We booked our weeks holiday through LastMinute.com to stay at the Riad Bahja, flying EasyJet with airport transfers. On arrival there were lots of people with signs waiting to meet their guests and whisk them off to their hotels or
Riads. Ours was nowhere to be seen. We asked a very helpful driver from another Riad who phoned ours, to find they didn't have us booked for a transfer. On arrival at the Riad the manger said that this was our fault - a theme that continued throughout the holiday.
A lot of reviews say that the Riad is hard to find, especially as the drivers can't drop you very close. When we were dropped off the car was quickly surrounded by locals pulling our bags into a cart and we were led through the melee down some very dark alleys. However, once you get the know the location, it's not quite so daunting. I'm sure we'd have felt better had we been collected from the airport as we paid for.
The Riad itself is lovely, a real oasis amongst the chaos outside. The owner (who transpired to be only the Manager), comes across as extraordinarily helpful. He isn't. Our first morning at breakfast we ate whilst a Moroccan travel agent shouted at us, repeatedly suggesting we hadn't read our paperwork and didn't know who we had booked our holiday through. He was adamant we hadn't booked through Lastminute and took great offense when we disagreed with him. Breakfast was rather awkward. The Riad manager did not intervene. It was clearly outlined that the absence of a transfer was our fault for not reading the paperwork / not reading signs in the airport / not knowing who we had booked our holiday with. I understand some Arabic and his language was not polite.
The other staff in the Riad are brilliant - Omar and the lovely lady who cleans the rooms. The Manager lets the whole place down. You don't get a key, instead you will be assured that someone will always answer the door. We started to doubt this on the first night when we returned after an early meal to get no response to increasingly louder knocks. It's not the nicest place to stand outside at 11pm. A fellow guest thankfully let us in, however when we mentioned this at breakfast the manager said this could not have been possible and was evidently our fault. An so it was the second evening when yet again we couldn't get a response to our knocks. The third or perhaps fourth evening of this we went to a lovely neighboring Riad and had them call the manager. Apparently he was in all along and it was our fault...
The room was lovely, but 6 inch gaps around the door mean there is a distinct lack of privacy. You can hear everything going on outside the door, and they can hear you too. So much for our romantic holiday!
Breakfast finishes at 10am. Remember that, because the manager won't tell you, but if you miss it then he will tell you how much overtime he had to pay his staff to sit around waiting for you to get yourself out of bed. You'll hear the arrival of breakfast crockery and furniture movement through the 6 inch gaps around the door anyway, with pointed coughs and pointed knocks on your door to reinforce the noise.
The Manager will try and make as much money out of you as possible through day trips. We didn't bite, much to his annoyance. What could be a fabulous Riad is spoilt by his attitude. We are seasoned and respectful travelers who wanted to enjoy and experience the City. Maison Arabe just down the road became our much needed retreat with wonderful staff. Stay there instead if you can afford it!
We would recommend staying in a Riad, they are beautiful and grand retreats where you can authentically and individually experience Marrakesh. Just don't stay in Riad Bahja.
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Bahja Hotel Marrakech