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“It was shut – but it didn’t matter in the end” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Riad Medina Azahara

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Riad Medina Azahara
Derb Dabachi Derb jemaa 22, Marrakech 40000, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #79 of 182 Specialty lodging in Marrakech
Bristol
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“It was shut – but it didn’t matter in the end”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2008

From what I can tell the Riad Medina Azahara is not so much a Riad as a loose association of small guesthouses around the Derb Debachi area. If you know this in advance then you won’t suffer in the same confusion that my family and myself endured – all of which was very disconcerting when you’ve only just arrived in a place already as “organisationally challenged” as Marrakech. And the Riad staff would in turn be doing themselves and everybody else a big favour by communicating this fact up front.

Despite reports of its difficult location and no sign on the door we found it straight off. Then the farce began: we knocked…and knocked…and knocked. 10 minutes later and not a little worried, we were saved by a woman a few doors up who beckoned us inside. She explained how the Riad Medina Azahara was closed for redecoration, but that she was in charge of our booking (showed us her copy of our reservation). She would take our money (paid only deposit at that point) and then take us to rooms in her riad. We were plonked in a beautiful room with a “bien venue”, and mustered enough French to say “Erm, I booked two rooms...where’s the other one”, at which point we were left you to stew for an hour. Next thing it was “Bonjour, Allez avec moi”. In the following ten minutes we all saw a lot of Marrakech alleyways before we ‘found’ our new destination…which it must be said was bijou and beautiful, and we could relax, though I could have done without the previous hour and a half. Without some passable French I would have been stuffed. And how did I, just 3 days earlier, manage to book rooms in a riad that was shut for redecoration? At that point I was ruing booking with them and wished I had just gone with a normal riad…are there any? Most people we spoke to who stayed in any kind of riad said that they or others staying in the same riad as them had similar problems.

The organisational chaos of the Azahara continued. We were due to do a three day tour and then return to the Azahara. Given the previous chaos we wanted to confirm with them that they had our booking for this second stay. The best I could get out of them was an “I don’t know but it will be no problem”. We did have rooms when we got back – in a different (and equally nice) Riad close to the Derb Debachi, and after a few hours the showers were fixed (quite handy when you’ve just spent 3 days in the desert)…though the next day the entire medina lost its water supply. Bit of a theme developing…They are not keen on alcohol in Morocco - that's coz they couldn’t organise a… etc. Quaint though. I’ve been there 3 times and love the place.

As for the quality of rooms, cleanliness, breakfast and service in the riads we did stay in – they were excellent.

One general thing: If you book this or any other Riad by deposit only, with the balance to pay on arrival, make sure you have enough cash to cover (several days of) it on arrival as many/most riads won’t take credit cards. If the price was originally quoted in euros, I also suggest you take enough euros to cover it as they will “round up” the dirham/euro exchange rate so you’ll be paying a bit extra in dirhams. If you must pay dirhams be aware that you can only get them in Morocco, so you may have to get quite a lot out of the ATM on your first day to pay the balance on rooms. Make sure your ATM daily allowance covers it. And let your bank know you’re going to Morocco, as many of them see large foreign cash withdrawls as suspicious and will put a stop on your card…they may call you at home to let you know…but you aren’t there!

  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
northants
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2007

Not a bad little Riad for the money.....(There are 3 Riads in this chain, all next door to each other, so depending on which one you get... ) 5 Mins from the famous Jemma El Fna square, Situated off a very busy derb (Street), off the square at the bottom of a long narrow alley (Which has only 1 street lamp at night, so quite spooky......very wonky cobblestones & in great need of repair ! )) the alley has very high walls & Large Brown doors with fancy knockers along the way........ No 22 is Riad Medina Azahara, the rooms are beautiful & ornate but to be honest in need of a freshen up/redecoration. Acceptably Clean with an En Suite Shower & Toilet & Sink. (Not all rooms here are En Suite) Towels are supplied & maids/cleaners visit every morning. Breakfast is included & is served from 8.30 to 11.30 which is a very basic Moroccan breakfast of Crepes & Jam + Cheese & Mint tea (which they drink everywhere in Morocco ) Very nice too, it is said to lift your spirits & is poured from a height.
There is a sun terrace with loungers & lovely flowers & a chill-out area with tele/dvd player.
The owners have very limited English, though they do speak French & are very friendly. They organise a couple of trips to the Atlas Mountains etc. & have a couple of Moroccan nights at the Riad (Wed & Sat) with a meal & Moroccan dancers. (Cannot comment on thiese as we didn't go to them ! ) The square was very disappointing as all the famous story-tellers were there sure enough TELLING THEIR STORIES IN MOROCCAN !! The Snake charmers were there too, but sadly you only had to look in their direction & they demanded money from you. To be fair there is lots going on in the square, & lots to eat/drink.....The Culture is very diffent in Marrakesh, lots of beggers of ALL AGES, & everyone wants to guide you somewhere or get you into their shop !! BE PREPARED to be HARRASSED in one way or another !!. All in all a very memorable experience.

  • Liked — Mysterious/Ornate Decor
  • Disliked — Dark alley to get to it
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Riad Medina Azahara

Address: Derb Dabachi Derb jemaa 22, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Hotel Style:
Ranked #79 of 182 Specialty lodging in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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Also Known As:
Riad Medina Azahara Hotel Marrakech

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