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“Beautiful Riad” 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
Ranked #48 of 460 hotels in Marrakech
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Beautiful Riad”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

Although we only visited the El Fenn for a cool drink on a hot day, I had to review this fantastic place. We tentatively asked if we could be shown around(and wasnt sure if this would be ok) and the restaurant manager Houssein couldnt have been more helpful explaining the history of the building his passion for his work at the El Fenn is obvious. The decor and the atmosphere of this amazing place have to be experienced first hand. We enjoyed a cold drink on the rooftop terrace and were served by Tied who was really attentive and made us feel very welcome. Will definately be booking next time we are in Marrakech.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 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 (78)
Date | Rating
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English first
New York City, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

An enchanting series of tiny courtyards linked by stairs, serene and cool. A courtyard garden with a family of tortoises. Afternoon tea and pastries. A beautiful rooftop terrace with excellent food, a good wine/beer selection, and exceptional service. While I didn't try out the spa, it looked lovely and relaxing.

But Riad el Fenn is not just suitable for quiet leisure. It's conveniently located right at the entrance to the Medina-so you can get there by taxi and proceed on foot. The wi-fi coverage is excellent throughout. And the coffee/tea service every morning at 7:30 is a great start to a full day of exploring the city, if you're so inclined.

Highly recommended.

  • Stayed June 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.
Barcelona, Spain
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013

We stayed for sadly only 1 night at this amazing hotel. It consists of 4 courtyards, all joined to make an amazing riad. Although it has 21 rooms, you can find so many little quiet and beautifully decorated corners. It takes at least a day to soak in all the sights of just this riad, let alone the busy chaotic world outside the doors. The art, and collection of books in every room and the library, the rooftop terrace and dining, the family of turtles in the courtyard - all invite you to just relax and soak up the ambience. Not to mention the spa - I have never felt so clean in my life as after the hammam experience there.

But even better than all that, the service was fantastic. Genuinely friendly and cheerful staff. I was particularly impressed that when one of the people in the office found out that we were leaving after only 1 night, and that our flights out of Marrakech weren't until late the following day, she quickly arranged for us to relax in another room for the day, as our suite was being rented the following night. All without us even hinting that we would like to do that.

I would HIGHLY recommend this place for a fantastic experience. It ranks up in the two 2 hotel experiences of my life!

  • Stayed June 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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willemsmit2011, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, June 19, 2013
dear Lubie,

thank you so much for your kind words. it is always a great pleasure for the whole El Fenn crew to read about our guest's experience.

Hope to have you back for a third great experience!

warm regards, willem
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San Diego, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

2 Nobel Prizewinners recommended this hotel...now we see why!! Spectacular, quirky oasis in the old medina. Food service the best we found in Morocco with a staff that understands international travel standards but does not sacrifice local charm. Each of our rooms was an individual jewel, updated with a quirky design sense and many artist touches in public and private spaces. Unexpected personal touches kept wowing us and we would DEFINITELY come back. Despite very good access to the souks and core of the medina, the location was perfect for taxi access with our luggage and near the landmark Bab el Ksour gate making navigation easy in the old city.We loved the rooftop restaurant, where the food and service outperformed many more famous venues we tried.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
willemsmit2011, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, June 19, 2013
dear Jim,

thank you so much for your very kind words and what an honour to read we have been recommended to you by 2 Nobel prizewinners. We do hope to have you back in the near future!

warm regards, willem
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

There really is no better place in the whole of Marrakech.

From the dusty hot medina it is impossible to imagine what lies behind the large brown doors that are the portals to El Fenn. The most beautiful series of courtyards unravels as you wander in - some filled with day beds, orange trees and fountains, others with pools and sun-loungers and the 'reception' courtyard is packed with incredible palms, more orange trees and a fabulous little family of tortoises (with their own stylish little house). We arrived at tea time and tables were laden with homemade little cakes, mint tea and biscuits - this happens every afternoon around 4pm.

We were greeted by the charming Karima and whisked off for a quick tour of El Fenn. It is all palatial but nothing could have prepared us for it all and wow - the roof terraces! Gorgeous day beds, spaciously dotted around, hip music, a little pool, friendly staff, eager to ensure happy times are had by all, but the backdrop nails it - the Atlas mountains and the Koutoubia Mosque. To say it is picture postcard is massively underplaying it.

Expectations were pretty high when we were shown our room, down on the ground floor, near to the large marble pool. We could not have been more delighted! It was huge with a massive bed (with fabulous sheets), a silver free-standing bath, a separate bathroom and dressing room and a private outside area where we had breakfast most mornings. The style of everything is exquisite and I immediately wanted to re-do our house!! Apparently much of El Fenn has recently been refurbished and it certainly feels incredibly well cared for. Charmingly and understandably the staff all have so much pride in the place. They are obviously very well managed and looked after.

We decided to eat on the roof terrace that night but ended up eating on it every night as the menu is brilliant and varied, the food well prepared and the wine list well thought out....and that backdrop would take some beating! It's even better at night!

I can't recommend this place highly enough.

Room Tip: They are all brilliant
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  • Stayed June 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
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, June 19, 2013
dear Sir | madam,

thank you so much for sharing your experience of El Fenn. it is always wonderful for the whole team to read such wonderful feedback and indeed we are all very proud of what we have co created over the last 2 years.

During the major renovations we have done over the last 2 years we also redid room 14 where you were staying and added the coper bath tub and found the 4 poster bed, you are mentioning. Al linens have indeed been replaced with 600 count hand embroider Egyptian cotton.

We are now finishing the last couple of rooms and we do hope to see you back to get more El Fenn experience!

warm regards, willem
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Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2013

We stayed for 5 nights at El Fenn.As seasoned travellers we had great expectations but unfortunately we found it to have many short comings.
Our room was so dark it was all most impossible to find clothes,dress and relax.
Very impractical for two suitcases,no where but the floor to leave and try and live out of.
There was nothing in the room to explain the workings or routines of the hotel.No info.
Not even a pencil and paper.
I think you were expected to go to reception every time you needed anything.
The staff were trying their best ,but it just isn't a 5 star stay.
We had a constant stream of staff and potential guests walking past our room all day.
At night the noise from wandering guests or restaurant goers was annoying.
All seemed to wander to sticky nose at our courtyard ,shouting and commenting etc.
On several occasions we had to go and ask them to go so we could sleep.
The bed was the most uncomfortable we have ever slept in.
I just think there was too much "Lay back its cool mentality "and not enough real luxury and service.People were constantly being shown through the hotel at the detriment of the paying guests.
The price does not fit the reality ,sorry.
It has beautiful architecture and art works etc,but its not a place of true relaxation and luxury.
Things looked good but were not comfortable or practical.
The food at the restaurant was delicious,but not spectacular.The food was reasonably priced.
Guests want a beautiful environment✅
A comfortable bed❎
A quiet place to relax and sleep❎
A workable room to store luggage and belongings❎
I enjoyed the stay in Morroco,but was left disappointed with our hotel choice,My husband and I would not go back.

Room Tip: It's a noisy place,not a peaceful retreat.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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, June 19, 2013
dear Julie,

thank you so much for sharing your feedback with us, which we greatly appreciate.

It is unfortunate to read we were unable to meet your expectations. Reading your comments, we have to agree the information in the room is insufficient and we are therefore updating our in-house information. However we pride ourself on a very personalised service, which is reflected in the main feedback here on trip Advisor. Many of our guests really enjoy the interaction with our staff and we're sorry that it didn't satisfy you. In terms of the darkness of your room, riads are built this way in order to expel heat and noise levels are an occasional consequence of the open lay out of traditional buildings. We're always more than happy though to move guests if they come to us and we have another room available that we think might suit them better. So sorry that your stay didn't match up to your hopes but we hope this explains some of the issues more clearly.

warm regards, willem smit
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013

Just returned from a four day trip in morocco to relax, suck up some culture, sun and a little shopping. I took my girlfriend who is a designer by trade and has a deep love for culture. I am happy either way lying in the sun or trotting around.

We spent two days in the Atlas Mountains at Branson's Kasbah Tamadot - the best part of it was a bucket list quad bike through the surrounding countryside.

We got to El Fenn late in the evening were just aghast at the vibe of the place. Deliciously cool art, design and vibe candle lit interlaced with garden vines and soothing cafe del mar type muzak.

We stayed in Room 19 with a brown leather hand sticked floor, double shower, daft high ceilings and its own roof terrage with a plunge pool - the floor of which can been seen from the bedroom below.

The staff were very accommodating and helpful yet bizarrely out the way so you don't feel you are in the middle of some commercial hospitality conference.

The food was simple yet diverse and relevant to its surroundings. breakfast was included and delivered with fruit, yoghurt, pastries, fresh bread and OJ alongside a small selection of egg affairs.

We were recommended to hire a guide to hit the souks and took on Mustapha for two days seeing the history and the all important haggling to furnish our new house. He was funny, knowledgable and a joy to be around. He taught us things and gave us site into a religion and culture that I had not spent the time to really understand. Such beauty, logic and kindness. That was one of the real life enhancing returns from this trip and the El Fenn experience.

Leaving was hard, probably one of the hardest holiday farewells we've had. Made even more so by the tortoises in the courtyard, who although gorging on their lettuce afternoon tea, seemed upset we were leaving their little paradise by managing to get under our luggage and in our exit path at every opportunity.

This place and the experience really hit the nail on the head for us. If you're up for sun, culture, good people and a real grassroots hospitable experience, I have yet to find better.

Room Tip: Room 19 with its own rooftop plunge pool is incredible.
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  • Stayed May 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
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, June 19, 2013
dear Benjamin,

thank you so much for your very kind words, great for all of us to read. We also passed on your compliments to Mustapha.

hope to have you back again soon,

warm regards, willem smit
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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
#48 Romantic Hotel in Marrakech
#57 Family 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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