This is the seventh of eleven riad reviews in Morocco, following the two Fes reviews, and preceding our stay in Ouarzazate. Stayed on 28th to 30th April, 2014.
Our string of consecutive number one Trip Advisor rated B&B and inns was broken at our sixth, the Riad Fes. Camilia is rated fifth to seventh in Marrakech; it fluctuated between the time I started this review and the finish, but then competition is top notch here (the Trip Advisor list for B&Bs and inns is 1036 long), and yet it ranks amongst the very top. The truth be known - at this level, each of the top riads will have some outstanding qualities to deserve its exalted status.
From abroad, one can only chose the accommodation by the description, the reviews and the photos, and then the place may not even be available. We were very lucky to secure our ground floor suite at the Camilia; in terms of decor alone, it earns my vote as the most tastefully decorated inn in Morocco (note that I said inn, not hotel). The Camilia offers a plethora of exquisite lounges to sit in, each enticing in its own way, a feature all too rare for small riads: a living room here, a den there, and a breakfast nook with a five meter skylight ceiling highlighted by a three-layered colored glass chandelier; the roof terrace has a trellis structure that is unique and beautiful. Each of the lounges plays a different stream of exotic ambient music, European and Moroccan in origin, unknown to my ears but totally in tune with the environment. You are spoilt for choices trying to decide where to drink your next coffee, or read you book, or view your photos; one small note of limitation is that the wi-fi connection is spotty, as there are many blind spots which the Camilia should be mindful of rectifying, a small task to be sure for this otherwise fine establishment.
The absent owner is French, and the furnishings and antiques that adorn these quarters reveal impeccable tastes and a penchant for collecting. Our suite on the ground floor faces the courtyard with a wading pool on the left, trees on both sides, and wrought iron tables accommodating comfortable seating and reading. Inside our suite there are two terracotta figures that looked so authentically Xian-esque that we wonder if they were smuggled abroad. On the foot of our very comfortable beds is a chaise sofa with two ornamental armrests in the shape of ancient Egyptian rams’ heads. The bathroom is magnificent, with a walk in shower for two (double rain shower heads), the shower wall is accented by translucent glass circles that let in light from the outside, and when I later sat down at the dining room, I saw on one wall the same glass circles and came to realize to my great surprise that this wall backs onto our shower - totally ingenious! I note also that inside the bathroom there is a recessed space with a multi-coloured Chinese medicinal vase that is faux antique but exquisitely tasteful.
Nicolas, our manager, is a young Frenchman of great enthusiasm and vigor, and he is generous with his advice. The breakfast is first rate, and the cooks provide eggs on order. On our first night, we had dinner at the roof terrace; the food is first rate, as expected everywhere in Morocco.
On Nicolas’ recommendation, we dropped La Mamounia, and visited the Royal Mansour instead. His advice was spot on, as the property is probably one of the most beautiful hotels we have ever visited. It is opulent to the point of being intimidating, and yet it ranks lower than 100 in the Trip Advisor list. In our late evening exploratory stroll, the security was courteous but firm and I had to leave my backpack at the gatekeeper’s office. Everywhere we walked we were the only occupants except for the occasional staff or security. But at the end of visiting this palatial lodge, and in a city blessed with extravagant hotels such the Royal Mansour, La Mamounia, Four Seasons and Aman Resorts, we felt blessed with our choice of staying at the quaint Camilia, which oozes charm and unique character. Five stars and totally well-earned.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This is a sumptuous and authentic ryad with intact oriental and moorish atmosphere. The owners have invested time and passion to decorate this little palace of the Marrakech medina with wonderful objects and paintings found in local flea markets and antique shops around the world. The patio (courtyard) is an area of calm and relaxation where you find a small pool. There are two bedrooms on the ground floor and one bedroom and a suite overlooking the courtyard from the first floor. The master suite is absolutely gorgeous and we strongly advise you to spend a few nights there with your loved one. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Camilia Hotel Marrakech