My wife and I stayed at Riad Mur Akush for seven nights at the end of August 2012. The booking was very easily arranged. The deposit was sorted without fuss. The communications with Maria were excellent. The breakfasts by Rachid and Zohra were wonderful. It is true. You can have breakfast anywhere: your room, the terrace, the rooftop, anywhere. At any time.
This is a small Riad, not a hotel run by accountants, directors and shareholders. It is not family run, but that is only because the staff are not related. There was total peace and quiet all the time, apart from two things, which on the first night were important, but then we just accepted this is what life is like living so close to the centre. The first was the call to prayer from the nearby mosque. It was loud. But this may have been because of the second thing, the local weddings with all their wonderful music.
Strangely, we searched out a CD with Moroccan wedding music, as we found it really gives you a feel of the place. We are still playing it in the car, three weeks later. I should point out the Riad supplied earplugs for guests that find the call to prayer unwelcome.
Marrakech is not the place to come for a complete rest. It is so lively and there is so much to see, that you should be exhausted by the time you go to bed. The bed was gigantic and firm. The air conditioning in both the bedroom and lounge could take the temperature down to very cold if you wanted. The bathroom was bigger than most hotel bedrooms. The decor throughout the Riad is traditional and it appears you are in someone's home, not their place of business.
We had a fascinating cooking course with Zohra, with some background help from Rachid. Zohra showed us how to make Hariri Soup and a Chicken Tajine. It was then served on the roof terrace while the sun was setting by Mohammed. A memory that will live with me forever. (When I get around to typing it up, I will email it to the Riad. Then others can enjoy it without taking notes). Thank you guys.
As we were expected to be back late a few nights, Rachid gave us the front door key! He needs his sleep as well! He would have gladly got up to greet us at any time and even made Moroccan Mint Tea, whenever we wanted.
Mohammed wrote, at our request, for the local taxi drivers, "Switch on your meter" in Arabic. They never did, but the drivers found it hilarious. You will be overcharged everywhere, but only by a Euro/Pound. Most of the time, it's not worth haggling, walking off, finding another taxi, cushion seller, etc. Just pay what you think it's worth. The salesmen everywhere are very good. It's not an unpleasant experience in the souks, it's just their way of life. Ninety five per cent of the customers in the souks are the locals not tourists. The weekends are especially mad. As others have said, unless you want something, do not ask the price. Everyone speaks enough English for you to get what you want.
The prices in the Government "Fixed Price" shops are at least twice what you would pay if you can haggle even a little bit in the souks. They are also soul-less and empty of atmosphere. All the stuff is the same as in the souks. You would be better off going next door to Maison Arabe and buying all your souvenirs from their little gift shop.
You MUST eat in the main sqaure. Jemaa el Fna. The food is excellent and cheap. The waiters know that Westerners are looking for cleanliness.
What was the best thing about the Riad? The location. You reach all the sights within a 15-20 minute walk. If you want a taxi, they are everywhere. If you need one to take you back to the Riad, just tell them Bab Doukkala Mosque, or Maison Arabe. These two places are known by every taxi driver and both are less than 100 metres from the front door. The second thing was the fantastic smelling shower gel/shampoo!
Stay here, it's a wonderful experience.