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“Riad Rip-off”

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Riad Dollar Des Sables
Ranked #216 of 502 Hotels in Marrakech
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 28, 2010

In 14 trips to Morocco, this is the worst place we've stayed. Constant pressure to eat at the hotel, buy trips, have the hamman. Dinner there was more than twice the rate in Jemma el Fna and they charged us 400 dirhams for a taxi to the mountains which cost us 100 dirhams on the way back. Budget place charging mid-range rates - and we were kept awake every night by dogs barking outside and the plumbing gurgling inside.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Shane18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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66 - 72 of 171 reviews

Reviewed March 22, 2010

I stayed in the Riad Dollar Des Sables in one of the standard rooms which was clean and comfortable. The staff at the hotel made us feel very welcome and went out of their way to make our stay as pleasant as possible. We had an amazing home cooked meal in the Riad which I would highly recommend and Cathy the owner gave us endless advice on how to make the most of our trip. This riads best quality is the peaceful feeling when walking in after a visit to the souks and is blissfully quiet despite its central location.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Char1ie19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2010

While the riad appeared initially atttractive, some nasty surprises were in store.
Despite being told that a taxi from the airport would cost under 150 dirham (about £13), the riad charged us 220 dirham for the 10-15 minute trip. This despite the fact that the taxi was over 1 hour late, despite 2 phonecalls, and we had to wait a further half hour for someone from the hotel to meet us in the main square (Djemaa El Fna). A petit taxi would have cost 50 dirham (about £4), we discovered later. The riad owner was unsympathetic and apparently deliberately misled us.
Also, the cookery course was very poor value for money, costing 900 dirham for 2 people for a rather rudimentary lesson...including being introduced to the local carpet seller which meant an unwelcome hard-sell every time we came to or left the riad. We had booked to stay another 2 nights but cancelled and found another riad-definitely the right decision.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Orla_Helen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CathMarrakechmedina, propriétaire at Riad Dollar Des Sables, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2010
Google Translation

Bonjour ,
Je suis assez étonnée du commentaire laissé par ces clients, qui ont "oublié" sans doute de préciser que leur vol ayant été retardé, notre chauffeur a dû les attendre durant une bonne heure à l'aéroport;
Le tarif officiel des taxis à l'aéroport de Marrakech est de 150 dirhams quand ils le respectent . Notre chauffeur est à notre disposition et ne peut donc pas prendre d'autres clients que les nôtres, même si le vol est retardé, d'où la différence de tarif .De plus, Il est inexact que les taxis demandent 50 Dhs..;c'est plutôt à la hausse en général, surtout de nuit!
Dès que les clients sont de le véhicule de notre chauffeur , celui ci nous appelle pour que Le gardien du Riad vienne chercher les clients à la Place Djema El Fna afin de les escorter jusqu'au Riad, ce qui évite d'être alpagué par les faux guides!
Concernant le cours de cuisine, cette dame oublie également de mentionner que vu le choix du plat (Tangia) qui prend moins de temps que pour un autre type de plat, j'ai inclus les entrées ,le dessert et la bouteille d'eau pour compenser...
Je suis désolée que ces clients n'aient pas apprécié leur séjour chez nous, on ne peut sans doute pas plaire à tout le monde.... Dommage que cette dame fasse preuve d'autant de mauvaise foi, et de manque d'objectivité .
Reading this review , I have to give my point of view and correct some things this lady has written about us;
First it seems that this lady has forgiven to tell that our private driver had to wait for them during 1 hour at the airport as their flight was delayed; of course our price is a bit more expensive as our driver cannot take other clients;
The official price is 150 Dhs but taxis often don't respect it especially by night, and ask an extra charge for the luggage! which cannot occure with our driver.
When our driver has the clients inside his car, he calls us and the night guard goes within 5 minutes to Djema El Fna Square to meet them and escort them to the Riad;
This service we provide avoid the false guides! and garantee safety.
Regarding the cooking lesson, this Lady has also forgot to mention that I offered spontaenously their first course, dessert and water, as the "Tangia" is simple to cook..of course their meal was included in the 900 dhs they have paid!
I have to say that I'm really sorry if those guests didn't appreciate their stay with us! of course my interest and will is not to unsatisfy my guests to whom I try my best to make them feel as if they were at home...though we cannot please everybody and I wish this Lady could have been more objective and honest..
Please read all our reviews ...to have an idea of what most of our guets think about us.
Cathy The Owner

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Reviewed January 18, 2010

We had an excellent time there.
Great location, servise, very clean and amazing food.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank gabeller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2010

We stayed at Riad Dollar Des Sables for 3 nights during our first visit to Marrakesh. They arranged transport from the airport to a location where Abdul met us and helped us to navigate the windy streets to the Riad.

It is located in the middle of the souks, but just away from the hustle and bussle. You do have to make your way through a dark alley to get there at night - but we had no problems.

The riad itself is very atmospheric. The room was pretty and comfortable and the downstairs area for eating etc was lovely.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank RRadcliffe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2010

Marrakech is wonderful city for colours, smells and most definitely haggling with the traders for leather, silks, lamps etc. We used Riad Dollar des Sables as our base as we travelled around Morocco for 2 weeks and each time we returned to Marrakech and to this riad, we felt as we were returning 'home' which is perfectly located for the bustling souks. Despite its proximity to the souks, the minute you step through the door into the riad, you are greeted with friendly and helpful staff and most noticeably peace and quiet too. It has been restored beautifully and we definitely would recommend this riad to anyone who wants to experience staying in the Medina and in a charming old house.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank PenelopeQ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2009

I had the pleasure of staying at the Riad Dollars des Sables (Sand Dollar, in English) whilst in Marrakech for a trip with my friends. We couldn't have selected a nicer place to stay. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I stayed an extra night when my friends continued on with their travels!
From the moment we entered, Cathy and her staff made us feel very welcome. The entry way was lined with rose petals and the salon was candle lit upon our arrival as were our rooms. I've stayed in 5 star hotels and have never had THAT level of service! I stayed in the suite on the terrace level and it was pristine and tastefully decorated with Tadelakt walls and a gorgeous ensuite bath. The bed was extremely comfortable and there was plenty of space for storage and a combination safe in the room.

In addition to the very comfortable accommodations and delicious food, the special services that were available at the Riad, to make my trip to Marrakech memorable as well as relaxing, were a wonderful added touch. From arranging a day trip to the Atlas Mountains, to escorting me to the souks and setting up spa services on site, Cathy really went above and beyond. They even offer cooking classes with their very talented cook, Mouna. We selected the ingredients from the market that day and made a delicious chicken tagine for dinner! The housekeeper, Abdel, was also extremely helpful in tracking down and purchasing an electrical adaptor so I could use my computer while I was there (they offer wifi, which is really handy).

I recommend the Riad Dollar des Sables to anyone who is looking for an affordable, comfortable, impeccable and conveniently located place to stay in the Marrakech Medina. The location is fantastic, located just 2 minutes from Djemma El Fna and the Spice Market.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled with friends
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1  Thank jazeegrrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riad Dollar Des Sables

Address: 13 Derb Deffa Ourbaa | Laksour Smarinne, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #216 of 502 Hotels in Marrakech
Price Range: $50 - $234 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Riad Dollar des Sables is a nice traditional guest house of 6 rooms ( 3 doubles, 2 twins and a very romantic Suite for two and can be transformed into a triple with an extra charge ). The ideal location inside the Medina ( 400 meters walk from Jema El Fnaa Square) allows you to explore the city easily. The Riad is located at the entrance of the main Souk,called "Smarinnne" and the famous Square "Jema el Fna" only at a 2 minutes walk. Upon arrival, we recommend you to book our airport pick up, especially by night , to avoid the fake guides; we can also meet you at the Square , or pick you up at the airport, for an extra charge (150 Dhirams :1or 2 guests . So don't hesitate to contact me , giving me your flight details so that I can arrange this service with my private driver.Our driver will drop you at jema el fna Square within 10 minutes, and we will be there to meet you. As soon as you get inside the House , you will be touched by the enchanting atmosphere of Riad Dollar des Sables. The whole staff is welcoming you with a smile, and a special attention : coloured candles, fresh roses petals at your feet, delicate flavor in the air and oriental music..Just to make you feel in the mood and comfortable.Passing through the corridor, you will discover the peaceful courtyard and its fountain made of traditional mosaics.On its terrace, Riad Dollar des Sables offers a relaxing and traditional Hammam ( run with wood) and massages for a very good price;First, you will be invited to share with me (Cathy) a sweet refreshing mint tea and moroccan pastries.As I'm living all year long in Marrakesh since 2006, I know quite well the city and shall be happy to share with you my experience , giving you all the useful information and good adresses to enjoy your stay .We shall give you a map to sign the main monuments to visit or restaurants around. We can also provide moroccan meals at the Riad,cooking classes ( mornings) with my cook Mouna, guided tours in your language with official guides, or excursionsinthe surroundings of the city, body treatments at the Riad provided by professionals only. ... more   less 
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