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“Heaven” 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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Ranked #39 of 460 Hotels in Marrakech
London, United Kingdom
1 review
“Heaven”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

This morning I woke up back home in my own bed after a weekend at Riad el Fenn and I am suffering from serious withdrawal symptoms. There were no flasks of coffee outside my door and no one to make me the amazing homemade porridge and yogurt I have become accustomed to, whilst taking in the morning sun on the rooftop looking out over Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains. I was only there for four days but it seems as if I had been there for so much longer, my very own Narnia.

We had a lovely tour guide (organised by the hotel) that described the charm of Marrakech as the 'beauty within'. This applied to el Fenn with it unassuming entrance that opens into an oasis from which one can escape the hustle and bustle of the city. From the second we arrived we were made to feel at home with all the staff bending over backwards to tend to our every whim. To our delight we were told that we had been upgraded to room six with it's own private terrace and plunge pool, what a treat for my husbands 30th birthday. We ate lunch and dinner at the hotel on the first day, and I would highly recommend getting the daily special that consisted of a selection of fresh vegetables with meat or fish, Moroccan style. My husband and I had our first hammam experience in the spa where we were scrubbed, steamed and submerged in cold pool followed by a massage. The experience was surprisingly relaxing, and I left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated for the evening ahead.

We had a group of friends join us for the weekend and the hotel organised everything for us, from eating out to things to do and see to an incredible dinner party in one of the secluded courtyards by one of the swimming pools. Yulia, Karima, Sara, Alesandra, Hussain and his team all worked so hard to make this the best dinner party any of us had ever been to. They covered the whole area in lanterns and flowers, lit a fire pit and laid the prettiest table ever, we even had our own speaker system set up to play 20's music. Their attention to detail is impeccable and this is clear to see throughout the hotel, from the fresh patterns of rose petals arranged in the fountains each day to the basket of multicoloured moroccan slippers for the guests to pad around the hotel in. Everyone drank far too much of the delicious Sahara rose and the food was a spectacle for the eyes as well as the stomach with a whole lamb being presented to the table before being ceremoniously carved before us.

This hotel really is a (much nicer, more spoiling) home away from home and I will definitely be returning, our group has decided it would be a lovely annual trip, but given the option I would happily move there tomorrow!

Our only regret was that having taken a closer look at the bill (which was very reasonable) we have noticed that no service had been charged at any point during the weekend, and with everyone working day and night to make this a holiday we will never forget I feel hugely embarrassed and plan to rectify the situation as soon as possible. Without the team at Riad el Fenn I would have not had any time to relax and enjoy myself between organising a group of people, but they took everything off my hands, and did a much better job than I ever could.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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484 reviews from our community

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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 (108)
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london
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2013

From the magnificent and homely rooms, with a bath that could easily be mistaken for a swimming pool, to the super cool bar and restaurant, this Riad makes for an all encopassing experience. There really is something for everyone here, with endless nooks and crannies where you happen upon swimming pools and dining areas, moroccan day beds and roaring fires, fresh made tea cakes and mint tea and the endless sound of birds singing. But most impressive of all was the the never ending attention to detail from all the staff and their way of making you feel totally at home in the Riad and in Marrakech as a whole, great tips on shops, bars and restaurants. We travelled as a group of friends but I would jsut as soon return with my husband and daugher. This Riad is a gem - I can't recommend it highly enough!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2013 via mobile

We had dinner here and it was really fab! Very beautiful fashiony restaurant with charming staff and delicious food. A real treat and next time I would stay here as well,as the hotel staff were the most charming and helpful in Marrakech. Also gad a very nice shop with better end buts and bobs should you need to take back a really nice present for someone.

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This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
london
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

From the moment we were picked up at the airport everything was wonderful. Amazing views from the roof, friendly staff and a totally spectacular room. They deliver coffee and pastries to your room first thing in the morning and then you have breakfast on the roof. Can't wait to get back.

  • Stayed January 2013, 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.
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

Three generations of women (myself = granny ), my daughter and my granddaughter (age 10) stayed here for 3 nights. A wonderful experience. Courtyards with plants,birds and tortoises, high tea served every day, rooftop terrace for breakfast and/or lazing about, pool, hamman (the hotel treated us to this great experience), good restaurant, big basket with lovely leather slippers for the guests to use, each morning a tray with tea, coffee and some typical Morrocan sweets outside your door...We felt like spoilt princesses. No television - but we did not care about that! There is a library, and a "cinema room" where guests can view a film from the selection offered. I would suggest the direction, though, to also provide some for children, and some games, like chess, draughts etc. And just to acknowledge that perfection does not really exist: There was evidence of some overdue maintenance in our room.
We were picked up from the airport and taken back there, with our suitcases carried, put in the mini-van etc. Instead of tipping every time, the hotel reception has a big box on display in which to put an amount of one's own choosing before leaving. In this way, it is explained, all the employees get an honest share. We were very pleased to comply. We booked a guide for a walking tour in the old city and another one to the mountains. Both arranged by the hotel, both friendly and polite, especially kind to my granddaughter.
I did not find an elevator but that doesn't necessariy mean there isn't one. Yet, perhaps for those who cannot climb stairs this is not the best hotel in the city. We happened to hear that the Dutch crown prince Willem-Alexander and his wife princess Maxima stayed here, too. I am confident they liked the experience too!The hotel itself does not boast about it.

Room Tip: I wouldn't know. As soon as you're inside, it is quiet, and nice nooks to be found everywher...
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

This is without doubt the best hotel I have ever stayed in, and that's a big call considering I travel lots and I have also been to many destinations. I stayed here as part of a 3 month euro trip and we took a little side trip to Marrakech. You must must must stay here!! It has first class accommodation with excellent service from the amazing staff and the grounds and rooms are paradise.

To be honest I was a little timid when I first arrived in Marrakech when I arrived into the hassle and bustle. The hotel is down a little alley, but don't let that put you off, once you step through those doors it is paradise. There are no locks on the doors to the hotel rooms which I freaked out about but after being at the hotel for 10 minutes I was so content to even leave my door wide open! There is also a safe for valuables and security is very good.

The rooms are very private and there are little sanctuaries everywhere to be able to sneak away and read a book or catch the afternoon sun. You get a room plus a whole lot more here. The rooms are great, bed comfy, great manchester, lots of space - huge rooms and bathrooms, light filled, we had a window that looked down on to the busy street which was great for people watching. If you are into art - the artwork here is another draw card.

The roof is also a great place to spend time, we loved chilling out on the seating, sitting by the pool, eating the delicious breakfasts up there. The other pools are also amazing places to relax by the water and we never found them busy. The day spa is also excellent!

The food here is soooo good. I am a fussy eater and like the best of everything. This food was incredible. They would put out daily specials. But the kitchen was so flexible - I would tell them what my appetite desired and without any fuss they would make it for me - whether it be salad, chicken, cous cous etc or a plate of watermelon after a day in the sun - they delivered the most tasty, fresh and well cooked food every time. They also held a complimentary afternoon tea each day which was so delightful with treats and eats.

We also did not have very much locked in for our itinerary but the staff were so helpful in organising our days, booking our guides, booking our restaurants - their recommendations were exceptional - especially the day trip that we took to ride the camels - I think it was called La Pause?

I said that this place was the best hotel I have ever stayed in and that is because this hotel feels like a home. And it is so relaxing. I work like crazy and find it hard to wind down and here I did. The staff are also unbelievable - so friendly, helpful and they go out of their way to make your stay special. The English lady that manages it is exceptional at her job - as well as being a really interesting and lovely person to chat with.

This place gets a 10/10 but then gets extra points. As an example on our last day we realised our flight was actually later than we thought - midnight. The hotel at no cost accommodated us. They organised us a driver - he was so organised and had all the exit paperwork in the car for us. When we arrived at the airport he realised our flight was actually about to depart - he ran a million miles a minute and organised for us to check immediately in, ran though the halls with us and literally walked us to the plane door. If we did nt already have a great lasting impression of Riad El Fenn that sealed the deal.

I want to go back to Marrakech just to stay here again!! Thank you so much for being such a highlight of our holiday - Kara and Annalisa

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MeganLD2013, Director of Sales at El Fenn, responded to this review, December 4, 2013
Dear Kara. What can we say?! Thanks so much for the review - and for coming back to stay with us again since your first trip. We hope to see you again when you next come to this side of the world.
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Copenhagen
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

...You want to visit a stereotype, boring, unfriendly staff and a genuine dull interior! But if you want a truly charming experience in the company of great people, funny people, openminded people, in a fantastic refurbishes and designed Riad, I really think you should consider this exquisite Riad, just at the entrance of Bab K'soor.

You are close to the souk, the Jamaa el Fna - and still in your own little heaven. At least we were for 5 days. Room 17 is recommended.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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, February 15, 2013
dear Hyman,

we are so glad you DID come to El Fenn and appreciated all people around. Thank you so much for your wonderful words and time & effort to share this, greatly appreciated by the whole El Fenn team!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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:
#11 Business Hotel in Marrakech
#12 Spa Hotel in Marrakech
#16 Luxury Hotel in Marrakech
#27 Family Hotel in Marrakech
#45 Romantic Hotel in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — El Fenn 4*
Number of rooms: 20
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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