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“So pleased we stayed at this fabulous riad!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Riad Villa El Arsa

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Riad Villa El Arsa
Certificate of Excellence
Berkshire
Level Contributor
24 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“So pleased we stayed at this fabulous riad!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2013

We stayed at Villa el Arsa for 2 nights in mid-December as a short break. We had arranged a transfer from the airport as part of the booking and it worked out well, being met by Noel at Cafe de France and then walked back to the accommodation. This proved to be invaluable as Noel pointed out some of the landmarks to make sure we can find our way back, and although we found it easy to find our way back and forth after Noels help, it would not have been easy to do it first time around. And not as relaxing!

Villa el Arsa itself was lovely. Four bedrooms on the first floor looking down to the courtyard below, with a lovely terrace at the top, which was plenty warm enough to have breakfast in the sun in December. Our room (La Bahia) was great - a beautiful bed, plenty of space and a traditional Morrocan bathroom. Heaters were provided for the evenings which we used a couple of times just for a blast of warmth. People say that when staying in riads noise can be a problem because of the central courtyard design but on the first night we didn't hear anything and were not even aware of the call to prayer (but maybe that was more to do with being tired and having left the children at home with the grandparents!) We did hear the call to prayer the second morning but we did not find noise a problem at all.

The breakfasts were lovely on the terrace - a selection of pastries, pancakes etc. with jams, fruit, yoghurt and juice/tea/coffee. It set us up nicely for the day and gave a nice view of the Atlas mountains on a clear morning. It happened to be my wife's birthday on the second day and although I hadn't mentioned it, Noel surprised my wife with a bouquet of flowers in our room in the afternoon. We had arranged to eat in the Riad on the second night and we had a great meal with another couple who were staying there, in front of a log fire in the lounge. Fabrice had made a lovely meal and I would definitely suggest eating in one night.

We found the the riad very peaceful but so close to the main square that we could get from one to the other in 5 minutes - in fact, when in the main square with everything going on around you I was very surprised by just how quite it was on the roof terrace considering it was a matter of minutes form the square! It was very easy to walk around to all the main sites in the old town. We never felt unsafe walking around and having accommodation so close to the action was an advantage. On our last day we bought some freshly cooked lamb from Mechoi Alley, some olives and bread and went back to the riad to enjoy our food on the terrace - another highly recommended meal. On our last day we checked out in the morning but we were free to come and go as we pleased in the riad until we left for the airport in the evening.

We really enjoyed Marrakech and if we return we would definitely stay at Villa el Arsa again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank tom_n_caz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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279 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (37)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Amsterdam
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 12, 2013

We stayed at the Villa el Arsa on a last minute booking in the middle of January - Noel and his team were extremely accommodating and friendly every step of the way. The building is absolutely beautiful, a real oasis in the madness of Marrakech, and we ended up staying in two of the rooms both of which were divine. There is a luxurious lounge on the ground floor with a fire which was a perfect place to relax and regroup at the end of the day. On our first day Noel took us into the city to help us get our bearings and recommended several wonderful restaurants and museums, and was always around to answer any questions we had. The breakfast was delicious every morning, and we would really recommend having dinner at the Riad one night - gorgeous meal in a beautiful setting.

In short, we couldn't recommend this Riad more, it really did make our trip and we would not hesitate to send our friends!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Rachel H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
69 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 6, 2013

Look no further if you want a fabulous place to stay for your time in Marrakech. This city is confusing, dusty, dirty, noisy, and a little nuts and you will need a genuine oasis to return to each day. We spent a week at Villa El Arsa in the Royale room, a huge room by typical standards with high ceilings painted in a colorful traditional Berber motif and a working fireplace! This ryad (or guest house) has four wonderful rooms and has been completely renovated (early 2012) by two super charming French guys, Noel and Fabrice. (English spoken.) While maintaining the authenticity and character of the traditional Morrocan Berber home, they transformed this ryad into a most comfortable, impeccably clean, and lovely place to stay. Modern comforts, elegant traditional Moroccan decor, minutes to everything, peace and calm.

You WILL want to have chef Fabrice cook for you there and enjoy eating an elegant three course Moroccan and/or French meal in a special room off the central courtyard by the crackling fireplace, with candlelight, lovely music and privacy. Seriously the best food we ate the entire week there. And sooooo reasonably priced compared to other good places nearby. Breakfasts (fresh fruit, yogurt, breads, pastries, jams, butter, coffee, tea) are lovely in the roof garden.

You are two minutes walk to the main square (Djemma el Fna) and entrances to the souks. They give you your own Moroccan cell phone if you get in trouble or lost and need to call them. Great wifi, solid firm (really firm) beds with lots of pillows, lovely bathrooms, slippers, flowers and a host of little touches that make you feel so welcome. If you travel there in warm weather, the cooling plunge pool off the courtyard would be a welcome relief. We were there in February and we noticed room air conditioners but we used the room space heaters in the evenings only cause it only got chilly then and in minutes we were totally comfy. We ran into a few issues with blisters and a minor reaction to the experience with the hammam, and we were looked after like family.

Noel gives you a brief walking tour of the area your first day (if you want) so you can get your bearings. Take their advice on everything: restaurants, excursions, negotiating, museums, hammams, and other places. Don't try and find this place on your own, especially at night - have Noel arrange a taxi for you and meet you at the nearby taxi stand or at the Cafe de Paris up on the square. Easy to find once you get your bearings however.

Seriously the best hospitality and the best value for the money we have ever encountered in traveling which we do a lot. Arno and Patrice from the Netherlands.

Room Tip: Four rooms, all on the second floor accessed by stone stairs. The Royale room was fab!
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank PithyPacky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Loose Kent
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 1, 2013

We have just spent 5 wonderful nights at this Raid.
Noel Patrice and their staff made our holiday extra special.Nothing was too much trouble.
Raid only minutes from the main square and souks.
The Raid was spotless. The breakfast on the roof terrace each morning was lovely.
We would definately go back.

Room Tip: All rooms wrer good
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Julian B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2013 via mobile

Spent a total of 5 nights in triple room. Calm and quiet , clean, beautifully furnished and decorated with unfussy style. Plenty of heaters in rooms. Lovely relaxing communal areas, fire in the evening, cd collection etc

Noel is very welcoming and helpful, speaks good English, took us around medina on first day so we were oriented. It is easy to find this Riad from the main square.

Fabrice was previously a chef in France and produces delicious meals. Sidi and other staff do not speak Englush but very friendly and attentive.

Altogether a great base in Marrakech.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank MrsWinnie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 20, 2012

This delightful, traditional Riad proved to be ideal for our 3 night stay in Marrakech at the end of our Moroccan tour.

The Riad is in a good position within the Medina, convenient for exploring the many places of interest whilst providing a peaceful and comfortable base. Noel accompanied us one morning and pointed out places to eat as we wandered through the souks - it was very interesting and useful for first time visitors like us.

The service here is exceptional - we were so well cared for by our kind and thoughtful hosts, Noel and Fabrice.

Although we had only booked B&B we did have dinner there on 2 evenings and each meal was excellent - a real treat as it was well prepared and cooked using fresh ingredients from the market. It was a real pleasure to eat such delicious and beautifully presented food.

We would thoroughly recommend a stay at Riad Villa el Arsa!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank janet t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 7, 2012

Noel was an exceptional host. He spoke English (very important to us as we couldn't converse in either French or Arabic). Very friendly and accompanied us to the Djemaa El Fna Square to make sure that we didn't get lost. Even accompanied us to the money changer with great rates (Ali). Constantly asking how we were without being intrusive. Really appreciated his help the whole way. Service does not end after payment as well. He treats us like friends really. Called a cab for us, arranged a porter to carry our luggage for us and so on. He even has a phone (Siemens) for us to contact him in case we need him. Exceptional service and I really love it. Its not the kind of thing that you will get in hotel chains. THANK YOU NOEL FOR A GREAT STAY!

The property is about 3 to 5 minutes from Djemaa El Fnaa square. Very conveniently located. If the taxi drops you at the square, you can get the porter (30 dirhams) to carry your luggage for you. If u get someone to show you directions, 10 to 20 dirhams (maximum). Stop at the Cafe Du France and go inwards from there.

We visited the riad in December and the room was comfortable and warm! There is a heater behind the wastepaper basket in the toilet, and another heater in the cupboard. It'll keep you warm even if you visit in winter, no problems! Wifi was a plus and allowed us to plan everything.

Marrakech was noisy and do get Noel to recommend you restaurants to have your meals. Its cheaper than the ones in the bazaar. I went to one of the restaurants and I was charged 82 dirhams as compared to the 100 dirhams charged at the bazaar (few dirhams difference, but for the budget conscious traveller, it may help).

Other tips:
Do NOT get fleeced at the Tanneries when you are in the souks! They will say to you, i do this only for a "shukran" (Thank you)! Not true! Always negotiate the pricing! We had to pay 200 dirhams for a 5 minute tour which was nonsensical. We did not want to make a scene as it was in a shady part of town. So do be careful. When you say you are in Marrakech for the first time, you will immediately become their target. Don't let this deter you from the experience in Marrakech because it is chaotic but interesting! :)

Best of luck in Marrakesh. You will enjoy your stay, especially if it is in Riad Villa El Arsa! :)

Room Tip: Le Fiqh Double Room
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank shehnazlovestotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riad Villa El Arsa

Property: Riad Villa El Arsa
Address: 18 Derb El Arsa | Kennaria, Marrakech 40040, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 266 Specialty Lodging in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ideally located in the Medina of Marrakech, with easy access, 5 minutes' walk to Jemaa el Fna and other mythical places of Marrakech.Villa El Arsa is an oasis in the midst of excitement and wares of magical red town.Fabrice et Noel welcome you in this bed and breakfast with five rooms,accommodating up to 11 people (4 double bedrooms, one with fireplace and 1 triple room, bathrooms tadelakt). Official Guest House n°239/2004 - Travel in security! ... more   less 
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