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Reviewed June 20, 2012

If you want the real Marrakech experience you have to stay in a riad, and Riad Shaden certainly ticked all the boxes for us. We booked directly with them so we were able to ask Shona (owner) lots of questions and get lots of tips and advice before we arrived.
Airport transfers, arranged in advance, are worth paying for, to avoid the airport taxi hassle, and the uncertainty of negotiating the narrow streets of the medina on your own that first time. Once we got settled in, and got our bearings, we found the walk from the riad up to the square was very direct, and we never got lost once. We were given a map and very good directions by Youssef, the manager, and his phone number in case we needed it (we didn’t, but it was still reassuring to have it).
Youssef and Said were excellent hosts, both full of local knowledge and advice on what to see and do during our stay. We followed their recommendations when deciding where to eat, as well as when booking a massage at the local hammam.
We had some good meals in the restaurants around the square, where you get a good view of all the activity going on, but the best meals we had were definitely in the riad, lovely food and excellent value at about £13 each for 3 courses.
Riad Shaden was a peaceful haven to return to after a hard day’s shopping and sightseeing, the roof terrace is a wonderful place to relax and the rooms were comfortable and well-appointed. Breakfast time is completely flexible, so no problem with either an early start or a lie-in, and every day we had something different, and all home made – pancakes, bread, cakes etc.
Marrakech itself is an experience not to be missed, very full on, but you have to accept that everyone wants to sell you something, and just take it in your stride - we didn’t find it a problem.
Would we go back? Yes, maybe one day (so many other places to go), but in the meantime we will be recommending Riad Shaden to our friends, and hope they all love it as much as we did.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Annie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2012

We stayed in the Riad Shaden for 4 nights, before moving on (Pre planned!) to a different Riad to meet with some friends. Got a great deal on one of the suites from Lastminute (Not sure which one it was - but would definitely book the same again if we revisited)

It was a lovely little haven from what many people generously call the 'hustle and bustle' of Marrakech.

The room was great - spacious and well air conditioned, decorated in what I thought was a nice mix of modern and traditional Moroccan. There was a modern flat screen TV (That never got turned on by us, but was nice to have just in case we got bored!) and the intricate tiling and plasterwork was beautiful.

Our time in the Riad was, as many other reviewers have said, made special by the great service we received from everyone while we were there.

Said was the person who we saw the most, and he very much lived up to his name in that he was unfailingly cheerful, attentive and polite to us for the whole duration of our stay. He was living on the premises too while we were staying, so was always available to help us with (Almost - more later!) anything that we needed. Youssef, the manager, also made an appearance from time to time, and he also was really very helpful and welcoming. The rest of the team comprised a couple of ladies who, although the did not seem to have the same degree of English as the boys, were very friendly, and kept the place immaculate while we were there (And also turned out some hearty and tasty food as well! Breakfast was tasty, filling and nicely presented - slightly different each day too, and the dinner that we ate was very generously portioned, and good to eat too. No food hygiene issues here!)

The team at this Riad are outstanding - from the minute that we arrived at the airport, to the day we moved on, they were there for us - and the overall level of service would be very hard to beat, wherever you were in the world I think (Especially considering we were staying towards the end of the season and for all bar one of our nights there were the only guests!)

There were one or two things that I did not enjoy as much about the stay though. I don't think either of them can really be helped, and are not failings on the part of the Riad or its staff, but it is important, I think, to mention them if the review is to be complete for other travellers - especially first timers in the city.

Firstly, the location. As many other reviewers have mentioned, it is some distance away from the main square, majority of souks and restaurants. There is a 20 minute walk required (With a map helpfully provided by Said) through some of what I imagine must be the poorest parts of the old city. Clearly a matter of taste here as to whether you enjoy the journey - many other reviewers, and my girlfriend also, seem to have loved the walk - the chance to see the 'real' Marrakech.

I, sadly for me, very quickly got tired of the traffic, the heat, the dust and exhaust fumes, dying neglected donkeys, and near constant offers of 'help' (For money, obviously - everything is for money in Marrakech) from young men with nothing better to do than try and take you on a circuitous misdirected route to the square (Or the Tanneries, regardless of whether you want to go there or not) It was bad enough having to put up with this in the centre of town all day long - I could easily have done without it just to simply get there. As I said though, not the Riad's fault that it is located where it is - and more of a reflection on certain elements of Marrakech than it is of the Riad. As the owner of the Riad has pointed out in response to another former guest's comment, there is a shorter walk to the Bab Aylen gate out of the city, where taxis are readily available - but as we found, this does add significantly to the cost of the stay overall.

Secondly, booze! First off, I know that alcohol is Haraam and that Said and Youssef are both Muslims, so I completely understand why there is no alcohol for sale in this particular Riad (The attitude varies throughout Marrakech though - the second Riad that we stayed in did sell it, and we were served it by another Muslim gentleman, also called Said. There are also a good number of better restaurants that will happily serve it to you at roughly double the cost you would pay as a local!) but I just felt that it was a bit of a pity. I was looking forward to trying the Moroccan beers and wines that are available in Marrakech, but there is nowhere within the walls of the old city that we could find, that sold it apart from the aforementioned restaurants. In order to get some 'take away' one would have to journey out of town by taxi to the supermarket. We would have eaten in the Riad more if this had been possible. Having said that, for future travellers reference, Said did not have a problem with us bringing our own beer or wine to have with dinner, but was just unable to provide or serve it for us, so if this is something that you want to be able to do, stock up at the duty free on the way is my advice.

Overall, then - an enjoyable stay, made special by the team that work in the Riad Shaden - and any complaints are more to do with uncontrollable factors than they are controllable ones.

Room Tip: All air conditioned I think, but get a suite for a few extra pounds it's worth it for the extra space it affords.
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank sonofcod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riad S, Owner at Riad Shaden, responded to this reviewResponded May 28, 2012

Thank you for your review of Riad Shaden, we are glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us and were well looked after by Said and Youssef.
The only point I would like to reply to is your comment regarding alcohol.
Like all riads in the medina (regardless of what other riads may tell you) we do not have a licence to sell alcohol, and we are in fact not allowed to keep stocks of alcohol on the premises. If we are found to be doing so we will be fined heavily (and they do check). However, there is no problem with guests consuming their own alcohol in the riad, and either Youssef or Said are happy to assist guests with purchasing this.
We note that you booked through Last Minute - while booking agents do undoubtedly offer good deals, we are always happy to offer a more competitive price if booked directly through our own website.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 21, 2012

This was by far the most expensive Riad we stayed in throughout our 3 weeks in Morocco. Although it was nice , and everything very new , i don't think it was worth what we paid for it. It is very far from the Djemaa and all the sights, shopping etc.
Our room was very nicely furnished , but small , and the bathroom so small you had to sit sideways on the toilet! We were on the ground floor , so noisy and no privacy if there were other guests there.

Room Tip: Not ground floor!
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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Thank RobCCapeTown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riad S, Owner at Riad Shaden, responded to this reviewResponded May 22, 2012

Thank you for your review. We are disappointed that you chose only to make negative comments but would like to respond to them.
Riad Shaden has a range of rooms and suites at different prices. Your main concern on booking was the price, and you were therefore allocated our smallest (and least expensive) room.
Yes, you were on the ground floor, and as with any riad the ground floor rooms can be more noisy if the riad is full, hence the lower price. However we generally find that our other guests will respect the fact that people are in these rooms and keep the noise to a minimum if they are up early in the morning.
As we have recently re-modelled all our ensuite bathrooms, I am afraid I cannot believe your comment about the toilet. The bathroom in that room is small but perfectly adequate in size, and it is actually physically impossible to sit sideways on the toilet!
Our location is a very straightforward 15 minute walk to Djemaa al Fna, and most of our guests enjoy the walk, appreciating the chance to see a bit of the local area rather than just the touristy main square. We have taxis available just 2 minutes walk from the riad for the times when guests prefer not to walk.
Riad Shaden management and staff will always take on board any constructive criticism from guests, however on this occasion we are happy to say that we don't think we could have done any more to improve the experience of these guests.

Owner
Riad Shaden

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2012

Absolutely love love loved staying at Riad Shaden- one of the best holidays I have ever been on!! My sister and I booked for 4 nights and we were blown away by the vibrant location, wonderful staff and the value of the accommodation.
Youseff and Said were so very helpful, booking hammams, restaurant reservations, escorting us to pick and drop off points and providing info on excursions (Said even prepared breakfast for us at 05.30am as we were going on an early excursion!). We also met the owners Shona and Ronnie who were a pleasure to speak to and had a vast knowledge of Marrakech and a genuine interest in the local culture. Shona was so helpful prior to our stay as I bombarded her with emails about sightseeing and taxi transfers etc! Breakfast was spot on and filled us up nicely for our busy days ahead. Rooms were cosy, clean and tastefully decorated- there were a number of rooms for guests to chill out in aside from the bedrooms which was lovely. We loved the 15 minute walk to the main square from the Riad as it gave purpose to our days and ensured we saw more of Marrakech than just the centre of the Medina. Marrakech itself was fabulous, burstling with energy and we found the locals to be very friendly. Riad Shaden is a little gem, I cannot recommend it enough. Both my sister and I felt quite emotional when saying goodbye to everyone and we will certainly be planning a further stay in the future, hopefully with all our friends next time!

Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
Thank kelly y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2012

amazing stay at the riad, my first time in morroco with 15 girls friends and family, the staff laid on a birthday meal for us including a beautiful cake, nothing was ever to much trouble or bother. would reccomend to anybody wanting to stay in a riad, i have already given out a bussiness card to a couple flying back to the uk. A big thank you to Said, Yousaff and the ladies who cooked and cleaned for us,

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank rajinderp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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