We stayed at Villa el Arsa for 2 nights in mid-December as a short break. We had arranged a transfer from the airport as part of the booking and it worked out well, being met by Noel at Cafe de France and then walked back to the accommodation. This proved to be invaluable as Noel pointed out some of the landmarks to make sure we can find our way back, and although we found it easy to find our way back and forth after Noels help, it would not have been easy to do it first time around. And not as relaxing!
Villa el Arsa itself was lovely. Four bedrooms on the first floor looking down to the courtyard below, with a lovely terrace at the top, which was plenty warm enough to have breakfast in the sun in December. Our room (La Bahia) was great - a beautiful bed, plenty of space and a traditional Morrocan bathroom. Heaters were provided for the evenings which we used a couple of times just for a blast of warmth. People say that when staying in riads noise can be a problem because of the central courtyard design but on the first night we didn't hear anything and were not even aware of the call to prayer (but maybe that was more to do with being tired and having left the children at home with the grandparents!) We did hear the call to prayer the second morning but we did not find noise a problem at all.
The breakfasts were lovely on the terrace - a selection of pastries, pancakes etc. with jams, fruit, yoghurt and juice/tea/coffee. It set us up nicely for the day and gave a nice view of the Atlas mountains on a clear morning. It happened to be my wife's birthday on the second day and although I hadn't mentioned it, Noel surprised my wife with a bouquet of flowers in our room in the afternoon. We had arranged to eat in the Riad on the second night and we had a great meal with another couple who were staying there, in front of a log fire in the lounge. Fabrice had made a lovely meal and I would definitely suggest eating in one night.
We found the the riad very peaceful but so close to the main square that we could get from one to the other in 5 minutes - in fact, when in the main square with everything going on around you I was very surprised by just how quite it was on the roof terrace considering it was a matter of minutes form the square! It was very easy to walk around to all the main sites in the old town. We never felt unsafe walking around and having accommodation so close to the action was an advantage. On our last day we bought some freshly cooked lamb from Mechoi Alley, some olives and bread and went back to the riad to enjoy our food on the terrace - another highly recommended meal. On our last day we checked out in the morning but we were free to come and go as we pleased in the riad until we left for the airport in the evening.
We really enjoyed Marrakech and if we return we would definitely stay at Villa el Arsa again.