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“Effortless Charm” 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 #41 of 460 hotels in Marrakech
London, United Kingdom
1 review
“Effortless Charm”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

Overall it was a stunning Riad to visit, from the sense of humour as you walk in to be greeted by dozens of slippers, and then walk into breath takingly beautiful courtyards, with both modern and traditional themes.

I would totally echo the comments this hotel has the most fantastic collection of bathrooms i have ever seen... from rain showers to bath’s you could stage a swimming final in... I would agree that not everything is pristine and new adds to the sense of the relaxed atmosphere and your ability that nothing is to much trouble. The Hotel bent over backwards to organise a private dinner and drinks party on the terrace.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Riad Vanessa a few minutes away from the main Riad which was lovely, had stunning r...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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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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 (88)
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English first
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

We have never been in such a cool and wonderful place before. This amazing riad with it's attention to detail, lovely colonial/art deco style is something else.
The room we stayed in, Chambre 19 with it's private rooftop terasse and private pool was just fantastic.
Each morning you are served coffe/thé and cakes outside your room (there are wonderful seating areas outside all rooms), before breakfast so you can wake up gently. What a treat.
Although there are 21 rooms and technically this is a hotel, you are so private, you can sit in different areas for a whole week and admire the beauty of this place. There are so much to explore.
The rooftop terasse were breakfast is served and dinner, has stunning views of Marrakech. You can also eat dinner downstairs in the restaurant were you'll also find the bar. Real art deco style, so cool. Try the drink, Fenn express, lovely!
Each afternoon the pampering continues when the afternoon Tea is served in the courtyard. Wow. This is a hidden gem in a perfect location. Close to the souks but at the same time faar away enough from Jemaa el Fna. It's a 5 minute walk. Perfect.
We will definately be back!
Thanks to all the staff that made our stay such a wonderful and unforgetable experience!!!

Room Tip: Try chefs Tagine! Best one we've Evert had!!!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
52 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

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!).

Room Tip: Imperial Suite 18 is very spacious and will easily accommodate two extra beds for children.
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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
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Stockholm, Sweden
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
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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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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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 Spa Hotel in Marrakech
#14 Luxury Hotel in Marrakech
#24 Business Hotel in Marrakech
#45 Family Hotel in Marrakech
#50 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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