I spent a long time choosing a Riad to stay in for a big birthday celebration. The thing that stood out for me and pursuaded me to book was the traditional style of the Riad and the comments on customer service. Firstly the good things:
The Riad is beautiful and the rooms are stunning. Yes they are a little dark but this is the nature of a riad and helps keep them lovely and cool. The room we were in was up a separate staircase with just one other room up there so very private and quiet. The Riad is a really calm, quiet and relaxing.
The food was excellent. We had a dinner on the first night as part of our package booked and it was fabulous. More food than you can possibly eat and excellent quality.
All soft drinks were included in our package which was excellent. Lots of mint tea, fresh orange and water with lovely pastries in the afternoon were most welcome.
The half day tour arranged for us with Omar was fantastic. An excellent guide, really interesting and would definitely highly recommend.
The not so good:
The main courtyard, plunge pool and rooms are all lovely but there the room terrace is very tired and quite dirty. The sunbeds and cushions/curtains in the seating areas were very worn and grubby and definitely need changing.
The location of the Riad was on the edge of the Northern Medina in an area that was mainly a locals market. This was actually quite interesting but not for the squeamish! however it is a good 15 to 20 minute brisk walk to the main square which in the heat at this time of year is quite a trek. During the day you can meander along and go through the Souks but in the evenings it seemed a long way. The other problem is that apart from Maison Arabe (which is lovely but very expensive) there is not much in the way of restaurants near Riad Kniza.
Service - after all the great reviews i was most sad about this. There were a number of issues, drinks ordered and not delivered, chasing up bookings for restaurants which they had done but just not bothered to let us know and the same with a trip that we booked quite last minute and again not confirmed so had to chase again. I contacted the Riad on a number of occasions before arrival with queries that were efficiently answered and I asked to arrange a few things but on arrival none of this was organised and I had to go through it all again. We asked for restaurant recommendations and apart from a couple of the most expensive in Marrakesh they were unable to assist. We had mixed receptions ranging from super friendly to complete indifference.
Breakfast was very repetitive with no choice as to what you would prefer. You are served lots of food but most goes to waste if it isn't things you like. I am not fussy but I really don't like huge pieces of chocolate cake for breakfast! I understand that for some this would be heaven but I would prefer to be offered a choice so as not to waste food unnecessarily.
As part of our package we were also given a free half hour massage. I asked about the use of the Hamman and what was available and the costs. They came back to me saying I was booked in the Hamman before our massages and no mention of cost. I thought it was included as we were told we could use it at any time just to give them plenty of notice to heat it up. We were a bit late back from a trip and so were running short on time so they first suggested we forget the massage and just have the Hamman but when we said we would prefer to just have the massage if we were short on time they managed to find time for both but when we got the bill on departure we had been charged 60 Euros for the Hamman - no wonder they suggested we have that and drop the free massage!
The Riad has no menu. They say order what you like but it is difficult when you have no idea what they can possibly do and more importantly what they are charging for anything! This put us off ordering food but we did have a few drinks and wine and it was reasonably priced but it would be good to see a menu of sorts or at least be offered some options.
As mentioned it was a big birthday celebration and I had mentioned this in my emails but this was not even acknowledged with a Happy Birthday from any of the staff which again doesn't point to excellent customer service.
I know that these are all quite picky and I assure you I am not a diva but I was overall disappointed.
We did have a lovely trip and think Marrakesh is fascinating and definitely worth a visit. This was our second visit and on the first we also stayed in a Riad which was much cheaper and although not as pretty the service we received there was far superior. Were we to return again it would sadly not be to Riad Kniza.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This perfectly located 18th-century riad has been in the Bouskri family for almost 200 years and offers the complete package of traditional architecture, authentic furnishings, exquisite cuisine and, above all, overwhelmingly hospitable service. The owner, Mohamed Bouskri, having been a guide for the rich and famous for 34 years (Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, former US presidents and others) is a mine of information and is always glad to share his knowledge and passion of Marrakech. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Kniza Marrakech
- Riad Kniza Hotel Marrakech