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“Christmas Day in the Sahara” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Riad Zara

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Riad Zara
3.0 of 5 Guest house   |   294 Derb Ben Salek | Boutouil, Bab Aylen, Marrakech 40000, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #112 of 1,031 Marrakech B&B and Inns
leeds
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Christmas Day in the Sahara”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

We arrived on 22 December and as in previous reviews I can confirm the Riad is located in an alley in what is a residential area of Marrakech. It takes about 20 minutes walk to get to the main square but it takes you through a busy and typical area which is not so touristy, but gives you an insight into the local culture and way of life. On arriving at the square it is much more geared up for tourists. Riad Zara inside is very clean and and the atmosphere laid back and relaxing. Each day we were greeted by Monique and her small team with a smile and a welcome back. Monique is always available with advice and recommendations on the area. She organised a trip for us to the Sahara with an overnight Camp. Christmas Eve was spent with the stars for light, campfire and traditional music. Christmas Day we sat watching the sunrise before heading back to civilisation by camel. We arrived back at the Riad early evening and Monique had prepared a lovely meal which was presented and cooked to perfection. WIne is available to buy in the Riad and is of a decent quality. A lot of the restaurants in the main Square do not serve alcohol at all. We have some great memories and had an unforgettable Christmas 2012 and would love to return to Riad Zara.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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319 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Waterlooville, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

On arrival, we wondered what we had let ourselves in for as the Riad is situated at the end of an alleyway on the edge of town: however, the initial doubts soon turned into pleasures as started to appreciate both the Riad and it's location. It was quiet in this magical building, except for the Call to Prayers but then that is everywhere. Being situated on the edge of town meant about a 15minute walk through to the Place and what an education that was! Monique is great, helpful and fun. Thoroughly recommended.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karlsruhe, Germany
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

We stayed in the Riad Zara in November 2012 for our honeymoon at least for about one week. I can only recommend the location. After all the excitement of our wedding we enjoyed the quiet, beautifull place and had a great romatic time.

People:
Monique, the owner of the riad is like a good friend for all the people staying there. She also booked a rental car for us and organised a guided city tour for us. Both for a real cheap price and best quality. You can always talk to her and she can tell you a lot about the city and knwos all the good places for dinner and visit. After all she was really like a mother to us, but never intrusive. If you prefer to stay on your own, it´s no problem. We also had the best marrokan dinner at the raid.

Riad:
The Riad Zara is a quit little oasis in the loud an full medina of marrakech. It has a really beautifull inner yard with a water basin an a plam tree in the middle. The rooms are sourrounding the yard on several floors and are all very beautifull. I guess monique furnished them all on her own and she did well. It really feels like an traditionall old marrokan riad. On the roof, there ist a lovely terrace with agrat view over the city where you can see all the towers of the mosques. There ist enough place for several people to enjoy romantic sunset without disturbing each other. All the furniture ist very beautifull.

Location:
The location in the city is... perfect, i can´t say anything else, it´s only a short walk to the center of the medina and also the bus-terminal can be reached by foot (or a taxi for little money) Ask monique for a city map, you will find your way easily if you follow her instructionjs. The riad is located in an really marrokan neighbourhood, and all the people on the street are very friendly. You have to except, that most of them want to sell you something or show you the way for a tip, but that´s the same everywehere in marrakech.

We really loved our time there. I can recommend the riad zara completely.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2012

After carefully looking at tons of tripadvisor reviews and photos, my husband & I chose Riad Zara for our first Marrakech stay of 4 nights. We felt so welcome the second we set foot in Morocco! Through our gracious and warm hostess Monique, we had arranged to be picked up at the airport. After an absurdly long trip from the U.S. West Coast, the last thing we wanted to do was get lost first thing coming in. As you witness the driver expertly weaving through the insane chaotic traffic of cars, donkeys, scooters, bicycles, etc, with no apparent rules or right-of-way, that's when it hits you, you're not in San Francisco anymore!

The Riad's location is in the Bab Aylen section of the medina, on the eastern side. It is a residential and less touristy area, an authentic neighborhood. It's about a 15 minute walk to the Jmaa el Fnaa square, once you know the way. When you first arrive by car from the airport, from the medina gate, you go on foot a couple of short blocks for a moment to reach the riad, located on a quiet, narrow alley. We chose the Fadowa room, which doesn't have a.c., but being on the ground level, is naturally cooler. We preferred this, since we aren't big fans of air conditioning. The heat wasn't an issue for us, having visited in late May. Our room was a reasonable size, very comfortable and beautifully decorated, with its own bathroom. Everything was very clean, the mattress nice and firm. This room does open up to the lovely courtyard, where the dining tables are and people take their meals. I can see that if you want more privacy, perhaps the upper level may work better, but this wasn't an issue for us. A.C. or not, you will be woken up anywhere in Marrakech at 4:45AM by the many mosques call to prayer, which can be haunting or irritating, depending on your mood. Later in the morning, birds sounds fill up the courtyard. Breakfast was tasty and you can take it up on the roof, if you like. There are wonderful decorative details and personal touches throughout the riad, which make it feel like a home. We felt very safe our whole trip, but be mindful of scooter and donkey traffic at all times, it's easy to get distracted by all the attractions around you! If you've never been to Morocco, I recommend reading the tripadvisor forums for more details on money, what to wear (women), etc. I found long pants or jeans handy because the streets can be quite dusty or muddy at times.

Monique guided us with lots of info on navigating the medina and gave us essential tips on interacting with its people, useful Moroccan arabic phrases, shopping and restaurants. She even gave us a customized vegetarian cooking lesson on the basics of Moroccan cuisine. We felt very at home and enjoyed having her kitty Yallah around. Yallah may initially not seem like the friendliest kitty, but the longer you're there, she does warm up to you, in her own independent way.

You'll definitely want to have at least one dinner at the riad, the food is excellent and a true experience to dine in the beautiful courtyard at night, by candlelight and rose petals. Be sure to consult the price list posted outside the kitchen if you're trying to stick to a budget, as conveniences such as laundry, air conditioning, etc., are extra.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Riad Zara, with its rooftop terrace, wonderful food, and amazing hospitality. We couldn't have been happier with our stay. We only wish we could have stayed longer. Can't wait to go back and try one of the rural excursions. Merci, Monique!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Livonia, Michigan
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2012

Monique was the epitome of a gracious hostess - offering excellent meals, welcome advice about navigating and negotiating the medina, and a lovely tranquil setting. Only one caveat - you may not want to leave!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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All over the world
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2012

We enjoyed our stay with Monique at the Riad Zara. It is in a great location, in the eastern part of the Medina away from the craziness of Djemaa-el-Fna. Monique decorated this Riad very tastefully and you can see her personal touch here. She is ready to share any advice and tips on Marrakech but also knows how to be discreet and stay out of your way if you need privacy. Only two negatives: it's not exactly a family oriented riad and if you have little kids it's probably better to stay elsewhere. Second, Monique did not have much help and often was spread out very thin dealing with customers, making breakfasts, etc. However, I would recommend this riad to almost everybody!

Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
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Copenhagen, Denmark
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2012

This is my second visit to Riad Zara and Monique.
This time I was as pleased as last time. The Riad is situated near Bab Aileen (this is a gate) and in a quiet area. As quiet as it gets in the Marrakech medina.
Monique is as always the perfect host and friend.
Stay here if you need a "home" in Marrakech, it is a small but cosy Riad and Monique goes to great lengths to make you feel at home.
She will help you with everything from booking a fantastic trip to guiding you safely through the narrow streets of the medina. If you like an intimate atmosphere not more than 20 min walk from the Square. Then stay here.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Riad Zara

Also Known As:
Riad Zara Hotel Marrakech
Riad Zara Hotel
Address: 294 Derb Ben Salek | Boutouil, Bab Aylen, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #112 of 1,031 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Riad Zara 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
"If you look only for authenticity, Riad Zara could be your place... Yes ! that is right, it is “my home” and I get great pleasure to share Zara’s home, a guest house somewhere in the Medina... A home from home, Riad Zara, a cozy restored riad, is situated in the east part of the medina, in the old Bab Aylen area. A real oasis in the middle of the “coloured” life ot the medina (old city). ... more   less 
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