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Reviewed March 21, 2008

This little place was one of the best we have stayed at in all our travels. We normally look for accommodation with good location, is priced reasonably and preferably has some ambiance (as opposed to the large impersonal hotels). Riad Ariha surpassed our expectations!

We always felt the Riad was a calming haven coming from the frenetic Jemaa El Fna or the souks. It is a beautifully restored building and the staff made the place always look lovely with candles in the evening and beautifully laid meals. It can be a little noisy at times but its a small price to pay for staying among the people of old Medina, walking distance from central square.

In particular we found Amina the most wonderful hostess. She was very knowledgeable of things to do in the area and could recommend as well as arrange bookings (Hamman's, trips out to the mountains, restaurants etc). In Marrakech local knowledge is invaluable! She has a lovely nature and her delightful friendly smiles were appreciated.

We felt all the staff would go to lengths to make you more comfortable.

I would recommended Riad Ariha to all we know visiting Marrakech.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank PrivLincoln
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2008

I feel I must write to defend the lovely Amina and Abdul, I really can't believe the rant given by a previous reviewer! We stayed at Riad Ariha for three nights, our welcome was lovely, met from the airport by the friendly Mustapha, portered from the taxi rank , welcomed by a smiling Amina with refreshing mint tea and home made bisciuts. Our room ( first floor) was spotlessly clean, quiet and very comfortable, the shower room was fine ( if the lighting a little dim!)
We had pre ordered lunch which was delicious and served on a rose petal strewn table in the beautifully peaceful courtyard, afterward we napped in the warm sunshine on the blissfull roof terrace, where we were brough more mint tea.
No lock was no problem, there is only one door into the riad and that was always locked.
Amina proved invaluable in advising and booking restaurants for us, organising a taxi to take us into the high Atlas for a day, arrangeing the hamman which was great fun and a very decent massage, breakfasts were lovely. Yes it is off the beaten track but that way you really feel that you are experiencing the real Marrakech, yes we got lost and yes some very keen youngsters were more than happy to show us the way for a few DH!
But where Amina really showed her commitment to customer care was on our last day when I unfortunatly succumbed to food poisoning ( don't eat cous cous in the mountains!) Even though we were checking out that day and the room was booked that night, Amina insisted that I stay in bed until mid day, brought me herbal tea in my room, and left me snoozing on the roof terrace for the afternoon whilst directing my husband on where to go to finish our last minute shopping.
Amazing friendly service that you would never receive in a bigger hotel.
Thankyou to ALL the fantastic staff at Riad Ariha for a wonderful experience!! Great value for money , We will be back!!

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank NikkiWindsorUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2008

my husband and i stayed for a week here and we thought it was lovely. i can't for the life of me get to grips with someone saying amina was rude and unprofessional - she was just super. amina's english is better than abdul's, and i think abdul naturally is quite a shy and nervous bloke, hence the reason why someone else said he didn't look him in the eye. we thought the riad was clean and friendly and all the staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome. i can't remember the name of the lady who cooks, but no exaggeration, her tajine is the best i tasted the entire holiday. i would definitely go back and stay there. the hospitality, friendliness, helpfulness and the way you could come and go without a second thought made it feel like a home from home.

one thing hubby and i did note was that our towels weren't changed - after 5 days we were drying out and using the same ones, but our room was cleaned every day, and i suppose if we'd made a fuss about the towels they'd have given us new ones.

also, the owner might consider sorting out some kind of mirror in the actual room. i spent the first 5 days in the room with a bath and was rocking around marrakech with hair like the jackson 5 because i couldn;t see myself as i was drying my hair. we then moved into a smaller room and there was a plug under the bathroom sink, but the light was really dull and there was no shower curtain, so every time we got a shower, the floor was flooded.

walking to the riad late at night we were pretty nervous at first it has to be said, but that's the experience we wanted - not staying in the new town in a posh hotel where we could be staying anywhere - we wanted the culture and the experience of being somewhere like marrakech, and although there were times we were on edge, nothing happened.

i was a bit worried about the lack of lock on the door, but my feeling was that they'd have secured each door if there was a need to, and nothing was stolen or taken, despite me leaving my rolex and purse in the room on one of the shelves, so i can't see the problem.

the upstairs roof terrace was a lifesaver - after 5 days of walking around in the heat, we spent all day chilling out up there under the canopy and it was bliss!

in terms of the comment made ref the hammam - yes, it wasn;t quite what i had envisioned, and the process a lot quicker than i was lead to believe, but afterwards my skin felt great and after a massage, i felt even better. to be honest, i;'d rather do it there by myself with the hammam lady than go to a communal hammam, but that's just me.

look, at the end of the day, this isn;t a 5 star hotel and nor does it claim to be - if you want a family feel with no formality where you can come down for breakfast whenever you like, somewhere clean and safe with nice people, then i'd just go for it.

the whole paying in advance is pretty weird though - can someone explain why this happens?

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank danellie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2008

I really think I need to redress a bit from the previous reviewer - if you want a hotel in a traditional style that is managed by kind, honest locals in an area of town that is off the beaten track, this is the place for you.
I agree the lack of lock was a bit nervemaking at the beginning but these people will not steal from you - there is someone always on duty.
We were completely petrified the first time we went out, but to be honest, getting to the hotel is easy, its very well signposted, but getting out the first time was very scary! After that though we found it very satisfying to know our way around and for more independent, confident and relaxed travellers it is a gem. Very unpretentious and not at all expensive - makes you feel a part of the real morocco.
It had the same limitations though as a lot of Riad's if you take a room on the ground floor e.g. everyone hearing your business!!
Some of the other guests had a meal cooked by the staff and reported it as the best they had in their whole time in morocco - I was disappointed we ran out of time to sample it but the leftovers looked and smelled amazing.
I thought Amima, the manager, was very professional in her own way - very helpful to us in finding out things and not as manipulative as the last reviewer suggested. But I can see how someone might take her the wrong way.
The biggest problem I had was the policy of taking payment for the whole stay from my account IN ADVANCE of our arrival. I dont think this is the Moroccan staff but the owner, Barbara and while a bit odd, is not a reason not to stay there.
I booked through I-Escape & really felt that it lived up to my expectation.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Nono-London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2008

I booked Riad Ariha for the great riad experience and because of the good reviews it received. I now feel like some of the reviews are manipulated.

This was not my first time staying in Marrakech or in Morocco, so I have an idea how other places are. I felt like Riad Ariha just wanted my money--they did not care about our comfort at all.

My biggest complaint is the manager, who is highly unprofessional and disingenuous. She seemed bothered every time I had a question and would make faces and roll her eyes. The worst is that she makes her sarcastic remarks with a smile. (it is not a language/cultural difference, which can be easily distinguished.) She even laughed at me and looked at me like I was stupid when I asked for a lock for my door. That's right, there are no locks on any of the doors. Anyone can walk into your room. Another girl told me she experienced this in another city and it was fine, but I've read too many forums where people have had there stuff stolen--even from safes!

There is a safe in the room, but you need to pay 50 dh (about 5 euros) to use it. Also, you have to get the key from the management, which doesn't always ensure security.

When I arrived, I noticed my towels were wet and hanging. Maybe they were clean and just needed to dry, but I wasn't going to use a possibly dirty towel--especially for the price I paid. Also, there was blood stains on the toilet paper, which i just threw away.

The shower head was rusted and the water went cold after 3 minutes. When we made this complaint to the manager, she said we must have used up all the water; therefore, it is our fault. Even we waited for 45 minutes for the water to fill up, and it was still cold. This is a real pain when you have soap all over you and are dripping wet. The night manager was annoyed at first. He wouldn't even look at me when he talked--the football match was on. Finally after complaining twice, he came to help, but couldn't really do anything.

We were so upset with the service we experienced upon our arrival, we considered leaving the first night. We asked the night manager about the policy and he didn't know, so he referred us to the rude manager lady, who we wanted to avoid at all cost. We also asked to speak with the owner, but she lives in Canada. So, we decided to just stay and be done with it. (I can add some personal opinions about the ownership and management, but I will try to be neutral...)

The saving grace of the entire place was the cleaning lady. She was the only one who seemed to genuinely smile and greet us when she saw us. She was the only professional. The rest seemed to have no formal training whatsoever.

Some travelers seemed to enjoy the place. I guess it could have been OK, had it been our first time and we'd not known how great hotels/guest houses can be. For price-value ratio, it's DEFINITELY NOT WORTH IT! You can stay in much nicer places with a convenient location (like in Gueliz) for much cheaper. This place isn't the easiest to find--even though the manager was patronizing and said it's hard only the first time. (To get an idea, visit the places Web site and see the directions they give you...) Luckily we had a compass, map, and weren't afraid to ask the locals for help.

For the price I paid, I at least expected to have a professional staff and to feel welcome. I felt like my stay was a burden for the management--which is why we tried to stay out of the place as much as possible. It really was the lowest point of our highly anticipated trip. I mean, why would you stay where you don't feel welcome? Unfortunately, we were too exhausted to leave and didn't want the added hassle.

I've lived and traveled a lot--in both developed and developing countries. I've stayed in five stars, and I've stayed in places with creepy crawlies, and I can say this is the biggest waste of money I've ever experienced. It wasn't extremely dirty, it just wasn't worth my hard-earned money.

Lastly, don't expect any privacy. You can hear almost everything being said in the other rooms. (There is about an 8 cm opening on the bottom of the door and a 5cm opening on both sides.) Also, when we arrived, the manager left us with an open guest book, which had the personal information of all the travelers who had stayed and were staying there. Had we not been honest people, who knows what could have happened.

(Note: dipping pool is about 10 cm deep fountain, hammam is just exotic-looking tub where you pour water over your head, roof is dirty and not nice like the pics...)

Overall, Marrakech can be a wonderful place as long as you choose the right place to stay. And after long walks through the souks and medina, you really need a comfortable place to relax.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank pandapatrol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riadariha, Owner at Riad Ariha, responded to this reviewResponded March 5, 2008

We were most upset reading this review as we are truly concerned about the comfort of our guests.

We apologize for the manager’s behaviour that they perceived as rude—we usually read positive reviews of her work.

Each room has its own water tank which is designed to be sufficient for two people to have a shower. However once the tank is emptied it does take time to reheat fresh water. In this case, the guest was offered the hammam to bathe.

Security - At any time, guests can ask for a lock for their room if they are not happy just closing the door. Also in this case, Amina did call us and we told her to offer the safety deposit box for free, which she did. The clients refused to take the lock when offered.

We have a binder in the riad encouraging clients to contact us if they have any kind of problem. We pay for the call. We appreciate that the guest preferred not to bother us, but truly, we would rather be bothered so we can address the situation directly.

Roof – perhaps the guest saw it after inclement weather – but usually it is cleaned and welcoming for guests.

It is very rare that we get negative reviews, but we do take this seriously and take steps to avoid such things happening again.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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