As many other travelers have commented I was slightly worried when our taxi pulled up in what appeared to be a dead end street and announced that we had arrived at the Jardins De La Medina. As with much of Marrakech the building's exterior gives few clues as to what lies beyond but we needn't have worried. The interior of the Riad is stunning and a welcome relief from the hussle and bussle that is Marrakech. Everything about the hotel has an air of peace and calm that I have never felt in any other hotel I have ever stayed in. You are made to feel very welcome right from the very first moment you step foot inside and are served your first traditional Moroccan mint tea.
We stayed in a mid-range 'Superior' room which consisted of private bathroom with shower/bath combo, separate lounge area, huge (and very comfortable) king sized bed, aircon/ceiling fan, minibar fridge (useful for storing your own 'contraband' drinks), robes and slippers, in room mini safe (free to use), flat screen TV with DVD player and private outdoor patio area with table and chairs. The room itself was well decorated with a nice balance between modern contemporary furnishings and a traditional Moroccan feel. Not that we watched it much but the only TV channel in English was BBC World News so you may want to make use of the free DVD rental service from reception (or for the techies out there you may want to take your own movies as the DVD player has a DivX compatible USB port). Another tip is that if you are trying desperately to save on luggage weight (thank you Ryanair!) then I'm reliably informed that, unlike some, the in-room hairdryer is more than suitable for the job.
During our 7 day stay at the end of Aug we encountered only a handful of other guests around the hotel (nationalities ranged from French, UK, German and American). This was perhaps due to the timing of the Ramadan religious festival which ended a few days into our stay. While the local Muslims observe the traditional Ramadan fasting ritual this was barely noticeable once inside the hotel itself with food and drink being available to guests all day as normal. The hotel restaurant serves a mixture of Moroccan and International dishes for both lunch and evening meals. Every meal we had was delicious and the waiter service was excellent. My only negative would be that as with most restaurants in Marrakech prices were much higher for food and drink than expected (we averaged about £40-£50 a night for 2 courses and alcoholic drinks for 2 people with mains £15-£20 and beer/wine £4-£5 a glass).
Having been suitably fed and watered your next priority is to choose from the many different parts of the hotel on offer for you to relax in. The hotel has a roof terrace with tables/chairs, single and double loungers and a partially shaded area with arabian-esque floor cushions and sofa (great place to hide from the mid day sun and read one of the many books donated by other guests from the small library in the bar). Also on the roof is a small gym, the cookery school and a completely shaded patio area overlooking the bar and pool area. The pool itself is a great place to spend the day with ample loungers both in and out of the sun. Complimentary towels are provided which the staff are very quick to replace on vacated beds once other guests have moved on. There are also the beautiful gardens from which the hotel draws its name. As well as being home to some of the more permanent guests (namely a family of tortoises) hidden in the trees and pathways which criss-cross the garden courtyard are additional secluded beds, loungers and tables should you feel like some privacy away from the pool. The hotel also offers a spa with various relaxation and massage treatments. This was perhaps one of the more disappointing elements of our stay with my girlfriend being left slightly underwhelmed with a Hammam and Henna wrap treatment which basically involved a very quick wash from one of the spa attendants and then 20 minutes alone in the steam room. You may wish to venture further afield to one of the dedicated spa's dotted around town if you are looking for a better value and a more indulgent treatment.
Last but not least the staff at the hotel are also worthy of great praise. Forever attentive without being overbearing they really made you feel at home and always welcomed you with a smile. The team on reception were always very approachable and happy to provide local information and phone for taxi's or recommend and/or make restaurant reservations whenever requested. The restaurant, bar and maid staff were also excellent and constantly surprised us be it with little cakes each evening delivered to the room with the next days weather report or cold face towels and complimentary fruit kebabs served around the pool each day (it's the little things like that which really do make your stay).
My only other comment on the hotel is that its location in the most southern district of the Old Town may be a bit far out of the way for some. A walk to the main square (next to the Koutoubia mosque) will take a good 25 mins and may be a bit intimidating for some due to the confusing narrow streets and cars/bikes/horses/mopeds which fight for space with the pedestrian foot traffic. The alternative is of course a £3-£4 (or cheaper depending on your haggling skills) taxi ride each way. One last tip is that you may want to try and arrange an each way airport transfer either privately or direct with the hotel as we were ripped off to the tune of 300Dh for the 10 minute "big" taxi ride to the hotel which we organised ourselves and only paid 135Dh for the return journey which was organised by the hotel (TIP : big taxi = mercedes = expensive, small taxi = hatchback = cheap).
Overall I would highly recommend the Jardins De La Medina. It really is a great place to chill out and is ideally suited to couples looking to relax with a local 'Casablanca' beer after a hard day haggling in the Medina.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Charming hotel and tasteful restaurant, Les jardins de la Medina benefits from the luxuriance of an exceptional 3000 m² garden in the heart Kasbah of Marrakesh, not far from souks and from historic monuments such as Djemaa Lefna ... In this historic house, the WiFi is free in the rooms as well as in the overall hotel; the breakfast and the smile of the staff are included too! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Les Jardins De La Medina Hotel Marrakech
- Jardins De La Medina