Having been a regular traveller to Marrakech but been unable to stay at my favourite riad I had to chance at a new one near where I wanted to be i.e. near Moukef. My first impressions weren't great. The door to the riad was opened by what appeared to be one of Harry Enfield's 'Scoucers' as a moustachioed gentleman replete with tach and shell suit, invited us in. This turned out to be Aziz who is the only person who actually seems to do any work in the riad - in fact he seemed to do just about everything and, short of sticking a brush up his backside, couldn't physically work any harder. Aziz shortly introduced us the the house 'manager', Mourad. Mourad then swiftly showed us his sycophancy skills which would have shamed Basil Fawlty, so repulsive and cringeworthy was his style.
Well, onto the room then. It was light and airy...too light it turned out as the paper thin curtains let in the light from outside during the night. Great if you need the loo but not if you want a good night's sleep. The 'suite' was minimally decorated with very little of interest in it and some of the decoration that was supposed to be there e.g. finials had come off and not been replaced. There were also unfilled holes in the room.
So onto the bathroom. The first thing you notice is the soap that looks like it came from a downmarket Blackpool B&B from the 1970's - a shame seeing as Morocco prides itself on Argan based cosmetics - perhaps a small bar of Argan Oil soap wouldn't go amiss. One of the light bulbs in the bathroom had also gone so lighting was one spectacularly dim bulb and a window little bigger than the palm of your hand. Mind you that was better than the downstairs loo which had no lighting at all after day one as no one had replaced the GU10 hanging by its wire over the sink like Damacleses' sword. The classic in the bathroom though was the astonishingly dangerous plug socket near the sink which, if you wanted to use a hair dryer/straighteners, had to use (due to the position of the mirror), whilst draping the cord across the sink.
Finally I decided to pay the day before leaving, which is a good job I did, as I discovered they apparently don't take credit card (despite paying my deposit by credit card). It was highly inconvenient to find this out and what's more is impractical for any stay more than a couple of night and wholly amateurish for a riad that, price wise, isn't budget accommodation. The only time I've come across this before was when a house manager trying to rip off his owner. Anyway on the phone he told me he had told us by email so I asked him to either get his manager/owner to phone me or to forward the aforementioned email immediately - neither materialised as my wife predicted, although with all due respect she didn't need to be Mystic Meg to figure that we wouldn't see him again.
Thankfully our only other communication with Mourad had been when querying the riad's airport transfer prices which were twice that of my usual riad. In defending their position he managed to insult everyone in Europe and a good deal of Marrakechis at the same time. To add insult to injury he was quoting me the 'right' prices for various taxi journeys but these were twice what we usually paid. In short he's an abject liar. Frustratingly the taxi ride cost more than the ride from Manchester Airport to my mother-in-laws in a black cab which is further and takes longer than a trip from Moukef to Menara Airport. They do have you by the short and curlies as getting a cab in Moukef is by no means guaranteed. It did amuse us that Mourad told us off for having used a petit taxi that legally can take only three passengers...in fact he was quite animated about it and told us it was dangerous....well let's put it this way the petit taxi was as modern 5 seater car with 5 functioning seatbelts whilst on the whole grand taxis are old and have no working seatbelts...you decide on the risk factor!
Would I stay again? Well ,I think I've answered that one, don't you?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dar Lalla F' Dila is a douiriya (dependence) - house of reception of vizier Mnebhi, War Minister of sultan Moulay-Abd el Aziz at the end of the XIXth century- of Dar Mnebhi who accommodates the museum of Marrakesh today.This dar with rare architectural characteristics is a real small jewel in the historical heart of the Medina. Its owners wanted to rehabilitate it in a modern way while preserving its charm and authenticity. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dar Lalla f`Dila Hotel Marrakech