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“Not all it is cracked up to be” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Riad Dollar Des Sables

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Riad Dollar Des Sables
13 Derb Deffa Ourbaa | Laksour Smarinne, Marrakech 40000, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #210 of 465 Hotels in Marrakech
Malaga, Spain
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Not all it is cracked up to be”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

Four of us stayed for 5 nights at Riad Dollar des Sables. The situation off the Place Jemaa el Fna, through the souk and down some rabbit warren alleyways was quite excitng. However an easy to interpret plan larger than a business card would have been useful.
The Riad courtyard was charming and the slighty scruffy roof terrace was a pleasant place to catch some winter sunshine but our room was dingy and cheerless with no attempt at style or character. Our friends had the 'suite', a misnomer. A request for a second bedside lamp was studiously ignored. We would return to find mobile, laptop and electric toothbrushes which had been left on charge had been disconnected. We are sure it wasn't the fault of the maid but probably an economic order from above.
The poor quality bedlinen would have been shameful for the cheapest of hostals. Waking the first morning after an uncomfortable night with a stiff neck from sleeping on a 'pillow' which even a stone saint recumbant on a tomb would have found testing, my request for another pillow was greeted with derision by the owner and I was informed that they did not have spare pillows but it could have more stuffing....?
The advertised strong WiFi signal was very erratic and only accessible in the downstairs public areas and not in the rooms.
The staff were friendly and helpful. Faoud came to rescue us one night when we were totally lost, with a smile and no problem. Mouna the charming cook produced a good dinner but it was more expensive for similar around the square. We were charged for water as if it was wine! Compared to other lower priced places, the breakfast was rather meagre.
We just felt that there was an tense atmosphere between the owner and the staff.
Having experienced other vastly superior Riads in Morocco but in the same price bracket, may we suggest to Cathy that she either dramatically improves her presentation or adjusts her prices to reflect the Raid's standard.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CathMarrakechmedina, Propriétaire at Riad Dollar Des Sables, responded to this review, February 4, 2013
I'm very surprised and a bit disappointed to read this review...I'm very surprised as these 2 couples staid at the Riad, at the same time as a group of 8 american guests, coming for a whole week! As you can see ,according to their review ,this group of eight people, of all generations appreciated their stay ,my house and what we provided, airport pick up, meals and daytours.

The Riad was fully booked with guests coming from different countries and they all enjoyed this new experience of staying in a traditional house.

It is very strange that Mrs Caroline doesn't mention anything good thing we provide...how can it be said that our moroccan breakfast is not good, I cannot let say it, as we try to provide our best , changing the breakfast every day ,with fresh orange fruit juice , different seasonal fruit, changing the home made marmelade, making our home made yogourt, and providing bread, home made crepes , moroccan pan cakes and cakes...
I can guess that this lady ignores that it is not so frequent in most of the Riads in Marrakesh!
I can guess also that this lady has probably the habit of staying in standard hotels...We , my team and I, are like a small family, my guest house is appreciated by a majority of our guests, and I can assure that we always provide our best , trying to please our guests, and looking for improvement...Is this lady really concerned by environement?? She doesn't mention that everyday ,my team and I, had to switch off the light, switch off the heat after she had left her room for the whole day...Of course, we do pay attention not to waste electricity and water use, I think we have to! Sorry madam Caroline, that you didn't understand this, that you didn't appreciate your stay, ....my house is an official 2nd category guest house, known by the authorities, with 4 people full time working and paid with a decent salary , for a total of 13 guests when the Riad is fully booked;
The price we ask is adapted to our category, equivalent to other Riads in the same area, the same level of services.
You should have a look to the Riads of 1st category, and have a look to the services they provide and the price they ask, much more than 79 euros for 2 guests!
I mention that we provide a mineral water free and moroccan cookies to each of guests arriving at the Riad, wifi not perfect upstairs because of the thick old walls of the house, but satisfying in the courtyard and FREE for our guests..
I'm aware that we haven't reach perfection ,but I assure that I always try to do my best with my team, and try to improve our services..
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100 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
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English first
london
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

Everything you read about this Riad being prefect is true. The staff could not have been more helpful, The Riad was wonderfully peacefull and yet less than a minute from the markets and a few minutes from the main square, The breakfast was served in a lovely airy room and we had a meal in the evening which was simply fantastic. I would not hesitate for a moment to recommend this place when visiting Marrakech.

  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CathMarrakechmedina, Propriétaire at Riad Dollar Des Sables, responded to this review, February 4, 2013
Hello from a sunny day in Marrakech!
Just wanted to thank you for the nice review you took time to leave here. I will tell my team !
I hope to welcome you another time, and help you to discover more of Marrakech's surroundings...

Kind regards,
Cathy
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Ballycastle, United Kingdom
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

Cathy (the owner) and her staff were incredibly helpful and wonderful. We didn't even need a guidebook because they had amazing advice for us daily! Cathy was also able to offer us two day excursions out of the city, which were just a portion of the extras they can provide. My sister-in-law and I both had the traditional hamman done at the riad, and a massage - both arranged by the staff at the riad. The breakfasts were EXQUISITE and the dinners we had at the riad made by Mouna were amazing. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this Riad to my family and friends. We even took our three young boys (all under 4) and were nervous about how they would be received. The staff spoiled them and treated them so well. They loved the food and everyone was incredibly helpful. One word of warning - like most riads, noises do echo in the building, and if you have loud boisterous children that don't have indoor voices, it could be stressful for you as the parents. (speaking from experience) :) Overall it was an AMAZING week, and so much more than I expected - all because of our excellent experience in this quiet, beautiful space in the middle of the bustling souks.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CathMarrakechmedina, Propriétaire at Riad Dollar Des Sables, responded to this review, February 4, 2013
Dear Tiffany and family,
Just a few words to thank you warmly for the very kind review you wrote..I will transmit to my team, I promise!
Say Hello to your family and kiss the children for us!

Cheers,
Cathy
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2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

Lovely place to stay! The staff is fantastic, welcoming and helpful. The cook is splendid - the dinner we had was very tasty and the breakfast each morning just out of this world. The riad itself had a great and peaceful atmosphere to relax after a tiring day of hussle and bustle, with a great décor... we had the most romantic time.
Location wise is great, super close to the square and at the doorstep of the souks, but no so deep into the souks that would make it a nightmare to find.
Will definetely recommend!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southend
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2012

Our first visit to Morocco and we spent a lot of time researching the ideal accommodation. We wanted a traditional Riad and not a hotel; we wanted it near to the main square; we wanted the decor - including the bedrooms - to be Moroccan and not modern/trendy; we wanted a spa; we wanted to be able to eat in if required; we wanted a cookery lesson; we wanted a trip to the Atlas Mountains; we wanted friendly and helpful staff. It looked from the photographs and reviews that the Riad Dollar des Sables met all these requirements, and in the event it greatly exceeded our expectations. The reason for our visit was a celebration as myself, my daughter and my daughter-in-law all had special birthdays this year, and we all agreed that a spa hotel in Marrakech sounded just the job. I really cannot imagine we could have made a better choice. The Riad was typically Moroccan with an inner courtyard where we sat and relaxed or ate our meals, surrounded by mosaic columns and wonderful Moroccan decor, and the many little extra touches that owner Cathy had added. The bedrooms were all beautifully decorated, again with so many extra touches. The photographs on the web really don't do justice to the beautiful rooms. On top there was a sun terrace and at one side was the spa and hammam. We all treated ourselves to a massage one afternoon and each of us was convinced that our half hour massage had only lasted five minutes, we were so relaxed! We ate in the Riad two out of the three nights. We had intended to eat in just on the night of our arrival when Cathy offered us a meal, as we thought we would be tired after the journey. It was a wonderful start to our visit and a great introduction to Mouna's delicious cooking. And to our amazement we were each presented with a beautiful Moroccan dish as a present to celebrate our birthdays! I had mentioned in an email to Cathy the reason for our trip but what a surprise to find she had been so generous. The following night we had intended to eat out, but some previous clients had returned to the Riad, also for a special celebration, and Mouna was cooking them a special couscous, so Cathy suggested we might like to have the same meal. Having tasted Mouna's cooking the previous night we were only too happy, and our meal was served under the stars on the sun terrace, so the two parties were able to dine separately. The next day we had our cookery lesson, which started by accompanying Mouna to the souk to buy the ingredients, then cooking two tagines (meat for two of us but vegetable for my vegetarian daughter) and a spiced green bean starter. The Riad kitchen, just like the rest of the Riad, is beautifully decorated. Finally of course we ate the products of our lesson - this was lunch as we had decided to go to a restaurant the final evening. Cathy and all her team could not have been more welcoming. Cathy herself accompanied us for the whole of our first morning including a late lunch and then negotiating on our behalf for a caleche for an hour. The Riad was ideally located, right in the souk and only five minute is that from the main square. Cathy showed us round the souk and introduced us to stalls and their owners. making clear the price we should expect to pay for various items. Obviously we were lucky as she was not too busy to do this that morning, but bear in mind that she would not always have the time to do this for clients - we were very lucky. However the night of our arrival Saleh gave us a map and marked on it and explained various points of interest. By the time we went round the souk with Mouna for our cookery lesson we were beginning to find the maze of lanes and stalls not quite so daunting. On our last morning we went round the souk on our own and managed to find all the stalls again, and when we were in the spice market buying our spices to take back home, who should come in but Mouna! Mention has been made by other clients of Fouad, the night watchman, who made us very welcome the night of our arrival, and offered to take us round the souk after we had eaten. But by that time we just wanted to get to our wonderfully decorated bedrooms and go to bed! One thing that struck us throughout our visit to Marrakech, was the easy-going and secure atmosphere there. Even though the souks were exotic and crowded we never felt in any way unsafe as women on our own, and the general attitude to religion, which might have been a concern in a Muslim country, seemed very relaxed. We took up Cathy's offer of being met at the airport - well worth it. We were not only met by Saleh, but bearing in mind that there is no way a taxi can get any nearer to the Riad than the main square, so he then accompanied us through the souk, taking our two cases for us: well worth the money - I cannot imagine we would have found our way on our own. I have made no further mention of a trip to the Atlas Mountains - yes, Cathy will indeed organise one, but we just didn't have time - well, it's a good excuse for a return visit!

Room Tip: All of the three rooms that we had were charming.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tadley
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

Travelling to Marrakech with a female friend, both over 50yrs was daunting, but i shouldn't have worried. Cathy and her staff were warm, friendly and welcoming. The Riad is a cool, relaxing and comfortable haven from the busy and bustling of the medina
Fouard, the night guard always had a smile and pleasant nature. He would escort us out at night for safety reasons, and escort us back when we got lost.
Mouna, the cook was a talented cook, and gave us a cooking lesson.
The whole experience was amazing and is a must for fun loving and adventurous people.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2012

My mother and I traveled to Marrakech last year (just getting around to writing this now) and stayed at the Riad Dollar des Sables for the length of our trip. What a wonderful place! Cathy and her staff were attentive and extremely friendly! Nice rooms, a lovely breakfast each morning, and the best location! Cathy had to go to a market on the other side of town one morning, so offered to take myself, my mother, and a few other guests along for a little tour...so thoughtful! One night the pipes kept us awake by making strange noises and the next morning Cathy quickly resolved the problem by moving us to another room (in addition to immediately contacting a handyman to have the pipes fixed). We had a wonderful time and would definitely recommend this riad for anyone planning a trip to Marrakech!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riad Dollar Des Sables

Address: 13 Derb Deffa Ourbaa | Laksour Smarinne, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #210 of 465 Hotels in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Riad Dollar des Sables is a nice traditional guest house of 6 rooms ( 3 doubles, 2 twins and a very romantic Suite for two and can be transformed into a triple with an extra charge ). The ideal location inside the Medina ( 400 meters walk from Jema El Fnaa Square) allows you to explore the city easily. The Riad is located at the entrance of the main Souk,called "Smarinnne" and the famous Square "Jema el Fna" only at a 2 minutes walk. Upon arrival, we recommend you to book our airport pick up, especially by night , to avoid the fake guides; we can also meet you at the Square , or pick you up at the airport, for an extra charge (150 Dhirams :1or 2 guests . So don't hesitate to contact me , giving me your flight details so that I can arrange this service with my private driver.Our driver will drop you at jema el fna Square within 10 minutes, and we will be there to meet you. As soon as you get inside the House , you will be touched by the enchanting atmosphere of Riad Dollar des Sables. The whole staff is welcoming you with a smile, and a special attention : coloured candles, fresh roses petals at your feet, delicate flavor in the air and oriental music..Just to make you feel in the mood and comfortable.Passing through the corridor, you will discover the peaceful courtyard and its fountain made of traditional mosaics.On its terrace, Riad Dollar des Sables offers a relaxing and traditional Hammam ( run with wood) and massages for a very good price;First, you will be invited to share with me (Cathy) a sweet refreshing mint tea and moroccan pastries.As I'm living all year long in Marrakesh since 2006, I know quite well the city and shall be happy to share with you my experience , giving you all the useful information and good adresses to enjoy your stay .We shall give you a map to sign the main monuments to visit or restaurants around. We can also provide moroccan meals at the Riad,cooking classes ( mornings) with my cook Mouna, guided tours in your language with official guides, or excursionsinthe surroundings of the city, body treatments at the Riad provided by professionals only. ... more   less 
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