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.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Riad El Fenn Marrakech
- Riad El Fenn Hotel Marrakech