I've just returned from my 2nd visit to Riad El Fenn, this time accompanied by my partner and two daughters and I cannot rate it highly enough. We were picked up by Hassan and transferred quickly and efficiently in an air conditioned car (cold bottles of water having been issued from a cool box in the boot) and from the moment we stepped from the hot busy street through an unassuming door into the riad, we were met with a wonderfully attentive, calm and relaxed atmosphere.
The reception staff were superb, greeting us warmly, immediately putting the children at ease showing them the resident family of tortoises in the courtyard (which kept them amused for hours and provided them with an interesting lesson in reproduction). We spent 6 wonderful days there. We breakfasted on the roof terrace - freshly squeezed orange juice, home-made yoghurt, croissants, fresh fruit, coffee, unlimited supply of bread and jams plus a choice of eggs, home-made muesli (fantastic), porridge etc. We dined in front of a roaring fire on several evenings and each time the food was delicious particularly the fish cooked in paper. The staff were very accommodating too when our daughters occasionallly just wanted pasta rather than something on the menu (although there was plenty of plainer dishes on offer suitable for their as yet relatively uncultured pallettes).
We lounged around in all the different quiet areas/courtyards the riad has to offer and we spent many a happy hour in and around the courtyard pool whilst gazing in awe at the giant palm trees and vines scaling the heights of the riad walls.
A particular highlight of the day for the girls especially was the complimentary afternoon tea served in the courtyard each day consisting of a fabulous array of cakes accompanied by mint tea.
All the staff were incredibly attentive and helpful - nothing was too much trouble. A special mention must go to Willem, the general manager, his assistant Megan, Hussein the restaurant manager and the Reception staff who were all utterly charming and extremely helpful, able to offer plenty of advice on things to do with the children, restaurants, shopping in the souk etc.
I would describe El Fenn as a shabby chic oasis with a house party atmosphere. The rooms are all beautifully furnished with high ceilings, huge baths big enough easily for two along with a wonderful array of exotic smelling potions, big power showers and bathrobes. It's a wonderfully calm and relaxing atmosphere and at night it is truly magical with millions of candles and lanterns evoking a wonderfully atmospheric and romantic ambience.
As a final testiment to El Fenn, we returned there for our last night (after 4 days in the mountains) only to find three other families had checked back in having gone off to other hotels/riads and finding them significantly lacking by comparison.
I was a little unsure of holidaying in Marrakech with two children in tow (away from 5* star luxury with a kids club thrown in!) but I can honestly say that it was one of our best holidays, truly relaxing in a wonderful riad in an exotic city - we're already planning our next trip back....
- Also Known As:
- Riad El Fenn Hotel
- Riad El Fenn Marrakech
- Riad El Fenn Hotel Marrakech
- Riad El Fenn
- 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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