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“Terrace Restaurant: Flatters to deceive” 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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Ranked #35 of 467 Hotels in Marrakech
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
“Terrace Restaurant: Flatters to deceive”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2013

We were not staying here so this is a terrace restaurant review.

I am awarding this 3 stars purely on standard of food. There was, however, some really nice parts to our experience so I will talk about those first.

The lady on reception was great and gave myself, my wife and two young girls a tour of the riad (including getting two tortoises for the girls to see!). The riad is spectatacular, with two pools, stunning planting (with great night garden lighting). She escorted us to the terrace restaurant. So far, so very good.

The terrace is nice comprising a typical Moroccan seating area, restaurant table, some sun beds and small plunge pool. Very nice with romantic mood lighting for all you honeymooners and anniversary celebrators out there...or those just on a romantic break.

The food...the menu is very small which is often a good thing...do a limited range well is much better than do a large range badly.

My wife ordered the lentil soup and I ordered the beef carpaccio. Her impression was 'nothing special and under seasoned'. My carpaccio? Well it was a plate of beef 'circles' arranged like a pizza with some grated cheese on it. Not great.

Main courses were steaks, medium rare and rare. All I can say is that it was average. I never understand why, when you order a sauce, they douse the food in it rather than give you the option to decide if you want it 'off or on'.

I think they need to reboot their menu and food standards...it's more cafe than restaurant.

I am going to temper this review by saying that the riad looked fantastic and the service was generally very good. Would this experience put me off staying there? no, it wouldn't. Two main reasons (1) a restaurant is not the only defining factor and they have two (I only ate in one) (2) the standard of the public spaces was very high and the location is very very good.

I would definitely consider staying here and giving the food another chance...if on second look the food did not improve..well, there are plenty of other eating options in Marrakech.

We plundered the cocktail menu, expensive, slow service but very well done all the same.

Room Tip: In the heat of the Marrakech summer sun, I would pick one of the two plunge pool rooms.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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524 reviews from our community

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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
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English first
Brighton, United Kingdom
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

Some friends were staying here, and we visited them cocktails a couple of times, absolutely stunning decor and ambiance, very good cocktails best enjoyed on the roof terrace! Even a visit for drinks or dinner will make your stay in Marrakesh memorable - as it did ours.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

If you are looking for a stylish Riad in a fabulous location then look no further. The friendliness of the staff, the quality and style of the furnishings, the stunning rooftop (where we lost ourselves comfortably for hours!) and the delicious food - all went towards making this a perfect getaway. Can't wait to go back in March.

Room Tip: Let the Riad talk you through the options as i'm told their all a bit different.
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  • Stayed April 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

We had a wonderful three night stay at El Fenn commencing with our airport transfer from Casablanca. We had a courtyard room which was fantastic and about the same size as our one bedroom apartment in Singapore. The breakfasts were fantastic and a great way to start the day. The staff kindly wrapped up a couple of baguettes to take with us on the train to Fez. Location is perfect with being just inside the Medina. The staff were friendly and always willing to assist us as first time visitors to Morocco. We will definitely stay there should we visit Marrakesh again.

  • Stayed July 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013 via mobile

We stayed in El Fenn for 3 days and it was simply amazing. Everyone in our group had a uniquely stunning room. My room was bigger than my flat in London!

We also had a fantastic cooking class with the chef and then enjoyed our meal on the beautiful rooftop terrace. Definitely one of the best hotels Ive stayed at in the world.

Can't say enough about the warm and wonderful experience that Megan, Yulia, and the whole staff provided. Highly Recommend, I cant wait to visit again!

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This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

This place is a hidden gem in the heart of Marrakech within the walls of the old city. We stayed here for 4 nights in July, and we absolutely adored it. It's the perfect getaway for couples wanting a break away from the norm to relax and recharge. Here's some quick facts:

1. Location. Perfectly positioned right in the heart of the old city; 5 mins walk to Koutoubia Mosque, El Fnna Square and the Souks, and 5 mins taxi to Guileuz.

2. Riad & Facilities. There is no one word that sums it up, but if I had to in a few words: authentic, unique, warm, homely, cosy, private, tranquil, clean. There are 3 private pools, a cinema room, bar and library. Breakfast on the terrace is amazing, also recommend the hamam and massage - which was phenomenal.

3. Service & Staff. This is what makes the difference at this place, service is top notch. All of the staff are welcoming , accommodating and always smiling. Thank you especially to Yulia, Latifah and Megan (for tips on attractions and local info!).

Highly recommended and can't wait to visit again!

Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Melbourne, Australia
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

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.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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
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:
#10 Spa Hotel in Marrakech
#11 Business Hotel in Marrakech
#13 Luxury Hotel in Marrakech
#24 Family Hotel in Marrakech
#31 Romantic Hotel in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — El Fenn 4*
Number of rooms: 20
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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