I am afraid this is likely to be a long review. Lots to report.
Firstly the riad. It is truly delightful, a real haven from the madness of the soukh. Gorgious bedrooms with wonderfully comfortable beds covered in the highest quality of - we think - Egyptian cotton. Decor is delightful and at times inspired. Mohamed, his wife and the staff could not be nicer or more helpful and we can certainly see where the previous reviewers are all coming from. Breakfast is a real treat, especially if the weather is not too inclement and it can be taken on the rooftop terrace. The public spaces are also wonderful. Yes five out of five.
However the four of us - staying in separate lovely rooms - all felt that the wondrous riad though has some negatives also which we wondered whether even to mention. However, for the sake of balance, it is better that potential visitors are fully aware.
Firstly the riad - unusually in our experience - is dry and they do not serve alcohol, despite their very best efforts to secure a permit. This could be a major setback for some, who like us love to relax on the rooftop terraces of Marrakech riads with a bottle of delicious and very cold white Moroccan wine. And some wine or a cold beer with our meals were also missed. That having been said, the food here is delicious and you must sample at least one main meal.
The second negative, is the position of the riad which is the longest walk we have ever had to make from the Djmaa el Fnaa, especially because you cannot really avoid a very long stretch of soukh, which at times can be very slow work. Going in the other direction the first point at which you can get a drive or a taxi is equally far away. This could be reversed into an asset if you want to get lost spiritually into the depths of the medina.
Cecile really is running an efficient inspired operation and is herself obviously aware of the drawbacks and which can be inherent in any riad.
To conclude though, ou won't find a prettier more delightful place run by better staff.
Now to Marrakesh!
The story here is not so good. Bear in mind that I have been coming to Morocco for 45 years and know it like the back of my hand. You can go to Essuoirea, Ourzazatta, Casablanca and certainly to the Southern towns of the Sahara fringes and really enjoy this wonderful country. However, Marrakesh is truly awful once you have taken out the visuals and the excitement. Everyone and I mean everyone on our plane seemed clear that they would never return. The money grabbling attitude here in this town is truly deplorable and most of all absolutely stupid. The experience for the visitor is truly horrific and this comes from someone who has been to every corner of Morocco. In particular, the nasty attitude to women, needs some real attention. OK, they see rich foreign tourists there for the picking, but unlike most other parts of the country, here, they have a dreadful approach to their trading and to their interraction with these same tourists. The aggression, the hassling, is beyond belief. Personally, it is not a problem and I can handle it, but to most, it is downright horrific and shows the Moroccan in a dreadful unacceptable light. The most important point to make, is that in Essouirea our friends finding the soukh a quiet pleasant undemanding place to buy, have spent almost a thousand pounds on purchases, yet spent virtually nothing in Marrakesh, which they would never return to. This was a story retold by many who we talked to.
There is no excuse for such boorish behaviour and I shall write to the tourist board pointing out the stupidity of it all and how much it needs to be knocked on the head.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Riad is located in Marrakech Medina's heart, a few steps from the Ben Yousseph Madrassa;few minutes walking distance from Djemaa el Fna square. The Riad has 7 rooms ( with air conditioning/heating, bathtub/shower, hairdryer),solarium,swimming pool,hammam, SPA (massages etc), relax zone,indoor moroccan dinners and parties on request (local food, music,dance).Upon request airport pick-up and drop-off.Walks and guided tours.Wi-fi ADSL. ... more less
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