We had considered staying in a stylish hotel 15 - 20 minutes from the Medina so that we could enter the bustling streets at will but then beat a hasty retreat as and when it suited us. After much contemplation, Instead, we chose this beautiful authentic Riad, located behind a heavy wooden door which leads directly out onto the streets of the old town. Sybille was able to arrange an English speaking guide (Azziz) to take us out for a tour of the old city on foot on our first day, directly through the souks and to Ben Youseff's Madrasa - College/museum (beautiful architecture, a real feast for the eyes). This I would highly recommend, Azziz is knowledgeable and he is able to offer advice on how to orientate yourself within the Medina walls and show short cuts to the main square.
Marrakech is vibrant and bustling and once you have ventured out it is wonderful being able to amble through the streets at will and then retreat to the Riad at leisure without having to rely on bus transfers or taxi's even as almost everything can be reached on foot. Dar Sbihi offers a peaceful haven which feels a world away from the bustle while still being on its doorstep.
Sybille can offer authentic Moroccan food or other alternative's if you prefer. The food is excellent although it does not come cheap!! the staff are very polite, efficient and helpful. There are also a selection of good restaurants nearby. Dar Zellij is definately worth a visit. The Riad can organise the booking and a guide will come in traditional dress and collect you and return you to the Riad after your meal. This is an experience in itself being guided through narrow windy streets at night, you would never find it on your own! The food, atmosphere, setting and service is exceptional but again doesn't come cheap, but if you like different experiences, then give it a go! There are cheaper places nearby for those on more of a budget.
Dar Sbihi offers Moroccan influenced rooms which are both clean and attractive, the garden centre piece in the courtyard is lovely and breakfast on the rooftop on a morning is a magical way to start the day.
While the big hotels away from the Medina have much to offer, I can't imagine that it would be like experiencing the 'real' Marrakech which is what we feel we have achieved here. The birds tweet quite loudly sometimes in the courtyard of a morning and the call to morning prayer can be heard, EARLY, but come on, this is what it is really about, real life!!!
We had a wonderful 3 night break to Marrakech and crammed a lot into our time, we would not have changed our accommodation, Sybille is very helpful in providing guidance and advice and nothing is too much trouble. The Riad can change currency for a competitive rate also. The only reason that I have not given this Riad 5 stars (and for the service alone it is worth it) is because the bed for me was quite hard and I struggled to sleep for a couple of nights and because we asked Sybille to arrange a trip to the Atlas mountains, which she did but unfortunately the guide (taxi driver) was not English speaking and we had an uncomfortable day in silence unable to communicate and ask questions. This being said,(this is not English arrogance) we would just liked to have been informed. However, do be mindful that the majority of people in Marrakech do not speak English or very little English so you cannot expect to rely on this and I think, using a few words in French can go a long way. For the trip to the Atlas mountains we wish we had booked though our tour operator but we made the most of it and still got to experience the diverse landscape of the Atlas mountains so you have to dwell on the good. (Do though as I said earlier book Azziz for a tour of the Medina through the Riad).
Overall a trip we will never forget, it had everything we wanted, a real treat for the senses and we met some great people at the Riad too. Thank you for an enjoyable stay Sybille.