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“"A True Oasis"” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Villa El Arsa

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Villa El Arsa
18 Derb El Arsa | Kennaria, Marrakech, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence
Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“"A True Oasis"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013

Look no further if you want a fabulous place to stay for your time in Marrakech. This city is confusing, dusty, dirty, noisy, and a little nuts and you will need a genuine oasis to return to each day. We spent a week at Villa El Arsa in the Royale room, a huge room by typical standards with high ceilings painted in a colorful traditional Berber motif and a working fireplace! This ryad (or guest house) has four wonderful rooms and has been completely renovated (early 2012) by two super charming French guys, Noel and Fabrice. (English spoken.) While maintaining the authenticity and character of the traditional Morrocan Berber home, they transformed this ryad into a most comfortable, impeccably clean, and lovely place to stay. Modern comforts, elegant traditional Moroccan decor, minutes to everything, peace and calm.

You WILL want to have chef Fabrice cook for you there and enjoy eating an elegant three course Moroccan and/or French meal in a special room off the central courtyard by the crackling fireplace, with candlelight, lovely music and privacy. Seriously the best food we ate the entire week there. And sooooo reasonably priced compared to other good places nearby. Breakfasts (fresh fruit, yogurt, breads, pastries, jams, butter, coffee, tea) are lovely in the roof garden.

You are two minutes walk to the main square (Djemma el Fna) and entrances to the souks. They give you your own Moroccan cell phone if you get in trouble or lost and need to call them. Great wifi, solid firm (really firm) beds with lots of pillows, lovely bathrooms, slippers, flowers and a host of little touches that make you feel so welcome. If you travel there in warm weather, the cooling plunge pool off the courtyard would be a welcome relief. We were there in February and we noticed room air conditioners but we used the room space heaters in the evenings only cause it only got chilly then and in minutes we were totally comfy. We ran into a few issues with blisters and a minor reaction to the experience with the hammam, and we were looked after like family.

Noel gives you a brief walking tour of the area your first day (if you want) so you can get your bearings. Take their advice on everything: restaurants, excursions, negotiating, museums, hammams, and other places. Don't try and find this place on your own, especially at night - have Noel arrange a taxi for you and meet you at the nearby taxi stand or at the Cafe de Paris up on the square. Easy to find once you get your bearings however.

Seriously the best hospitality and the best value for the money we have ever encountered in traveling which we do a lot. Arno and Patrice from the Netherlands.

Room Tip: Four rooms, all on the second floor accessed by stone stairs. The Royale room was fab!
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
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205 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    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 (29)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Korean first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Loose Kent
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

We have just spent 5 wonderful nights at this Raid.
Noel Patrice and their staff made our holiday extra special.Nothing was too much trouble.
Raid only minutes from the main square and souks.
The Raid was spotless. The breakfast on the roof terrace each morning was lovely.
We would definately go back.

Room Tip: All rooms wrer good
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  • Stayed January 2013, 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.
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013 via mobile

Spent a total of 5 nights in triple room. Calm and quiet , clean, beautifully furnished and decorated with unfussy style. Plenty of heaters in rooms. Lovely relaxing communal areas, fire in the evening, cd collection etc

Noel is very welcoming and helpful, speaks good English, took us around medina on first day so we were oriented. It is easy to find this Riad from the main square.

Fabrice was previously a chef in France and produces delicious meals. Sidi and other staff do not speak Englush but very friendly and attentive.

Altogether a great base in Marrakech.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

This delightful, traditional Riad proved to be ideal for our 3 night stay in Marrakech at the end of our Moroccan tour.

The Riad is in a good position within the Medina, convenient for exploring the many places of interest whilst providing a peaceful and comfortable base. Noel accompanied us one morning and pointed out places to eat as we wandered through the souks - it was very interesting and useful for first time visitors like us.

The service here is exceptional - we were so well cared for by our kind and thoughtful hosts, Noel and Fabrice.

Although we had only booked B&B we did have dinner there on 2 evenings and each meal was excellent - a real treat as it was well prepared and cooked using fresh ingredients from the market. It was a real pleasure to eat such delicious and beautifully presented food.

We would thoroughly recommend a stay at Riad Villa el Arsa!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Singapore, Singapore
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2012

Noel was an exceptional host. He spoke English (very important to us as we couldn't converse in either French or Arabic). Very friendly and accompanied us to the Djemaa El Fna Square to make sure that we didn't get lost. Even accompanied us to the money changer with great rates (Ali). Constantly asking how we were without being intrusive. Really appreciated his help the whole way. Service does not end after payment as well. He treats us like friends really. Called a cab for us, arranged a porter to carry our luggage for us and so on. He even has a phone (Siemens) for us to contact him in case we need him. Exceptional service and I really love it. Its not the kind of thing that you will get in hotel chains. THANK YOU NOEL FOR A GREAT STAY!

The property is about 3 to 5 minutes from Djemaa El Fnaa square. Very conveniently located. If the taxi drops you at the square, you can get the porter (30 dirhams) to carry your luggage for you. If u get someone to show you directions, 10 to 20 dirhams (maximum). Stop at the Cafe Du France and go inwards from there.

We visited the riad in December and the room was comfortable and warm! There is a heater behind the wastepaper basket in the toilet, and another heater in the cupboard. It'll keep you warm even if you visit in winter, no problems! Wifi was a plus and allowed us to plan everything.

Marrakech was noisy and do get Noel to recommend you restaurants to have your meals. Its cheaper than the ones in the bazaar. I went to one of the restaurants and I was charged 82 dirhams as compared to the 100 dirhams charged at the bazaar (few dirhams difference, but for the budget conscious traveller, it may help).

Other tips:
Do NOT get fleeced at the Tanneries when you are in the souks! They will say to you, i do this only for a "shukran" (Thank you)! Not true! Always negotiate the pricing! We had to pay 200 dirhams for a 5 minute tour which was nonsensical. We did not want to make a scene as it was in a shady part of town. So do be careful. When you say you are in Marrakech for the first time, you will immediately become their target. Don't let this deter you from the experience in Marrakech because it is chaotic but interesting! :)

Best of luck in Marrakesh. You will enjoy your stay, especially if it is in Riad Villa El Arsa! :)

Room Tip: Le Fiqh Double Room
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Top Contributor
114 reviews 114 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

I didn't know the consequences of staying in a Riad, even a nice one like this one. The four rooms are built around an open central courtyard, and the rooms have poorly fitting doors. So when your neighbour coughs, you hear it, (heaven forbid if anyone had 'nocturnal activities!!) when the cats outside fight you think they are very close, and when anyone is eating on the roof terrace you can hear every word. (I am not a light sleeper !) The rooms are beautiful, but are very dark and felt cold and damp at this time of year. Noel was a great host and was always there to greet on entrance/exit and offered good recommendations where to go and what to do. Breakfast was served on a lovely sunny roof terrace.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riad V, Propriétaire at Villa El Arsa, responded to this review, March 3, 2013
Google Translation
Bonjour Helen,
vous voyez, j'ai mis trois mois avant de répondre à votre commentaire.
Vous noterez que depuis cette date, je n'ai répondu à aucun.
J'ai laissé faire le temps... j'ai attendu d'autres commentaires... j'ai attendu de remonter dans le classement, suite au votre qui nous a fait rétrograder... je me suis posé plein de questions...

Les internautes aiment les commentaires qui reflètent une expérience. Le votre est une expérience!

Mais bruyant et sombre...

Sombre – durant votre séjour, le temps était gris, il a plu souvent jusqu'au premier jour de décembre... c'est votre impression et c'est vrai que la protection sur le toit en plastique blanc atténue la lumière... mais quand le temps est à l'orage, c'est un plaisir de pouvoir profiter du patio à l'abris... quand il fait 56° dehors, c'est aussi un plaisir qu'il réfléchisse les rayons du soleil... et le patio n'est qu'à 28° tout l'été et le bain oriental 26°... les hôtes prennent un livre et reste dedans de longs moments...
A l'époque de l'année où vous êtes venus, les jours sont très courts... lever du soleil autour de 7 heures (vous avez fait un lever de soleil en montgolfière!) et coucher du soleil vers 17h! Vous étiez tout le temps en promenade... je pense que vous n'avez pas beaucoup vu le riad en journée et quand le soleil est présent (330 jours par an)...

Bruyant – je m'étonne que vous ne parliez pas de la nuit du nouvel an musulman. Votre amie dans la chambre à coté a entendu les tambours une partie de la nuit. Vous, non... souvenez vous, nous en avons même rit... une nuit bruyante de ce genre n'arrive qu'à la fin du ramadan, à l'aid et pour la nouvelle année... oui on entend la vie du riad... les autres bruits de la ville restent dehors... beaucoup disent que le riad est calme, une oasis de paix... c'est ce qui revient le plus... vous étiez seule dans votre chambre et peut être plus attentive aux rares bruits...
Faire l'amour au riad, appelons un chat, un chat, est, heureusement une chose qui se passe souvent! Je participe au ménage des chambres... J'y vis et je ne suis pas un ermite...

Vous commencez votre commentaire en disant que vous ne saviez pas à quoi vous attendre en choisissant un riad... Ce n'est pas un resort... c'est une architecture centrée sur la vie vers le patio... c'est calme, vivant aussi et clair grâce à cette immense ouverture vers le ciel... Ceux qui aiment, reviennent pour cette authenticité.

Je pense que votre choix a été votre erreur et vous semblez le reconnaître avec votre introduction.
Mais en même temps, je peux le dire, vous avez sanctionné Riad Villa El Arsa. Nous n'y sommes pour rien!

Il est important aussi de savoir à quoi s'attendre quand on écrit un commentaire.

Par bonheur, d'autres commentaires nous ont permis 3 mois après de retrouver un bon classement.

Juste pour vous dire, faites attention à vos choix de logement si vous ne connaissez pas un type d'hébergement.
Et puis, tenez compte des circonstances.
Et puis, que vos commentaires peuvent peser lourd et avoir de nombreuses conséquences.

D'autres propriétaires de riad vous aurez écrit pour vous demander de supprimer votre avis. Des internautes le font. Je n'aime pas mais cela permet d'avoir que de bons commentaires...
Des fois, je trouve "non objectif" certains commentaires... mais Tripadvisor dit bien "il s'agit d'avis subjectifs"... A nous tous de le savoir!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012

Wonderful place: a real haven of tranquility in such a hectic city; and quite possibly the most tastefully decorated riad in all of Morocco! The hosts couldn't be more welcoming and accommodating (including the cat!) and walking through the front door is like a breath of fresh air at the end of the day.

Well worth arranging a dinner in the riad too - Fabrice is an exceptional cook, and it's such a lovely setting to dine in.

Highly recommended!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Villa El Arsa

Address: 18 Derb El Arsa | Kennaria, Marrakech, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 203 Specialty Lodging in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ideally located in the Medina of Marrakech, with easy access, 5 minutes' walk to Jemaa el Fna and other mythical places of Marrakech.Villa El Arsa is an oasis in the midst of excitement and wares of magical red town.Fabrice et Noel welcome you in this bed and breakfast with four rooms,accommodating up to 10 people (2 double bedrooms, one with fireplace and 2 triple rooms, bathrooms tadelakt).We will accompany you in your first visit to the Medina and we can present you the main palaces or places. ... more   less 
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