We arrived at Riad Samarkand in the early evening, using the transfer service arranged by the Riad and all went smoothly, from pick up at arrivals to drop off at the Riad door (last 300M on foot as alleys not suitable for vehicles). Cyril, the Riad manager, greeted us and showed us round the Riad, we had pre-ordered our evening meal and this was ready for us at a time we chose. Our suite (Pondicherry – the smallest I believe) had a bedroom, separate lounge area and wc/wet room – all the rooms were decorated to a very high standard in local and worldwide antiques with extremely high airy ceilings and gorgeous huge windows.
The evening meal we had was tasty and much appreciated after our journey, served in one of the ground floor lounges, there was a good selection of beverages but as these were all in addition to the 25euro per person meal charge things could get a little pricey. Breakfast is included in the room rate and is served pretty much when and where you want it. There is a choice of tea (British) or coffee and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice every morning. Breakfast consists of chopped fruit and yoghurt followed by a selection of breads (inc. a slice of cake and local types) and conserves. A simple breakfast, but nicely presented and more than adequate to set you up until lunch.
After our first breakfast Cyril sat with us and had a chat and advised us on how to navigate our way around the Medina, he also gave us a map. We were lost within 10 minutes of leaving the Riad! Luckily we bumped into Cyril in the street and he was happy to do some more intense navigation coaching! I think being lost on your first day in the Medina is inevitable, so come prepared to be chilled about it – maybe worth hiring a recommended guide for your first morning, we didn’t but it would have made life easier. Whatever, by the end of the first day, one way or another you will be getting your bearings.
Riad Samarkand is approximately 10 minutes walk from the northern edge of the souks and 15 mins from the big square. There are many Riads that are a lot closer to the centre of things, but after visiting a couple of these we decided the space and peace provided at Samarkand was well worth the extra walking. There is oodles of space at the Riad, right through from the suites to the courtyard and roof terraces, most of the time you feel like you have the whole place to yourself.
We found the beds comfy and wet room facilities very good, there is a safe in the bedroom and plenty of hanging space. We slept with some of the windows open and the call to prayer did not disturb us after the first morning.
We flew with Ryanair - be warned you have to go to the check in desk at Marrakech airport even if you have checked in on line and as with all Ryanair flights make sure you are not last on or you'll have no where to stow your cabin luggage!
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