Weeks before going to Marrakech I researched riads and decided to stay at Riad Mirage as it had good reviews. I emailed with Monique the owner, and we agreed a two night stay (before and after a hike) and the price of 50euro per room per night.
Monique does not speak English, only French, so the emails took a little time coming and going due to her waiting for her daughter in France to translate. When I realised this I sent my emails in English and French (using google translate) to try to make it easier for her. We agreed everything and I was told I must wire her a deposit to secure the rooms at that rate, which I did. The week before we travelled I reconfirmed our reservation and changed the booking from two nights to one, which was agreed to and confirmed.
We had a nightmare trip to Marrakech and arrived at 9pm. We were met and taken to the riad - no problems. However, upon arrival we were told that we would not be staying in the Riad, but the "guest house" next door. It was no more than a converted barn. The walls were bare and had not been finished properly, the beds had no mattress protectors and the sheets did not cover the mattresses properly. It was a cold night and there was no heating in the building and no blankets of covers on the bed. The rooms were equivalent to a 2-star self-catering holiday in Spain. When we complained we were told by Monique (via Moroccan night staff who could speak English) that she had told me I would be staying in the "guest house" via email and I had agreed to this. I had my blackberry with me so it was quickly proven that this was not the case.
She then said what could I expect for such a low rate (the riads we stayed in in Fes and Tangier were better than Riad Mirage and the same price) and that it was all my fault. She said that because she didn't speak English it was not her fault. We demanded our money back and left as she would not honour what we agreed, and found ourselves homeless in a strange city, in the rain at 10pm at night. Luckily the excellent local night staff helped us find better alternate accomodation around the corner at another Riad.
If you book with Monique make sure you get in writing where you will be staying - Riad or Guest House. I would not pay more than 20 euros max to stay in the Guest House. Also make sure you have in writing how many rooms you want - she tried to tell us we had only 2 rooms booked instead of 3.
If you don't speak French and the local staff aren't to hand you will have trouble communicating with her - she does not speak Arabic or Berber or English at all. The hotel looks nice enough, although the single beds where tiny. That's as far as we got with viewing the facilities.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Le Riad Mirage, with its luxurious decor, its five bedrooms and its large suite, is pleased to welcome you to the serene neighborhood of Kennaria, Marrakech. Le Riad is located only five minutes away from the must-see destination Djemaa el Fna Square. Le Riad Mirage is conveniently located in the Medina, which is near many cultural sights and memorials that you can visit. Taxis can drive you up to 100m from your doorstep. ... more less
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