My husband and I stayed with our three kids at Riad El Fenn for 4 nights in occasion of my husband's 40th birthday - a fantastic choice!
The Riad is a beautiful place and will make your Marrakech trip pretty unforgettable! We stayed in one of the Imperial suites for 4 nights, but could have happily stayed for much longer.
Riad el Fenn is made up of three connecting riads, making it very spacious, a real bonus when you have three excited kids with you. We had the sole use of the main pool (but the heated water, at the beginning of March, was pretty cold) and the kids loved splashing about in the plunge pool on the roof terrace (which gets the sun all day - the other two pools unfortunately are mainly in the shade). There's also a small cinema room (which was out of order when we stayed), ideal for kids to use to watch some movies - I suggest you bring along a few kids' DVDs!
Coffee, tea and some pastries are left by your room door every morning just before 8AM. How I loved sitting on the outside small sofa sipping a freshly brewed cup of coffee while the rest of the family was still in bed, and chirping birds all around me! (and, admittedly, also an iPad to read the morning news...)
Breakfast and light lunch is served on the roof terrace, with magnificent views of the Koutoubia Mosque and Atlas mountains. There's even a bowling green for kids (and adults) to entertain themselves with a game of bowls.
The main restaurant where evening meals are served is very atmospheric and unmissable. There's a wonderful array of art exhibits on the walls which I couldn't stop photographing! The food is well above average and the chef made our kids whatever food we asked for. The service throughout is very good, especially at the front office.
In the afternoon, cakes, coffee and tea are made available on the ground floor near the front office for guests' use. The cakes are freshly made and delicious. And there are little tortoises walking around as you enjoy your afternoon snack (my girls loved them)!
The location of Riad el Fenn is absolutely fantastic, a two-minute walk to the Koutoubia mosque and a five-minute walk to Jemaa el Fna, the main square. The hotel recommends food stall no.1, where we happily (and cheaply) dined twice.
Being so close to the souks and Medina makes exploring Marrakech very possible with children as it gives you the chance to pop in and out of the hotel throughout the day.
On the last night, my husband misplaced (or lost) the keys to our room safe (where our passports were) - the safe was swiftly broken into with screwdrivers and hammers (making it unusable) at no extra charge.
As a final note, and looking at previous reviews, Riad el Fenn is certainly not without its small faults (some handles that come off, some windows hard to open, some smoke in the room when the fireplace is on) - but that is because it is an authentic place. If you want a faultless hotel, there's plenty of choice of modern large-chain hotels around Marrakech, with none of the charm of this Riad though.
Thank you Riad el Fenn for making our trip so memorable, we will be back (if you'll have us!).
- 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