I haven't written any reviews for a long time but I feel that I should write this one. I have read an overwhelming number of excellent reviews on Tripadvisor about different private tour operators in Marrakech, I simply am not happy with my own experience. I contacted Marrakech Tour Guide for a half-day trip in the afternoon with Youssef. Early in the morning of the trip I got an email from Youssef saying he had to cancel due to back pain. He would send his friend instead. I was suspicious but with such short notice I didn't have many choices and so I agreed to hire his friend. We got to the hotel around 3 pm and on the way from the airport to the hotel I noticed it wasn't very happening in the medina probably due to the heat. So when I saw our guide, I asked if it was a good time to visit the medina in the afternoon. He said we had booked the trip already and even if we canceled, we would have to pay and that's the way it worked. I wasn't going to cancel the trip but would like to see if there were other alternative activities he would recommend. So showing us his only concern was just about money didn't leave a good impression.
We started our medina and the souk tour at 3:30. We went to a university, walked around the medina and the souk. I wish we came in the morning instead as many shops were closed. For example when we went to the communal bakery, it was almost closed and was empty, so we couldn't experience the local crowd coming to have their bread made. We didn't get to see the sheep auction in the morning either. I asked to see the tanneries but the guide told me that they were closed. I, however, found out later that the tanneries were open in the afternoon too. We could have gone and I was disappointed. I would strongly recommend a tour in the morning if you have a choice. I did ask before I booked if afternoon was happening in the medina but didn't have any reply.
The guide took us to a silversmith in the medina. He made good locks. However I wasn't ready to pay 50-60 euros for some heavy super-size lock as a home decoration. The guide tried to sell them to me and said these were the people that I wanted to HELP. They were over-priced. Then the guide took us to a wood shop. The shop owner wanted to sell me a small wooden toy box in which a snake popped out when one opened it. It was cute but I wasn't interested. He started first at €15 each, then €20 for two and I wasn't interested and walked out of the shop. Then the guide called me back and asked how much I wanted to pay. I told them I was not interested and the owner offers them at two for € 15. I was firm and told them I simply didn't want any. Then the guide let go and grabbed a couple of small toy horse figures for my children to make up for his pushiness.
I traveled with my 7 and 5 years old boys. The guide didn't engage them. Unlike what I read on Trip Advisor about how guides are great at interacting with children. There was hardly any interactions between this guide and my children. They were bored and wanted to go back to the hotel. I asked to take them for ice cream then.
Overall, this guide is just below average. (1) show more concern about money than how to tailor-made a good tour for this customers. (2) pushing us hard to buy in his friends' shops. (3) not good at interacting with young children. (4) Not good at reading people. When we wanted to spend more time at the snake charmers, he was rushing us to go. He just failed to deliver although he repeated a couple of times " You see, I am trying very hard."
Youssef did call before and after the tour to check how things went. It unfortunately didn't my experience.