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“invisible staff, tatty, building work, grubby public areas”
Review of El Fenn

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El Fenn
Ranked #53 of 496 Hotels in Marrakech
Certificate of Excellence
london
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“invisible staff, tatty, building work, grubby public areas”
Reviewed March 9, 2009

We booked at this hotel on a recommendation for our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We booked one of the better suites in the hotel and they arranged for us to be picked up from the airport.

When we arrived at the airport - our flight was on time - every other hotel had a representative there except ours. We called and they said there had been a problem and our driver was on the way. When he arrived he was charming and we got into the hotels car which was filthy. When we arrived at El Fenn we walked through a dingy corridor into a courtyard which could have been pretty if there had been no plastic sheeting flapping over the roof. We were asked to wait there by the driver for someone to check us in. The seating in the courtyard was faded and tatty and the general impression was one of neglect.

After 10 minutes of waiting for someone to check us in, my husband went to look for someone. He returned after another 5 minutes alone, and 5 minutes later the manager turned up saying his computer was not working.

He then took us for a tour around the hotel which was similarly tatty to the courtyard.

When we arrived at our room which was a beautiful suite (20) with an amazing bathroom and sitting area with a shared balcony overlooking a courtyard. Unfortunately directly in front of our room there were major building works taking place on the same level with more plastic sheeting and builders walking past every 5 minutes.

We complained and asked for another room but were told that we could move to one for 1 night and then another for the other 4. As this would have been our anniversary when we moved, and having seen the other room which was on offer - not nearly as nice as the original room - very dark and dingy - we declined.

They then arranged for another manager to come down and he organised for us to move to another hotel - thank heavens he did - we ended up at the wonderful Villa des Orangers - where although the room was not quite as beautiful as room 20 - the whole experience was amazing. From the service, to the food, to the private room they organised for our anniversary.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank patsy008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
New York, NY
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed October 13, 2008

My fiance and I stayed in the Riad el Fenn in the beginning of October and, overall, had a lovely stay. The Riad itself is a gorgeous oasis--beautiful and sprawling, with 3 pools (1 being a shallow roof pool), numerous terraces, fantastic roof terrace with lounging and dining area (amazing view of the city at night), lush gardens, cool bar, quiet and calm atmosphere. As for the food, the breakfast was amazing, and would be served anywhere you like; the morning and afternoon tea was a nice touch; and dinner was in a glorious setting and the food, though the portions were very small especially in comparison with Moroccan servings, was nice. Our room (suite 18) was beautiful in a very low-key way, and a nice switch from your typical boring hotel room. The decor was a nice mix of Moroccan, modern, and contemporary.

My only real complaint would be the somewhat lackadaisical service on the part of the management. The servers and maids were great--when they could be reached. As there is no phone, to call for any kind of service one must press the call button in the room. However, only 50% did someone acutally come. For dinner reservations, spa bookings, etc. one had to go to the library/office to talk to the manager on duty. They were there less than 50% of the time, and so we were often wandering the hotel looking for help. Once found they were, however, friendly and fairly helpful. My only real complaint would be that one of the managers set us up with a dinner reservation in a cheesy restaurant with bad food, AND gave us incorrect directions--which isn't the best thing in Marrakech at night. Not somewhere you want to be lost at night if you are not a local.

All in all, I would definitely go back, but be prepared to do a little leg-work if you want some help from the management.

  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank kikico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 29, 2008

Superb short break stayin in the Riad El Fenn, staff were fantastic and helpful and always there when needed.

Everyone so polite and friendly offering advice and guidance on any and everything asked.

The setting, the food, the courtyards the staff all were exceptional quality, the only thing that needs a little work is the covering on one of the courtyards but i suspect this is because it had been raining an would have been fine in the summer months.

All in all great place and would highly reccomend.

  • Stayed September 2008
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Benito34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed September 6, 2008

After much research on Riads I finally decided on El Fenn.
While I found many aspects of the Raid exceptionally beautiful, especially the roof terrace w/ restaurant, the Riad was lacking in basic essentials that one might expect from a first class property.
There were many nice touches to our stay such as tea and cakes in the afternoon in one of the many beautiful courtyards and coffee left at your front door every morning.

Some of the issues we had were in that it was difficult to find staff at times to get drinks, etc. at the various sitting places around the Riad. You really had to go search. Help was hard to find. Maid service while fine would tend to hover around the rooms in the morning waiting to pounce the minute you left the room in order to make it up. While this might be fine, they do not respect the do not disturb signs and had them walk in on me several times. It happened day after day and became quite annoying.

I also found many aspects of the hotel in need of some sprucing up. Some of the seating areas, furniture, carpets, etc. in rooms is old and tattered. Some of the towels had holes and small tears in them.

If we'd paid half of what we did and expected less than a first class property I would have found the property very adequate but frankly for the price they need some massive improvement.

I wouldn't let my review stop someone from going because there are many positive aspects but don't expect Four Seasons service even though you'll pay Four Seasons prices.

  • Liked — The various court yards and pools
  • Disliked — lack of service
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Jeffreyy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2008

Everything was perfect with our stay in this hotel.

Our room (10), like the whole place, was beautiful : it was a great mix of traditional riad architecture, high quality artisanal work, with some modern, fun touches. Good size room, amazing bathroom, and yes : no TV! But we did watch the football games in their cinema room, and you can also watch DVDs there : the time we went we had the place for ourselves.
We found staying in the middle of the medina very convenient, rather than in the palmeraie, where you have to take cabs all the time (and cabs ARE a rip-off in Morocco).
After a tiring day in the medina it was a pleasure spending some lazy time around the pools, in the courtyard (free cakes and tea) and in the bar (not so free drinks).
The breakfast was completely amazing. We also had dinner once which was extremely good : creative morocan food, a welcome change from the tajines, all served on the terrace by candlelight, very romantic.
This place is expensive but well worth the money, a really memorable stay. We did not like Morocco much however this hotel was very special.

  • Stayed June 2008
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank emy_William
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
2 reviews
Reviewed April 22, 2008

One of the best places i have ever stayed. I would be surprised if there is a better 5 * hotel in Morocco

i came down from a great riad in fes and they guided me in here. It is quite expensive, but worth it.

Go and visit - service and design at the highest of levels. Artistic and great.


go go go

  • Liked — the place
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank tourboyLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed April 12, 2008

Although this is rather belated, I wanted to share our wonderful experience at the Riad el Fenn, as this could not have been a more perfect location to propose to my girlfriend. This riad really was the perfect haven to relax and unwind within a very hectic city. Nothing was too much trouble, right from the moment we walked in where there was fresh juice and homemade cake waiting in the courtyard (which incidentally there was every day - don't miss out!), then a personal tour around the riad grounds. Although all the rooms were taken during our stay, you rarely bump into other guests and it feels like your very own oasis especally as there are so many places to escape to within the grounds. The service was absolutely first class, a special mention to all the staff and also the management who helped to make our stay and especially our engagement night the most special night ever. They went to every effort with a personalised menu and a private lantern lit space on the rooftop under the stars! I would also definitely reccommend the hammam which was fantastic. The location was excellent, just a short stroll from the main square and the souks. This riad really is one of the very best places we have ever stayed and we can't wait to come back and celebrate our anniversary at the riad in the future.

  • Liked — Amazing rooftop, great breakfasts, fantastic setting, fresh flowers in the room
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Luigi2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Fenn

Property: El Fenn
Address: Derb Moullay Abdullah Ben Hezzian | Bab el Ksour, Medina, Marrakech, Morocco
Phone Number:
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#15 Business Hotel in Marrakech
#16 Family Hotel in Marrakech
#28 Spa Hotel in Marrakech
#30 Romantic Hotel in Marrakech
#37 Luxury Hotel in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — El Fenn 4.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Special Offer From 11/05/ 2016 to 31/08/2016 DIRECT BOOKING OFFER We assure that you'll always get the best rate available when you book directly with us. Whether you book online or by email, our team are on hand to answer all your questions from pre-booking to check-in and even after you're gone. With 20 individually styled rooms and suites, a four-bedroom private riad, 3 swimming pools and its own hammam spa, El Fenn is a unique boutique hotel combining grandeur and historic architecture with hideaway nooks, terraces and gardens - making it the most peaceful place from which to enjoy Africa's most exotic city.Our story began with two friends on the hunt for a small riad to buy as a holiday home. It was 2002 when Vanessa Branson and Howell James walked into the almost ruined courtyard of one of Marrakech's formerly great private homes. Nearing dusk and with the sound of the muezzin's call to prayer echoing in the air, they instantly fell in love with the atmospheric house which was being sold with three smaller neighbouring homes. They soon realised that their holiday home was going to become so much more.At the time, only a handful of Marrakech's riads had been converted to small hotels and Vanessa and Howell knew they wanted to open a place offering something different - a home from home retreat that combined great food and service with the spirit of the building's past and a contemporary decorative twist. During a two-year renovation, local craftsman used traditional techniques to breathe new life into the building. Polished lime plastering was used in a rainbow of colours to create walls, baths and bed frames, original tiling was renovated and carved cedar ceilings restored. Retro furniture sourced from local flea markets was combined with one-off bespoke pieces to create a unique interior. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riad El Fenn Marrakech
Riad El Fenn Hotel Marrakech

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