The idea of Marrakech was a bit overwhelming until I was referred to Riad Zara by a friend who had stayed here several years back. I reached out to Monique and received an immediate, very welcoming response. Monique provided details about rooms for my dates that suited me perfectly, a single male traveler. She also helped arrange a car and driver for pickup at the airport which was worth every cent and made the journey to Raid Zara that much easier. When I arrived I was shown around the Riad, provided the customary mint tea (very refreshing!) and shown where to go and how to navigate the streets of the Medina. For many, staying outside the Medina may be a choice but if you want to see the real Marrakech there's nothing better than walking and strolling the narrow streets to gain a feel and connection to the old city.
Monique and the staff at Riad Zara were so welcoming and friendly; constant smiles, friendly advice and laughter regarding the day's adventures and challenges within the Medina. The Riad is an easy stroll to the square and the Souks but far enough to allow for peace and quiet at night, which ensured I got plenty of rest from the long days. The beautiful courtyard and rooftop seating areas provided some spectacular views of the city in the evening and at night, where I read and relaxed, again after my days spent walking and strolling.
Monique was generous with advice and the offer to provide scheduled excursions but when I told her my main goal was to just visit Marrakech she did not try to 'sell' me on anything I did not want. This was a refreshing balance from the Souks where the hard-sell is a way of life.
If (when) I return to Marrakech I will most certainly stay at Riad Zara again. Monique is a wonderful hostess who is natural at welcoming and accommodating people into her home. When I thanked her for opening her home, she responded with 'I did this for all of you', knowing that she appreciates her world and had opened it to sharing with others is a very welcoming environment.
Thanks to everyone for making my time in Marrakech memorable.