My husband and I stayed at the riad for four days and three nights during our brief visit to Marrakech. We opted for the second most expensive room that housed a king sized bed, sitting area and sofa (that can be used for sleeping as well) on the first floor, and bathroom and closets several steps down. As you can tell from pictures that other travelers have taken, the decorations are simple yet lovely. We were told that the building is about 400 years old, and the ultra thick walls and "tucked away" factor made it feel like a great refuge from the hectic medina.
Hamid and the other staff people were great hosts and very helpful in answering questions and in making our stay as stress-free as possible. In fact, I was so impressed by their competence on the first day of our stay that I decided to book a few different things for us to experience on-site, including dinner for two, the hammam and massage. And on the last night, Hamid went out and got us bread from the market and sliced it up for me because I was hungry and too tired to go out and attempt to find the restaurant they suggested. A really sweet touch on his part.
As vegetarians, my husband and I ordered the vegetable couscous, omelet, vegetable tagine, and salad sampler. I personally enjoyed the salads and the vegetable tagine, however the order of vegetable couscous was overkill - it was a LOT of food. Regardless, it was very fresh. In fact, you have to request to have dinner a day in advance so that they can make the preparations (i.e. the food isn't sitting there getting old until someone orders it).
Next, we tried the hammam. Admittedly, I do not have the hammam experience to relax. I go to get virtually beaten up by the hammam attendant's glove, and that is exactly what I got. A genuine, non-diluted for tourists hammam. There was nothing glamorous about it, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. We sat in the hammam on the warm floor for about five minutes, then were slathered with oil. The cheerful attendant scrubbed us down (front, back sides, and gently on the face) the right way as there were rolls of dead skin sliding off our body. Then we were rinsed and covered in ghassoul (henna mixed with herbs) which she asked us to rub into our skin for a little extra exfoliation and we sat there and let it seep in as a mask for about five minutes. Then, she washed our hair and sent us on our way in a comfy robe and slippers. She also let us keep our glove as a souvenir.
I tried the massage next, and my husband did not. Well, the masseuse wasn't exactly a masseuse. She was more of a "let-me-moisturize-your-skin-with-this-oil-as-i-do-a-few-random-massage-esque-moves." As sweet as she was, I have to be fair. Your average Joe could have done a better job. It was pretty mediocre.
Lastly, as far as people claiming that the area isn't safe, I think you may have been watching too much TV. I made many walks from Jemaa el Fna alone back to the riad during the day and at night without anything worse than what I would have encountered in the States. Perhaps it was because I dressed semi-conservatively and look Moroccan, I don't know. I do know that I felt safer down these streets than a lot of other places at night (in the US). You just have to ignore men's attempts to get your attention as funny as they may be and walk like you know where you're going. If you get lost, go into a store and ask someone with a job.
Anyway, I'd definitely come back and hope you travelers give it a shot! You may want to sleep with some earbuds in case Adhan (call to prayer) wakes you up at the butt-crack of dawn but it's actually pretty lovely.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 15 spotless, blisteringly white guestrooms are hidden behind heavy wooden doors and layers of linen drapes. Airy central covered courtyards have comfy seating areas: red rugs on golden brick floors, leafy palms over wooden chaises and – spectacularly – a colonnaded swimming pool in a setting reminiscent of great Carthage. Colourful accents are provided by red or purple cushions and kilims, and artfully arranged rose petals. We like this riad. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Al Jazira Hotel Marrakech