It is with great sadness that we find ourselves having to write a negative review about our stressful stay at Ryad Alya. We would have much rather reported upon the few positive aspects of the Ryad and chosen not to mention the bulk of the negatives we experienced; however, there are just too many negatives aspects to ignore.
First impressions..........wow! On entering the Ryad from the lane outside one is immediately impressed. From the warm greetings by the staff to the authentic decor and apparent calm of the open courtyard interior, complete with fountain and orange trees the visitor cannot fail to be hopeful of a memorable stay at the Ryad Alya. Well now, our time was memorable but sadly for all the wrong reasons!!
We had planned to stay for seven nights and took particular care when choosing our accommodation. All of the available reviews to us on the Alya were positive. The Marrakech Suite appeared to meet our needs, it is of reasonable proportions and boasts a Madina view. However, along with the Madina view one has the means to experience the unpleasant aspects which accompany such a feature. The 'Hound of the Baskerville' lurks below the window just across the lane from Ryad. During the heat of the day it hides in it's lear conserving energy in silence. Come the cool of the night then it lets the whole area know that it is awake and yes, it continues to do so all night long! Disturbed sleep in the Marrakech Suite is a fact even with ear plugs! Once the darkness descends upon the Madina, the locals like the hound come to life. Children are allowed to enjoy the cool of the night (and I do mean the night not just the evening!) by screaming well into the early hours. The nearby families can chatter, play loud music and enjoy themselves oblivious of those around them. The window also admits the sound of every passing pedestrian, motorcycle, handcart and even the dawn calls of the local cockerels!
While on the subject of windows (and there are a total of four in the Marrakech Suite) the two which overlook the open courtyard allow every sound from the terrace above or open court area below to be funnelled into the suit. While the window in the bathroom not only allows the conversations of those sitting on the roof to intrude, but also the intimate sounds from another suite! If this were not bad enough, this window also allows for the passage of light down into the basement kitchen; however, all of the kitchen sounds and smells invade the suite too! All very unfortunate for those trying to sleep in the Marrakech Suite.
Dinner is served on the terrace directly above the Marrakech Suite. The disturbance to the suite residents in addition to the aforementioned disadvantages are two fold: - 1) The movement of iron tables and chairs upon the tiles of the terrace above echo down throughout the suite constantly between about 1930 - 2230 'ish. 2) As access to the terrace from the basement kitchen is via a staircase which is adjacent to the head of the bed, then the pitter-patter of feet are a regular intrusion and when cutlery was dropped it clattered down the ceramic tile covered stair treads. An early nights sleep was not possible without resorting to ear plugs!
Yet another unpleasant aspect to the bathroom of the Marrakech Suite is the problem of smelly drains. The Ryad might well have only recently been renovated but the artisans who carried out that work omitted one vital aspect when designing the plumbing - 'P' traps! The 'P' trap fills with water from the hand basin and shower and thus prevents the foul smells of the sewer from entering the room. The only way to prevent this overpowering occurrence in the bathroom was to ensure that the plugs were sealing the drains and that water was present to seal the plug!
Another negative observation was that of the laundry service offered by the Ryad Alya. Not only was it found to be expensive by UK standards, but an expensive pair of trousers have been ruined by the use of an over hot iron. The hole left by the burned fabric has now developed into a large tare just above the knee, the trousers have been rendered totally useless as a result! Sadly the damage was not noticed until after we had checked out of the Ryad two days early!
Our original stay through Booking.com was for seven nights but after only five nights of misery we had to forfeit the cost of two unused nights in this Ryad. The three hundred pounds from the original booking plus the cost of two nights at another hotel it a lot to pay for the satisfaction of a good nights sleep! The Ryad staff could not or would not give us any compensation for the lost nights - blaming Booking.com for this fact.
To finish on a positive note: all of the staff who we came into contact with at the Ryad Alya could not have been kinder to us. They were all very gracious, always helpful, never condescending and constantly available with sound advice. It was only thanks to them that we stayed at Ryad Alya as long as we did.
I trust that the reader of this review will draw something helpful from these words even if it is simply to note the shortcomings of the Marrakech Suite. In another room/suite we might well have been able to overlook so many of the negative aspects of Ryad Alya and this review might not have been so explicit in some of those areas. However, we will never return to find out if any of the shortcomings experienced in the Marrakech Suite apply to the other rooms too.
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