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.