My husband booked our 5 day stay at Riad Zehar based on favorable reviews on Trip Advisor and we were not disappointed. We loved that it felt like an intimate home, greatly helped by our good fortune that we were the only guests there at the time. The connecting two rooms worked great for our young family (kids age 7,4 and 3) and every meal we had at the Riad was delicious. My only thought was that for us, lunch and dinner, was a bit too pricey since our kids are picky eaters. It made more sense at times to feed the kids when out, put them down, then have dinner for ourselves, which worked perfect since their rooms were right over our heads. And breakfast was the same all 5 days, but the kids would eat it so that was ok.
One of the best parts of our stay was the warm, friendly service from Samira's (the Riad's owner) staff: Aisha and Mostaphae. Aisha was sweet and helped us with any food needs and Mostaphae helped organize day trips for us (with vendors that were all reasonably priced and nice people) and helped lead us to places in the medina we never would have found looking at a map. They went out of their way to ensure we had a lovely stay and were incredibly loving and friendly to the children. Made us feel very "at home".
Zehar is also located in a good spot. It takes 2 minutes to walk through an alleyway to get to a main road of the souk, so it's convenient but distanced so it's not so noisy at night. It's also a 5 minute walk to Djemma el-Fna.
The rooftop terrace was quite nice as well. As I said, we had the good fortune of having the place to ourselves (although it would only accomodate another 4 people at most). If we had to share the terrace, it could have gotten crowded I guess. We spent a good deal of down time at the Riad since we have little kids, so the kids were on the terrace, inside the tent quite frequently. It was nice to be able to do that as it reserved the kids' energy for the day trips.
The two day trips set up through Samira and Mostaphae were great as well. We did some hiking in the Atlas Mountains (nothing major as our kids are little) and did a day in Essouria. I ended up wishing we could have spent a night in Essouria as the vibe there is quite relaxed and tons of restaurants in it's medina would have been nice to explore further. We went in Feb when weather was in the 60's F, but in warmer months, more time in Essouria would be better since you could have more warm, sunny beach time as well.
The only negative of our experience at the Riad was some limited hot water and a shower that didn't work too well, but we never complained. I think if we had, we would have been directed to a different shower in the Riad that worked better (unsure any difference with hot water). So as gross as it is, we didn't bathe alot while there, but we didn't much care, we were enjoying ourselves so much.
The only other negative, particularly with young kids easily scared, is the agressiveness of the vendors and/or street performers in the Djemma el Fna. Beware if your a tourist and go there during the day and look around making eye contact with people. We started to avoid the square unless at night where you didn't stand out as a target quite so vividly. Or if we had to go there during the day, we went around the area of the street performers and looked straight ahead. If you have young kids, it just may be good to warn them of this ahead of time . And we found the best way to handle it was to act like you didn't hear them and look straight ahead. Which wasn't hard since many would try to speak to us in French, a language we don't understand. If you turned your head, you were a goner.
But again, regarding, Riad Zehar, we'd recommend it highly to anyone.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Morocco, Welcome to Samira's Riads " Home from Home " ... more less
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