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“An Oasis in the city” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Riad Balkisse

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Riad Balkisse
Ranked #375 of 1,169 Marrakech B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Hastings, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“An Oasis in the city”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013

I was collected at the station, where the train from Tangiers was an hour late.
The young man drove me through Marrakech and as it was now after 9pm, the streets were teaming with people and he was unable to get close to the Riad.
He shouted to another guy in the crowd, who then proceeded to take me on foot through the throng down dark alleys to a door, where after ringing the bell. I entered another world.
It was a haven of peace and quiet, I was served mint tea with sweetmeats, given the WIFI password, and then shown to my delightful room.

I pumped up the air conditioning, and settled down to a great nights sleep.

Breakfast was served downstairs in the courtyard, although I could have had it on the balcony just outside my room.

The staff were all very helpful, and I enjoyed the slow pace.
Each day a different course was served at breakfast, either yoghurt, fruit cocktail, or boiled eggs, along with a sweet roll, beghrir {pancake}, crusty bread, 2 jams and honey.
Fresh OJ and cafe au lait.

The Riad is minutes from the central square, and I enjoyed a great value dinner one night, for 12 Euros

I was served soup and Olivesbread, , a Morrocan salad of tomato and onion, followed by a Tagine of lemon chicken, coffee and sweetmeats.
To wash this down I had a bottle of Morrocan red, which while not cheap at 20 Euros, was much appreciated.

I would certainly stay here again, just don't be put off by having to walk down a narrow alley!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Wanderer750
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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172 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2013

I feel like I got what I paid for here. It was convenient and friendly with good breakfast but I'm not sure I would stay here again. I stayed with a friend and we agreed that communicating with the staff was a bit difficult. My French is a bit rusty and the English of the young man who we communicated with the most often was not very good. We were picked up at the airport by the riad's shuttle but when we tried to arrange a ride back to the airport something got very lost in translation so there was no ride. We ended up using our tour guide that we hired privately during the week for a ride to the airport so we weren't inconvenienced and were smart enough to confirm the night before that we had (or didn't have in this case) a ride. We also were there for 3 days before being told that the couple in our room before us took the key with them and we needed to leave the key at the desk so housekeeping could clean. It wasn't a big deal for us not to have our room tided, but our trash was building up and we ran out of toilet paper. (My friend tried to get some in English first but it had to be done in French.)

On the plus side, the dinners were fantastic--the best food we had in Marrakech by far. We had the chicken and vegetables tagines. They make your food to order ahead of time. You choose off a menu and arrange a time. I think it is made fresh everyday but if you eat too late they microwave it for you. They also do this if you eat earlier than 8:00. They are very accommodating so that is also a nice thing about staying there. The location is safe and quiet at night. It is in the old city so just beware that getting to other places in Marrakech (new city, Majorelle Gardens) can be difficult.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mllespear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milan, Italy
Level Contributor
251 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

Just returned from a 5 night stay at Riad Balkisse. There are lots of pluses and minuses.

Let's start with the pluses-
1) the price: we got such a great deal, it's hard to complain about much
2) the location: so close to the main square that even if you're lost in the medina you can follow the signs back to that area and get to the Riad. I always felt safe here.
3) dinner: you can ask to have dinner prepared for you. The chicken tagine with preserved lemon was so unbelievable. We ordered that with a vegetable tagine and shared the two. So amazing! It's nice to have this option after a long day of sightseeing or dealing with the sensory overload of the medina.

And, now for the minuses-
1) language: we really struggled to communicate with the main staff we dealt with. I don't speak French, but my friend does and we found that it was a struggle for us to ask questions and get answers in English and French. We had booked private tours in advance and our guide spoke to them in Arabic and said that there was difficulty even in Arabic. So, I'm not to sure what's going on, but relying on the staff for answers may pose a problem for you.
2) the rooms: our room was a small one, which is fine. But our room wasn't cleaned for the first three days we were there. I don't expect much, but it would've been nice for someone to empty the trash or straighten the bed. After our third night, one of the employees explained that the last guests had taken the extra keys so they were not able to clean our room. I don't know why this took three days to communicate to us. The night before we had to ask for extra toilet paper (English first was a no go, but French did the trick that time!!) In addition, be aware that our shower was not a standard stand up type. The shower head is not hooked to the wall so the whole thing is a bit of a mess. The shower curtain is used to block the window and not keep you from spraying water everywhere!
3) breakfast: the breakfast is fine, unless you need to leave before 8:30. The cook arrives at 8, and begins to prepare the food as you come downstairs. If you need to eat before that, they will accommodate you, but the main part of the breakfast (a hot Moroccan pancake type thing) is reheated and not the best.

Other notable points:
- It can be loud at times, but I'm not sure there are many places in the medina that are quiet. But, you can hear every guest, etc.
- The wifi is great downstairs, okay on the 2nd floor, but I would guess it doesn't work on the roof top (which looks a bit tired, unfortunately)
- The main guy that seems to be in charge works so hard. He tries to accommodate your requests. In fact, he works so much, I wonder if he sleeps in the little room off the breakfast area. This is maybe a little strange.

Would I stay here again? Maybe.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank carzim59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Province of Malaga, Spain
Level Contributor
43 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

My husband and I stayed here with a group of young spanish friends earlier this month and the owners and staff are just so helpful and accommodating in every way. We could not fault this place. Nothing was too much trouble. Breakfast was good, but as written by previous reviewers, standard fare for Marrakech. We would stay here again without hesitation.

Room Tip: If you have walking difficulties as for a room on the ground floor as the steps to go up are steep a...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank lolimin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

We stayed here in October and enjoyed our stay. The Riad is ideally located very close to the square. The family that run the Riad are friendly and accommodating however at times service can be slow. The rooms are fine and I have no other real complaints.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Nozomik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lee, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012

This charming and more modern feeling Riad was the perfect end to a trip to Morocco and the best of the Riads we stayed in. The owner/staff were friendly and understood the needs of the traveller better than many that focus instead on lavish decor and ambience and then have little substance to them. Honest information about Marrakech, local insights, help if needed and decent coffee in a riad - at last! The only downside was the rather poor shower in our room, but a minor issue in what was a lovely stay and a great location for exploring Marrakech.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank lifeworlds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2012

Like all Riads in Marrakech, Balkisse is situated in one of the tiniest ally ways about 5min walk from Jeema El Fna. So really, this makes it an ideal location if you want to stay out in the square till late at night. Surprisingly being so close to the square, the riad offers tranquillity in its maze like ally way.

The Riad has a very pleasent feel, very light, clean & comfortable. The owners is also very polite and lovely to speak to, both very adequate in English. The rooms itself was averaged size incomparison to other Riads i have stayed in. Very Nice traditional decorations but wouldn't say it has any wow factors. The room docoration isnt without its mini flaws...drills holes left uncovered, shower curtain not fitted in the correct place (so its useless), lights didnt work until 15mins of maintenence, aircon failure which led to a change of rooms. Despite all this, Balkisse will sort everything out without fuss, hesitation or extra cost...i.e when my aircon failed (when i first arrived and NOT during the night) they changed my room from a single to a triple.
Breakfast is nothing special, when you have stayed in Marrakech for a week, every Riad will pretty much give you the same deal, bread, bread and more bread.

As newly established owners, service is always with a smile! However, one thing I would suggest to the owner is to get an extra pair of hands. She is very good at what she does but when there are a few thing running simultaneously, service can be a bit slow.

All in all, the location of this Riad, the price you pay and the quality you get is nothing shy of a thumbs up from me.

How to get there:
From Jeema El Fna walk down Rue Prince Moulay Abdellah (or Rue Bab Agnaou), you should see Hotel Tazi on your left. Turn into this road (Riad Moukha) then it as simple as right, left, right...then straight through the ally way until you come across number 4 on your right.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Walnut_London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riad Balkisse

Property: Riad Balkisse
Address: 4 Derb Charij | Médina, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #375 of 1,169 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Riad Balkisse 3.5*
Number of rooms: 4
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