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“Difficult to judge” 3 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
Ranked #48 of 460 hotels in Marrakech
Stockholm, Sweden
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Difficult to judge”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

We just returned from a 3 night stay at the riad. It is difficult to rate this hotel, as there are so many good, but also disappointing points:
Plus:
Our room was large, beautiful. Best rain shower ever! Rooms are clean, as are all the areas of the hotel.
The roof top terrasse is gorgeous and a lovely place to sit, sun, have a drink etc. It has a very calm and relaxing atmosphere. Great view over the medina.
Breakfast on the rooftop was very good; home-made yoghurt, fresh fruit, fresh fruits juice, croissants; porridge, eggs etc made to order.
Staff on the roof terrasse was very friendly and helpful.
Location is perfect; walking distance to almost all the sights.
Front door guard was very friendly and helpful organising petit-taxis for fair price.
Drinks on the root top come with a nice selection of olives etc; the roof top staff is very attentive.
Lovely entertaining turtle family near the reception. Be carful were you walk!

Downside:
The rugs covering the sitting areas have seen better days.
There are no locks on the doors to your room (I do not like leaving my cameras etc around).
The safe in our room was not fixed to anything; it was light weight and you could just walk off with it.
Plumbing in the sink was poor - did not drain.
We stayed with 2 adults, 2 children in one room. However, morning drinks in front of the door were only for 2, the pastries for 3(???). As children pay for their stay, they should be treated equal (actually, make that always!)
We were offered a swift welcome tea near the reception - all cups had been used before and tea pot was empty. Not a good first impression.
Shampoo etc were not refilled during our stay.
We had booked transport, restaurant reservation etc - on several occasion these were forgotten. If you stay at the El Fenn, make sure you keep reminding them!

For the amount of money you pay, you should expect basic things to work. I had the feeling that there was a lack of general overview and management.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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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 (78)
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English first
Andover, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

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....

  • Stayed March 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
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Andover, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

As soon as you step into the “tardis” that is Riad El Fenn you feel that you are cocooned in a calming, luxurious home from home that makes the madness of Marrakesh and its teaming souks feel like they are miles away rather than just the few steps from the riad that they really are.
A number of hotels that try to make you feel special fall spectacularly short. It is difficult to put into words but the best description I can think of is that it feels that you are walking into a charming home. I know a few people that have their homes set up as if they are a hotel and it feels sterile, El Fenn is exactly the opposite – almost akin to the disparity between the beggars in the souks and the flash business people whistling along outside the medina – El Fenn creates the same sense of intrigue – it is a place where you walk in and it immediately feels like home. Our eldest daughter who is 9 and is generally anxious at the start of a holiday felt “safe” as soon as she arrived.
The decor plays homage to all that is Morocco and the rooms are simply, elegantly furnished with a mix of the locally made furnishings and the modern technology that we all still need at times (flat screens for the parents, the odd movie for the kids and wifi for the essential email connection to the outside world!).

The pool area was my favourite – it is best described as like a set from an Indiana Jones film with incredible foliage all around you and the open skies above attracting the birdlife and the occasional wailing from the call to prayer. A lazy time spent here with the odd dip in the pool listening to the faint sounds of the medina followed by an amble through the beautifully lit lantern strewn corridors and maze of rooms in the evening with a drink in hand and the relaxing music lulling you into relax mode does wonders for the stress of arriving with 2 bickering children!
I have to commend the manager for being superbly attentive, the reception staff for being eager to please and sorting all our excursions and bookings whilst we were there and the rest of the staff for their beaming smiles and genuine sense of the pleasure they took in looking after us during our stay.

El Fenn is a beautiful, relaxing and charming home from home and I can unreservedly recommend it for couples, families and business people alike.
We are a well travelled family of 4 with 2 girls aged 6 and 9 and we all had a fantastic stay so much so that we all would rate El Fenn in the top category of hotels that we have stayed in worldwide and probably number 1 for the sense of occasion that it inspires. We simply cannot wait to return.

Room Tip: pool suite was amazing with its own roof top terrace and plunge pool - room 6 or 19
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
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New York
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

The Riad El Fenn is really amazing. The people that work at the Riad are lovely and helpful. The rooms are huge (at least the ones we stayed in). We stayed in 18, 19 & 20. 19 has its own roof terrance with plunge pool. If available, it is worth the price. They are all decorated differently and have large bathrooms. The RIAD is a haven within a bustling city. We lounged on the roof terrace every day and when we needed a break from the sun, we went for a walk in the souks.

What I really loved about this hotel was the location. If you walked out the back door you could walk down a side street right into the middle of the souks without going through the main square which is very crowded. We personally loved the souks. It was fun seeing all the different shops. The salesman are a bit aggressive but in a very friendly way. It is a sport for them to barter on the price. And if you make it a sport as well, it can be fun. Some people found it annoying. My husband and I loved it. Everyday we went in a different direction and found something new.

When we booked this trip, we planned on staying in the Medina for 3 nights and then going to the Palmerie (desert 20 mins outside of old city). When we arrived at the next hotel, we were disappointed. We missed having the ability to walk into the old city and we really missed the Riad El Fenn. There wasn't any atmosphere at the new hotel (which was more expensive) and we felt like we were the only ones at the hotel. We called the Riad El Fenn and they had a room for us so we went right back.

The roof terrace is just perfect. You can sit in the sun during the day, have an amazing lunch (we had the hotel set lunch every day and loved it - but they have many other options as well) and have drinks and dinner at night. Or if you go out to dinner, it was nice to come back to the hotel and have a drink before bed.

Again, the staff is really great. The decor is exceptional. The food delicious.

As a side note, we went to have a drink at the Royal Mansour hotel which is right down the street. Crazy expensive but we wanted to see if it would be worth it for our next trip. The hotel just opened last year. beautiful hotel but no atmosphere and my husband said it was the most expensive drink I have ever had - 35 euros.

We also ate in the square one night. This was fun. It is crowded and you will be approached to sit in every food stand but try to ignore this and just enjoy the experience.

One last note. I packed many colorful summer outfits. I realized that when walking through the Medina, the best is to wear understated outfits. Otherwise you just stand out. I also wore short shorts one day and felt a bit strange since most people had their legs covered. So no need to bring heels or cute outfits to walk around.

Room Tip: we loved 18, 19 and 20. 18 & 19 have close access to roof terrace....19 has its own terrace and...
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  • Stayed April 2013, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

I visited this beautiful Riad El Fenn a year ago.
Although i was already in Paradise then,..
This time it was even better!!
With incredibly eye for detail this Riad is decorated and it creates a world that 's new and even more beautiful then i already knew it was.
A must see! And even more.. a must experience!
Wow. Here you find the perfect balance between luxury and a very relaxing, comfortable atmosphere.
A very big compliment tot he staff. They are ALL very kind, polite and helpfull!
They make the beauty of the Riad not something you only see, but also something you can feel every minute off your stay there.
If you have to the change to go... please do, go and experience it!!

  • Stayed March 2013, 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
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Agadir, Morocco
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

traveling by myself to Marrakesh, i stayed 4 days in Riad el fenn.
soon i enter to the Riad i feel the warm atmosphere and i think wow i just discover the best place in Marrakesh. very Sheike Riad ,huge space and great decoration and roof terrace is best part .
i was very luck while i was staying there i experience Moroccan weeding ,very special experience indeed .i had good time in Marrakesh and i enjoyed my stayed at Riad el fenn and im coming again but this time with my family.
thank you people for wonderful time

Room Tip: if you dont stay in room 19 less ask to see it
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 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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Munich, Bayern, Germany
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

We were a family of 13 and were looked after in the most wonderful way by attentive staff. They helped us plan our excursions and dinners, had great suggestions. The riad is a spacious oasis, rooms are big and tastefully decorated. Thank you!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about El Fenn

Also Known As:
Riad El Fenn Hotel
Riad El Fenn Marrakech
Riad El Fenn Hotel Marrakech
Riad 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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#17 Luxury Hotel in Marrakech
#23 Business Hotel in Marrakech
#63 Family Hotel in Marrakech
#73 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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