Hubby and I found some well priced flights and looked for a riad offering reasonably priced accommodation which would allow us to explore Marrakech and also take a few trips out. From the reviews we read, the Riad al Mamoune met our needs.
We arranged to be picked up from the airport as we were arriving around 6pm and weren't sure of where to go etc if we found our way into the city. At 150 dirham (approx €15) it's not cheap but you are driven to the main square (taxis cannot get further into the medina) and met by a member of staff. Ali came to meet us and walked us to the riad, and it's true to say the souks are like rabbit warrens.
Breakfasts are basic but good - fresh juice, bread, jam, honey, pancakes and tea or coffee. You can eat indoors or on the roof if the weather allows. As our stay was in December, eating up there at 8am was chilly but on our last day we took breakfast on the roof at 9am and it was fine.
I think I should say that the main square (Jemaa al Fnaa) is like a noisy party that starts around 9am and carries on till late. The day is full of snake charmers, monkey handlers, water sellers, fortune tellers, henna painters and fruit/juice vendors. In the late afternoon the worlds biggest barbecue starts as the open air stalls set up. I noticed an earlier reviewer suggesting she hadn't eaten on the square because she thought her stomach wouldn't cope - I would suggest that its fairly safe to eat here but safer not to use the plastic plates/cutlery some places offer because you don't know how dirty the washing up water is. A lot of the stalls offer food directly onto bread or paper and the food is cooked as you want it, so it's not standing round or being reheated. We ate there and drank orang juice daily without any problems.
The square is so hectic and noisy, and the souks so packed and busy, that when you get back to the riad it is perfectly quiet by comparison. We lay in bed (room Tam Tam) and apart from a couple of guests talking quietly to Ali, there was no sound at all between about 10pm and 7am.
I had read that some guests felt uncomfortable with walking to the riad and that they had been told someone would lead them back if they felt lost but that this didn't happen. I don't think this is the riads fault, as on our first night, Ali wrote his number on one of the hotels cards so that we could call him if we were struggling to find our way back but we were fortunate and managed to work it out.
We did a trip to the High Atlas with Manu driving, stopping off at Richard Branson's Kasbah and walking to Kasbah Toubkal - which was beautiful - and at €100 for two of us it was cheaper than booking with a tour company. We also did Essauoira by bus which cost €20 return each and made a pleasant trip.
I would certainly recommend Riad al Mamoune to anyone thinking of staying in Marrakech. Ali was courteous, helpful and always available, Manu was a good driver and excellent as a guide, and the rooms are clean and comfortable. The riad is next to Spice Square so you're in the souks and ready for actionas soon as you're fed and watered.
For location, cleanliness, service and value for money, Riad al Mamoune rated pretty high on our scale and is ideal if you want to be in the heart of Marrakech.
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