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“Location was good but that's about it” 2 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 #361 of 1,071 Marrakech B&B and Inns
London, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Location was good but that's about it”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

Riad Catalina is ideally located. We stayed in a blue room which I don't think is listed on their website. It was very small and the walls were stained and grubby considering the price we expected better.

The courtyard was pretty and the breakfast was good. Noise insulation in the room was pretty non-existent so we were woken up every night at around 5am for morning prayer from the mosque nearby and at 6am by all the birds who roost in the courtyard. So needless to say we didn't get much sleep.

The staff seemed friendly enough. However we asked to book a tour of the waterfalls outside the city we were quoted 700MAD when we went to book there was a different member of staff who asked for 1000 we told him what we were quoted before and after he'd spoken with them he agreed on 700.

We were driven out there by our driver/guide who spoke little English (I didn't expect him to except for the fact he was a paid guide so I'd assumed he would) He stopped off at different locations along the way trying to get us to buy stuff which we clearly weren't interested in.

2 hours later we arrived and were introduced to another guide who showed us the waterfalls and mountains which I really have to recommend as the views and scenery were amazing as this wasn't peak season so it wasn't very busy either.

At the end I tipped our guide 100MAD he declined and said he wanted 200! I explained that it wasn't payment it was a tip as we'd paid at the hotel for the tour. He explained that apparently he doesn't get paid through the hotel and to take it up with them he then called the driver over who obviously confirmed this.

So there was a small Mexican stand-off but considering me and my girlfriend were 2 hours away from Marrakech we had no choice but to pay up.

When we arrived back I told this story to the guy behind reception he seemed surprised by my complaint and said that we did have to pay extra for the guide! I explained that paying 700 for basically a driver was a rip off as a taxi would have been around maybe 400-500 and that if I pay for a tour then the tour guide should be included. I got fobbed off and he thanked me for bringing to his attention.

To be honest I'm pretty astute to people trying to con me but I guess I was caught off guard this time because I'd trusted booking through the hotel. I wonder if the receptionist just got his mate to drive us and kept the money for themselves? Just a theory but whatever the reason it marred my trip slightly.

Due to the above I would recommend looking else where for a place to stay.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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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214 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (46)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
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  • Italian first
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English first
Thirsk, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

The Riad Catalina is a characterful building, centrally located handy for most of the attractions of Marrakech. We were on a budget and got the cheapest room. It was cheap for the reason of being tiny! It also was windowless but very quiet! Not for claustrophobics or the very tall (Can't stand to pee in the miniscule shower room) That said it was clean and the bed was comfortable but we had to sit in the courtyard. The staff were very friendly and would have moved us if they had not been so full and we had been more insistant (my husband liked it!) The view from the roof pool over the rooftops to the Atlas Mountains was fantastic. We also shared our doorway with one of the 3 tortoises living in the garden!

Room Tip: Pay more for a bigger room.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South East England, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

The Catalina is a gem, tucked away down a series of alleyways but only a few minutes from the main square and the noise and madness that tipifies Marrakech. We stayed for 7 days. The courtyard in the Riad is beautifully decorated, cooled by a water fountain and inhabited by fancy pigeons and many small birds who will cheekily try and steal your food! On one side is a large room for breakfast and dinner, the room was kept comfortably warm as the early January mornings were cool. Our room was compact but clean and the shower worked well, the room had an effective heater/air-conditioner. There is a roof sun terrace with a shallow pool - no doubt great for cooling off in during the hot summer. The staff were polite and very attentive; we were ill for one day and the staff ensured we were kept supplied with drinks and went to get medication for us. We would happily stay here again.

Room Tip: As others have said, two rooms on the 2nd floor share a balcony.
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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
    • 4 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.
ramsbottom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
35 helpful votes 35 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
67 reviews 67 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
46 helpful votes 46 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.
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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 #361 of 1,071 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Riad Catalina 4*
Number of rooms: 15
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Riad Catalina Hotel Marrakech

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