I stayed at Riad Monika for 5 nights mid-November with my partner and we had a brilliant experience here.
The owner contacted us a week before departure to organise a taxi from the airport for 15 euros (150dh) – made arriving a much smoother process. We spotted a man carrying a Riad Monika sign at the airport and were whisked towards the old town in a spacious, clean vehicle.
Within 20 minutes we’d arrived at the walls to the city and were dropped off on the edge old town (where the streets are too narrow for cars) and met by a young man from the Riad, although he didn’t introduce himself, we realised he was from the Riad once he had led us into the Riad and didn’t ask for any tips! The journey to the Riad was windy and there is no way we would have been able to find it on our own. The entrance is just an un-noticeable door in the wall, as with all riads. There was road works going on outside the Riad which came in handy when looking for it in the dark in amongst the similar looking alleys!
Upon arrival, we were shown to our room which was on the ground floor facing the courtyard. We stayed in the chambre farhana which was spacious and had everything we needed in Moroccan flavours! The room was away from the entrance of the Riad so we weren’t too disturbed by the road works going on and although we woke the first couple of mornings from the morning call to prayer by the nearby mosque, we slept through it for the rest of the stay! The room was very comfy and they provided an electric heater to use during the night as it gets cold.
We had wardrobe space, a safe, shower toiletries, bathrobes, towels, hair dryer and they provide a large bottle of water daily as well as a bowl of fruit. There wasn’t anything we had to ask for!
The owner gave us a tour of the Riad which had a lovely roof terrace, a warm lounge with a roaring fire when it’s lit and little sitting areas dotted around – perfect if it was a little warmer!
For breakfast the owner served pancake (more like roti) with honey, boiled eggs, baguettes, butter and jam, yoghurt, chocolate muffins, pastries along with tea, coffee and orange juice! They also cook an omelette on request. I loved the breakfast although it’s too much for one to eat, it’s great if you have a long day ahead of you.
We stayed for dinner one night and the food they served was totally delicious and one of the best we had in Marrakech! We had salads for starters and a delicious 3 hour steamed lamb with cous cous for mains, dessert was a yummy chocolate cake with ice cream and cost us 300 dh each which is very good value for money.
The heart of the souks are 5-10 minutes away by foot and the Medersa Ben Youssef just a short walk away which is what we used to find our Riad after being out for the day. It’s very easy to get lost particularly at night when the souks close and the alleys look different in the dark. It’s also very easy to get intimidated by the pushy boys who offer to show you the way and claim that the route you’re taking is ‘closed’. But once we paid more attention to certain crossroads and signs we were able to figure out our way around, getting lost a little less! It’s a good location if you want to stay away from the crowds but are close enough to get to the action in a short walk.
The owner also arranged for a taxi driver to take us to the Ourika Valley in the Atlas Mountain for a day. We could choose the pick up time and the driver arranged a tour. He drove us to multiple stops where we could view carpets, Moroccan goods, a co-operative of women who made argan oil with their hands, etc. None of the places pushed for purchased. But we were taken on a trek by a guide who the taxi driver had arranged to meet us. We weren’t informed initially but it ended up costing us 100dh each and the guide wasn’t that great. We also made a stop for lunch where we felt obliged to eat, the food was okay but we only ordered a set menu for one and shared. That was the last stop and we paid the taxi driver 900dh.
Upon check out, our luggage was kept within the Riad whilst we went out for the day as our flight was in the evening. The owner knew we were heading off early to a hamman on the same day and as we were rushing to be on time, he was very relaxed about us paying later on. When it came to payment, we received a clear break down of the prices in both euros and dirhams, but if you are paying by cash, keep some by for tax which is something we forgot about.
The owner walked us back to the main roads, helping with our luggage to our taxi which he had organised to take us back to the airport after informing him of our flight time. Again it cost 150dh or 15 euros.
The service from the owner at the Riad was extremely friendly and we highly recommend this place. If you’re there for more than a few days, definitely try dinner one evening!