We found this property through the much-used Alastair Sawday guides (--). I wanted to stay in a high-end Riad with a pool, my wife wanted to go for something more 'cost-effective'. She won ... and I'm glad she did as we didn't want for anything.
This is not 5-star luxury in the usual sense of the word - and the rooms are not quite the largest available from Riads in Marrakech - but the hospitality shown by Rashida (the Berber maid and cook), David (the Scottish hotel manager), Omar the affiliated taxi driver, the owner (in London) Alan, and all those who popped in during our visit, was of the highest order and more than make up for something as inane as room size. Even if we couldn't communicate directly!
The courtyard is pretty and functional, the living areas well-stocked with games and books - one even has a CD player and a reasonable selection of music - the top-floor terrace gives a reasonable view of the Medina and the Atlas Mountains (and provides a great place for breakfast/lunch/dinner), whilst the entire Riad oozes the relaxed air one requires after a day at Place Djemaa el Fna and the Souk(s). And Alan has kindly left a superb selection of travel guides for Marrakech, including Lonely Planet, Time Out and National Geographic, together with some maps (not that they're much use once you're immersed in the alleys!).
The downside: it's a little tricky to find your way back to the Riad from the Souks or the main square - just head toward Bab Tagzhout and it's relatively easy from there (but beware the school-kids at 18:00 offering to help you find your way and the Petit Taxi who will only drop you at Bab Tagzhout) - but getting lost is all part of the fun ... just make sure you leave yourself an extra hour some nights!
Oh, and the alleys leading up to the front door don't always smell the best! But that's Marrakech for you really: new sights, sounds, smells - all the senses are tested.
The fact that the Riad is not right in the middle of everything (it's to the North of the Medina) is actually an advantage: it's a peaceful oasis after a hard day's bargaining and forces you to take in more than you would normally of Marrakech! Lazy you cannot be ... nor do you want to!
Take Omar up on his morning tour of the main tourist attractions if you're only in Marrakech for a short while; at 200 Dirham, it's a steal and fits everything in.
And let Rashida cook you her lamb with prunes and almonds or, to be honest, anything else she offers to cook you: her tajines are memorable and the starters so fresh: good, honest, Moroccan food ... and exceptional value-for-money! We didn't use a restaurant once for an evening meal! And who'd have thought Moroccan wine (red) could taste so fine?
My wife, 3-year old and I stayed in the Amber and Jasmine rooms - the former has a bath, the latter is extremely tastefully decorated in relaxed greens - both are perfectly acceptable and traditionally attired.
The whole place is all you're led to believe Marrakech has to offer ... and more. Well worth a visit. Coupled to discounted flights from the UK right now, 3 nights' stay for 3 can be yours for less than £300. Now that's what I call a bargain!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Riad has 5 double bedrooms all ensuite and individually decorated with traditional finishes and furniture set around a tranquil plant filled courtyard garden. There is a large roof terrace with High Atlas Mt views, sunbeds and seating and a comfortable sitting room with an open olive wood fire in winter. There is also a separate cosy dining room. The riad is fully staffed with friendly and helpful staff and an excellent cook - cookery sessions available on request. All bedding is smooth Egyptian cotton and towels and hairdryers are provided. The riad is in a historic and authentic area of the medina a short walk from the souks and through them to the square of Jemna el F'na also near several museums and sights as well as having good access through the walls to the new town. ... more less