My family and I stayed here for 3 nights last Janaury as part of a 1.5 week tour of Morocco. Each hotel was very different, all memorable, but Riyad El Cadi stands out as one of the most interesting and comfortable.
We arrived in the late evening after a long drive from Fes. One of the bellstaff met us with a handtruck at the entrance to the medina (the medina is pedestrian and motorcycle only) and led us on our way through what you could consider the Times Square of Marrakech. While it seemed like a long walk through the fascinating yet anxiety provoking jam packed medina (and I say this as a native New Yorker), you eventually arrive at a long maze-like allyway that serves as one of the many residential corridors for the medina leaving all the hussle of the Djema el fna behind.
We were greeted at the door by one of the hotels extremely hospitable multi-tasking staff who led us to a room that served as the check in desk. He was extremely helpful and very happy to see us. The hotel is small but there are tons of corridors and nooks to get lost in as the hotel is a combination of 3 beautiful villas from many centuries ago. The owners (brits if I remember correctly) decorated each room with artifacts both domestic and abroad giving the hotel a very eclectic warm feeling.
Our rooms were small and only contained space heaters to warm them up (winter doesn't last very long here as you can imagine) but they were definitely cozy with some cool art on the walls. The rooms were clean and just a little rustic, and the bathroom was spacious with modern bathroom amenities.
The hotel staff invited us to warm up in the hotel's living room area and they let us know that the hotel chef had prepared a late dinner for us. We ate in what turned out to be a private dining space and the food was excellent. Like most hotels in Morocco they will serve wine if you ask.
The next morning we woke up and really discovered the charm and the calming nature of the hotel. Breakfast is served on the hotels rooftop featuring great morning sunlight and views of the medina and minarets beyond. Besides the occasional plane flying overhead and some powerlines the city looks as it would have 6 centuries earlier. The breakfast was delicious and a perfect way to start the morning.
The hotel can assist you with setting up tour guides, private shopping trips, or any other kinds of adventures you may be looking for. Everyone on staff speaks at least beginners English and seemed to speak a variety of other Western languages as well, however the key is to ask for what you need. Most cases, whatever you ask for can be arranged.
Learning the way back to the hotel from the medina can take a bit of concentration but once you do it a couple of times you will realize how convenient it is to get to the vibrant heart of the medina from the tranquility of Riyad El Cadi.
We left the hotel after two nights to venture out to some other areas of the country and returned several days later before our return trip back to New York. All the staff were friendly, remembered our names, and it truly felt like we were comng home.
There are numerous Riad options to choose from in Marakech and being the hotel nut that I was, I was a little aprehensive that we could choose the right one. The value compared to some of the more fancy and refined Riad's drew us to El Cadi and I was a little concerned that we were sacrificing something for the value, but we definitely made the right decision, and I can't wait to go back.
Thank you to the staff of El Cadi for making our vacation a tremendously memorable experience that I will never forget.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Riyad El Cadi - an oasis of calm welcomes the sophisticated traveller. Riyad El Cadi is a like a private art museum, but without a trace of stuffiness. Spread over 6 houses, the riad is an elegant 'home from home' - a glorious mix of chic, comfort, hospitality and art. Wander around courtyards, corridors and alcoves and you'll discover magnificent Berber and Islamic art treasures - a true feast for culture-vultures. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riyad El Cadi Marrakech
- Riyad El Cadi Hotel Marrakech