Arriving at Riad Jonan is a bit daunting for a first time visitor to Marrakech, as it's situated up a narrow alleyway and the only thing that betrays it's presence is a small doorway with a plaque. Taking the hotel's transfer service from the airport is a good decision as the driver will guide you to the door. (the 15 euro fee covers the trip both from the airport and then back at the end of your stay). It's about 15/20 minutes from the airport.
Once inside, rather than standing at a reception desk, the weary traveller is seated and given mint tea and pastries, whilst the check in and luggage are taken care of, which is a lovely welcoming touch.
The building itself is two riads which have been linked together. Riads are a traditional family house with the rooms built around a central courtyard, so there are no outside views from the rooms as all the windows overlook the inner courtyard. It's worth being aware of this if you're expecting a view outside - the old houses in Marrakech were not built for outward views, it's all about being a haven from the bustle outside.
The two courtyards in riad Jonan are open air, but have retractable covers, and are used for breakfast and dinner as well as a space to relax in. There is a small ornamental plunge pool in one of the courtyards and a water feature in the other.
There is also an attractive roof terrace, which has sunloungers & parasols with towels and straw hats. It's a perfect sun trap and there is a pretty berber tent with cushions should you need some shade. The view in all directions looks out over a jumble of rooftops and minarets with the atlas mountains to the south.
The decoration throughout is tasteful, unique and there are many period features in wood, stucco plaster and mosaic - our room had a decorative wood stove. The overall effect is tranquility in what is an incredibly hectic city and you feel that you are in a traditional Moroccan home rather than a hotel.
This is a world apart from the formulaic chain hotel. Each room is unique, and ours, The Calif, was absolutely gorgeous with ornamental plaster, traditional furniture and decorative light fittings.
Facilities in the rooms are simple but perfectly adequate. Ours had a small clock radio with ipod dock & satellite TV (unwatched), a fridge with minibar, hairdryer, air conditioning and an electronic safe (free). Apart from the usual bathrobes, slippers and towels there were no toiletries or tea & coffee facilities, but the hotel staff will bring you coffee etc if you ask. There is a chargeable laundry service if required.
The hotel seemed very secure - there is a member of staff from the small team on duty at all times, and as you have to leave your key when you go out, and the front door is kept locked, they personally let you back in when you return, which is reassuring.
The staff were genuinely friendly and helpful and a great source of trustworthy local advice. The riad offers several excursions, with private and shared options. We went on two, to Essaouira on the coast and to the Atlas Mountains. Both were well worth doing, and were priced competitively.
The riad is well placed for easy walking access to the main square & souks, restaurants & various palaces and places of interest. I'd recommend visiting the artisanal department store early on in your visit. It is two minutes along the rue de la kasbah (it has two stone lions outside) and is one of the few shops in the old town with marked prices which gives you a good idea of the going rate for things, putting you in a much more informed position for the haggling you have to do everywhere else.
Staying here was a wonderful experience.
- Also Known As:
- Riad Jonan Hotel
- Riad Jonan Marrakech
- Riad Jonan Hotel Marrakech
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Riad Jonan is a superb accommodation in the Royal Quarter of the Kasbah in Marrakesh. It offers you the comfort of a modern hotel with ten beautiful en-suite bedrooms with heating and air-conditioning in a sumptuous traditional Moroccan decor. ... more less
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