“Amazingly Nice People, Incredibly Private Spot in the Medina, but No Hobnobbing”
I stayed at Kssour Agafay for a week-long business trip in April, 2006. I didn't want to stay in a larger hotel, and somewhere like this seemed just right for me. As you might know, Wallpaper awarded Kssour Agafay a 'best club in the world' award in 2005, so I was pretty jazzed to get to stay.
Staying in the Medina is a wild experience; I recommend it to anyone going to Marrakesh. The sights, smells, sounds and people where totally overwhelming to me at first; our airport taxi dumped us out at the edge of the Medina, and a man showed up with a wheelbarrow to take our stuff through the streets to the Riad.
Twists, turns, near-misses by mopeds, then finally, a wide, slightly low door in an arch, and wham! Private luxury, incredibly nice staff, wonderful smells, and a roof deck in the Medina. Pretty much as advertised by all the write ups.
So, the positive:
Jislain (sp?), the Riad manager, was stellar beyond belief. Her English was excellent for Morocco; she made me feel almost like a long-lost relative. I can't commend her highly enough, she was stellar.
The rest of the female staff were almost as nice as Jislain, albeit with worse English.
The roofdeck view was fantastic (and let me hop on someone's wireless)
The food was quite good
The 'at home' feel was out of this world; the whole staff worked extremely hard to make me feel at home. I gave everyone hugs when I left.
The riad was absolutely beautiful inside; every time I walked in, I felt like I was getting a real treat. It's almost as nice inside as Stylia, a palace/restaurant inside the Medina. The pictures on their website do not lie; it's really incredible.
Famous people do stay at the hotel. Some shmancy movie director was in the place when I was there.
Only Jislain had the English skills to communicate well with a non-French/Arabic speaker. This is more a general problem in Marrakesh: if you want to get along, you'll need to be conversant in French, but I was hoping for the money things would be a bit better.
The male staff were good, but not great. A little more petulant, I'd say. Also, their English was yet-again worse.
When I stayed, the Riad was short-staffed by one person. Such a small hotel short-staffed meant I knew I was waking someone up when I needed something. A bad feeling.
No pool, (not really a downside in April, but something small would be nice)
My only major complaint, though, is that the hotel is NOT a club like I thought that it was. The hotel owners host a members-only social club for ultra-cool people in Marrakesh; the hotel website mentions this club extensively. That group of people is the club that Wallpaper gave the award to.
I thought that these people would hang out at the riad on Friday nights and drink, since it was their clubhouse, and I would get to mix with them. The website encouraged me to think this. This does not happen. The club might have the occasional event going on inside the Riad, but there were none the week that I was there.
Jislain explained to me that the club has outings, goes places together, etc, but doesn't really congregate in the riad without notice. In short, you won't be invited to hang out with the best club in the world, just for staying, even though you're paying a brutally large amount of money per night. In the end, this was really the only major disappointment for me: everything else was as good or better than I'd expect from any but the best boutique hotels in the world.
I've given it a five stars, mostly on strength of the unbelievable personal service and attention.
Probably the best way to see Kssour Agafay (and you should, believe me), would be to schedule a couple nights there while you're staying at Kasbah Agafay, out in the hills. There's a free shuttle (blessedly driven by great drivers in new Toyota SUV's); this would get you some of the Riad experience while still having access to the full resort / hotel features at Kasbah Agafay.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.