This Riyad, El Mezour, lived up to its hype, in that it is -metaphorically - an 'Oasis' in a difficult area: North East of the centre of the Medina. It's NOT in the centre of the Medina as some reviews claim. It is in the slums: the very worst of them. It would be impossible to find it or travel to it directly, without getting (expensive) assistance from the Riyad's own, arranged, taxi assistance, where you have to walk (nothing wrong with that), the last 600 metres through the worst slum area - constantly pushed by young men on '2-stroke' polluting mopeds, haze of blue smoke under the covering roofs - whizzing past you in the narrow cobblestone passages, brushing you (no worse than that was experienced in our case, at least), at high speed. The immediate surroundings are filthy: animals, excreta, and (rotting) produce on stalls offered to eat, within feet, that cannot be avoided. There are no road signs: (= guaranteed to get lost), then descended on by a hoard of young testosterone-laden men: 'helpers', all demanding money. Arrive there after dusk? You'd better take a torch. There is no lighting in the last 80 metres to Riyad El Mezouar, and the narrow dirt path with major potholes, to the entrance door is just set perfect to sprain an ankle or worse, if you don't have visibilty.
It's expensive to rent for what it is, but I agree with previous reviews, that it is 'a bit of a haven'. Lovely inside - not outside. The rooms (we had the main Suite) are difficult to heat at night (remember, in January / February, the temperature differential in desert areas night to day, is very large).
You can't get casual food nearby (at least, that's not contaminated by flies and hygiene issues). We were offered 'stir fry Spleen' at a stall. Anyone fancy that? Look up your anatomy before deciding.
The Riyad staff, Nadia, and owner, Michel, are first class: couldn't be bettered - otherwise the visit would have been lower (much lower) than 3*. The Riyad's dinner, which we had on arrival, was good, but it wasn't worth 1000 DHs (about £70+). We had a better lunch 2 days later at Cafe French 3/4 mile away, at half the price.
Our comments on The Medina itself are listed separately: at your peril venture there as a tourist in the surrounding area before and after dusk. No Road / alleyway signs: guaranteed hustling by indigenous young men, all (with one exception, a gentleman - thank for that, whoever you were) looking to misdirect you, then redirect you 1/4 mile later, for one motive only: money. And you will be aggressively pursued for that: despite being forewarned, and saying 'no' / 'non' to their advances, it never stops. Be warned.
Would I stay there again? No. We've had our 'Reality Show' in the Medina. 48 hours is sufficient, at least for us. But then also, it's just a 20 minute walk to 'La Mamounia' for lunch (if you don't get lost), one of the World's Great Hotels (also inside the Medina), where we stayed during the last visit to the Medina. Money talks. If you can afford it. That's in the other (SW end) of the Medina. Chalk and cheese is the understatement of the year (at least, if not decade).
Good as a base for a day excursion, e.g to Essaouira, a port 2/12 hours away (and reasonable travel costs) - where you will see real Argan Oil production / sales, goats up trees eating the berries, great fish restaurants, and experience the way market stalls should be run. You won't see that in Marrakech, near Riyad El Mezouar, or even in Jemaa El Fna.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the medina of Marrakech close to the soukhs and bustling Jemaa-el-Fna square, Riyad el Mezouar is a tranquil and unexpected hideaway. The villa was constructed in the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries by the royal household for one of their important members of staff who was called the Mezouar, or head of royal protocol at that time, which explains its graceful and subtly grand architecture. Now a Maison d'Hotes, the riad offers 5 spacious en-suite rooms situated around the courtyard pool or on the first floor gallery level. Depending on the season, breakfast is served on the roof terrace, around the pool in the shady courtyard, the fireside winter salon or in the guest rooms. Dinner is available on request, prepared by a Moroccan cook. The aquamarine pool and rose fountain surrounded by flowers and mature trees provide a sanctuary for birds and offer shade during the heat of the day. From the roof terrace there are splendid views of the snow-covered Atlas mountains and the famous Koutoubia mosque. This is a quiet space in which to enjoy both the sun and stars where refreshments are served from the terrace kitchen throughout the day and evening. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riyad El Mezouar Hotel Marrakech