We went to Marrakech to celebrate our daughters 21st birthday, we have been to Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt so thought we knew what to expect.
We booked the Riad through THompsons but the flight with Easijet as we only wanted five nights. When we arrived it was pouring down and we were an hour late but the pre booked taxi was waiting for us. The drive from the airport is relatively short but we began to get worried when we were driving through the back streets of Marrakech and eventually stopped in a small square and had to walk the 100 yards or so to a gate in a wall, wondering what we had come to.
Saad opened the door for us and from that moment we were treated like old friends with nothing too much trouble and the rest of the holiday organised when we wanted by Sybille, for whom nothing was too much trouble.
The riad only has ten rooms but is beautifully maintained and is like an oasis in the hustle and bustle of the medina. As there were three of us the first room was adequate but there are two large suites and we upgraded to provide us with more room. The rooms are spotless, ample fresh towels every day, bedding everyday, breakfast is continental but with coffee, fresh orange juice, bead, croissants and everyday different hot pancakes, buns etc, and the mint tea is a must, so refreshing. Breakfast is either in one of the lounges or if the weather is nice enough on the roof overlooking Marrakech and also at a time to suit you not as in most hotels between a set time.
At first walking through the medina is a bit daunting however after a few trial and errors the route through to the main souk is straighforward and once the map is away the locals dont bother you so much in trying to act as unofficial but paid guides.
Everything is in walking distance from the Riad and the noise, hustle abd bustle of the medina and souks is unbelievable and the atmosphere just has to be experienced.
Unlike Turkey and Tunisia the stall holders in the Souks are not allowde to bother you and you can walk freely through just saying bonjour, bone soir or non merci goes a long way, there are a lot of undercover police about preventing them, once in the shops sometimes can be difficult to get out but just be firm and polite, bartering is fun at first and never pay more than a third of what they first ask for.
At night in the main square changes form fruit stalls to a massive fast food place, just sit at one of the cafes at about 4/5 on clock and watch the transformation as all these stalls appear, no such thing as health and safety.
The whole place is like one big barbecue over40 stalls all serving different food, rock bottom prices but excellent.
If you want more up market than ask Sybille to book you a meal at Dar Zilli, you will never find on your own but it is expensive but the quality is excellent and the service as good as any top restaurant in tis country. Sybille arranged a meal here on our daughters 21st, even going to the trouble of advising them of her nut allergy and providing a guide to take us to and from the restuarant and even orgainsing a surprise cake for her.
Let Sybille also organise at trip into the mountains, visiting a Berber village, lot of walking with it and make sure you dont mind heights but worth it the views are unbelievable.
All in all this was an experience, the Riad is first class, right in the medina and if you like to experience local life then this is the place to go, Marrakech is definetly an experience and i look forward to going back again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Large classical riad (1st category) offering 5 rooms, 3 mini suites and 2 suites around a central courtyard adorned with a fountain in the middle of 4 gardens. All traditional rooms have air conditioning, satellite TV, minibar, safe, phone, hair dryer. Heated pool (5m x 3m), hammam, meals on request, parking. Personal service by the owners who live in their riad. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Dar Sbihi Hotel Marrakech