My wife, 16 year old son and I spent five nights at La Maison Arabe in December, 2013. The hotel came highly praised. Our experience did not disappoint.
La Maison Arabe is near the edge of the Medina in Marrakech. That makes it relatively easy to get to upon arrival (or by vehicle) – but also perhaps makes the experience just a little less exotic than that of some of the other properties (say, Maison MK) that are deeper into the Medina. That said, it was plenty exotic enough for us.
It is comprised – we were told – of 5 separate riads (walled houses built around courtyards) that were combined into a single hotel. The “patio” side of the hotel is original (older, more maze-like spaces), while the “garden” side is of new construction (and actually separated from the patio side by an alley, crossed almost seamlessly by a hallway suspended one floor up). The “garden” side is generally much more spacious and “linear” than the “patio” side – but with perhaps a little less sense of place.
So, if you want “new” and more orderly, go for the garden side. If you want quirky and older (but just as comfortable), go for the patio side.
The furnishings, décor, and ambiance are all first rate – the property is very well maintained, and there are many comfortable spaces of different types – both inside and outside -- in which to relax.
We had two rooms. A Patio Junior Suite and a Patio Deluxe Room. The Junior Suite was on the top floor and consisted of a single L-shaped large room. Oddly, due to the dimensions of the room, the bed was in the part of the “L” next to the entry, with a sitting area beyond the bed around the corner of the “L”. In actual use, that arrangement wasn’t a problem. We had a private terrace beyond the sitting area, which overlooked the “Garden” side and the pool.
Our room had two comfortable chairs inside and three chairs outside for reading and relaxation. We also had a fireplace and writing desk/chair. Lighting was generally pretty good. My only quibble would be that only one of the indoor chairs was usable for reading at night.
The bathroom had two sinks and a tub/shower combo. The tub was very narrow, making standing for the shower a little bit tricky – you couldn’t stand with your feet side by side, you needed to adopt a “front/back” stance. Not a problem in the end, but quirky enough.
I found our room to be very comfortable.
It being winter (highs in the upper 60’s, lows in the 40’s), the radiators in the main room and bathroom were going full force and made the room much too warm for us (we want to sleep in a 65 (18 C) degree room, and the room would have been 75 degrees or more with the windows closed). We compensated by opening the windows both day and night. I suppose we could have run the A/C, but that seemed silly, given the time of year.
Our son was originally scheduled to have the room next to ours, but for whatever reason was given a different room, two courtyards away and two floors down. His room was less successful – no real place to sit in the room (other than the desk). He did have a large patio, with several seating opportunities. Unfortunately, because of the location of his room, he really had no privacy with the curtains open (other rooms looked down on his room). So, if he wanted privacy, he needed to close the curtains. But, closing the curtains meant he couldn’t have the windows open, so his room got very warm at night due to the radiator – until he decided to run the A/C.
Both rooms had first class linens and bedding.
The moral: Some rooms on the patio side are more successful than others. In particular, if you like privacy, or more natural light, I’d opt for rooms on the higher floors.
On the whole, the service was very good. Our airport pickup was seamless, and reception at the hotel efficient and warm. Housekeeping did not miss a beat. The wait staff was friendly and welcoming, and food service in the restaurants excellent. More than sufficient English was available. Recommendations from the front desk were also terrific and spot on.
I arranged for dinner reservations ahead of time. Although I can’t confirm this, I suspect that the hotel was able to arrange a dinner for us (at Gastro MK) that we might not have otherwise been able to obtain.
The only odd part of the service was during the initial contact to try to get dinner reservations. The first correspondent was somewhat relaxed about dinner – advising that I simply wait until arrival to get make reservations. That didn’t sit well with me, so after some negotiation I asked for reservations for the first two nights. That resulted in me being handed off to the reservations manager, who immediately advised that we book everything ahead of time. Exactly what I had been trying to do for a week, I thought. Not a big problem, in the end, but a little incongruous.
We ate breakfast every morning at the hotel, and had dinner one night each in the “3 Saveurs” and “Moroccan” restaurants. The breakfasts were great – with the help of outdoor heaters, we ate outside each morning. The dinners were also very good – especially the Moroccan restaurant. I’d gladly eat at either restaurant again.
La Maison Arabe is a very well-run hotel, with a delightful ambiance and terrific sense of place. It was a wonderful base for us to explore the Medina in Marrakech. I don’t often say this about a hotel, but I just “felt at home” at La Maison Arabe. I highly recommend it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This legendary and prestigious hotel boasts 26 exquisitely decorated rooms and suites, 2 restaurants, a new spa, and a choice of 2 large swimming pools (on-site in the medina or at the hotel's country annex, 15 minutes away by complimentary shuttle). The hotel's world-famous Moroccan cooking workshops have become a "must-do" activity in Marrakech. Frommer's describes La Maison Arabe as "the epitome of Moroccan elegance." ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Maison Arabe Marrakech
- La Maison Arabe Hotel Marrakech