeling of safety and security which is due to the friendliness and warmth of the staff and to the general ambience of the Riad which is so calm and welcoming.

The Riad itself is a beautiful oasis of calm and tranquillity which is much needed after a day exploring the hectic sights of Marrakech. Our suite had the most amazing wooden carved ceiling and was filled with light and eclectic art and furniture. Within the Riad there are lovely quiet sun dappled courtyards and areas with pools, loungers and sofas in which to cool off and relax. It is also perfectly located for exploring the medina and the staff will help to find a taxi for wherever you want to go to if it isn't within walking distance and also advise on prices and recommendations.

We booked in for a Hammam and also a cookery lesson at the Riad and would highly recommend both. There were only the two of us on the cookery course so we had the undivded attention of the Riad's head chef who took us to the market to purchase ingredients and then gave us a two hour lesson where we cooked a variety of tagines which we ate the same night on the lovely, romantically lit rooftop terrace. Sadly we couldn't finish them all as there was enough food to feed the entire Riad but we gave it a good go!

We would return to Riad El Fenn time and time again for its charm, intimacy, attentiveness, friendliness and beautiful design. We arrived there two stressed out Londoners and left after two days feeling completely serene. Now we're very much looking forward to our next visit!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
willemsmit2011, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, September 26, 2012
Dear Kirtsty,

Thank you so much for your lovely words, of course we shared your compliments with both the kitchen & spa crew. It is always wonderful to hear we have met expectations and we do hope to see you again.

All the best, The El Fenn team
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2012

We went to the Riad El Fenn a couple of weeks ago during the low season and the searing heat. It's a wonderful Riad in a great location - not right in the middle of the medina, but close enough to pop in and out when you like. The staff were incredibly kind and attentive, especially those who helped me when I fell ill one night (not the hotel's fault.)
I really recommend getting the guided tour with Mustapha, he knows the city incredibly well and is very kind and welcoming. The rooms are huge and the food is brilliant. Megan is a great manager and was always willing to help out if there were any problems.
I can appreciate some people might find the security an issue - we went in the low season where there weren't many around, but can appreciate that you do need to be careful about your belongings.
I would happily stay there again and would recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
willemsmit2011, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, August 23, 2012
dear guest of Riad El Fenn, thank you so much for your wonderful compliments. The time and effort to share your viewings is greatly appreciated.

Hope to have you as our guest again soon,

warm regards, the El Fenn team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2012

I have travelled to Marrakesh about 6 times and stayed at various riads either close to the medina or a little drive away to escape the hustle and bustle.This Riad is everything you could wish for and then more, the location is excellent. You will be inspired by the rooms and the surroundings, you will be spoiled by the lovely staff who are like one happy family of which you are included, when you wish to be. The weather was in the 50s so we pretty much stayed in the Riad the whole time. The breakfast was lovely crusty bread just made, homemade jam, fresh juice, fruit, homemade yoghurt but you can order eggs as well. I don't want to tell you too much because it's always so nice to have little surprises but each morning would be a tray of coffee waiting for us outside our door we would sit out before breakfast, in the afternoon there is Moroccan mint tea and divine cakes such as French macaroons in beautiful colours. At night the cool karma music plays and the food is better than anywhere I have eaten in Marrakesh, we had Mohitos in the cool bar area what more can I say just book it you will love it.

Room Tip: We had the Imperiel Suite with a bronze freestanding bath, the shower room is huge with a hand of fa...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2012

We booked a four night break at Riad el Fenn and had a wonderful holiday. The service was excellent throughout - from being greeted at the airport by our polite and courteous driver to the Riad itself where every member of staff went out of their way to make our stay extra-special.

The best bits:
Food:
1. Tea and pastries left outside your room every morning - the perfect start to the day.
2. Breakfast itself - served anywhere (your room, the beautiful terrace, any of the nooks and crannies around the Riad), with fresh orange juice, pancakes, croissants, eggs, berber bread and anything else you can think of to ask for.
3. Lunch/dinner - so delicious that we ate in the Riad every night except one. The three-course set dinner menu needs an empty stomach though!
4. Afternoon tea - every day there is mint tea with pastries - good enough to skip lunch for!

Rooms:
Stunning! Beautiful artistic details throughout, thoughtful touches everywhere and lovely toiletries in the bathroom. Very spacious, good aircon (very important as we went in July!) and not too kitsch.

Setting:
Only a short walk from the Medina and within walking distance from the new town.

The spa:
We had a Hammam, certainly an experience (not necessarily a relaxing one!), included in our package and would have loved to have had any of the other spa treatments on their extensive menu.

The bad bits:
Nothing! Only one word of warning, which is not specific to the Riad, is that we both suffered with travellers' diarrhoea, which is very common in Morocco so you might want to think twice before taking young children.

In summary, we had a wonderful time and would recommend Riad el Fenn to anyone and everyone. They made our holiday so special with luxury throughout and it is the only place we would stay in Marrakech.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
willemsmit2011, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, August 23, 2012
Thank you, greatly appreciated! Do come again, warm regards, the El Fenn team
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Boulder, Colorado
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2012

Our family of five (2 adults, 3 kids 14-22) stayed four nights at the riad. We enjoyed our stay immensely. We did not schedule any planned excursions; most days we planned points of interest to see for ourselves, and most were within walking distance of the riad. The riad itself is lovely and a haven of relaxation. Our rooms (we booked two suites) were beautifully appointed (bed was a bit firm for my taste). Breakfast on the rooftop terrace was delectable: croissants with jam, fresh fruit, coffee/tea & the amazing fresh-squeezed orange juice (eggs cooked to order upon request). We mostly took other meals out on the town. We looked forward to daily afternoon tea & sweets in the courtyard, so cool & inviting. The staff was courteous and available if needed but not intrusive. Service was consistently good, with the exception of our final day of breakfast where things were not running as smoothly as on previous days. My notoriously difficult-to-please kids thought the riad was wonderful.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
70 hotel reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
303 helpful votes 303 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2012

I have really wrestled whether to write a review or not. The problem is that we didn't particularly enjoy our stay at the El Fenn, but Megan, who I understand part-time manages the riad is really excellent and personable and a mine of information. So to write a review and say anything that could be construed as negative about the riad feels like an attack on her. But, I only have good things to write about Megan and her assistance in every way.

A few years ago I wrote a rave review about the El Fenn, and maybe I had rose coloured spectacles, or perhaps things have changed? Certainly we now have a much bigger experience of what Marrakech has to offer, so we have a more informed broad opinion.

I suspect many people pick the El Fenn for the same reason I did a few years ago - they select it because it is linked with the Branson name and Virgin group. So people feel comfortable with that. However, I don't think there's that connection anymore? I've certainly heard a few people say "isn't the El Fenn under new management?"

One of the problems with going to Marrakech in the summer is that it is low season in Morocco, so this is the time you may not have access to all of the riad, and you may have to deal with some building work. We have now been at the El Fenn twice, and both times there have been issues with building work, and both times I've been woken up by banging far too early in the morning. I 100% understand that work needs to be done, but there are also paying guests around who are trying to get some peace away from their mad noisy lives - so any noisy work should at at least be kept to something like after 9.30 or 10am. Or am I asking for too much?

Now, this is a tricky one. The El Fenn now feels grubby. There are various fabric covered seating areas, and they are those same fabrics that were there a few years ago - and they feel grubby. There are books laying around the place, which is great, but they feel grubby. The riad is not dirty, people are always cleaning, the rooms are very clean, but it's time to change all those fabrics, especially up on the roof terrace, and perhaps keep all the books in the library after they've been cleaned. During our stay we dined a few minutes away at Maison MK and you feel the contrast - you're happy to sit down anywhere, it looks and feels clean, you don't want to constantly wash your hands. And then you go back to the El Fenn and just want to throw away all those grubby scratchy fabrics.

Sadly, a small note that further soured our stay. Many riads have don't have locks on the bedroom doors. At least the El Fenn has locks on the inside of the doors, but you cannot lock your door once you leave. This doesn't really bother us. However, at another riad a few years ago, the night before we left, we found something in our room had been tampered with while we were having dinner up on the terrace. And I am really sad to say that on our last morning at the El Fenn someone tampered with some of our belongings while we were up on the terrace having breakfast. Nothing was taken, but as soon as went back into the room it was clear a particular item had hastily been tampered with. So, from now on if I stay at any riads I've not been to before I will be asking if bedrooms can be locked. So I strongly advise the El Fenn and any other riad to seriously consider locks on both sides of the door. I really hate that on both occasions our belongings were tampered with when 'someone' knew we were on the premises eating, and they were less likely to be disturbed.

I do NOT want to put anyone off staying at the El Fenn. If it's your first time in Marrakech then you will probably enjoy it very much. It is in a good location, and truly, if Megan is around you would be hard pushed to find a better host. But if Megan had not been at the El Fenn during our stay we would have checked out early - she was the saving grace. Loved her.

There are some amazing riads in Marrakech, and right now the El Fenn is not at the top of its game. It needs to get back on track - I hope it does. And if you are going to Marrakech I absolutely believe you should try and stay at two or three riads and get a bigger impression of what the Medina has to offer. We are not interested in the touristy souk or the main square, Jemaa el Fna, at all. But every year, once or twice, we return to Marrakech to experience the riads because they are all so varied and give different experiences. But for now the Riad El Fenn will be taken off the 'must return' list.

.

Room Tip: Ask if there are any building works going on, and get a room far away from them.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
willemsmit2011, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, August 19, 2012
dear sir | madam, we greatly appreciate your time and effort to provide us with your feedback.

It is good to hear Megan has been such a wonderful host. She joined our team a few months ago, indeed on a part time basis, as she is a professional writer. After staying at El Fenn as our guests she joined El Fenn and besides doing a great job, she is also a great colleague to work with.

Riad El Fenn was co created 10 years ago by Vanessa Branson and she has been the owner ever since together with Howell James. During those years El Fenn has been extended from the original 6 rooms to the current 20 at El Fenn and 4 at Riad Vanessa. Rafik and I joined on the day exactly a year ago and have been managing it since.

The summer is indeed very different from the rest of the year. Because of the heat and ramadan it is low season. We therefore used this period to create a new entrance to our restaurant, and repainted our spa. We are very sorry to hear this has troubled your stay and do sincerely apologize. Perhaps good to know: the next construction will be our kitchen and will probably take place next summer. As we are learning from this, we will communicate this (as soon as the period has been finalized) when a reservation inquiry is made. We will also post it on our website and other social media.

In the last year we went through the riad with 'a dust brush' and most rooms have been repainted and all the fabrics in the courtyard have been changed over the last 3 months. The Kelims on the roof terrace are indeed always a challenge and are normally changed every 3 months as the sun completely wears them out. We decided to take it over the summer this time and should have known better as there is a thin line between shabby and chique. We also agree the books feel a bit grubby and besides Vanessa is taking out a whole new lot, we will take your advice and keep them in the library.

Our top priority is the well being of our guests of which safety and security is number 1. To ensure this we employ, on a 24-hours basis, a professional security company to guard over you and your belongings. We are therefore very pleased this has so far not let to any issues.

Last but least; we do hope you will return to El Fenn, which you enjoyed once and we hope you will be able to experience we did put your valued feedback into actions.

warm regards, Willem
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Additional Information about El Fenn

Address: Derb Moullay Abdullah Ben Hezzian | Bab el Ksour, Medina, Marrakech, Morocco
Phone Number:
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#15 Spa Hotel in Marrakech
#20 Luxury Hotel in Marrakech
#24 Business Hotel in Marrakech
#47 Family Hotel in Marrakech
#64 Romantic Hotel in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — El Fenn 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With 20 individually styled rooms and suites, a four-bedroom private riad, 3 swimming pools and its own hammam spa, El Fenn is a unique boutique hotel combining grandeur and historic architecture with hideaway nooks, terraces and gardens - making it the most peaceful place from which to enjoy Africa's most exotic city.Our story began with two friends on the hunt for a small riad to buy as a holiday home. It was 2002 when Vanessa Branson and Howell James walked into the almost ruined courtyard of one of Marrakech's formerly great private homes. Nearing dusk and with the sound of the muezzin's call to prayer echoing in the air, they instantly fell in love with the atmospheric house which was being sold with three smaller neighbouring homes. They soon realised that their holiday home was going to become so much more.At the time, only a handful of Marrakech's riads had been converted to small hotels and Vanessa and Howell knew they wanted to open a place offering something different – a home from home retreat that combined great food and service with the spirit of the building's past and a contemporary decorative twist. During a two-year renovation, local craftsman used traditional techniques to breathe new life into the building. Polished lime plastering was used in a rainbow of colours to create walls, baths and bed frames, original tiling was renovated and carved cedar ceilings restored. Retro furniture sourced from local flea markets was combined with one-off bespoke pieces to create a unique interior. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riad El Fenn Marrakech
Riad El Fenn Hotel Marrakech

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