We stayed for 3 nights early October 2012 travelling as two couples.
Easyjet took us from Gatwick to Marrakesh airport, only just over 3 hours landing late afternoon walking from the airplane in hot sun having left the cold and rain behind.
For anyone who’s visited Turkey or Egypt, its fairly similar in respect to people wanting to help, but more polite, just say no if you’re OK.
Immigration was slow, two planes in, most booths having 1 person carrying out the checks for each of the 9 or so queues – just make sure you have completed your landing cards in full, it took 50 minutes for us
We pre-booked transfers with the Riad, and after baggage collection our driver was waiting with our names on a board, we walked a short distance to the car park and then started our journey to the city – it took 30-40 minutes to leave the car park with our driver negotiating our way out along with the other cars.
Inside the Riad there was no noise, sweet spicy aromas, a really peaceful and calm atmosphere. We checked in whilst drinking tea and Mohammed simply told us to make ourselves at home and go/sit wherever we wanted to. The various photos you see do justice, its very clean, very comfortable and plenty of nooks to hide away in.
Mohammed, and his helpers can advise and guide you around any point of direction or information.
We had no Dirham’s only a mix of Stirling and Euros – Mohammed changed our currency, (too time consuming to get to a bank), any meals/drinks/snacks could be paid in cash the night before we left, the rooms by card, all very easy.
We had booked a meal for that night in the Riad, the first of many Tagines, it’s a good idea to do this on your first as outside its fairly easy to get lost, and you wont just stumble across a restaurant.
Mohammed had asked us if we wanted to book any trips and had a comprehensive list with photos, there was no rush to choose or book, we had an idea what we wanted to do with our 2 full days so we just chose 2.
Day 1 - A half day city walk with a guide cost 30 Euros (300 Dirham) for 4 people from 09:00 – 14:00
We ate that night at Café Arabe, 10 minutes walk towards the square, good range of drinks and food, later on back to the square which by evening was full of musicians, storytellers, spice and orange juice stalls, fast eateries.
Word of warning, obvious, Marrakesh is safe, but keep your valuables close as there’s lots of activity (OK my Iphone went!).
Day 2 – A visit to a Berber market, waterfalls in the Atlas mountains 09:00 – 16:00 cost 120 Euros for 4 people.
The market is not a tourist one, very busy, but fascinating, the waterfall could pose a problem if you’re not up to scrambling over boulders, there’s no true path, the car driver will advise that a guide will accompany you for 5 Euros each, so ask if there are others with easier access when you book with Mohammed. Our guide was great, showing how to climb and where to put which foot! Lunch was by a cooling river, Berber Tagine this time.
With any trip these days, there is an underlining agreement that at some point you will arrive at a premises where products are demonstrated – and there a host of assistants to help you, its your choice, we declined one and sampled another, Moroccans vendors are not aggressive like Egyptian ones.
Marrakesh ticked all of the boxes for us, a place always on the list, it’s a place you can immerse yourself in.
We were very happy with Riad Assouel, the roof top terrace has casual seating a view of the roof tops and you can see over 6 Mosques, I say see, but the call to prayers in the early evening starts with one and moves across the rest a truly superb wave of calling, the location and the help offered were great too.
There are some large hotel complexes dotted around outside the city, they looked really nice, very comfortable – but your not in the Medina, being in make you part of it, its not scary.
A final recommendation for anyone travelling back to the airport from any Riad – give yourself plenty of time, we arrived at check in 20 minutes before it closed after a frantic push through morning traffic, immigration was incredibly slow, and don’t forget you need to complete an exit form.
Don’t worry as you cant obtain local currency outside Morocco, take Euros/Stirling, Visa/MasterCard fine in restaurants, some reports of American Amex cards not being accepted but best check for yourselves.
Each room is individual, has A/C etc - just look at the various photos and choose one - but be quick...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.