After a rather disappointing and boring journey from Essaouria we arrived in Marrakech to a rather bemused taxi driver who could not understand why we wanted to be taken to the Bahia Palace with suitcases! If you get to the car park for the palace you will then be directed by a very helpful gentleman who runs the antique shop on the corner who helped us every day for free.
The riad is just down an alleyway from this car park and it is easy once you have seen the route. We were welcomed at the riad by a French speaking lady who showed us two rooms, but we just took the first one offered as it was so beautiful looking out over the tiled centre courtyard. An amazing bonus was free air-con as we had a superior double room. After peeping into another room they seemed to have a mosquito net over the bed so presumably did not have air-con.
We were given a free glass of fresh orange and we then raced up to the lovely rooftop terrace with sunbeds, parasols, tables and chairs and a small paddling pool which was very welcome in July! We spent lots of time relaxing up on the roof during the days and evenings: it was quiet in the riad being July. We took our own little radio and enjoyed listening to this as well as drinking our own alcohol. They even supply towels and hats for guests up there! The roof terrace was lit up and it was very quiet around the riad at night. We also enjoyed sitting in the centre courtyard.
The breakfasts were delightful in the quiet beautiful courtyard with its fountain, little birds and 2 resident tortoises. The owner, Enrique, is very charming and speaks every language and is very helpful with maps etc. We had homemade jams, marmalades, honey and syrup, freshly made pancakes and cakes that were still warm.
The riad is in a fantastic position being just around the corner from the Bahia Palace, and the infamous Kozybar (expect to pay £4 per pint of beer but it was the only place we found selling alcohol and spent our son’s inheritance there!!).
If you turn left instead at the little antique shop this is a main thoroughfare to the square and takes about 10 minutes. I felt perfectly safe as there were many Europeans using this route day and night and it was well lit. The motorbikes, however, also use these routes as race tracks and it is quite dangerous and noisy.
Along that route there was a candlelit restaurant which looked lovely from outside, but I really cannot recommend it as it was very dark, hot and claustrophobic and the tangines were expensive and not that great. Just before this is a café upstairs and they provided us with lovely coffee and sandwiches very cheaply.
In order to sit in the cafes in the square many of them demanded that you also bought a meal during July. We were once again no hassle, but did not take photographs of the snake charmers, etc as these can prove expensive. We did not eat or drink anything from the café stalls on the square.
We cannot wait to revisit Enrique and his beautiful riad, and I would be more than happy to visit for a long weekend for heat, rest and total relaxation. My husband had a shave in a local barber shop and there were also many offers at the local massage places.
Any questions, give me a shout. Cathy
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy the fresh court, to rest reading, chatting with your friends or drinking a delicious moroccan tea. ... more less
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