My Partner & I are both avid users of Trip Advisor, we will use others experiences and feedback for booking holidays, trips or reviewing places to eat etc. If I am honest I have never returned the favour by posting a review myself.
However, I recently travelled to Marrakech (for the second time) but unlike our first trip (a week away in a Hotel) we wanted to experience all Morroco/Marrakech had to offer. It was on other people 'recommendations' that we stumbled across Riad Karmela... I feel compeled to right a review (although to be honest I don't think my words will do it justice - you would need to go and experience it for yourself).
We booked our holiday through an independent company who supplied us with an e-mail address for the owner Joel, We mailed back and forth a number of times before we arrived. Joel was very keen on ensuring that he & his staff had our requirements met before we arrived.
From the moment we landed we experienced great service, we pre-booked a taxi through the Riad from feedback on here in regards to other taxis having problems (I'd advise you do the same)Kamal is the Riad's on-site driver. Our flight was delayed by two hours, we were panicking, wondering if our transfer would be there so it was a relief to see Kamal waiting with a smile to greet us.
Upon arriving at the Riad we are given mint tea and some fresh baked goods. We were seated in the terrace area whilst our bags were taken to our room. Said (the evening manager) then gave us a really informative introduction to Marrakech, the Medina and how things work - this instantly put us at ease (again very smiley - it must be something in the mint tea)
All of the staff at Riad Karmela are friendly and welcoming but especially Mustafa (we nicknamed him Smiler) this guy showed a genuine interest in us, how our holiday was going and was very attentive - nothing was too much trouble for him from booking restaurants on our behalf to showing us round etc. The biggest compliment I can give Joel and his team (Bouchra/ Said/Mustafa) is we felt instantly at home and part of a little family.
Joel (The owner) is absolutely fantastic - a real character. I have read a small number of reviews that suggest he can come across abrupt, I assure you this isn't in his nature he is extremely kind and I can only put others feedback down to a language/translation issue... Joel is French but is well spoken in English. Joel is always present at the riad, you'll often see him working away but he also finds time to sit and talk to guests which in my opinion adds a personal touch.
For my partner and I who have travelled to various places this was our favourite. The Riad is presented well with each room offering a different theme. The Riad is actually 3 smaller Riads opened up into one but Joel has done this so each smaller Riad retains it's personallity and privacy...
** top tip** you must explore the Riad, especially the top terraces as this offer 'little hideaways' snug areas so not all is as it seems from first glance, we fround little areas as our days went on - a favourite place of our was on the deckchairs right by the jacuzzi.
Riad Karmela offer a buffet type breakfast which caters for all; cereal (a choice of three), toast, fresh fruit, omlettes, breads, fresh juice, tea & coffee. Snacks are available throughout the day; a choice of sandwiches, salads etc
A big plus is the Riad serves alcohol (priced well) which is a real bonus considering this isn't redibly avaliable elsewhere and you usually find yourself drinking a coke light with your evening meal outside the Riad.
We booked a number of trips through the Riad - all of which were great fun, reasonably priced and travel was in an air conditioned taxi (which is appreciated when it's 40°c)
Hamam & massages - definitely a must - the hamam is amazing and leaves your skin feeling lovely and soft. For the massages you have two types; a relaxation or a stress releaving (slightly harder)
Overall, if you are looking for a place rich in culture with a cross mix of backgrounds and lots of things to do Marrakech is for you and Riad Karmela is definitely the place to stay offering a tranquil safe haven from the madness of the souxs/medina.
Further top tips **when out in the Medina ignore the locals offering assistance (at first this may prove difficult to do as your natural reaction is to say hello back) they will charge for there help - Joel and his team do advise you of this on arrival and are always on hand to help
**Taxis - they will try charge you the earth...agree a price before you get in and don't budge... sometimes it's easier to organise a taxi through the Riad
**if you are buying anything look around first - loads of shops selling similar items but the prices vary dramatically... the seller will always go in with a ridiculous figure... half it and half it again...if not walk away you have the upperhand... plenty more shops you'll find they come after you and agree with your price
**ignore the reviews on the Riad that have been marked down because of holiday makers not liking Marrakech - extremely unfair and unjust as this is people's livelihoods and whether or not someone liked the country they chose to visit shouldn't be reflected in their review of the Riad
Overall, a fantastic experience, we are already planning our return to Marrakech and will be staying at Riad Karmela.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The riad Karmela has 19 bedrooms and family appartments located within 3 houses and courtyards connecting together. You can also enjoy a hammam, massages, summer jacuzzi, large terasse. We are located 8 mn walk from the Pace Djemma El Fnaa and 1 mn from the souks. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Karmela Marrakech
- Riad Karmela Hotel Marrakech