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“Delightful oasis”
Review of Riad Kalaa

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Riad Kalaa
Ranked #6 of 45 Hotels in Rabat
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 9, 2013

Consistent with the other reviews, we had a lovely stay here. The building is a lovely historic house, and as we were there in December, the courtyard was covered, but still light and airy. We had rooms on the upper floor, which were beautifully finished and furnished, complete with little fireplaces and a superb bathroom with a tub, just the job for a chilly evening. We also ate in the Riad and had a very good meal. My only reservation is the lack of really comfy seating. The chairs are all very small. As my two companions were well over 6 feet tall, this proved a bit of an issue. If I were staying for longer, I would like to be able to lounge somewhere. The medina in Rabat is well worth a visit, with lovely old buildings, winding alleyways, and very good shopping. All around a lovely stay.

Room Tip: We stayed in the cheaper rooms on the upper floor, which were delightful.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank J L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
David A, Propriétaire at Riad Kalaa, responded to this reviewResponded December 11, 2013

Dear J L,

We very much appreciate your comments regarding your stay at Riad Kalaa. It is always a pleasure to receive positive feedback.

We hope we will have the pleasure to welcoming you again,

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198 - 204 of 598 reviews

Reviewed December 9, 2013

Riad Kalaa is a wonderful oasis in the middle of Rabat's medina. After driving around the city to get to the riad, we were a little nervous about what to expect. But once we were greeted at the door and invited inside, we knew we made the right choice.

Riad Kalaa is design and decorated in the spirit of a traditional riad. Well, almost. A traditional riad generates air circulation through its open central courtyard: air is intended to flow down into the courtyard, be cooled over the central fountain, and then around the interior of the building. RK has a transparent tarp covering the roof of the courtyard, preventing that airflow. Since there's no air conditioning in the building, it does get warm.

However, the room we had was large and beautiful. We were amazed by the architecture and decoration when we walked in. At night, dinner in the courtyard gave us a nice break from the wonderful chaos of the city. Food was wonderful and the price reasonable.

The only other complaint we had was a lack of privacy and noise. Three or four rooms are on the ground floor and open into the courtyard. Because of the lack of cooling, even in November, we kept the windows open, meaning anyone could look into the room. The building is secure, so we weren't concerned with safety, though. In addition to privacy, the open windows invite in the sounds of the city, most notably the early-morning call to prayer. It is loud and kept my wife up early, though I slept right through it. This is probably not a good spot for light sleepers.

Overall, we had a fantastic time in Riad Kalaa. If weather permits, the roof-top lounge and pool is beautiful and fantastic. If you sleep well, this is a great place to be in Rabat.

Room Tip: For better privacy, request a room that does not open into the courtyard.
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank Jordan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
David A, Propriétaire at Riad Kalaa, responded to this reviewResponded December 11, 2013

Dear Jordan,

First of all thank you for choosing Riad Kalaa and for taking the time to share your experience.

We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. We do our best to accommodate you in the best conditions. For us it is important that our hotel is impeccable and warm welcome.
For information, the tarp is out from May to end of October in order to enjoy the natural air conditionning and the sun.

Thank you for your recommendation and we hope to see you very soon!

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Reviewed December 2, 2013

I've stayed here several times, and consider Kalaa my second home in Rabat. Aisha and the rest of the staff are warm and attentive, and the riad is beautifully kept. The Saharan suites on the ground floor have soaring 20-foot ceilings with beautiful Moroccan lamps. My room had a large bathroom with a tub, plenty of hot water, and fantastic orange blossom bath products. Beds are firm but comfortable, and are double-sheeted with a fluffy comforter and embroidered linens with the riad's logo.

The hotel has a modest rooftop terrace with what's probably a 7-foot long pool and a few lounge chairs. There's an upper level with several couches and tables, although the wifi isn't always reliable on the roof. When it's raining, the ground floor courtyard is a beautiful place to enjoy a pot of tea (they've installed a clear roof over the traditionally open-air courtyard). Like most places in Morocco's old medinas, the location can be a bit hard to find, but the staff are quite helpful if you phone ahead, and the hotel also offers airport pickup. The riad is about 1.5 hours from Casablanca airport - the driver was very prompt and friendly, and helped carry my bags to the hotel. If you're not comfortable getting lost or it's your first trip to Rabat, having a driver waiting is the best option. Otherwise, you can try your luck with the train or a taxi.

Breakfast is included, and was a hearty spread of house-made Moroccan breads and pastries with delicious jams, yogurt, juice, and of course mint tea. I've never tried the hotel restaurant, as there are so many excellent restaurants in Rabat, but I've heard it's tasty.

Because the riad is a repurposed house in the old medina, it's imbued with an authentic Moroccan feel combined with touches of luxury. Travelers expecting a cookie-cutter Hilton might leave dissatisfied, but if you're going to be put off by the lack of a fitness room and Starbucks coffee, you've probably picked the wrong country to visit.

Room Tip: The "Saharan" rooms are fantastic - they open to the courtyard on ground level and have 20...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank zutalore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
David A, Propriétaire at Riad Kalaa, responded to this reviewResponded December 11, 2013

Dear Zutalore,

Thank you very much for sharing your experience following your stay at Riad Kalaa.
We are pleased that your stay is held in good conditions.

Thank you for all these compliments about our staff, breakfast and location.
You are recommending our hotel and we are very grateful.

You will always be welcomed to your "home" in Rabat! We hope to see you again soon.

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Reviewed December 2, 2013

Great experience to stay here. If you choose a Riad - you know what you are expecting. Not a 5 star+ modern luxury hotel - but something with charm. This is what you get! We where a group of 14 persons and we where all so overwhelmed.
If you want to eat order it beforehand. There is nothing like restaurant facilities and 24 hours service. Dear travelers - when you book where to stay - make some research and you will not have the wrong expectations and because of that disappointment. This is a wonderful place to stay!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Bobsons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
David A, Propriétaire at Riad Kalaa, responded to this reviewResponded December 11, 2013

Dear Bobsons,

Thank you so much for having chosen to stay with us and for your nice comment. Your description really fit Riad Kalaa's spirit!
We hope to have the chance to welcome you again very soon.

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Reviewed November 22, 2013

Arriving late by plane , we were in the hotel around 22.00. We were received friendly but it was a problem to get something to eat although we got some kebab and rice after asking. The little seats in the courtyard were too small to sit properly. The room was very small and had large doors and windows only opening to the courtyard. Even the bathroom only had some privacy when you closed the shutters. Also the room has no cupboards and hardly any place to put a suitcase. Breakfast was very nice (but exactly the same every morning) in the court yard or adjacent room. The roof terrace was a deception. Although the weather beginning of November was still nice there were only smelling matrasses without covers, so no place to enjoy the sun for a while. Not our favourite.

Room Tip: All rooms are small and lacking privacy
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank WJF1507
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
David A, Propriétaire at Riad Kalaa, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2013

Dear WJF1507,

I thank you for taking the time to write a comment regarding your stay in Riad Kalaa.
I am very sorry that you did not enjoyed your stay with us. A riad is originally a house built around the courtyard, reason why there are no doors/windows opening to the outside.
We hope to welcoming you back soon,

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Reviewed November 11, 2013

When we arrived we were shown to our suite we found it had no windows and was insufferably hot and no air conditioner. Generally the rooms appeared to be small and cramped even though overall the riad had some charm. The manager graciously allowed us to cancel as the heat was clearly a problem. We drove on to Casablanca.

Room Tip: do not choose the suite.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank GANDK715
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
David A, Propriétaire at Riad Kalaa, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2013

Dear Gandk715,

We are sorry that you did not enjoyed the room. I understand that it was hot this day and that you did not fell like staying in that room. I am sorry that we were fully booked and that we cannot change the room to another one.
We hope we will have the pleasure to welcome you again, in a air-conditioning room this time!

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Reviewed November 6, 2013

Arrival:
As part of our Morocco trip we decided to also take in Rabat to check out the Capital. We arrived by train from Marrakech and were met by 2 men holding up our a sign with our name on it for the pre-arranged transport to Riad Kalaa. The drivers never spoke a word of English and were very abrupt ushering us straight out of the train station into an old beat up car. We tried to speak to them a few times but they ignored us so we assumed they couldn’t speak English. After an interesting 10minutes with my wife starting to get a little anxious we pulled up in the old town and were then walked the rest of the way for 5mins with our bags through the beautiful white walls of the old town to the entrance for Riad Kalaa. After ringing the doorbell a few times after a few minutes the door was opened and we entered the beautiful courtyard of the Riad. It really is a lovely old style Riad and we loved the décor and the feel of a ‘proper’ old Riad after just coming from a lovely modern Riad in Marrakech. We were welcomed by a girl from France who worked there who spent a few minutes explaining a few things to us and then that was it.

Over our time staying in Riad Kalaa the staff were kind enough to allow us to stay in a few different rooms given that they are all laid out and decorated differently.

Room 1: Berbère
The first room we stayed in was a little difficult trying to unpack and get set up easily in the room as the room could comfortably fit a single person and their bags but not a couple and all their luggage. The room was beautifully decorated and we loved the 5 meter high ceiling in the room but the size meant it was more a charming room that was quaint and the bathroom whilst laid out unusually and decorated very nice could only fit one person at a time. The shower had a slight damp smell but nothing too offensive. Unfortunately with the layout of this room where your heads are on the bed has the stairwell for the room opposite right next to it. So while we were sleeping the family and their kids going up and down the stairs constantly right on top of our head was not something light sleepers like us were able to deal with.

Room 2: La Suite Etoilée
This room was our favourite and although there were a few quirks and frustrations with the room the décor was lovely and we loved our time in this room. A spacious bedroom with lots of storage and space for us to unpack and get our things out of the way. There was a living area with the TV, small seats and more cupboard storage space. The bathroom was small but functional even though instead of a door there was a curtain separating the bedroom and bathroom. Whilst this room was a joy to stay in there were a few things that frustrated us as well. The room is between floors and other guests are likely to not even realise that behind the big doors is actually a bedroom. We had other guests walking up and down the stairs between the levels speaking loudly and making noise not realising people are asleep metres away. On one night we had to get up and clear a group of people who sat outside our room on the couches smoking and talking loudly late at night. They didn’t realise they were outside a bedroom and were all embarrassed and apologetic and we understood it was something easily done as most people wouldn’t realise there is a bedroom there. Also this room is above the Riad entrance so you hear everyone leaving through the big door below, and worse, you hear every single person coming into the Riad ringing the loud doorbell waiting for a staff member to let them in. The last thing with this room that challenges sleep is that there are a number of roosters nearby which start crowing loudly before dawn and maintain this constantly for a few hours. This is a reminder that you that you are properly staying in the old town in with the locals as their guest but means this room would be ideal for heavy sleepers.

Room 3: La Courtisane
The last room we stayed in was a split level room which was decorated very nice but quite small. The room is actually the same size as the first room we stayed in with the very high ceilings, except this space wisely had a mezzanine level built in to use the upper space properly with a small living area downstairs and the bed and bathroom upstairs. Space was very tight upstairs with really only room for the bed so luggage has to be kept downstairs except for some small items. The bathroom was very cosy to get in and out and again it’s for one person at a time. This room was on the same side as the crowing roosters and you could also hear the doorbell from guests coming and going although as it was a few more meters away than the previous room the doorbell wasn’t as loud. Also we found that the downstairs area smelled of mould or damp but thankfully this couldn’t really be smelt from the sleeping area above in the mezzanine.

Overall Positives
We loved sitting in the courtyard enjoying the warm weather, the atmosphere and the local music.
Most nights we had dinner in the Riad as we were very happy with the quality of the food which was all reasonably priced.
The Serving staff were all lovely and very nice to us making us feel welcome.
WiFi was good and with power sockets in each corner of the main courtyard
The Riad admin staff were very helpful with helping us plan our onward travel to Casablanca and the haggling over the price of the transfer from the train station to the hotel in Casablanca.
Also we appreciated that the Riad admin staff were so helpful allowing us to move into a few different rooms to enjoy the different décor and experiences.
Although the pool on the roof is quite small, it is fine for a quick dip to cool off and get back to lazing in the sun.

Overall Negatives
Whilst noted below that the Serving staff were all very nice to us, almost none of them spoke English so unless you are ordering exactly from the menu and pointing to an item – it can be a little difficult communicating (as opposed to Marrakech Riad’s where all staff spoke English.
In Marrakech we had a much more spacious and more modern Riad for a cheaper price than what we paid in Rabat for Riad Kalaa so it was a little more expensive than we would’ve expected.
The day we were leaving the clocks changed and no-one in the Riad told us so we were up, checked out of our room, finished with breakfast and waiting for the taxi the Riad had ordered for us to the train station. We started to get nervous waiting when it was 15mins late and when we asked if there was a problem the Riad admin staff told us it wasn’t due yet as the clocks had all changed back an hour.
For Rabat itself there is not a lot to see in the city even though we took the time to explore while we were there. The Kasbah is beautiful and well worth a walk around to see it and take some pictures - but be careful of ‘tour guides’ who will latch onto you while you are walking around trying to enjoy the experience, freely giving you information on the history etc. and then ask you for money.

Room Tip: Rooms on the roof level and very top floor may be the quietest for good quality rest. If possible a...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MR-Dublin-Ireland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
David A, Propriétaire at Riad Kalaa, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2013

Dear MR-Dublin,

Thank you for taking the write such a complete review of your stay in Riad Kalaa.
We are sorry that you were disappointed that the driver did not speak english.
You do not have to forget that a riad is originally a house. All the rooms around the patio were originally some sitting rooms where family welcomed guests. We made 4 years of work to rearrange everything, trying to keep the traditionnal architecture and crafts to create a guest house.
The riad is situated in the medina, the old city center. This situation may have some inconvenients due to noise, muezzin or roosters staying in the neighbour's courtyards.
We are happy to read that you enjoyed our food.
Concerning the English speaking, the team at the reception desk speaks English.
Your feedback is very important to us. Please be assured that we take all your remarks on consideration. These allow us to improve our services and provide a superior service experience to every customer.
We hope we will have the chance to welcoming you back soon.

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Additional Information about Riad Kalaa

Address: 3-5 Rue Zebdi, Rabat 10000, Morocco
Phone Number:
Location: Morocco > Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer Region > Rabat
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Rabat
#3 Family Hotel in Rabat
#3 Business Hotel in Rabat
#5 Luxury Hotel in Rabat
Price Range: $111 - $204 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Riad Kalaa 4*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Come and discover this 1815's property, in the peace of the old Medina. With over 1000sqm for only 11 rooms and suites, Riad Kalaa is here to offer you Rabat like you have never seen it...Welcoming mint tea and traditional sweets, natural amenities, Rooftop pool, complimentary wifi access, Andalusian patio, panoramic solarium.Moroccan restaurant, summer snack & delights on rooftop terrace, traditionnal hammam, aromatherapy massages.Golf pre-reservation, excursions, airport transferts... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riad Kalaa Rabat
Riad Kalaa Hotel Rabat

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