I recently stayed at the Riad El Mansour for 5 nights - a mother and daughter trip. I cannot fault this Riad. At the start we were given a short overview of the local sights and customs and a quick training session on how to say 'no thank you, not today' should we need to in the souks. The staff have expert knowledge of the area and customs and were on hand to help at all times. I could talk through my own ideas from the guidebooks and internet research and they could then give hints and tips and help put together a suitable itinerary. You would not get this in a chain hotel. Wadi in particular was professional and helpful at all times, and always there to welcome us home after a busy day out. A real highlight for us was our day out with Mustapha, the Riad's own driver/minder/satnav/encyclopedia. We visited the Orika Valley and stopped in (on my request) at a girls' School called Dar Taliba. This is a fantastic project aimed at helping rural girls continue their education into secondary school, with a focus on learning Berber traditions, crafts and botany. I am a teacher so I decided to deliver a gift of books, pens and other practical items to the school and they were grateful. We even got a tour of the school and botanical gardens. You need to go right to the end of the Orika Valley for the lovely bubbling mountain river and scenery, but the journey was interesting, and punctuated with fun and interesting facts from Mustafa, including a run down on how to care for my new tagine (which I use all the time). Thank you so much Mustafa, a brilliant day to remember.
Now for the nitty gritty. This is a Riad. The whole entire point of a Riad is to experience the real Marrakech. And if you stay at Riad El Mansour - you will experience the real Marrakech. Real life, all around you. Yes, when you leave the intricately carved door of the fabulous oasis that is your Riad you will be confronted by every day people going about their every day life - butchers butchering, chickens squarking, children playing (and saying 'Bonjour Madame'!), mopeds whirring. Dust noise, the smell of spices. Be under no illusion - this is busy, bustling Marrakech medina, and no, it won't stop for you, no matter how much you feel like royalty while inside the Riad. I went out every morning and drank tea in the local cafes, watching the donkeys and locals bartering. But that's what we signed up for! I went out alone day and night and did not feel physically threatened, although I did feel a bit hassled at times, but c'est la vie. I do recommend practising saying 'pas aujourd'hui' which means 'not today', and is a firm way of saying I'm not interested thank you. I got the hang of it in the end.
We had a day at Jnane Tamsna, a 15 min taxi ride away. It's a fabulous restaurant/pool retreat with botanical gardens run by a retired French lawyer who has won awards for design. Fabulous and surprising, not bad value considering how exclusive it felt (80E for lunch, wine, drinks, all day by pool and gardens for two).
Le Foundouk is a great restaurant - hard to find, but worth it. Do not ever go with anyone/kids offering to show you the way. They may well take you the wrong way and then demand money. Always better to ask a local shopkeeper.
The Riad breakfast was a delight, the service was calm, pleasant, helpful and never pushy. The roof terrace is pretty and relaxing. The beds were comfortable.
When can I come again?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Riad El Mansour is a six bedroom, award winning Riad. This boutique hotel is situated a short stroll from Place Jemaa el-Fna. We offer the highest levels of service and hospitality with a Jacuzzi, Spa, Hammam and GymWe have a full time resident cook and can arrange airport transfers for you. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riad El Mansour Marrakech
- Riad El Mansour Hotel Marrakech