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“Avoid - Rude and dishonest owner”
Review of Riad Assala

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Riad Assala
Ranked #348 of 1,160 Marrakech B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 29, 2008

Lovely Riad with 6 rooms, two courtyards (1 with a small pool ~1,60m deep) and two roof top terraces. Not luxurious but well restored and full of the decorative details one looks for in Morocco. Very friendly and helpful staff headed by Hamid. Meals are tasty but a bit pricey and dining/breakfast room is very small - do not expect much atmosphere but it is good for a family reunion, as was the case. Ok location at the entrance of the souks <10mins from Dar el Glaoui and from the Museum of Marrakech/Medersa Ben Youssef, 20 mins from Jemna el Fna. Right next to a mosque so expect to be woken up at 5am for prayer.

It would have been a lovely stay if it was not for the shenanigans related to the payment, which unmasked a rude and dishonest owner (or manager?), Catherine, with whom I had dealt with by email to book our stay. We paid a deposit charged to my credit card and agreed that the balance of €860 would be charged to the same card on arrival. On the first day Hamid asked if we could pay cash, which I agreed with and started by advancing him some Dirham, which I had bought at a rate of 10.7 to the Euro. When it came to settle the balance on the last day I was given a bill in Euro but told they would convert my Dirham into Euro at 11.5… I argued that was not acceptable as it would create a loss for me (€60 if you do the maths) and was then proposed a rate of 11. I still objected to this and proposed to pay by transfer, but a transfer was not accepted "because the cash is needed in Marrakech" and "11.5 is the rate at which you convert Dirham into Euro"... But I did not want to pay cash in the first place, I was doing them a favour!!! Nor was I told in advance to bring sufficient Euros to pay the bill. Madame failed to understand the fragility of her arguments and on the phone dismissed me as a carpet salesmen… I ended up paying the local expenses in cash and had them charge my credit card for the balance of the rooms, but by them my holiday had been ruined.

So be warned: this is perhaps the only place where you are worse off paying cash because they try to charge you, not the market's, but their exchange rate - unless you bring a stash of Euro. If you object to their cash management strategies you get insulted as a reward. Best avoided if you don't want to have your holidays ruined. Shame, because the staff are really friendly and it is a lovely place.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank Zuruckbleibenbitte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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23 - 29 of 106 reviews

Reviewed June 28, 2008

I booked the Riad Assala through splendia.com without any problems. Upon arrival in Marrakech I arranged for a taxi to bring us to the hotel. This helped a lot because getting around in Morocco can be quite difficult. When we got the riad we were met my Hamid. He provided us with fresh hot mint tea. This was a nice surprise after a long day of traveling.

The riad is very nice and made me feels like I had stepped back in time. Our room was very comfortable and the bathroom was really nice. The piping hot shower was especially nice after a long day of walking the maze-like streets of Marrakech. It is really quiet at night though and more than likely you will be woken up at 6 am for the call to prayer, but that is probably anywhere in Marrakech. Every morning we were served breakfast which consisted of yogurt, a pastry with honey, fresh orange juice, and coffee. Hamid was also more than helpful with anything we needed and frequently told us that he was "at our service."

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank shastasheen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2008

We arrived from the airport late in the night and as soon as we walked through the doors, we were in awe. The candlelights and the dimmed lights gave off a very Moroccan ambiance. We stayed in the Cesame room. The room was gorgeously decorated, as was the rest of the riad. It had a very simple, clean design. We had dinner the first night in the Riad. It was so delicious we had it again the second night. The dinners were a tad bit expensive which we didn't know at the time, but it was well worth it.

The location could not be better. It's near the Tomb of Sidi Abdel Aziz. After a short walk out of the alleyways, you're taken into the wild sights and smells of the souks. The Ben Youssef Medersa (a must see!) and the Marrakech museum are also nearby. The walk to Djemaa el Fna only takes about 10-15 minutes.

We did not see the owners but were well taken care of by the gracious Hamid, who by the way, spoke very good english. After spending hours poring over reviews and websites we were happy to find this beautiful riad that was far less expensive than others. Great value for your money.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Richard H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2008

We're just back from a week in Essaouira and Marrakech, where we spent our final night in Riad Assala. This is a beautiful Riad in the heart of the Medina, close to all the action of the souks, but located in a side alley, so very peaceful. The staff at the Riad were very thoughtful, they had put a heater on in our room before we arrived in the evening (Marrakech in Jan is very cold at night!), and after we came back from dinner the sheets on the bed were turned back. Our room was attractive, and the black bathroom was stunning. Highly recomended.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank wiggers30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2007

We where dropped off on the main road and was met by our Riad owner who took us through little dusty streets that no car would be able to drive through. Once we arrived at our Riad and opened the doors - it was breathtaking. So many doors with hidden rooms. We booked the entire Riad - or so we thought until the next morning we where greeted by another couple. We stayed in the Essouira room with a little balcony overlooking the swimming pool. The first night we spent exploring the entire Riad and went for dinner about 5 min walk away from our Riad. The owner was very helpful, even walked us to the restaurant and offered to borrow his flashlight.
The following day we had a wonderful breakfast - coffee, cake, pancakes and yogurt. We left the Riad just before 10am heading for the souks. The Riad is well situated and only 5 min away from the famous souks. We had a drink on one of the restuarants whick had an amazing view of the square - good for photos.
The afternoon was spent lazing around on the terrace's sunbeds and taking a dip in the pool. We asked our Riad owner to prepare us a 3 course meal which we had outside on the terrace that evening. Amazing meal - chicken, lamb and beef tageen with couscous with loads of wine to drink. We ended up having a few more drinks before bed in the little tent on the terrace.
This has been an amazing experience with a very kind and helpful Riad owner. I would definitely recommend this Riad!!

Stayed: October 2007
Thank ckat12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2007

Stayed in th Doueria room for a week which me and my girlfriend loved. It has the most amazing painted wooden ceiling that would hypnotise us everytime we laid down at night.
Hamid was really nice, extremely polite and helpful.
While in Marrakech, my girlfriend got severe food poisoning, and Hamid arranged an emergency doctor to come early in the morning, and nursed my girlfriend better with homemade soups while sorting out her prescriptions from the pharmacy.
Hamid also arranged a trip to the atlas mountains for us, where we sort of got ripped off by the guide, but after telling Hamid what happened, he got the money back that we were owed.

Anyway, the riad itself is quite beautiful. Like i've heard others say it is a bit of a scary walk at first, but you soon realise that theres nothing to worry about. After stepping through the small modest entrance, you enter a romantic hideaway where all the staff were welcoming and smiley, and the decor is modern with a nice attention to detail.
I would reccomend this riad for people on a reasonably tight budget, who want a little hideaway from the hustle and bustle of the busy city.

Stayed: April 2007
Thank clarkey66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2007

Booked it through [----] which is specialized in little riads in Marrakech.

This riad is just perfectly located in the middle of the souks.
The only problem is that the taxis cannot go there and it is very diffucult to find and located in a very narrow street. It seems dangerous at first but it is not!!! Amid which takes care of the place is very helpful. I would highly recommend the place
You have a restaurant near the riad which is called Café Arabe... don't go I got food poisoned there... or do not take the salmon cappacio...

  • Stayed: January 2007
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Thank nicodudu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riad Assala

Address: 8, Derb Ouaihah | Sidi Abdel Aziz - Médina, Marrakech 40008, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Hotel Style:
Ranked #348 of 1,160 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range: $53 - $96 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Riad Assala 4*
Number of rooms: 6
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