The riads are buildings with few rooms that are runned by the owners of the establishment. They maintain the structure of ancient Arabian houses, and they have a very ornate architecture with a central courtyard. Our hotel was the haven of peace that we were looking for within the chaos of the medina…
When we entered the hotel, they offered us some delicious tea and pastries while we waited for the room to be prepared. Although a hot tea wasn’t exactly what we wanted the most after walking under the burning sun, it is true that it cools and regulates the body’s temperature more than it seems.
When we had the keys of our room, we discovered that we were the privileged ones that we had the door next to the courtyard (where we had been drinking tea). Once settled, we went to the reception for paying the rate that applies per night, which were 276 MAD in total (about 25€).
We only had the breakfast included, but they had a menu from 11:30 am to 10:30 pm for about 12€ per person, although we decided to eat in other restaurants that we found in the medina. Even so, the dishes offered by the riad were traditional too:
The owners always looked after us, they even helped us to contact our excursion organization because we didn’t know the pick up point. The receptionist located them, and once he found out about the place, he guided us there himself so that the next day we couldn’t lost. In addition, the same day of the roadtrip we had to leave at 7am, before the breakfast time, but they made an exception and left it prepared for us (milk, coffee, orange juice, pancakes, butter and jam). We are very grateful to them.
We also took some time to see the riad’s terrace and soak in the pool, that was empty. In fact, we had the feeling of being the only guests, because we only saw the hotel servants. It seemed that we had the whole place for us!
HOW TO GET THERE
Getting to our riad wasn’t easy… Nothing there is easy to find for newcomers like us. We refused to be picked up at the airport by the same hotel service, because we should have paid 17€ extra. We thought that haggling for a taxi would be cheaper (and it was, but it ended up being more expensive than it seemed).
When we exit the airport we found thousands of taxi drivers fighting to take us to the hotel! While we were debating with one, others were interrupting to lower the price. Finally, we spent 100 dirhams in total (about 9€) to go to the center of Marrakech, because it was cheaper than going straight to the riad. MISTAKE!
The taxi leaved us at the famous Jemaa El Fna square, and our hotel was a few minutes from there (about 15 min). But instead, we dragged our suitcases for 1 hour and a half under the burning sun. The medina is a labyrinth and we didn’t have any map, only an address that many people were willing to find for us. But we knew that they would end up asking for money for doing that favor, so we continued walking lost along with our pride.
We finally give up, exhausted, and we ended up being guided by some children. When we finally arrived, there was some discussion because they asked for too much money than we were willing to pay. In the end, we gave them 50 MAD (about 4.50€) and they left us alone.
Conclusion: Take a taxi if you are very sure of how to get there, but if not, just agree to the hotel’s pick up at the airport, even though it is more expensive.
Some tricks: find the Jemaa El Fna’s corner where is a cafe called ARGANA, and from there proceed through Souk Laksour until you see the Riad Villa Mouassine. Turn right and then turn left, following Rue Mouassine. You will pass next to Le Jardin Secret and must keep going straight until reaching the door of the Sidi Abdel Aziz mosque:
Once there, it should be easy to find the last street, Rue Amsafah, turning right. This drawing was painted on the walls (I don’t know if it will still be there, but it was a good point of reference to know that we were close):
Then, you just have to walk under a building (that Google Maps detects as if the street is cut, so it makes you turn around). But, if you follow the Rue Amsafah until the end, there will come a point where it divides into 3 roads: left, right, or all straight through a blind alley. That last one is where you have to go to find the door of the Riad in the background… In the same reception we paid 20 dirhams for a map! : ‘)