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Travel Blogs from Marrakech
Got 1st class tix. had compartment to ourselves for awhile--laid down & slept. In Meknes 2 others came in.
Nice driver took us to the Cottages. Difficult to find, but he was very nice.
Got in our cottage, Sylvain showed us around. Went to the pool.
Laid down, not feeling well. A/C not working. Sylvain couldn't get it to work, so we moved to another cottage.
Dinner: chicken & couscous--delish.
... sitting. He double checked again, making sure he understood what I wanted: tea in the teapot, ice in the glasses. Oui. I really think he had no idea what we were doing.
Once the black tea had steeped, I slowly poured it over the ice. Voila! Iced tea. So happy. Of course, we only had enough ice for one glass, but by the time we drank that, the rest of the tea in the pot had cooled down considerably (and so had we), so it all worked out very well. The salads were amazing too.
... much at times, especially when the motorbikes spewed clouds of exhaust all over us and everything else, but mostly it was just fascinating. Many of the smaller streets are covered, so they stay a little cooler, but the smells and the exhaust are more intense there also.
We got to our appointment a little early, but that was when I thought our appointment was at 12. Ooops. So we left and walked around some more until our actual appointment at 1:00. We found ...
... to the nearby seaside town of Essaouria or the foot of Atlas Mountains to Ourika Valley. As Moroccan dirhams can't be exchanged outside Morocco visitors must wait to either exchange their cash or make a transaction at the cash point. On the first evening we made a transaction at the cash till, only to realise later we'd only withdrawn £20. Not being familiar with the currency we later realised we'd need some more. Visiting in ...
... great, it was working hard to look good. One of the Dutch guys had a long beard, similar to Opie from Sons of Anarchy, for anyone who might get that reference. I had been weighing shaving my beard, but after speaking with him he motivated me to keep growing the ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Riad Amssaffah Marrakech
One of the best hotels I have stayed at
I have travelled a lot and this is the first time I have bothered to write a review- this hotel is most definitely one of the best I have stayed at.
The staff were amazing- they really went out of their way to help.
The decor incredible- amazing detail throughout, and also fantastic areas which just encouraged you to relax
The location perfect- just outside the hotel are the souks, and everything is walking distance. And the shops in the souks nearest the hotel were the best for bartering.
Great air con and shutters in rooms, freely available and good drinks/food if needed (more difficult to find outside hotel)
And did I mention fantastic and friendly staff?
This is your living room
When we arrived to stay in Marrakech for two weeks, the woman who welcomed us to this riad said, "This is your living room for the time you are here." And it was! It felt like home away from home. Our suite was comfortable and cool in the heat. We splashed about in the little pool a couple of times every day. On the evenings that we ate in the riad, the food and wine was very good, cheap and plentiful. Some other great restaurants are nearby.
We soon learned how to navigate our way around the old medina and were glad we had chosen to stay where we did when we saw the modern concrete blocks out beyond the old city walls. The main joy of the place was the great friendliness and helpfulness of the family who run the riad.
The building work that's mentioned on their website, we barely noticed. Would love to go back when the other courtyard is finished, although I expect the prices will have gone up by then too!
Friendly, helpful but rather basic facilities.
We booked a week long package through travelocity. The riad is on the northern edge of the souk, a fab location for shopping and a great walk through the market to get to the square. The two sisters who run the riad are very approachable and incredibly helpful. We got assistance with taxis, booking restaurants and a day trip.
We paid around £30 per person per night with our package, and frankly compared to what else is available for that price range and slightly above, riad amssaffah did not represent good value for money - particularly as travelocity were promoting it as a four star hotel. The double rooms are tiny and the suites are much more practical if two of you are going to share. The rooms are generally clean and each has its own bathroom. Be warned that the quality of the finish and presentation in each room seems to vary wildly - if you are not happy with the first room your shown, ask to see another. Also be aware that when it rains some of the rooms have leaks and can smell musty for days afterwards.
The building works on site are quite extensive - they are building two new floors of accommodation on top of the dining room - but localised to one corner of the riad, and whilst we were there the level of activity and noise levels were variable, although generally speaking we weren't particularly disturbed by the works as they started late and finished early so mostly occurred whilst we were out.
If you are looking for a warm morroccan welcome in a basic but traditional riad then amssaffah could be for you - be sure to book through their own website however to get a reasonable price. Be sure to check out the Cafe arabe, its ten minutes walk away and has fabulous food - including a good selection for veggies.
Friendliest riad owners in town
We stayed here for 5 nights arriving late into the night. Had we known before we would have arranged to get us to pick us at the airport before hand. On arrival they were almost waiting for us outside, which was great because the medina did look a bit worrying so late at night. The first night we were taken out of the riad in an adjoining smaller riad. We were told that the we were going to receive our own room in the riad with ensuite facilities as booked on the following day. We were given a tiny room with a double bed (we needed twin beds) and not toilet, only shower and sink. The shower did not drain very well so you really needed a pair of flip flops to avoid the stagnating water. There was very little furniture in it but the room was really nicely decorated in traditional Maroccan style. The room was overlooking a balcony which led to other rooms and an outside toilet. We were woken up around 4.30 by the call to prayer to the nearest mosque, so the first night wasn't exactly briliant. At breakfast in the main riad we were told that we would receive the room later in the day. When we came back we were told that they didn't have it yet and that the following day they would give us a suite (which they did the following day). Our suite was much better of course but we did miss our smaller room because the bed was more confortable and had much more light than the suite. However, we did sleep through the call to prayer during the following nights as it was more sound insulated!!
The owners are Fatima and Karima (I think) two delightful sisters who couldn't have been nicer or friendlier. They both speak a bit of English (and French and Arabic of course). They were always so eager to help without being obtrusive and in general very very friendly and courteous. I had forgotten a convertor for my hairdryer and they swiftly lend me one for the duration of my staying. We were looking for a riad where to have dinner one night and although it was nearby it wasn't easy to find. They quickly asked one of their staff to escort us for half of the way. On the final day they took us to the airport (150 dirhams) and wished us goodbye, only to receive a phone call from us from check-in letting them know that we left a bag in the car with all our Moroccan presents in it!!! Well guess what, with only 20 minutes to go before our plane departed they sent another member of staff on a moped to deliver the forgotten bag.
What else to say about this place? There were some construction works on the top of the riad but it wasn't very annoying and the location is fantastic. You are close to so many interesting sites (Museum of Marrakesh, old muslim school, souks, etc.) and although the medina does look scary at times we always felt very safe. Some of the best restaurants you will find in Marrakesh are tucked in in the medina and although they look pretty dismal from the outside once inside you would not believe your eyes: splending Moroccan modern architecture with excellent service and great food. We visited at least three of them there and they are all close to the riad.
Marrakesh people are extremely hospitable and the people in this riad were no exception!
A wonderful unique exerience
The plane was very delayed and it was nearly midnight when we arrived. But we were still met by the riad car at the airport - smiling faces and friendly concern at our tiredness. That was the beginning of a remarkably friendly stay of 5 days. The riad had a great Moroccan atmosphere and the suite was comfortable, very clean, very generous in terms of space (including the exceedingly comfortable bed) and very atmospheric - all more than we had hoped for. The staff are so friendly - breakfast with a beaming smile every day was as good as the sunshine. Advice on shopping, places to visit, etc was always there when requested. Our room was right next to where some small renovations are taking place and there was no noise until after 8am, and then only in a limited way. It took absolutely nothing away from the pleasure of staying there. It was great fun heading off through the bustling narrow streets outside each day - with absolutely no sense of anxiety over security - discovering what was going on in all the corners. We couldn't get enough. We did make one mistake - we went out most nights for our evening meals to some very special dining riads - they were good (and walked through the alleyways at 11pm with ease). But on the last night we stayed in to eat and realised that we had been missing a treat - the food was great. If you want a western hotel's ambiance and pandering, don't go here. But for what's best in Moroccan friendliness, hospitality and style, this is a must.
We had a great time!
We've just come back from there and had a fabulous time.
There is some building work in one corner of the hotel (almost completed) but it didn't inconvenience us at all - although they decided to upgrade us to a suite (we didn't complain)
Standard rooms are basic but cleaned every day and provided with fresh towels. Hot water took a little time to come, but always arrived and was unrestricted. There was a TV with BBC news, and a fridge in the suite.
No problems with the food, and beer and a decent wine are served. The two sisters are very helpful and can organise pretty much anything.
E-mail in advance for collection from the airport as it is in the heart of the medina and the alleys look dodgy, but are safe. We had fun getting the hired 4x4 in and out!
Location is great - 10 minutes from the souks, 20 minutes from the main square, and you really are in the thick of it.
E-mail me if you want any further info
Amazing Moroccan Hospitality
I booked a last minute deal with Ebookers for my husband and neighbours. I have been travelling to Morocco for the last ten years but normally stay in a hotel.
When we arrived the riad staff were incredibly friendly and spoke english, although not a problem for my husband and I, as we speak fluent arabic and french.
My neighbours their first visit to Marrakech loved the riad and although they were renovating it was only in the day and as we were in the Medina we never noticed.
Attached to the riad is a shop selling beautiful rugs and mats and they offer you a discount if staying in their riad.
The riad is situated near to the Marrakech Museum and a historic School.
On our last afternoon we decided to lunch at the riad and their kofta kebabs were amazing.
If you go to Marrakech and really want the best Moroccan hospitality stay in this beautiful Moroccan owned riad.
After staying in the riad no more hotels for us.
Avoid this hotel until building work is over !
We booked Riad Amsaffah with lastminute. The Riad is in a very poor and run down part of the Medina, a good 10 min walk to the main square Jemaa El Fna, through very narrow, crowded and often dirty streets. Not for the faint hearted. Donkeys, motorbikes, bicycles and all sorts of humanity are all around you - not easy to move sometimes!
The Riad itself is very pretty with little pool in the courtyard and smallish but attractive rooms - we had a "suite". Plumbing was hit and miss - hot water not guaranteed. Their dining room ceiling was being reconstructed very noisily most of the time - work started before 8am and went on until 7pm. We had to move hotels after one night as it was just too much.
We found Hotel Islane - right opposite the famous Koutubia Mosque and less than 5 mins from Jemaa El Fna. Rooms were just £27 per room per night incl a basic but lovely breakfast on their roof terrace. Rooms were comfortable with ensuite bathroom (no bath only shower). There was an electricity cut during the stay but it was quite romantic going to bed by candlelight. The location was just great.
My advice if you want to stay in a Riad is to do a lot of research to make sure you are getting a good one. There are hundreds but often they are really basic.
Marrakech was amazing, and Hotel Islane is a great budget place to stay for all the sights.
A great traditional Moroccan B & B
Not quite La Maison Arabe but if you're looking for a small, traditionally decorated, riad with definite charm moments from the souks and less than 10 minutes (once you've sussed the best route!) from the Jemaa el Fna with friendly, hospitable staff, then you shouldn't be disappointed.
The rooms are certainly not spacious - try to book a 'suite' as these are slightly larger and the furnishings and the plumbing rather basic but both are perfectly adequate - so too are the breakfasts.
The Amssaffah's real pluses are its location and the friendliness of its staff, some of whom speak good English. Do, however, be prepared for a culture shock - the Amssaffah is an oasis of peace and calm, however on the streets directly outside you will face a thronging mass of Morrocan humanity and sights, sounds and smells which have changed little in hundreds of years.
Enjoy your stay.
If you want something different from your normal 5 or 4 star hotel, come to the Riad Amssafah.
It is really traditional,interior design is so Moroccan, rooms are great, staff are so helpfull, It is right in the middle of the Medina,I MEAN right in the middle.
Getting there is like going way back in time, I even took a map out that the Riad gave me, just so I could show the taxi's and hopefully they would find it !
just get lost in the streets and you should end up in the Souks or the square.
Taxi's always seem to be 20 where ever you go but always get a price.
The trip to the Riad is freaky and a bit like Charles Dickens London, but don't worry, all the people seem friendly, but it is a culture shock. Have fun