Me and my partner stayed at the Riad Al Mendili at the beginning of June and could not have wished for a better break! We stayed for 4 nights, which we found to be just enough of doing-nothing time :)
The hotel is situated about 30 minutes from the airport and we ordered a cab to pick us up through the hotel. There was a driver waiting for us as we came out with a good class vehicle on standby. Just a pre-warning, passport control takes AGES as they input your details in manually. Also, there is a currency exchange at luggage reclaim, but we found that very busy and there is no point in queuing as there is one in the arrivals hall too!
As we arrived, the hosts were waiting for us with some traditional mint tea and staff to take our luggage to the room.
The whole hotel is quite private (10 rooms in total) and designed for a quiet, intimate break. No unnecessary noise is made and the staff are all very polite and un-invasive. Most staff understand very little English, so be patient with them. In fact, we found it rather liberating nobody understanding us :)
The hotel is decorated in an amazing Moroccan-African decor and has numerous lounges to relax in, all very well kept and private. There is a terrace and a spa for guests to use also.
We had a couples massage (1h) and greatly enjoyed it, price was around £45 for the lot, so quite reasonable.
The rooms are spacious and very tastefully decorated, really beautiful. The beds are twins, but very comfy and there is a safe and TV also.
The only thing we found missing is a minibar/fridge and tea/coffee facilities, which could come useful in the mornings. My partner also mentioned no shower (there is a handle and a bath), which was not a problem for me, but he would have liked it.
There is free wi-fi access, but the signal strength is rather weak, so don't expect to be streaming youtube! :) Enough to read emails though and view basic webpages.
The gardens are beautiful and very well kept. There are plenty of sunbeds - proper sturdy ones, with comfy mattresses and towel covers. Towels are also provided.
The pool was rather peaceful and quite cold - welcome in this heat (air temperature was 27-37 in Celcius).
Food is rather nice. Very simple and light, which is what you want in this weather and traditionally Moroccan.
Breakfast consists of and egg (poached or fried), traditional bread (hobza), butter, jams and preserves and a sweet treat - cake or pancake etc. Sometimes there is a portion of fruit as well. To drink there is juice and tea/coffee/milk - as preferred. To order breakfast you call reception and tell them where you could like to have it.
Lunch is a light 3 course meal and costs about £12 each. It consists of a salad or bread and olives to start with, followed by meat and veg for main (patties or smoked sausages etc.) and dessert is fruit.
Dinner is 3 courses, and consists of a starter (soup, salad, puree - different each day) and main is a different tagine with vegetables (tuna, chicken, lamb etc.) with either potatoes or couscous. All very yummy. Dessert is ice cream/cake or their special filled pancakes, which are delicious.Cost of about £20 each.
All the food is freshly prepared and we were asked if we had any special requirements, whcih we didn't, but I imagine this is catered for if requested.
There is a full drinks menu and we are wine drinkers and were recommended moroccan white wine (house) which was amazing, priced about £13-15.
We dined at the hotel except for one lunchtime, when we went into Marrakesh.
If you decide to go, the hotel will book you a cab, which will drop you off where required and then the same guy will pick you up when you call him (needs about 20 minutes notice). The whole trip there and back, including the driver waiting for us for 10 mins was about £30, which we thought was good value.
As for Marrakesh itself - do not speak to people offering to show you the way etc. and especially if they tell you about a 'special' market and want to take you there etc. - these are most often scammers, so just ignore them - they do seem very friendly, but that is just a scam. Also there are people with monkeys/snakes, who will expect you to pay if you take pictures of them. For ladies I would recommend wearing a short sleeve top and longish trousers - they do look you up and down and I would feel uncomfortable wearing something revealing.
The old town (Medina) is good for leather, ceramics, argan oil and spices and fake watches and sunglasses etc.
Most of those you can buy in the duty-free on your way back though (not the fakes of course) if you'd rather not leave the resort.
We found the prices reasonable without the need to haggle too much. All speak English, so quite easy to communicate.
Also good to get there are cheap nuts and dried fruit - we got some for snacks as with our medium appetite we found ourselves a bit peckish in between meals.
The new town is nice, with a few shops (some of which we don't have in the UK) and nice restaurants (mostly not licensed).
We found Marrakesh rather unimpressive and decided not to go sightseeing as we felt quite intimidated by the atmosphere, but that is just a personal view.
To sum up, hotel - great, good food, relaxing spa!
Out in the middle of nowhere, which is perfect if you are looking to get away from it all! (which we were)
Definitely a come-back resort!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- As soon as you enter Through the studded wooden gate, kasbah Al Mendili reveals its overwhelming charm to you. Catherine and Alain will welcome you warmly in their posh and friendly surroundings. ... more less
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