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“Authentic. Relaxing. Wonderful.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Riad Zahr

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Riad Zahr
derb El Baroudi | Sidi Ben Slimane, Marrakech 40000, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #190 of 1,057 Marrakech B&B and Inns
Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Authentic. Relaxing. Wonderful.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2011

All Marrakesh riads are not equal. Some are essentially Travelodges with a hundred rooms handily situated next to a petrol station, others are bejewelled with the many treasures of the souks leaving you unable to see the wall behind them and nursing a migraine. Riad Zahr is neither of these.

It is the home of Nicolas and Jean-Rémy, who have created a stylish and tasteful environment that is a pleasure to share with them. The riad is understated, contemporary and does not attempt to dazzle you for dazzling’s sake. Its considered simplicity is quite beautiful and an absolute pleasure to return to day or night (okay, night may be a little more beautiful once a few cleverly placed candles are flickering away). But the real pleasure of staying here can be found in Nicolas and Jean-Rémy themselves, for they are both charming, witty and interesting. They also make an excellent breakfast that will happily see you through to a late lunch.

The riad has three guest rooms and a huge amount of communal space including a rooftop terrace where breakfast can be eaten and warm nights enjoyed. I recommend lying on a lounger and watching the sunset colour the clouds overhead, then wait as they melt away to reveal the stars. Lovely. Our party of three stayed in the Rouge room, which is massive, about 30’ by 10’, and with plenty of space left over even with a very good double bed at one end, an extra single bed at the other and a four-seater Moroccan-style sofa and table, where we permanently set up our laptop for Jr. to watch dvds.

I say permanently because in the whole of our twelve day stay we never once felt the need to hide our belongings in the name of security, or even shut the door to our room. We opened the door when we arrived and closed it when we went home. We’ve never felt so safe and relaxed whilst staying away from home. The Rouge room also has two large cupboards and a bathroom big enough for three, with a roll-top bath and plenty of hot water. Also in its favour, the walkway outside the Rouge room ends at a wall, consequently no one passes by and you effectively have a balcony ideal for crafty late night cigarette and stargazing sessions.

Given the obvious effort Nicolas and Jean-Rémy have taken in creating their home, it is unsurprising that everywhere is kept very clean; that the many power sockets all work and are safe; towels and sheets are spotless. Other reviewers have written positively about the help Nicolas and Jean-Rémy can give you to arrange whatever you need outside the Riad, the mobile you are given to summon assistance should you get lost coming home, the torch for navigating the alleyways at night (although it is only needed for a few short areas, street lighting generally being very good), the 15-20 minute walk to the Main Square (a journey which felt safe to all of us at any time) and the quiet residential area in which the riad is situated. All of this is true. But I would add that the riad is ten minutes’ walk from at least six excellent restaurants/cafes (Chez Fatima Berbere being a favourite), fifteen minutes from the Aswak Assalam Hypermarket (which looks like the end of the world but is handy for picnic supplies) and a few minutes from three tiny general stores and a tabac, all of which sell sensibly (i.e. not tourist) priced cold drinks and bottled water.

Marrakech is lovely, plenty to do and see, souks are the confusion you imagine until you learn to read your map properly (I recommend the Rough Guide city map, practically indestructible and drawn accurately to a high level of detail), some restaurants are closed during Ramadan but the majority are open, likewise the timings of some attractions are curtailed but nothing too inconveniencing. The people are lovely, there are honest taxi drivers and the rest will negotiate to reasonable prices if you threaten to walk away, a strategy that also helps when buying useless stuff you don’t need, but must have, from the souks (handmade brass cockroaches are apparently my weakness).

But ultimately this holiday will be remembered for our wonderful stay at Riad Zahr and the friends we made there. At this price I consider it unbeatable and we would all definitely stay here again. In fact we can't wait to return. Thank you Nicolas and Jean-Rémy, we had the most amazing time.

Oh, I almost forgot. They’ve got a gorgeous kitten named Siwa, don’t forget to bring him a toy.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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131 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
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English first
Southsea, UK
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2011

We stayed at Riad Zahr for 4 nights in April 2011. The Riad is a little off the beaten track (a 10-15 minute walk from the main square) but well worth the extra walk for the haven that you find inside. The decor is beautiful, a tasteful mix of traditional moroccan and modern. The roof-terrace, equipped with loungers, is a particularly lovely spot to relax or enjoy breakfast or a beverage. Nicolas and Jean-Remy (our hosts) really made our stay and were extremely friendly and helpful. After being met from our taxi transfer, we were provided with a local mobile phone and a map with lots of specific landmarks to reach the riad, then Jean-Remy kindly walked us (in the dark and the rain!) to the main square as well. We would highly recommend the dinner option that can be taken at the riad - the food was delicious and the nicest we had in our 8 days in Morocco. Our stay at Riad Zahr was a really memorable one and I feel gives a much better appreciation of Marrakech than staying outside in a big impersonal hotel. There may not be a pool on site but a 10 minute taxi ride will take you to a very pleasant waterpark for some cooling relaxation time. Thank You again to Nicolas and Jean-Remy.
Jo & Ryan.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotterdam
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2011

Everything is already been written in other comments,and I can confirm all the positive remarks about the friendly hosts,the clean rooms,the lovely roofterrace etc.
A few remarks:
-You must take the transport offered by the Riad.It will cost you a little bit more(15 euro)but it is impossible to find the Riad on your own.
Once you know the way,it is no problem to find it again.
-The foto's on tripadvisor are not all from the new Riad.You can find the correct ones at www.reservationriadzahr.com

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2011

We stayed at Riad Zhar at the beginning of January, and had the most fantastic holiday. The owners were really friendly and helped us to navigate our way through the alleys and markets of Marrakech. We were given a mobile phone and torch which was reassuring as initially the Riad was difficult to find, but after a couple of days we mastered it.
The room we stayed in was beautifully furnished, with a lovely bathroom. Breakfast was a delight, we looked forward to eating each day on the roof top, which was also lovely to come back to after a busy day in the souks, or square. Marrakesh is very busy, we loved the hustle, bustle of the markets, and ventured out each day to some fabulous places. Our highlight though was a trip for a hamman to Bains De Marrakech which although expensive was just so relaxing, and worth every penny.
Nikolas was really friendly, and worked hard to ensure the Riad was just perfect at all times.
I recommend contacting Nikolas before arrival to book a taxi for your journey to the Riad as it is impossible to find the first time, as it is only accessed on foot, down alleyways. Nikolas will come and meet the taxi and escort you back to the Riad, which will take your breath away. At first the walk to the Riad is daunting when young lads mother to show you the way or tell you the path is closed, however once you have got use to Marrakech this worry diminishes, as the locals are so friendly.
Eat at the Riad at least once as the food is gorgeous, but also experience the delights of the square, where the food is delicious, and the atmosphere electric. We stayed for 1week, and loved every minute of Marrakech, and the Riad Zahr.
Thank you Nikolas for a wonderful holiday, we would definitely recommend this to our friends, and we hope to return again at some stage. Paul and Suzanne.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florence, Italy
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2011

Very nice riad. It seems impossible to find a place so clean and quite in the narrow alleys of the medina.
The building is typical of the medina, square in the middle without roof, the rooms all around with windows on the center.
The owners (Jean-Rémy and Nicolas) gives all you (I think) need. Everything is very simple but nice, clean and useful: mobile phone if you have any problem, wi-fi connection.
It is my idea of accomodation, not an anonymous hotel but a house where you can feel at home.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiadZahr, Owner at Riad Zahr, responded to this review, February 20, 2011
Dear Iacopo,
Many thanks for your friendly review.
Best regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2011

If you're going to Marrakech and want to experience it as best as you can you're here for a treat. Riad Zahr is located in the Northern part of the Medina among private houses and mosques. If it's your first time in the red city I suggest you go for the transfer from the airport option. It costs only €15 and you don't have to worry about getting your own cab and paying even more. Getting back to the airport is easier, but it will cost you about 100 MED which is more or less €10.
The owners are very helpful in helping you find the place. They will pick you up from the taxi and show you the way. Pay attention as there are quite a few turns right and left... Once you get it it's easy.
The Riad itself is very nice. Look out for pictures signed New Riad Zahr. The owners used to run a different Riad of the same name and most of the pictures here show the old house. The room I stayed in, although a bit small, was clean and charming. The bathroom was spacious and immaculate. I've read some reviews about the hot water running out too quickly, but it wasn't the case in my room. The roof terrace is a great place to start and finish a day. The breakfast is served beautifully and after you've come back after a long day/evening exploring you can lie down and watch the stars. It is also a great place to listen what's going on around. Usually in the evening you can hear women from the nearby houses gathering together to sing. It's very different from the "show" you see at the square. It's much more intimate and private. And this is exactly what makes Riad Zahr different from the others. You take a part in a day to day life in Marrakech.
The way to the main square is about 15 minutes. Make sure you listen carefully to the owners when they show you the way. If you get it wrong, you can always ask someone to show you the way, but it will cost you money. It is not only the case on the way to the riad. Wherever you go, boys, mainly young will try to convince you that you're going the wrong way or that the road is closed. As long as you know where you're going don't listen to them and say "thank you". It is fun to get lost in the souks though. This way you enter the world of carpet makers, leather bags, spices, perfumes, oils and all the beautiful things you can imagine to find.
I had one supper at the riad and it was OK. I suggest you explore local restaurants or eat at the square. They put up food stands there and the atmosphere is more up beat.
The owners of the riad are very helpful. If you don't know how to get to the square, ask them and they will show you the way again. If you're not sure where to buy alcohol, they will either sell it to you or show you where the supermarket is. I've stayed in many places before, but the friendliness and help I was shown at the Riad Zahr was outstanding.
I would highly recommend this place to anyone who's up for a bit of adventure! If you have any questions drop me a line. I can also put you in touch with some local people who will not rip you off and show you the sights not everyone can see.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled solo
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiadZahr, Owner at Riad Zahr, responded to this review, January 21, 2011
Many thanks Szczepan for your rewiew.
I hope your message is good advice for future readers. It is true that some young people may try to get lost in this maze of alleys.
That's why we put mobile phones at your disposal, if necessary.

Best regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Almeria, Spain
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2010

What a fabulous place! We stayed at Riad Zahr for 4 nights. Nicolas and Jean Remy invite you into their fabulous home not as guests but as friends. The whole place is beautifully designed and there is real attention to detail. The bed was amazingly comfortable and the room very clean. Nothing was too much trouble if you asked, but also you were left alone to relax too. The day we arrived, Nicolas walked us to the main square, through the souk, making sure we had landmarks so we wouldn't get lost (which we didn't!), a valuable service, as looking around there are a lot of lost tourists in Marrakech!
Breakfast was divine, on the roof terrace with homemade yoghurt and amazing little morrocan breads/pancakes, mmmmm!
The Riad is a little out, (15mins from the main square) but for us that was a bonus as it got you away from the main hussle and bustle of the place. It is down little winding alleys but again this adds to the charm, and although there may be people about, they are friendly and have a laugh with you or let you get on with your business, you are never under 'threat'.
All in all for us Riad Zahr has been a fabulous experience, I highly recommend it

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riad Zahr

Address: derb El Baroudi | Sidi Ben Slimane, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #190 of 1,057 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Charming traditional home in Marrakech, you dive in the heart of moroccan traditions in a relaxed atmosphere.Let us guide you and taste the joys of Medina.We want your stay is a timeless moment ... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riad Zahr Hotel Marrakech

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