My partner and I stayed here for a short break in Marrakech in March 2010. I have been meaning to do a review ever since, as of all the places I have ever been, I would most like to return to Riad Clementine.
Upon arrival in Marrakech I can honestly say that I was a little shocked. Despite having been on quite a few holidays, mostly I have stayed within Europe or America therefore this was the biggest culture shock that I have ever experienced. It sounds cliché, but it is literally another world.
Seeing chickens cooped up in small cages and being painfully aware of the poor hygiene in certain places immediately sent alarm bells ringing. Not to mention the way in which some people reacted when they saw or came into contact with my partner and I (a few stares and everybody trying to sell us something). But after a few hours of walking around I got used to it, and felt completely at ease. Then once at ease, I was able to enjoy my experience in Marrakech and I truly did love every minute of it.
Approaching the front door of Riad Clementine I was nervous. My boyfriend had booked our trip as a surprise for me therefore I hadn't seen any pictures and had no idea what it would be like inside. As soon as I walked through the door, a wave of relief washed over me.. it was like we had been transported to an entirely different place! Almost immediately after entering the building we were back outside again, in their courtyard, which was utterly stunning. The furnishings were ornate, authentic Morocco, there were perfectly kept orange trees in the centre, and everywhere I looked there was a vase filled with the most beautiful, peach roses. The whole place just oozed tranquility.
We were greeted by a French lady whom I think was the owner - but I am not too sure as it has been a little while since our stay. She was extremely informative about the city, giving us great tips on where to go on which days etc, which helped us to plan ahead. We were also provided with a complimentary map which I thought was a nice touch. This meeting really set the tone regarding the staff here - everybody from the cleaners to the waiters and waitresses, were attentive and friendly throughout the duration of our stay.
Onto the bedroom. Clean, spacious and bursting with character! Each room has a different décor and ours was the Blue and White room. The bed was large and comfortable and there was plenty of cupboard space. Our bathroom was lovely and romantic, it housed an absolutely huge bath which was plenty big enough for two people. The windows were another special feature, they were stained glass and absolutely screamed Moroccan culture. But what really made our room feel special were the finishing touches. There was a little table with blue cushions to sit on in the middle of the room, on the table there was a little handmade ashtray, a bottle of water with some glasses and a mini tagine which had two complimentary biscuits inside. They really had thought of everything.
The food in Morocco wasn't really to my taste if I am honest. I was keen to try some traditional stuff but it all had a little too much dried fruit in it for me. Also, I had heard stories of people getting ill from eating at certain places in Marrakech, which sadly made dining out a bit of a challenge. Having said that, we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner (on different days) at the Riad which was of a very high standard. I really enjoyed their breakfast in particular. Honestly though, the whole eating experience - no matter what time of day - was made so special by our surroundings. We ate breakfast outside in the courtyard every morning, which as I said earlier is just stunning. And we had our evening meal in the quaint dining area, next to a log fire surrounded by tea lights and rose petals. It sounds a bit cheesy when you put it like that but it really was so, very beautiful. I was even impressed with the Moroccan styled cutlery and crockery!
When we weren't in the Riad relaxing, we were walking around the town, soaking in as much of the exciting Moroccan culture as possible. In particular we absolutely loved our visit to the Souks (markets). Deciding to go to the Souks is a bit like deciding if you are ready to enter a maze. I say this because once you have turned a few corners, you will find yourself lost, in the higgledy-piggledy world of true craftsmanship. I believe the trick with this, is stop trying to work out where you are going, and instead just relax and enjoy where you are. Everywhere you look there is a stall completely jam packed with goods. From meat and fish to shoes and handbags you really can buy almost anything in the Souks. And there are some fantastic bargains to be had if you know how to haggle! But do be careful, as being a tourist means that you will often be asked if you would like a 'tour' or 'the chance to see some cheap goods' and it is very easy to get wrapped up in the well rehearsed persuasion techniques of the Moroccan people.
My partner and I bought some lovely things from the Souks, and I really wish we had had the money to buy some of the larger items such as mirrors and lights, and send them home because they really are one of a kind, works of art. My tips for shopping would be firstly to take plenty of cash because the bargains are fantastic (they sell real leather handbags for a fraction of what you would pay for something of a similar quality in the UK) and secondly haggle, haggle, haggle! It might seem ridiculous, but more often than not the tradespeople will quote you a price of up to three times higher than what they would charge a Moroccan person, so you certainly can bring it down with some stern bargaining. I could go on to give a million more tips about how to approach the streets of Marrakech but I really do think you simply have to go there and learn for yourself, as that is all part of the fun!
In summary of what has turned out to be a very long and detailed review, I cannot stress enough how wonderful both Riad Clementine and Marrakech are. Visiting this hugely cultured, vibrant and exciting place, really did boost my thirst for travel. The wonderful people have true spirit and character. The produce is honest and beautiful. And the atmosphere is one of excitement and wonder. So if you fancy an adventure, in a truly beautiful place, Riad Clementine is the place to go!
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Clementine Hotel Marrakech