With a myriad of riads to choose from and a myriad of reviews espousing the virtues of most of them , making a choice was a challenge.So many of them sounded great and looked interesting on the websites.Ultimately we narrowed our choices to El Fenn (because we thought Branson's sister wouldn't want to let the family down and fortunately she didn't) and Riad 72 (not sure why in the end but it was excellent as well but much smaller than El Fenn).We also stayed at La Mamounia ,which is a totally different experience to the riad.
El Fenn has a great feel to it.Sitting in one of the courtyards having afternoon tea whilst the pet tortoises lazily ambled by our feet was quite surreal.Chilling in the nearby courtyard and plunging into its chilly pool certainly took the edge off the heat of the day.It was easy just being languid.
The rooftop with its huge terrace and restaurant/bar (with lots of daybeds and lounges to relax on) has amazing views and a very small plunge pool which serves its purpose.Probably going to be too hot to hang out here during the heat of the day but great for breakfast and dinner.Great spot to enjoy the sunset and cocktail whilst listening to the haunting evening calls to prayer.Breakfast had typical choices which included amazing croissants and locally made jams.One could easily over indulge.We dined in the 3 nights we stayed and enjoyed a selection of Moroccan dishes with local Rose' wine which was surprisingly good and matched the food and outside temperature well.The food was fine but not as good as we had at Riad 72.After dinner we just enjoyed post dinner drinks lounging on one of the daybeds(does that name apply in the evenings?) looking up at the stars and across the illuminated skyline.
The room we had was very spacious but hanging space was a little light on.The small safe in the room was not fixed but the riad manager was able to store our valuables in their safe in the managers office.We didn't feel security to be an issue but you have to question the logic of providing a room safe that someone could just pick up and walk away with.
The floors aren't tiled but are clean and nice and cool.
We enjoyed the morning delivery of coffee and a couple of pastries which was placed outside our room each morning.We sat on the chairs on the verandah outside our room.
Judging from some comments by some other guests who had to move room (and the failure of the roof top toilet) plumbing can be an issue at time.
We had a massage in the little spa area(which also had a pool) which was ok as far as massages go but nevertheless a very pleasant way to spend an hour or so.
Would we recommend this riad to our friends?--yes.Great location,chilled out ambiance with a blend of Moroccan and shabby chic that doesn't look contrived,unobtrusive but helpful staff,cool soundtrack wherever you were in the riad.The rooftop area really is worth a visit from sunset onwards even if you aren't staying in the riad-eat at the restaurant or grab some refreshments and soak up the stunning views.Would be a great place to hang out with a bunch of friends.
The guide we got thru the riad was excellent.We just wanted to be shown thru the souks,el fna sq and a couple of museums(Ben Youssef was quite fascinating) .He was knowledgeable , good company and not looking to take us to shops/stalls owned by his cousin /brother/uncle who would offer us a special deal.
And one more thing-the red leather Moroccan slippers are complimentary and if your feet are small enough, a good way to pad around the riad.