After deciding to take a break before the madness of Christmas, we settled on Marrakech as our destination. A friend recommended Riad Shemsi so we checked it out on line and booked it up 18th - 23rd December.
We were picked up from the airport and as we drove to the Riad, I did have to question had we made the right decision, which was reinforced when the driver stopped in a busy, seemingly run down part of town, without speaking, got out of the car, dragged our bags out and headed of into the maddening crowed! Keeping up with him as he ducked down ever narrowing allies I did start to worry. After a few minutes we came to a dead end with just a big door in front of us.......All my fears were allayed once we entered, Riad Shemsi was a beautiful, peaceful haven far from the chaos we had encountered outside.
We were greeted by Noura and served mint tea with nibbles by the pool then left to relax and take in the calm before she came back to provided a map,several recommendations for places to visit and take us to our room.
The room was a little on the small side but perfectly adequate, although we did have a few issues with the heating not working and the electrics playing up but that didn't detract from our enjoyment, and the staff were very helpful in resolving the issues without delay.
We could not have been better located, once we learnt our way around we found we could walk to the Square, Souks and New town, also it is in a quieter part of the Medina, which you will appreciate as Marrakech gives new meaning to the words "hectic" and "chaotic", but don't be put off by this you really do learn to embrace the madness and roll with it.
The thing about Marrakech is that you never know what is behind the rundown facades and trust me you will always be surprised by the opulence it hides. It was a great place to visit full of sights and smells (not all good!) and never a dull moment. Alcohol is pretty much banned in the old city although there are a few hotels that serve drinks but you will pay a hefty price for the privilege - around 140 dirhams for a bottle (same wine costs about 8 dirhams at the airport) , in fact one place we went into charged 130 dirhams a glass.....yes a glass! and the Riad does not have a bar. Needless to say it was a very health holiday lots of walking and little alcohol, and one we truly enjoyed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Riad Shemsi is a beautiful and elegant Riad in the heart of the Marrakech Medina. Situated in the Royal Kasbah, it is in easy walking distance of all the principal sites including the main square and the myriad souks. All the suites are delightfully presented in traditional Moroccan plasterwork and Marrekchi furnishings. The views from its elevated terrace are stunning. The celebrated Shemsi cuisine is sourced locally everyday from the freshest ingredients. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Shemsi Hotel Marrakech