Marrakech is not easy to visit even for the seasoned traveler. It's a challenge for body and mind and your senses are working overtime. That is why it is even more important to have a place to retreat, to escape the buzz of the city for a little while, to re-group and reflect about what you have seen. The Riad Badi is perfect place for that. Almost everyone has sung its praise on these pages, which include, of course, how could it not,its charming owners, Isabelle and Christian who work very hard to run this oasis of peacefulness in the most gracious way possible.
There is really nothing much to add to it. Reviewers of these pages were right. It's a good place to be in Marrakech. We (a friend of mine and me) were there for six nights and as time was passing we appreciated the place even more. Marrakech takes time. You need a few days to get used to the pace and the people here. You will always be a tourist, a stranger, a source of discomfort and a source of income. There is no way to mingle in. Marrakech does not allow it. You can keep a bit of a romantic distance and there exists a whole industry to keep the romance going, but the moment the place gets inside of you, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the tourist romanticism. You slowly comprehend the distinction between authenticity and staged authenticity and you keep your ambivalence which one you prefer.
That being said, it is even more important that your place in Marrakech makes you feel at "home." Isabelle and Christian do their very best to make you feel like that the moment you enter the door and leave the city behind. The moment you arrive (they arranged a pick up for us from the airport – I highly recommend this for first-comers, since it is almost impossible to find it if you're here the first time around), you leave the buzz and constant noise of the outside (including the constant humming of the motor-scooters) and enter into an interior which is generous in its dimension, has a beautiful court yard where you take your breakfast and have some afternoon tea and again, where you can – alas need – to relax in between outings. I recommend visiting the beautiful gardens of Marrakech in order to generate the same peacefulness (for instance the Jardin Majorelle).
After your arrival and check in, Christian takes you on a little tour of the Medina of Marrakech. It's difficult to take it all in the first time around, but you get your basic orientation. Listen carefully to his recommendations (like the wonderful Museum of Photography) and take in the different routes you can take back to the Riad. Maps are only helpful in a more general way and you need your own senses to get around (asking is sometimes more difficult than you think). Thus, Christian's orientation tour is important. You see how central the Riad is located and after a day or two you will find it in your sleep. It is right between one of the central squares (Place des Ferblantiers) – a good orientation point and the Palace Badi (both located on all the maps), not far from the Central Square Djamaa El Fna, but far enough to be a little bit away from it (10-15 minutes walk). We soon realized the great location of the Riad Badi. We even walked to the New City and to the Jardin Majorelle from there – a longish walk, but if you are a city walker, you can do it. Thus, staying at the Badi does not require any transportation for any of the sites in the city - if you don't like to take a taxi or a bus, which is, of course, always a possibility. The place is spotlessly clean, our room (called the Saphrane) was very large, and the bathroom was generously laid out. You are provided all you need for your shower. Every morning we received a very tasty and generous breakfast (varied every morning), which takes through large parts of the day. When you come back in the afternoons, Isabelle usually asks you if you need a cup of tea and you can sit at the court and do a bit of reading and writing (I recommend Elias Canetti, "Voices of Marrakech" and Orwell's essay on Marrakech. They were written in 1954 and 1939, but both capture the atmosphere and the strangeness of the city which can still be felt. Canetti's description of the Mellah just next door could have been written the day before yesterday and Orwell's sentiments about what he sees in the city and how he feels about it are as true as ever. We were there for six days, saw most of the recommended sites (including the synagogue and the Jewish cemetery at the Mellah) took our dinners mostly at the food stands at the Djama El Fna (try Chez Aicha – we enjoyed that), even watched Real Madrid against Manchester United at the Café de France with a lot of locals which in a strange way was maybe one of the few times we blended in with the locals at Marrakech.
In sum, if you plan to come to Marrakech, try to stay a little longer and for that the Riad Badi is a great place for your tired feet and soul.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Riad Badi is a guesthouse situated right in the old centre of Marrakech. Most of the city's main attractions such as the Palais Badi, the Palais Bahia and the Saadiens tombs are within walking distance. The famous Djemaa El Fna Square is just at less than 10 minutes walk away.Riad Badi accommodates guests in seven spacious and comfortable rooms. The rooms are double, twin or triple with reverse air conditioning and safe box. They provide en suite bathroom with shower, towels, toiletries and hairdryer. ... more less
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