I would advise against anyone booking to stay at the Riad Merstane. The riad itself is very pretty and relaxing, and the staff were helpful and pleasant, but the area of the Medina in which it is situated was very dodgy at night, making us feel unsafe. This is because the Merstane is located in the poor far northern part of the Medina and tourist accommodation is not commonplace in that area.
Our first bad experience occured just a couple of hours after arriving. As my (male) friend and I walked towards the Jemaa el Fna, a group of three lads decided to 'help' show us the way. We had a map with us and didn't really want their help, but we couldn't get rid of them as they kept following us so we went along with it. When my friend went to give the one lad some money to thank him, he threw it down on the ground and cursed - saying "[--] your mother!" to be precise - as apparently we hadn't given him enough! As we walked away his friends then proceeded to lift my skirt up and laughed. It was a horrible experience and we both felt really angry and disgusted.
We also had a bad experience returning to our accommodation on our second night there. We arrived back at around 11pm by taxi from the main square. As we started the walk back to our accommodation we noticed that there were local men lurking in doorways, staring at us and then attempting to get our attention as we walked past. We ignored them and carried on walking. We then noticed a young lad of about 10 years old cutting up a cardboard box with a large knife. As we walked past he put the knife straight into the air and spoke to us in Arabic. He may have been making a joke but we shall never know, not speaking Arabic. A couple of men then caught our eye and started following us, along with two lads playing football who wanted to know if we needed directing to the riad - we didn't. The next thing we knew the football had been kicked into my friend's back and a woman appeared telling the boys off. We carried on walking and got back to the riad in one piece. This was the last straw and that night we decided to check out the next day. We ended up staying at the Hotel Oudaya in Gueliz, which was a relief to be honest, as we felt much safer in the new part of the city amonst other tourists.
All in all, I certainly could not recommend staying at the Riad Merstane due to the awful location and vile, unfriendly, intimidating local people. A shame really.
- 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