Riad Catalina is ideally located. We stayed in a blue room which I don't think is listed on their website. It was very small and the walls were stained and grubby considering the price we expected better.
The courtyard was pretty and the breakfast was good. Noise insulation in the room was pretty non-existent so we were woken up every night at around 5am for morning prayer from the mosque nearby and at 6am by all the birds who roost in the courtyard. So needless to say we didn't get much sleep.
The staff seemed friendly enough. However we asked to book a tour of the waterfalls outside the city we were quoted 700MAD when we went to book there was a different member of staff who asked for 1000 we told him what we were quoted before and after he'd spoken with them he agreed on 700.
We were driven out there by our driver/guide who spoke little English (I didn't expect him to except for the fact he was a paid guide so I'd assumed he would) He stopped off at different locations along the way trying to get us to buy stuff which we clearly weren't interested in.
2 hours later we arrived and were introduced to another guide who showed us the waterfalls and mountains which I really have to recommend as the views and scenery were amazing as this wasn't peak season so it wasn't very busy either.
At the end I tipped our guide 100MAD he declined and said he wanted 200! I explained that it wasn't payment it was a tip as we'd paid at the hotel for the tour. He explained that apparently he doesn't get paid through the hotel and to take it up with them he then called the driver over who obviously confirmed this.
So there was a small Mexican stand-off but considering me and my girlfriend were 2 hours away from Marrakech we had no choice but to pay up.
When we arrived back I told this story to the guy behind reception he seemed surprised by my complaint and said that we did have to pay extra for the guide! I explained that paying 700 for basically a driver was a rip off as a taxi would have been around maybe 400-500 and that if I pay for a tour then the tour guide should be included. I got fobbed off and he thanked me for bringing to his attention.
To be honest I'm pretty astute to people trying to con me but I guess I was caught off guard this time because I'd trusted booking through the hotel. I wonder if the receptionist just got his mate to drive us and kept the money for themselves? Just a theory but whatever the reason it marred my trip slightly.
Due to the above I would recommend looking else where for a place to stay.
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Catalina Hotel Marrakech