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“How to visit the real Marrakech” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Riad Catalina

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Riad Catalina
4.0 of 5 Guest house   |   21 Derb Allal Ben Hssaine, Marrakech 40000, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #365 of 1,046 Marrakech B&B and Inns
ramsbottom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“How to visit the real Marrakech”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

Riad Catalina is a tranquil oasis within the chaos of Marrakech.
I have just returned from 4 days there with a friend and am so happy we decided on the riad over one of the large soul-less modern hotels away from the hustle and bustle of the Medina. I am not disregarding those hotels but one wouldn't get the same taste of the true Marrakech unless you are part of it all (just my thoughts).
The atmosphere was fabulous, although only February the temperature was up in the mid 20s, a welcome relief from the dreadful year we have had in Britain. Dusty, hot and hearing the bustle of busy city mopeds, car horns and the prayer towers all add to the atmosphere. Sitting in the central atrium of the Riad Catalina is so relaxing with wood pigeons and other birds twittering, the riads tortoises pottering about whilst sitting quietly with a gin and tonic in the dappled sunlight (me not the tortoise) . . bliss.,
Staff at the Riad Catalina were really lovely, friendly and helpful like having your own personal butler!
Food was simple but lovely - I am a pescetarian and didnt have any trouble, vegetable tagines and salads.with their lovely breads and olives
Wine was available but limited to one red, one rose and one white. Ice cubes were made with mineral water.
The souks are a MUST, I was a little apprehensive to start but one has to embrace the lifestyle and as long as you are sensible you will be fine, much fun haggling for goods (we were advised to start at around 50pc of the asking price!).
I would definitely re visit Riad Catalina, fabulous place.

Room Tip: there are two rooms on the top floor with their own terrace so if you were two couples travelling fo...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 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 (43)
Date | Rating
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English first
Leeds
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

If you truely want to experience the real Marrakech then you have to stay in walking distance of the Jema el Fna. Otherwise, you could be located in the plushy purpose-built modern hotels a few kilometres out of the city and be ferried into the centre by shuttle bus. My wife and I stayed at ths beautiful Riad tucked away down the alleys just to the Western entrance to the Souks. During our seven day stay, we never used a taxi and walked everywhere in the Medina. Not once did we feel frightened - much less safe in UK cities. Our Riad was the perfect location and a Moroccan experience too with it's mosaic courtyard and bedrooms. It was quiet too so we both slept well until morning prayers! The breakfasts were varied and fulfilling with attentive waiters. Yes, the standard rooms are small but were cleaned and towels changed daily. The English speaking reception staff couldn't have been more helpful. Our top tip would be to take an electric kettle, cups and tea bags as there are no teamaking facilities in your room. We didn't eat evening dinner (250 Dhr each) at the hotel prefering to explore Trip Advisor restaurants that were less expensive. Would definitely recommend the Riad Catalina if you want to be in the heart of Marrakech.

Room Tip: If the size of the room is important, upgrade to a room with a balcony or one of the suites.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Swansea, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013

As previous reviewers have said, don't be put off by the approach - it's typical for Marrakech! Once inside you enter a fantastic courtyard which is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, no more than a few meters from the door. The rooms are well decorated and serviced and the location of the riad is excellent, within the medina and only 5 minutes walk away from the main square.
What made our stay was the friendly and helpful staff - nothing seemed to be too much trouble.
I would thoroughly recommend this riad to anyone wanting a more authentic version of Marrakech than you would get in the Marriot or equivalent in the new town

Room Tip: Third floor rooms have access to a private balcony and there is a suite on the ground floor
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  • Stayed January 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.
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013 via mobile

We spent 7 nights at the Catalina in January 2013. Booking through Thomson, we paid £400 each for flights and B&B at the riad, which was a really good deal.

As others have said, the riad is reached down an unpromising alley - don't be put off! This is typical of Marrakech, amazing places are hidden behind doors and in dingy alleyways.

Catalina has a lovely courtyard, full of twittering birds and cooing doves. It's very pretty indeed, a little shabby, and the feel is that it could probably do with a really good clean! But a lovely relaxing place and the location is amazing - just 5 mins from the main square and 10 mins (round the back!) from the heart of the souks.

Our room was pretty small but that didn't bother us. Again, a little shabby but all quite charming. Problems with the shower draining away made it a slight challenge to get ready in the mornings but this was sorted quickly by the staff. The rooms are quite dim but again, this is a feature of a traditional riad.

Bed was comfy but as others have said, made up with blankets and sheets, which felt strange to our duvet pampered bodies!

The plunge pool on the roof is small but I bet it's refreshing when the temperature soars. Sadly in Jan a little too cold for us, but it was nice up on the roof, admiring the views and listening to the birds.

The staff are wonderful to a fault, charming and hardworking - nothing is too much trouble. They are smiley and fun. We loved the breakfasts, good juice and coffee and we had something different every day, so they weren't boring for us.

One small thing to note - we arrived very late on the first night after being delayed at Gatwick, so ate dinner at 11pm in the riad. This was expensive - 500dh for a set meal for 2, plus 200dh for a bottle of wine. So about £60 all in. Being silly we didn't ask the price and were surprised with a big bill when we checked out! So just be aware of that. There are some great restaurants close by, we liked Bougainvillea for lunches and Comptoir du Pascha for dinner. Plus Maison MK, which is 5 mins away and an amazing dining experience.

All in all, we really enjoyed our stay and just a couple of minor niggles detracted from a really lovely time at Riad Catalina.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Todmorden, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

The reviews here are on the whole rather balanced, I feel. The Riad is a great place to stay in terms of location, price and service from the staff team. However, we found the bed a little too firm and having sheets instead of duvet didn't suit us (having said that we didn't ask if they had duvets, so they didn't have a chance to rectify this).

The breakfast is lovely tasting, but indeed repetitive, with only orange juice (which was gorgeous) to contribute to your five-a-day (oh, there was a weeny bowl of fruit salad served twice in the week we were there). Maybe all Moroccan breakfasts are like this...?

The pool is a plunge pool, but that is what it is advertised as, so it was to be expected. It certainly wasn't hot enough to dip into in January anyway!!

The staff were incredibly helpful, and let us stay on in the room on our departure day because the next occupants weren't arriving until late. This made the last day really comfortable for us. Even if we weren't allowed to keep our room, they promised to let us use a shower in another vacant room before we left for the airport. Whether or not they would be able to do this in high season or not is uncertain, but it was great for the January stay we had.

I must not forget to mention how wonderful we thought all the other guests were. I don't know why so many lovely people were all drawn to book into Catalina, but it seemed that everyone we met at the hotel was friendly and open. We had great conversations on the rooftop terrace and at the breakfast table with many of the other guests. We booked a trip out with one of the guests (thanks for your great company, Dolores - photos on their way soon) to the Atlas mountains and thoroughly enjoyed eating breakfast with her and sharing travelling tales!

If they could provide a choice of fruit at breakfast, offer duvets instead of sheets and put some squishy mattress protectors on the beds I would struggle to fault the place.

Thanks

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bolton, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

Excellent location in the Medina, easy walk to the main square and attractions in the Old Town.

The staff are very helpful and work hard and long.

Our room was on the first floor with a window into the courtyard, it was smallish but fine the bathroom was large enough for us.

Breakfasts were a bit repetitive and boring really, the only saving grace was good orange juice and hot coffee.

Do not be put off by the approach, it is well lit at night.

We were disturbed by late night returners who sat and talked loudly on the patio above our room. Not the hotel's fault!

Room Tip: The best rooms are on the second floor with a patio rooms 307 and 308.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

The Riad is in a great location. We loved the fact that we could go to the night market and eat local food and stroll back to our accommodation.
The beds are not that comfy. I wish they would provide duvets but its sheets and itchy blankets.

The staff are superb. Very friendly and always happy to accommodate. Breakfast was varied with local pastries which was a treat.

The pool is not a pool! It's a place to wet your feet. We bought our swim gear and burst out laughing when we saw what it was. Don't waste your time.

We stayed in a room at the top - the best location - roof top views and our own balcony.
I would stay here again.

Room Tip: High floors
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
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Additional Information about Riad Catalina

Address: 21 Derb Allal Ben Hssaine, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #365 of 1,046 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Riad Catalina 4*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Riad Catalina Hotel Marrakech

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