We are in a strong position to review Club Med Le Riad as not only is it our second visit (previous stay Sep 06) but we stayed at the incomparable 5 trident Plantation d’Albion in Mauritius and can make a true comparison as Le Riad has been recently upgraded to 5 tridents also. So inclusive champagne (but not before 1800) and on our arrival, we were told lots of little surprises would be offered every day (no more than before). Two years ago we thoroughly enjoyed our 7 days here and longed to return to see more of Marrakech and Morocco. The main criticism we had before was that Le Riad only offered breakfast but this year that has been addressed by the addition of a lunchtime brasserie style service and a special evening at the El Kebir restaurant, which was excellent – even if portion size was meager. The lunchtime ‘brasserie’ is good but not 5 trident good. There was little variation from day to day and service was often affected by flies – apparently due to the close proximity of the stables for horses and camels outside Le Riad.
We must have been spoilt by our holiday at Albion the previous Easter because on arrival to our suite there we had a welcome bottle of champagne, fresh cut fruit everyday and champagne included whenever you wanted it. As previously in 2006, on arrival at Le Riad we were offered a non-alcoholic cocktail, mint tea and simple biscuits. Champagne is inclusive here but only after 1800. Our suite with roof terrasse was identical to the one two years ago but the location was less impressive as it overlooked a building site and rough ground behind Le Riad walls. To be fair, we asked to change and this was swiftly organized and we were relocated to a different suite overlooking the lovely gardens and the Spa. The suites are no different to when Le Riad was 4 tridents – though still nice, clearly not to Albion’s standards.
A major criticism since our last stay was the special rates for children, including free for very young children. This led to several families with young children staying there. The pool area was dominated by them and the steps area into the pool was monopolized by a large English group with several children using the steps as their own private beach – resulting in many of us having to enter the pool by the ladders in the deeper sections. Most open public areas of Le Riad were also spoilt by the prolific number of people smoking – clearly the rules in Morocco are more relaxed but in a French owned resort we were surprised that there was not a total ban.
The champagne is served only from 1800 without supplement. The hour of aperos, from 1800 was very good and an improvement was the special ‘tasters’ and ‘nibbles’ with your pre-dinner drinks and the singers and belly dancer were excellent. However, you had to still eat at El Kebir restaurant (outside Le Riad but close by) – 3 course meal of good quality, the Palmerie buffet (4 Tridents) or the restaurant buffet in the club’s village in the Medina (3 Tridents) – free 15 minute bus ride in the centre of Marrakech. All of these put together could not match the outstanding buffet and restaurant meals at the Albion, Mauritius – seen as Club Med’s showcase 5 Trident village – something that all new 5 Trident villages should try to emulate. On this measure Le Riad falls short.
As for our previous stay in 2006 the strength of Le Riad is its personalized service and the new general manager, Mathieu, has made a good start in upgrading the village to its 5 Trident ambitions and is keen to improve things further. The staff are outstanding and cannot do enough for you. Chef de Bar, Roberto, is excellent and his team of staff work tirelessly to see to your every need. In particular, Redouane, Sofiane, Hisham (x2) and Mimo are fautless. In the Reception area Mohamed is keen to help in any way possible and the whole village is kept beautifully clean by a hard working team of staff.
This year we took the cycle tour, had a guided tour of the souks and took the High Atlas Tour which were all excellent. We organized our High Atlas Tour using non-Club Med transport/guide for a third of the cost of the Club Med tour and had a personalized tour to see a Berber house, the potteries, the carpet makers and the two main valleys leading down from the mountains.
In conclusion, Le Riad is as good as ever but not yet hitting the 5 Trident standard. We thoroughly enjoyed our second stay, in spite of our frustrations, but will not be returning for a while. We are, however, returning to La Plantation Albion again so check out our previous review of our stay there on Tripadvisor.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Le Riad, which is surrounded by private gardens, has sixty Suites which combine a Moroccan setting with every comfort imaginable. With its swimming pool and its rooms each with a fireplace, Le Riad is an intimate and princely place. You can sample a privileged lifestyle relaxing in the Bar-lounge, enjoying the cozy atmosphere in the piano bar or unwinding in the library. The more curious amongst you can treat yourselves to the exotic flavours and spicy dishes on offer at the restaurant. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Club Med Marrakech Le Riad Hotel Marrakech
- Marrakech Club Med