Extremely cosy, beautifully decorated and hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the Medina – Riad Tamarrakecht was a great choice for getting a glimpse of the daily life of Marrakech people.
The Riad is definitely worthy of its good reviews: it is a family-run business where everyone is working as a team to make your stay as memorable and enjoyable as possible. The rooms are laid out on 2 floors, and they are spacious and clean with nice traditional interiors and (much-needed) air-conditioned units. The roof terrace is pretty cool, decorated with local artefacts in warm colours, sun chairs and cheerful flowerpots.
The outside breakfast area is, again, simply charming. The actual meal is traditionally Moroccan, consisting of bread, butter, eggs, pancakes, jam, fruit, coffee/tea, orange juice etc. It is not the most sophisticated or varied thing you have ever tried, but the whole serving ritual is impressive: it is all about the care and attention to details and the constant effort to please.
Not easy to find as most guests would agree, but we succeeded with a good detailed Google Maps print-out. The Medina gate closest to it is called Bab Aylen, and the Riad is about 10-minutes’ walk if you know where you’re going. Ideally, a taxi fare from Bab Aylen to the Airport should be firmly negotiated to a maximum of 100-120 MAD not more.
The Medina of Marrakesh undeniably has its charm, but often it can get overwhelming to the western traveller: the heat, the smell, the dust and fumes, the crowded streets, the not-so-well-mannered locals pushing and shoving, the constant harassing of the tourists, the trickeries and scams they try to pull in the street ALL THE TIME, can get to you quickly. For that reason a 4-night stay in the medina was more than enough for us.
And on that note, a quick piece of advice: if a stranger approaches you out in the street, do not trust them, no matter how friendly they seem: it’s always about the money. Unless it is pre-arranged or a legitimate business – like a restaurant or a hotel/guesthouse/riad – be prepared to be conned one way or another. Even a bus driver or a museum employee would sell you a ticket and then try to ask you for it back so they can re-sell it later to someone else. Also, the tanneries are free to visit and you can do this on your own. If a suspiciously nice local offers to take you there, expect that they will, again, demand payment at the end of the tour!
But all in all, Riad Tamarrakecht is a wonderful surprise by contrast. They deserve all the support they can get for being so genuinely hospitable and accommodating. Many many thanks to Sara, Fatima, Mokhtar, and the parents. Would not hesitate to stay there again!
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