We were looking for a relaxing week away from England's rain and storms; somewhere warm and not too demanding. We had previously stayed in the Meridien which we enjoyed, but this time we fancied being nearer the centre of Marrakech. We chose the Riad Latifa because we thought we'd easily be able to walk to restaurants and investigate the Souk. It did turn out to be more of a hike than we had envisaged.
Riad Latifa was bought in the 1990s and lovingly restored by a French musician. It's a three-storeyed house with 8 bedrooms built around a central courtyard with potted jasmine, orange and lemon trees. It's a charming house, a total surprise since all you see from outside is an unpretentious door at the end of a dark alleyway. It's in the heart of the old Medina. The alleys are too narrow for cars, and the taxi will drop you off half a mile away so be sure to use a wheeled suitcase! Do take the airline's offer of a taxi to the hotel. Before you go, check exactly where it is, because it's extremely hard to find; half a mile's walk through a maze of alleys to the entrance to the Souk, and the Maderassa.
The house is in Moroccan style throughout; curtains, lanterns, divans, cushioned sofas and stained glass windows adorn it. Most of the accommodation is up at least one flight of steep stairs, and single or double steps lead from one area to another. We stayed in a generously sized, though dimly lit 'superior' room on the first floor with ensuite facilities maintaining the Moroccan motif by way of tiled floor, a cave-like shower and brass hand basin.
We ate breakfast and other meals in the courtyard, and found plenty of idiosyncratic nooks with sofas on every level. The roof terrace is particularly inviting with lots of space to relax. There's a sattelite TV on the third floor with a few English news channels, but there's no wifi so we read a lot and went to bed early! We always take a bottle or two of our favourite tipple with us to Muslim countries, which came in handy during the evenings.
It's managed by a delightful Moroccan woman called Enzha who is eager to please and willing to advise, but doesn't try to influence you. She'll get you a taxi, arrange a day trip, cook for you and be your guide in the initial bewildering days when you're finding your way through the maze of narrow alleyways. We really can't praise her enough.
We were lucky to be the only guests there for most of the week so Enzha was able to give us lots of attention, and as we speak fluent French and a smattering of Arabic we were able to chat very freely to her. She does speak some English, and can understand what you're saying, but if you can manage to brush up your French before you go you'll enjoy your stay in Morocco twice as much. It's a better place to practise French than France where the natives are all intent on speaking English to you!
We didn't realize that common, cheap medicines like Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and aspirin are expensive in Morocco or we'd have taken out boxes of the stuff. We also wish we'd thought of taking some wrapped sweets for neighbourhood urchins. (More appropriate than encouraging them to beg by giving them coins.) We loved poking around the Souk, particularly the area with tortoises, chameleons, animal skins and spices. We bought cactus fibre scarves and a bedcover/tablecloth in brilliant colours, a straw hat, handbags, belts, slippers. We had a hand henna'd and ate kebabs, salads and omelette for lunch in small cafes without ill effects. We had some evening meals out and ate in the hotel a couple of times. Our week in Marrakech was a complete change and we came home much refreshed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This guesthouse riad is located in one of the old districts of the medina, a stone's throw away of the Medersa Ben Youssef, the souks and splendid foundouks where craftsmen work with ancient techniques. Taxis arrive in the immediate vicinity of our riad. In a very calm lane, no noise comes to disturb the silence of the house. Elegant local decoration, sunny dominating terrace, all bedrooms are air-conditioned and heated, with private conveniences. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Travel Republic (UK) and Priceline so you can book your Dar Latifa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.