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“Initially brilliant, but then a fire showed up some customer care flaws”
Review of Dar Mouassine

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Dar Mouassine
Ranked #421 of 1,171 Marrakech B&B and Inns
Reviewed December 31, 2006

The pre-booked taxi either didn't show up or left early - probably not helped by the fact that it took 1 hour for passport control to let everyone though. Luckily, a taxi driver, whose fare didn't show up took us to the Riad, which was very good because it is down an impossible to find alleyway.

As soon as we entered, we were very impressed by the entire place and our room, the cardamon was very beautiful, ornate ceilings, well furnished. Towels and dressing gowns, whilst clean and fresh, looked a bit "tired" and worn.

Both my wife and I had booked a massage and that was truly wonderful, quite clearly given by a trained masseur, who turned out to be the manager of the riad.

On our last night, whilst I had just started my massage, suddenly the lights went out and the masseur disappeared. Moments later there was an awful lot of screaming and banging. I got dressed and discovered that there was a fire and the staff were into panic mode, shouting incomprehensibly in their mother tongue. No English and only one of them could speak French. It turned out that they wanted us on the terrace roof (for a possible escape to next door buildings). In the end the fire turned out to be an electrical fire just inside the entrance. It completely burnt out the electrics and could have been a lot worse. An electrician spent 4 hours re-wiring and trying to resolve the problem. He only partially did so, clearly there was more deeper problem somewhere else.

We had booked dinner in the riad that evening but our clothes smelt of smoke, my wife could not finish drying her hair, so whilst the food (cooked by Latifa) was excellent and the atmosphere in the dining room was cosy, it just didn't go as well as it could have done, with all the drama that had occurred.

We were not charged for our bottle of wine with our meal and the evening finished off fine (with partial electrics!)

I have read other reports about this riad and quite a few suggest that it requires a bit of TLC and that with the owners being away, the service is not perhaps as good as it might be. I think we would echo this. Communication was terrible and the fire showed how bad this was. It could have been worse. They were friendly, but could have gone that extra bit after the drama, to make their guests feel abit more comfortable.

This place could be great, as it is we would give it an average review.

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2  Thank harleyD2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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42 - 48 of 135 reviews

Reviewed June 21, 2006

We flew down to Marrakech for a three day weekend getaway to celebrate my birthday. We chose Dar Mouassine purely for the Curcuma Room which has received rave reviews in a wide range of publications. The riad is located in the Mouassine district which is very convenient to the souks, Djemaa el-Fna, and Gueliz.

The riad had supposedly organized an airport pickup for us. Our flight arrived at 12:20 PM. By 1:00 PM no taxi driver was to be found. After repeatedly calling the riad someone finally picked up and told us that a driver was on the way. We finally made it at 2 PM. Needless to say, we were a bit annoyed that we lost nearly two hours of our short trip due to a lack of organization. (Note: We would have taken one of the taxis at the airport, but none of them knew how to get to Dar Mouassine, and as no map or directions were provided by the riad prior to arrival we were stuck waiting on their driver) This trip still cost us 15 euro, which is a rip-off in Marrakech. (We paid the equivalent of 4 dollars to go to the airport for our return flight)

Upon arrival at the riad we were taken up to our room...the Cardamon Suite. I reminded them that we had booked the more private and secluded Curcuma room and they said that it was too hot to put us there. I pressed, and we finally received our room about an hour later. Turns out they had just not bothered to change the sheets or clean the room so it was more convenient for them to put us in another room.

As described, the Curcuma room has a private staircase and terrace. True - what they neglect to mention though is that the staircase leads down--the room is actually virtually underground thus very dark with little lighting. The terrace is private, but the walls are built so high around it that you actually can't see over them to get the view of the city. The view from the regular terrace is also not that great as a neighboring riad's walls block the best views with their higher terrace.

The room itself was nice with a great domed ceiling. The bathroom was ok, but only had a piece of fabric to serve as a door. The shower would have been great but the shower head holder was actually too loose to hold the shower head up, so we ended up spraying the bathroom with water every time we tried to use it. Oh....the room was most definitely not too hot. I did note that they had not even put a free-standing fan into the room in spite of advertisements stating that all rooms have fans.

Breakfast the first day consisted of orange juice, homemade yogurt, orange cake, toasted bread and jam. (No "Moroccan pancakes") The second day we were given the pancakes instead of the cake. In general it was sufficient.

The thing that really turned me off is that for all three days we were there used towels were never picked up from the sun loungers. It even rained one day and they left them there! We didn't feel like using them as we didn't want to pick off other people's used sweaty towels.

The interior patio was full of tall trees and the doors leading off of it were very traditional with intricately carved wood frames. Off of the patio was the plunge pool - it looked like a great little lounge area. We didn't use it though as it looked like it had not been cleaned in quite some time.

We never once saw the owners or any kind of manager. We never checked-in, contrary to Moroccan law. They never had our passport, a credit card, nothing - we literally could have walked out without paying without any way for them to track us down. That's how little we saw any "staff." When we asked for a map or directions to get back to the riad they said that they were out of them.

We were paying low season rates which were between 95-120 euro. I think we could have gotten more for that kind of money. Dar Mouassine is definitely a great little place with a great location - it's just a pity that it appears the owners have no desire to actually manage and maintain the place anymore. It is no fault of the staff they leave to answer their door, they clearly have not been trained to manage the place.

I don't want to sound too negative about the place - the rooms are definitely nice, the place could be fabulous -- but neglect tends to leave a negative lasting impression. I feel we wasted our money and could have gotten a better "riad experience" elsewhere. If we had paid around 65-70 euros it would have been worth it. If the managers decide to make themselves present again it could probably be great again.

  • Stayed: June 2006
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5  Thank soleil17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2006

I stayed here with friends for a week in April and found it magical. All the rooms are superb, the food was excellent and nothing was too much trouble for the staff. We had an extremely relaxing stay here in beautiful surroundings and I would definitely like to stay here again.

I've noticed some complaints about the water situation at the riad - some visitors don't seem to appreciate that the plumbing is a problem throughout Morocco, so if you want power showers and constant hot water, stay at home! Some of the baths are vast in this riad, and would take hours to fill, but I found the showers worked perfectly adequately.

One warning: if you ask for restaurant recommendations, you may well be sent to places that are very expensive by Moroccan standards and actually less good than cheaper establishments. If you are staying at the riad in a large party, the evening meals that can be ordered in the morning are far better than restaurant dinners, and served in a beautifully atmospheric dining room.

  • Stayed: April 2006
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2  Thank KAlcorn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
UK
14
Reviewed February 17, 2006

We stayed here on our last night of a weeks holiday in Morocco having been recommended to it by the Manager of another (fabulous Riad de l'orangerie. We found the place totally lacking in any ambiance - we were the only guests staying - there were candles and lanterns, but no one could be bothered to light them, no flowers in our rooms even though there were some which had been bought and were left in the pool in the courtyard, we asked for someone to take us to the restaurant we had booked for the evening and were kept waiting for him to come. It could have been beautiful if more effort had been made, but our overall feeling was one of neglect, both to us and to the Riad which we felt had seen better days and was in need of some t.l.c. Only book if you know the owners will be there.

Stayed: February 2006
4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
uk
1
Reviewed January 29, 2006

Once you have found it (not easy without a guide) this is a really tranquil, friendly Riad in the heart of the city. The staff were all great and (lucky for us)Jeff, the manager, spoke English. We went with our three children and felt we were really welcomed and treated attentively, despite the noise and chaos we created.

  • Stayed: December 2005
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Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2005

This wonderful little Riad proved the perfect introduction to our Moroccan adventures and Curcuma, a discreet room boasting the privacy that comes with its private staircase, roof terrace area and patio, the jewel in the crown. A fantastic setting for exploring the city, a very picturesque roof terrace and very good breakfasts ensure we'd not hesitate to return. All the rooms around the main courtyard seemed very beautiful and ornate from what we spied in our snooping, yet not over the top like some of the other Riads we stayed in during our travels. And the plunge pool is very lovely indeed!

All in all, the perfect choice for the independent traveller who is looking for a well located, traditional Riad in this crazy city with romantic rooms and fantastic outdoor spaces for some quiet chill-time, yet who doesn't require being overly fussed after by hotel staff while travelling.

Oh, and their locally used taxi firm (run by the effervescent Ali with a perfect command of English) come highly recommended too - all the drivers we met were perfectly lovely!!!

  • Stayed: September 2005
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6  Thank Curlysuz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2005

We have just got back from a ten night stay at Dar Mouassine in Marrakech. Overall, we had a fantastic experience. The riad is an oasis of calm from the bustling madness of the Marrakech streets, with a central courtyard shaded by enormous banana palms and bourganvilia blossom. The only thing not shut out are the regular calls to prayer (particularly unpleasant at 4am every day!). It is down a very small alley (Derb Snane) so it is advisable to either get picked up from the station / airport, or buy the Rough Guide map and send me an email so I can point out the unnamed alley for you! Once you have found it though - it couldn't be in a better spot.

All the rooms have wonderful individual style and character, with the decor straight out of a Moroccan style magazine - our suite, the Cardamom, had a fabulous painted ceiling, big bed, and traditional tadelakt bathroom - everywhere bedecked by cushions, throws, ornate object d'arte, and tastefully lit by local pierced lanterns. Hugely romantic, and very dangerous for your wallet if you're heading for the souks to buy up some similar pieces for home! Up at the top is a sun terrace with showers and various shady places for evening snacks or breakfast, while downstairs is a sheltered plunge pool.

Particularly excellent was the friendly and attentive service provided by Abdul, his sister Latife (the cook), and another lady whose name I have unfortunately forgotten. They really couldn't have done more for us, and are a massive asset to the riad.

Breakfast consisted of coffee or tea, freshly squeezed orange juice, melon, grapes and figs, homemade yoghurt, freshly made pancakes, and toast with a selection of jams. Perfect. They also provide an evening meal on request, which was absolutely fantastic and worth every penny. It is served in the central courtyard, which feels very intimate when candlelit.

However, two causes for complaint. The first was the haphazard booking system. Despite having sent 6 emails over the course of a couple of months to confirm which suite we had booked, and which days we would be arriving, our booking had been taken on the basis of an initial email way back in April when we were first thinking of coming to Marrakech.

When we arrived, we were told that we were not due for another couple of days. Luckily, they had other rooms available. Then, to our horror, we returned back to the riad after a day trip to Essaouria for our final night - only to find that they had packed up all our belongings and moved them into a small room downstairs. Again, they claimed that our booking showed Friday, not Saturday, as our last night. We were obviously appalled, but the owner Eric showed not the slightest remorse. What was even worse was that the person who had taken our room was only there for one night. We, by contrast, has already been there for 10 and had spent well over 1000 Euros. NOT good customer service, and a real disappointment after a lovely stay. Thankfully, Abdul was very accommodating, and let us sleep in his bed. We showered on the terrace. Had there been some simple system of automatically sending a confirmation of dates and times back to us, this would never have happened, and would have been picked up well in advance.

The other thing to say is that the riad doesn't have air conditioning - and each room is only fitted with one, usually inefficient, overhead fan. This does little to help when it is well over 100 degrees outside. I would have thoguht portable airconditioning units were a must (so aesthetics aren't compromised by a permanent fixture) - or at the very least portable fans. It was so hot that we actually had to sleep on the sunloungers on the top terrace for 3 nights. I think quite a few people left as a result.

Out of season, and a correct booking taken as read, this would be a perfect place to stay - hugely central, and very beautiful. In the summer, with your final night ruined, perhaps less good.

Mat Rumbelow

  • Stayed: August 2005
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14  Thank rumbers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dar Mouassine

Address: 148 Derb Snane | Mouassine, Medina, Marrakech, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #421 of 1,171 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range: $80 - $106 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Dar Mouassine Hotel Marrakech

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