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“Shabby-shabby!” 1 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 #40 of 460 Hotels in Marrakech
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Shabby-shabby!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2013

What a disappointment! What a wretched little room! What a waste of 150 Euros! What a waste of a night in Marrakech!
I have visited Marrakech several times and usually stay at beautiful riads. This time, due to a TEDx event, I booked two nights at El Fenn (and 8 nights in 2 other riads). I booked a Balcony Room for 150 Euros per night.
I was shown to my room and, oh my! my heart sunk. What an ugly and pitiful room! The walls had holes in them where pictures or paintings used to hang and were now bare and stained. The cupboard area was made of a couple of old planks, dusty and unappealing (I did not dare unpack and lay my clothes on them); and then, there was the bathroom. Holly cow! What a dump! Shameful! Dirty! Deplorable! The walls were stained, dirty and scuffed. The shower stuck out of a dreadfully damp ceiling; and then, worst of all: the toilet had revolting brown stains all around it -it was truly disgraceful.
I provide photos I took that depict indisputably the points I made.
Very unhappily I stayed that first night because it was late but in the morning I felt so miserable in such a slovenly room that I asked management if I could leave one day early without being charged, which they refused, saying they could have sold the room one hundred times over. Then I asked them please to move me to another room. They agreed but then one of the managers came to my room (as I was closing my case to be moved) to say that the room they would move me to had just been booked so I had to stay where I was and she then asked what was my problem with the room. When I showed her the dirty toilet, walls, cupboard and ceiling, she said "what's wrong?" as if her eyes could not see the dirt, scuffs and stains. Then she said that they sell the room constantly and never have complaints.

Well, poor guests!

Not only should El Fenn not sell a room in that lamentable, miserable state, but when a guest complains, they have the temerity to argue that they can sell the room as it is! Shame on them! Shame to take money from people by making them stay in an unacceptable room because the photos in their website obscure what there really is on offer. 150 Euros! My hard earned cash so unfairly in their pocket - I feel so very hard done by!

In the morning, the teapot had two (2!!) old used teabags inside it and the general patios in the riad looked decayed; I saw a mouse come out of a fire place, and there was bird droppings on the floor.

By then I was so unhappy that I made my disgust clear and eventually I was told that if I didn't like it, I should leave. Just like that. Without any apology. I made sure to have the manager confirm that I would not be charged for that second night, and I left, relieved not to have to spend another night in such squalor and have to pay for it.

I moved to Riad Mo'Da for the next three nights, and it was glorious, beautiful and clean. For 165 Euros I had a big suite, with a stunning bathroom and great service. It could not have been more different to El Fenn (separate review to follow). What a pleasure it was to sleep in a riad that was well cared for, clean and beautiful.

I felt wronged by El Fenn which seems to rest on undeserved laurels, because not only did it make me waste one night that I could have spent in another, much better place, but I also missed the TEDx event, since I was so shoddily told to leave if I didn't like it that I did not feel I could go back for the event.

There are a lot of beautiful riads in Marrakech, so there is no reason for staying in such a dreadful place when one could stay elsewhere, better, more charming, clean and with good service, for less money. I also stayed at the delightful Snan13, which could give El Fenn a good lesson in hygiene and service.

My advice: do not stay at El Fenn. There are such a lot of better places at better rates! Pity really, because the building is beautiful, some of the spaces are also beautiful, it must have been a really good place to stay once upon a time. But now? No!!!! So badly looked after, shoddy, and with unpleasant service. There is no reason to suffer this place. Stay elsewhere.

Room Tip: Balcony rooms are dreadful.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
willemadriaansmit, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, September 28, 2013
dear unanimous guest,

it is truthfully upsetting, reading your review.

First of all you checked in with your friend being completely happy with the scenery and crowd our hotel offering you this particular weekend. Obviously being a lady on a mission trying to connect.Obviously vary happy the hotel and the TEDX weekend had to offer you until the moment your friend was moving to another hotel, who you then decided to join and expected us to reimburse the remaining nights. I do admit we were at first reluctant but after it was quite clear you were on a mission, we then chose our battle and reimbursed you.

We are the first when not being able to meet expectations, to apologise and make up for it because all of the 50 people involved our very aware we can only do it once and do it good. This however is unfair.

Apparently our reimbursement was not enough; I do hope and then again doubt it you understand the consequences of your accusations; we do employ 50 people and therefore 50 families, who are very co dependent on our performance. We all have worked very, very hard to get where we are today.

Social media has a great affect and i do hope you oversee the consequences cause this is plain revenge for at the end a sum of 150 euros, which we even have comped you. We do hope you sleep well but please choose another bed next time while visiting Marrakech because you are not welcome anymore,

willem smit, general manager
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481 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (107)
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English first
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2013 via mobile

Came here in February to look as we were staying in a French owned Riad nearby. This time we booked El Fenn for part of 20th wedding aniversary as second half was in Bab Ourika. Whilst we were here Ms.Branson arrived and nothing changed in terms of staff attiude. This shows how confident the staff are in their abilities. Food was superb as expected. I can say that all the reviews on El Fenn are spot on. ???

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
MeganLD2013, Director of Sales at El Fenn, responded to this review, October 24, 2013
Thank you InspectorLeStrade for your great review. Come back and see us soon at El Fenn?
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2013

Spent four nights at this beautiful Riad. It's right down the street from the main square and the Koutoubia mosque (walking distance and you can see the mosque from the rooftop). Loved the pet turtles crawling around on the main floor, the delicious morning breakfast, the SUPER friendly and helpful staff, and the luxurious rooms. We visited the hammam for treatment and a massage - A+. If you are visiting Marrakech, definitely stay here!

  • Stayed September 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
willemadriaansmit, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, September 24, 2013
thank you, thank you, thank you, greatly appreciated by the whole El Fenn team
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Alamo, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2013

My wife and I travel all over the world, and stay normally in Very nice places. I honestly cannot remember a better place we have stayed. It just has this cool exotic feel to it. The rooms are just amazing, the food incredible, and the staff even nicer. Coffee and croissants outside your door when you awake, and terrific breakfast on the roof, cooking lesson with Fuoad...can't imagine staying anywhere else in Marrakech.

Room Tip: Room 21 was off the chart!
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  • Stayed September 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
willemadriaansmit, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, September 24, 2013
thank you so much for your time & effort and especially for your very kind words. It is greatly appreciated by the whole El Fenn team. We do hope to welcome you back soon
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London
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

I write this review not to provide any new or additional information (the previous reviewers have all done justice to the hotel!), but just to ensure that this amazing Riad keeps high on the TripAdvisor ratings table!

There are so many stylish places to choose from in Marrakech, and for our annual 'girls trip', I wanted to pick the right one. I am so glad we chose El Fenn. We struggled to do any sightseeing and actually spent one full day using the hotel facilities – the rooftop pool; numerous lounging areas; and the spa. It feels one is staying at a luxurious home.

Karima, a fantastic guest relations manager, couldn’t have been more helpful, providing us with shopping information, dinner bookings, and obliging us with a late check-out so that we could take advantage of the hammam.

Rooftop staff (bartenders; wait staff) were all brilliant. And a special thanks to the lovely gentleman who allowed us to have a late night nightcap after the rooftop had closed.

It is one of those places that I am truly grateful that I can afford.

  • Stayed September 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
willemadriaansmit, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, September 24, 2013
thank you Denise, it is always great to read our guests enjoyed their time with us. Hope to see you soon as our guests again, best, willem
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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2013

The nicest hotel I've ever stayed in - everything was perfect and I would quite happily have stayed in the hotel every day without leaving.

I particularly enjoyed having a hamman, and the fact that the pool was big enough to swim lengths.

I don't have any points of criticism, and little to add to what other reviewers have said. Just wonderful - thank you to everyone there.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
willemadriaansmit, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, September 24, 2013
dear John,

thank you so much for your time, effort and especially your very kind words. Greatly appreciated and hope to have you back as our guests soon, warm regards, willem
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rome, Italy
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

4 nights here in the middle of the August heat and this riad was an oasis of peace and tranquility. The air conditioned rooms were astoundingly beautiful - stayed in both 20 and 21 and fell in love with both of them. The hotel staff are all friendly and helpful. We enjoyed all three pools and the chilly water of the lower two pools was a welcome relief after hot days out in the medina and city.
We also took advantage of the the market tour and our guide, Aziz, was a pitch perfect professional. I'd highly recommend the tour service - the price is reasonable and the degree of hassling in the medina was reduced 10 fold.
Breakfast, lunch and dinners were all very well done in the restaurant and the service was predictably awesome.
I can't say enough good things about this hotel and look forward to our next visit.

Room Tip: 20 and 21 are just perfect
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  • Stayed August 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
willemadriaansmit, General Manager at El Fenn, responded to this review, September 24, 2013
wonderful to read you enjoyed the city and our property so much. Thank you for the time and effort and we hope to have you as our guest again soon, warm regards, willem
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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:
#10 Business Hotel in Marrakech
#13 Spa Hotel in Marrakech
#17 Luxury Hotel in Marrakech
#25 Family Hotel in Marrakech
#48 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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