My girlfriend is a 5 star hotel kind of girl and I am happy backpacking in hostels so its always a tentative time finding a compromise when selecting accommodation when we go on holiday. I requested a Riad in the centre of the Medina (old city) over one of the resorts outside of the city. Many of the Riads offer the what you would imagine the typical Moroccan experience to be however this l'Etoile d'Orient has the newness of a recent refurb, high level of cleanlines, while still retiaining the little touches to remind you that you are still in Morocco.
Our airport transfer did not go to plan (not the Riad's fault) but when the driver finally identified himself we were droped just by the main square where a porter with a cart collected us and navigated us through the mayhem that is Jemaa El Fna. A quick left and right down an alley and we were standing outside a golden door. We were welcomed in by Franc and sat down and had a sweet mint tea. Once we had recovered from the sensory overload we had just passed through, Franc took us on a quick tour of the Riad. We saw the spa area in the basement, the roof terrace where they have a new Jacuzzi and a little area to eat breakfast and sun loungers, and then our rom the 'Errakis suite'. It was a good size, a nice chandelier over the bed, sypathetic lighting and a whole wall of full length shutters that open like doors or just as smaller panels for light. The shower was modern and facilites well apointed. The mini bar was great value (everything 1 euro including the beer). The only downsides were that the air con didn't seem to work however we were always out during the day and when the sun went down is was cool enough not to need the air con. The other issue is with the close proximity to the main squrare also means its quite close to a mosque which has its first call to prayer at sun up via the usual loudspeakers. This was an unwelcome alarm call but I also apreciate its an important part of their main religion and to be fair I was asleep straight after thanks to the comfortable bed so not an issue for me.
There are plenty of friendly staff here with a varrying degree of English but they were always making the effort and I was more than happy to try out my very rusty french with them. We were there 3 days before the record was broken, the record bieng that a different member of staff opened the door whenever we buzzed back in after a day out. We were never pressured for any structure or set times, breakfast was ready when we were ready, they would service the room when they knew we were out, and due to our late flight there was no pressure to check out early. This is a quality that you just can't get at a large hotel.
If I was pressed to be picky I would say that the breakfast could be improved. It is very bread based some of which was a bit stale however there is a choice of fresh fruit and yoghurt. Staff will also make you a plain omlette and some local crepe/potato cake type things that are really tasty with a little honey. I could also say that there was a spot light out in our room for the week we were there and one of the sockets in near the sink looks to have been repositoned so there is a gap between the top of the socket and the plaster wall. Very small maintenance issues that can be fixed quickly and no doubt the next people in the room will wonder what I'm talking about. The Wifi is a tad on the slow side and I wasn't able to connect a skype call but it was good enough to browse the web. This is more a helpful message to the owners as I had so much fun I forgot to mention these points on checkout. Needless to say none of that prevented me from giving the Riad a 5 out of 5. You can't get much better with the location, serivce, and comfort.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Entirely rebuilt in 2010 the Riad Etoile D'Orient offers a refined setting combining tradition and modernity, reflecting sweet life and voluptousness. The Riad is exceptionally located at the heart of the bustling Marrakesh, at a two minutes walk from the Jamaa el fna square.Staying at Riad l'Etoile d'Orient is to discover the magic of a unique place in Marrakech ... more less
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