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“A Mixed Stay”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Dar Alhambra

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Dar Alhambra
Ranked #424 of 1,130 Marrakech B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A Mixed Stay”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 March 2014

The Riad is visually pleasing and was everything we expected to find with a Riad. Peace and quiet from the busy medina and a lovely place to relax after days in the Souks and exploring the City.

The room we had was lovely, a good size, and although situated right next to the mosque which provided a daily alarm at 4.30am, was just what we wanted. The only issue was that on arrival to the Riad we were sat down and given some mint tea. An hour later we were met by Hamid the Manager who told us that we were not staying at the Riad for the first night as someone was will in our room. Instead we were staying the first night elsewhere and our bag was promptly carried out the door with us following not knowing where we were going. It turns out that a number of guests has been sent somewhere else for their first night, but for varying reasons. So perhaps some over booking.

The food in the Riad was pleasant, and plentiful but when asked if we could eat on the terrace (As website states) we were told 'no' which was a shame as the terrace was gorgeous. Regardless, the food was as good as we got anywhere else, and we were able to wash it down with a bottle of wine. Not easy to find in Marrakech.

The staff were courteous although with limited English which made communicating tough. Expected perhaps in a foreign country, but not overly useful in the place you are sleeping. A couple of times when asking for coffee we were left waiting, and none showed.

The Riad was clean and as previously mentioned the terrace was perfect for sitting in the sun, relaxing and unwinding after busy mornings. The only way it could be improved was to be able to get tea, or drinks served there. Even better, your food.

Overall, our stay at the Riad was mixed. It lives up to the pictures and once we got our room it was lovely. The terrace great, the food enjoyable and generally lived up to the reviews we read. The downsides were the fact that we, and other guests were turned away on the first night (and in some case second) to a lesser Riad and not offered any compensation or an apology.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Anthony L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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145 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
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English first
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 March 2014

My wife and I visited the riad in March 2014. We looked a for a long time for an authentic riad in a central position. The riad itself was lovely - as expected, the staff friendly etc. We arranged to be collected from the airport and taken to the riad as we landed in the evening. Glad we did as we would never have found it by ourselves. However....
1. Once at the riad it took 40 minutes for anyone to greet us (once the taxi driver left). We arrived with 3 other people and it wasn't until I went and looked for someone to say we were waiting and where was our 'arrival tea and pastries' did a housekeeper bring some (tea only). "Hamid will be here in 1 minute" was the continual comment. Eventually he did turn up, very apologetic. He arranged dinner and a free bottle of wine for us - which was very nice. Then the bombshell!
2. Hamid informed me that there was not a room available for us! He had found us a room in another riad which he would take us to. I had read on other reviews that this had happened to other people but I had specifically checked that I was booked in when I phoned him 3 days earlier when booking the taxi. I had sent an email twice which he said he never received?!!?
We were taken through the back lanes in the dark by someone we had only just met to a place unknown to us!
3. At the new riad we were put in a room like a cell - no windows at all, very dark but it had a hairdryer! We saw Hamid hand over money/cheque to the owner and he said he would collect us at 10:00 am. Not a very good night's sleep.However the breakfast on the roof terrace was lovely in fact better than Alhambra's as it turned out.
4. We were ready to to be taken back at 9:45 but needless to say Hamid was only available at 10:30!! This was our short break we were wasting! We found someone else to take us back, to find our room would not be ready till 12:00.
Other points to note regarding the Alhambra website; the antique fountain was not working and looked like it was never used, beauty treatments, hammam etc are not offered and even when requested you were discouraged. You can eat anywhere even on the roof terrace - but only if you take it there yourself. The mini pool/bath on the terrace was obviously unused, full of rubbish. I know it is March but it was 32 degrees while we were there!
5. On talking to the other UK guests- some who had been there a week it seems that the 'no room available' is a regular occurrence. Three of the people who were there had it happen to them and 2 more couples who arrived during our stay were also shipped out to the other riad. One couple were there for 2 nights!! Reasons varied from 'someone was sick in your room to I have no trace of your booking" I find this unacceptable as this is a 4 star riad hence price paid whereas the other one is not.
6.Finally ensure you get receipts from Hamid for what you pay for. We paid Hamid for our airport taxis but the driver asked for payment at the airport when he took us back. We said we paid Hamid and he had to phone him to check - but yes, you guessed it, Hamid was not available. Fortunately I had asked for a receipt for all the payments (obviously out of the norm!) so had proof which the driver accepted but you could tell he was not happy. It left a very bad feeling.
We had previously heard from other guests that this sort of thing happens a lot. You pay for a trip - to Hamid - only to find that once there the taxi driver wants paying to take you back!!

Marrakesh is a great place to go, great things to experience and see. Food great also. We would go again - but not at the Alhambra - as it has left bad feelings.

Room Tip: Insist in a room in the riad you pay for!!
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Gary A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeds, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 January 2014

The Riad Dar Alhambra is a gem hidden amongst the warrens and alleyways of the heart of Marrakech. Getting to the Riad is a little bit difficult the first time, especially at night. The taxi could not enter the area of the Medina where it is located so we have a 5/10 minute walk. However be careful of people who will see you as a tourist as they will initially say they will take you there but will want paying. Having said that some people are genuinely helpful. The Riad is located right next to the famous Ben Yousef Mosque, which is also next the to Marrakech museum.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the owner, Hamid. He does speak a little bit of English, French and Arabic is the language widely spoken and understood. We were fortunate as in my party I could converse with Hamid and his staff in basic French and Arabic.

Once we arrived, Hamid took us to the lounge room where a lovely roaring fire welcomed us in a very traditionally laid out room. whilst we waited to be taken to our room, we were served with some wonderful Moroccan mint tea,

After about 30 minutes we were taken to our room which was on the first floor. going up the stairs and towards the room, everything screamed of traditional Morocco (which is exactly what we were looking for). The actual room was a little narrow, but it was fine. The bathroom was a separate room connected to our room. Again the decor and design was all traditional.

Following morning, we woke up and went for breakfast downstairs, which is served in the courtyard (this is covered during the winter). We just turned up and sat down. Within 5 minutes breakfast was served to us. We didn't even have to ask. The staff are very friendly and helpful, but obviously limited with language skills, but don't let that put you off. you do get a feeling that they are genuinely interested in your comfort and well being. The best way to describe them is.... they are there... but not obtrusive, just in the background whenever you need them.

We even decided to have dinner one evening in the Riad. The food was superb. From the warm breads, soups and incredible tagines, it was a delicious meal. The dinner table is laid out in the lounge and it has such a warm homely feel to it.

Access to your room is by a key, which you keep during your stay. However the outside door is always locked and you have to ring the bell or knock, and they open it straight away as the staff room is right inside and next to the front entrance.

As it was winter we couldn't really spend time on the terrace, but one day it was sufficiently nice for us to spend an hour there and the long distance views of the Atlas mountains are fabulous as is taking in the whole ambience of Marrakesh Souk itself.

I will certainly look to stay there again in the future. The souks start within 20 yards of the Riad and the hustle and bustle along the tiny alleyways transports you back into a different time.

Room Tip: Suites are slightly bigger.
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mohammed M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Forest, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2014

In January 2014 my wife and I stayed for 3 nights as a birthday trip. 
We wanted to stay in an authentic riad in the heart of the medina to ensure that we enjoyed the full Marrakech experience. We looked long and hard before deciding on the Alhambra.
Our transfer took us to within a five minute walk of the Alhambra (tucked away in the maze of alleys and inaccessible by car) and we were taken there on foot by one of the employees of the transfer company. 
Upon arrival we were greeted with mint tea and sat in one of the seating areas in the lovely open central courtyard. Then the owner Hamid came to see us and told us that they were overbooked that night somehow and we would be staying in another riad just around the corner - not a lot you can do about it at that stage really, so we accepted it and got on with the holiday.
That riad was also nice, although not as impressive as the Alhambra. We looked on the bright side, making the most of staying in two different traditional old buildings.
Hamid's English is good and he said to return to the Alhambra the next day at 8, 10, 4.... We returned at 10 and the room wasn't ready. They gave us breakfast and said it would be ready for 12. It was ready by 11.15.
Absolutely fantastic room, intricately decorated, traditional, very impressive. 
Breakfast same each day - spiced coffee, orange juice, pancake/crumpets, bread, butter, honey jam. Very good, have it whenever you like, just turn up in one of the seating areas and hang around until they bring it.
Lovely roof terrace and they hold a barbecue for you and supply you with lots of food if you want. 
Hamid sells beer and wine too - not easy to find in the medina.
Great location - right by the museum of Marrakech (recommended). Also right by Le Foundouk, which may be the best restaurant in town. Walk straight through the souk for 15 minutes to get to the main square.
Hamid was very helpful and we kept bumping into him around the medina.
You don't get a key to get into the riads themselves, which didn't matter until we arrived back one evening at about 11.30pm and they didn't answer the door. The medina is a ghost town by that time but a man with security written on his jacket appeared from nowhere and started ringing the bell and making phone calls until eventually Hamid answered the door. No idea what that was about.
All in all I recommend the Alhambra.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank garryknight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Viking51, Owner at Dar Alhambra, responded to this review, 19 January 2014
We are extremely pleased that your overall experience was positive.
We apologise most sincerely for the first night at another RIad - we do everything possible to avoid overbooking, unfortunately misunderstandings do occur rarely, in which case Hamid does everything possible to make this very rare inconvenience as positive as possible.
There is always a member of staff in the Riad, and for the security of the other guests, we never give the keys to the Riad to anybody else. We also help finance the presence of the guard in the street. Unfortunately the staff member did not hear the door bell.
Finally we would like to draw the attention of future visitors to the possibility of booking a taxi via an email to Hamid which will bring you right to the door of the Riad - also a good solution late at night!
Thank you for your comments, Hamid and the team strive to continuously improve the service and make our customers happy, as the reviews show.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeds, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 January 2014

Riad Dara Alhambra is in the perfect location, only a stones throw away from the bustling souks and a few minutes walk from the must visit, Ben Yussef Madras. The building is decorated stunningly as was our room and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a centrally located Riad, with friendly staff and a premium feel.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rahul P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Peterborough, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 January 2014

We loved this place ! The Riad is an oasis of calm and tranquility in the craziness of the `medina. It lies in the heart of the souk - surrounded by bustling streets. `it's therefore really hard to get to - you wouldn't do it without a guide. The Riad is very unassuming on the outside - but inside is beautiful . The staff speak French, though Hamid the Manager speaks some English. The staff are attentive and kind. The breakfast basic continental. The meals however are superb ( don't be put off by the slightly odd looking menu with pictures of dishes on it !!) Quite simply the best food and the best value we tasted in Marrakech.
The rooms are traditional and extremely stylish and well appointed. The roof terrace is a lovely place to be on a hot afternoon - the souks much easier to watch from the roof than to explore on foot.
Would certainly return. Next time I'd ask Hamid to provide us with a guide however. It is very easy to get lost !

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Rhiannon N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 December 2013

The Medina is not for the feint hearted, the location is North of the inner walls of the old city. The streets are a great experience and people are mainly friendly, there are the few that hassle you on your walks, we felt like being on an epic film set like Raiders of the lost Arc. Once the doors open to the Riad (our hotel) the serenity and beauty of the place made up for the streets. A small oasis on the middle of an old city, the furniture, ambiance and tranquility was an excellent escape from the hustle and bustle of the market place. Rooms are good, beds comfortable and cosy, very clean all round.
The breakfast is basic continental platter of bread and jams, however the evening dinner is highly recommended for price, value and taste, you will not find better in the medina, we booked half board for three nights and was the cost of eating two lunches out during the day of poor standard.
The staff don't speak English, but Hamid the manager does and helps out where possible, very friendly and chatty. If you need anything ask him!
It was a birthday weekend and the hotel made special room preparations and food for the occasion, which was a nice personal touch. The pool area was closed during our stay due to the season.

Room Tip: Only 6 rooms in the Riad- However all rooms looked the same, ask for downstairs room if you don'...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sofos186338
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dar Alhambra

Property: Dar Alhambra
Address: 33, Zaouiat Lahdar | Medina, Marrakech, Morocco
Region: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #424 of 1,130 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — Dar Alhambra 4*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Magnificent 16th-century Riad, a haven of peace in the very heart of the Medina, lovingly restored in the pure Moroccan tradition - painted cedar ceilings, sculpted stucco, zelliges, marble floors...Impeccably clean, all rooms with private bath, and air conditioning. Extremely friendly and helpful staff. Superb 360 view of the Medina, the Koutoubia and the snow capped Atlas mountains. One hundred yards from the Medersa Ben Youssef and the Marrakech museum, 15 minutes from Place Jemaa al Fna. Excellent cuisine! ... more   less 
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