My husband and I have just returned from a weeks stay in Riad Les Trois Palmiers and we had and absolutely wonderful time. The Riad itself is tucked away down what can only be described as a 'backstreet' and to be honest, you wonder where you are being taken when you first arrive as it doesn't seem possible that such a beautiful spacious place can be hidden behind the walls. We arrived quite late on a Tuesday night and were shown to our room and then sat down to a lovely first night meal which we had pre booked and I'm glad we had a going out into the Medina for the first time in the dark would have been quite daunting. I would definitely recommend a first night meal there anyway until you get your bearings.
The following morning we were greeted by Patrick who really is a great host and he drew us a map of how to get to the square and gave us a few pointers on what to look out for. Before we left for Marrakech I'd read many reviews, good and bad, and really wasn't sure what to expect and was more than a little apprehensive but I found the city colourful, completely atmospheric and very friendly in the main. Yes, you get people shouting at you to come and look at there stalls, or eat their food or drink their orange but a big smile and La Shukran ( no thank you in Arabic) usually has them smiling back at you and being asked "maybe next time?" Or you accept their offer and see what they can offer you and in the shops you'll more often than not get offered some wonderful mint tea. And I usually ended up buying something! But this was out of choice, if you don't want to buy, move on....you are under no obligation. Two warnings I have are about the Henna ladies and the so called guides... The henna ladies grab you a lot and try to start drawing on you. A firm La Shukran seems to work better than speaking in English or French. And in the streets out of the square you will get lots of men start talking to you and then start taking you to either the tanneries or back to the square and then want paying for it....steer clear if you can, they just want your money. We got totally lost looking for the museum and decided to use a guide who then took us to the wrong museum and it was actually shut (which he knew because the Berber market was on) and then took our money and ran. A lovely man then helped us and found someone to take us who didn't want a penny, just a chat along the way.
The little things you must do! Drink the orange juice and mint tea, eat in the square at night even if its only once. We looked for a stall with local people and found one along the edge (even though we'd been told to eat in the middle) and the food was great and try one of the egg sandwiches you see being made on the street, the bread is wonderful and who knew that a little sprinkle of cumin on egg could taste so good!
There are a few trips you can take organised by Patrick and the day trip to the Ourika Valley and Atlas Mountains is a must. You stop to see how Argan oil is made and can buy some from a reputable source as most of the oil in the square and souks is apparently fake. You the take a trek in the mountains to see the waterfalls but be warned, this is more than just a nice amble up the mountain. If you are unfit like I am (!) or infirm in any way, you will struggle. It is hard work going up and down but worth it in the end. You then go to a Saffron farm where again it is safe to buy as the market has a much lower quality.
Back to the Riad, the staff are brilliant and Halid looked after us particularly well. Always running up and down the stairs to the Terrace to see if we needed anything. We ate there 4 nights out of the 7 and each meal was lovely although we had a lot of orange salad for pudding....nice but repetitive. The Riad also has a small but nice selection of wines and spirits for those of you wondering if you will be able to get an alcoholic drink. Mint tea flows and is lovely and complimentary. We stayed in the Bahia room which although small, was spotlessly clean and came with a private terrace so almost like another room. We ate breakfast on it and in the afternoon it caught the sun so perfect for chilling and reading or catching a few rays. It was hot in Feb when the sun came out though so I don't think I could sit there in the summer.
All in all we had a fantastic time and will be returning and won't even consider staying anywhere else. Thank you Patrick and all you staff for making our stay in Marrakech so great!