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“Nice Riad But Very Dodgy Area” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Riad Merstane

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Riad Merstane
13 Derb El Merstane, Marrakech, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #366 of 1,058 Marrakech B&B and Inns
Halesowen, West Midlands
1 review
“Nice Riad But Very Dodgy Area”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2007

I would advise against anyone booking to stay at the Riad Merstane. The riad itself is very pretty and relaxing, and the staff were helpful and pleasant, but the area of the Medina in which it is situated was very dodgy at night, making us feel unsafe. This is because the Merstane is located in the poor far northern part of the Medina and tourist accommodation is not commonplace in that area.

Our first bad experience occured just a couple of hours after arriving. As my (male) friend and I walked towards the Jemaa el Fna, a group of three lads decided to 'help' show us the way. We had a map with us and didn't really want their help, but we couldn't get rid of them as they kept following us so we went along with it. When my friend went to give the one lad some money to thank him, he threw it down on the ground and cursed - saying "[--] your mother!" to be precise - as apparently we hadn't given him enough! As we walked away his friends then proceeded to lift my skirt up and laughed. It was a horrible experience and we both felt really angry and disgusted.

We also had a bad experience returning to our accommodation on our second night there. We arrived back at around 11pm by taxi from the main square. As we started the walk back to our accommodation we noticed that there were local men lurking in doorways, staring at us and then attempting to get our attention as we walked past. We ignored them and carried on walking. We then noticed a young lad of about 10 years old cutting up a cardboard box with a large knife. As we walked past he put the knife straight into the air and spoke to us in Arabic. He may have been making a joke but we shall never know, not speaking Arabic. A couple of men then caught our eye and started following us, along with two lads playing football who wanted to know if we needed directing to the riad - we didn't. The next thing we knew the football had been kicked into my friend's back and a woman appeared telling the boys off. We carried on walking and got back to the riad in one piece. This was the last straw and that night we decided to check out the next day. We ended up staying at the Hotel Oudaya in Gueliz, which was a relief to be honest, as we felt much safer in the new part of the city amonst other tourists.

All in all, I certainly could not recommend staying at the Riad Merstane due to the awful location and vile, unfriendly, intimidating local people. A shame really.

  • Liked — The decor and rooftop terrace
  • Disliked — The location
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shimmin2robertson, manager at Riad Merstane, responded to this review, July 26, 2007
As the manager of Riad Merstane and a 6 year resident of Marrakech I feel I must point out that this review is really nothing to do with our Riad but seems to me to give an example of someone who didn't research Marrakech very well before visiting. Anyone who is looking for a "safe" holiday in Marrakech surrounded by other tourists obviously needs to stay in the new town and only venture into the medina with a guide or group. Riads in the medina are mostly down little alleys (derbs) and Moroccan culture dictates that men and boys meet in the streets to smoke and chat as the women don't encourage socialising in the home! We have had many happy guests who have appreciated being in "real" Marrakech and experiencing a very different culture more closely but still having the sanctuary of a lovely, peaceful place to come home to after all the bustle of Marrakech.

David Robertson
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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86 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
leicester england
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2007

I stayed here for three days. This was my first visit to Marrakesh. Prior to going I was quite apprehensive. I am a 61 yr old woman and travelled alone.The Riad is beautifully restored and very comfortable. The English owners and Manager are extremely helpful, very well informed and very good company. With their help I had the most wonderful time in Marrakech. They have a very good cook too! The price is very reasonable. I was so happy I am going back in September with my daughter.

Stayed February 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Staffordshire, England, UK
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2006

We found this property through the much-used Alastair Sawday guides (--). I wanted to stay in a high-end Riad with a pool, my wife wanted to go for something more 'cost-effective'. She won ... and I'm glad she did as we didn't want for anything.

This is not 5-star luxury in the usual sense of the word - and the rooms are not quite the largest available from Riads in Marrakech - but the hospitality shown by Rashida (the Berber maid and cook), David (the Scottish hotel manager), Omar the affiliated taxi driver, the owner (in London) Alan, and all those who popped in during our visit, was of the highest order and more than make up for something as inane as room size. Even if we couldn't communicate directly!

The courtyard is pretty and functional, the living areas well-stocked with games and books - one even has a CD player and a reasonable selection of music - the top-floor terrace gives a reasonable view of the Medina and the Atlas Mountains (and provides a great place for breakfast/lunch/dinner), whilst the entire Riad oozes the relaxed air one requires after a day at Place Djemaa el Fna and the Souk(s). And Alan has kindly left a superb selection of travel guides for Marrakech, including Lonely Planet, Time Out and National Geographic, together with some maps (not that they're much use once you're immersed in the alleys!).

The downside: it's a little tricky to find your way back to the Riad from the Souks or the main square - just head toward Bab Tagzhout and it's relatively easy from there (but beware the school-kids at 18:00 offering to help you find your way and the Petit Taxi who will only drop you at Bab Tagzhout) - but getting lost is all part of the fun ... just make sure you leave yourself an extra hour some nights!

Oh, and the alleys leading up to the front door don't always smell the best! But that's Marrakech for you really: new sights, sounds, smells - all the senses are tested.

The fact that the Riad is not right in the middle of everything (it's to the North of the Medina) is actually an advantage: it's a peaceful oasis after a hard day's bargaining and forces you to take in more than you would normally of Marrakech! Lazy you cannot be ... nor do you want to!

Take Omar up on his morning tour of the main tourist attractions if you're only in Marrakech for a short while; at 200 Dirham, it's a steal and fits everything in.

And let Rashida cook you her lamb with prunes and almonds or, to be honest, anything else she offers to cook you: her tajines are memorable and the starters so fresh: good, honest, Moroccan food ... and exceptional value-for-money! We didn't use a restaurant once for an evening meal! And who'd have thought Moroccan wine (red) could taste so fine?

My wife, 3-year old and I stayed in the Amber and Jasmine rooms - the former has a bath, the latter is extremely tastefully decorated in relaxed greens - both are perfectly acceptable and traditionally attired.

The whole place is all you're led to believe Marrakech has to offer ... and more. Well worth a visit. Coupled to discounted flights from the UK right now, 3 nights' stay for 3 can be yours for less than £300. Now that's what I call a bargain!

Firmly recommended!

  • Liked — The hospitality.
  • Disliked — The alleys leading up to the Riad.
  • Tips/Secrets — Prepare to do a lot of walking!
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
brighton
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2006

In the north of the medina well away from all the tourist this little riad was an oasis of calm.The interior is simple and beautiful,what I would define as 'shabby chic' not too perfect but stylish and charming.There are four rooms and two salons with a roof terrace to relax on.The breakfast was simple and filling and the manager from scotland charming and a wealth of infomation.
We could not have chosen a nicer place for our romantic week away,if you want to have privacy and enjoy a simple ,pretty but comfortable stay this is the perfect place I cannot recommend it enough.

  • Liked — the pretty courtyard and very comfortable bed!
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riad Merstane

Address: 13 Derb El Merstane, Marrakech, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Hotel Style:
Ranked #366 of 1,058 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
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