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“Confusion and Serenity”
Review of Riad Karmela

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Riad Karmela
Ranked #43 of 502 Hotels in Marrakech
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 April 2014

I will start this review by stating that if we have originally booked the Riad Karmela, and stayed in the room we were finally given, then this review would quite probably have been for 5 stars. However this wasn’t the case.

Our original booking was for the Riad El Nour, a smaller Riad but part of the same group as the Karmela. One week before we were due to arrive we received an email stating that the Riad El Nour wasn’t available and were we prepared to stay at another Riad, the Riad Zineb. We were offered a free airport return and a bottle of wine for our inconvenience. We looked at the details for the Riad Zineb and it looked fine, so we accepted the offer.

Upon arrival at Marrakech airport we were met by the driver, a bit later than expected but no big deal, and driven to the Karmela. This is an adventure in itself, negotiating tiny streets, dodging the mopeds, people, donkeys and carts etc. As recommended elsewhere I would also advise this option is taken as the car cannot drive right up to the Karmela leaving a walk of a couple of minutes, if you were making your own arrangements it would be extremely difficult to find, although there are plenty of locals who would show you the way for a fee.

We were greeted at the Karmela by Bouchra (I believe) and given mint teas and pastries whilst having the local area explained to us, a useful map was also given to us with places marked for later reference. At this point we were told that our room at the Riad Zineb wasn’t ready, this later changed to there was nobody at the Zineb, to finally being told that a mistake had been made and we weren’t booked into the Zineb until the following night so we would have to stay at the Karmela for one night, although if we chose to continue our stay at the Karmela we would be upgraded to a junior suite.

The room we were given was situated on the roof terrace, quite a nice room with a tented appearance, although the bathroom could do with brightening up as it was quite gloomy with plaster coloured walls. It did get quite chilly in there overnight as it’s quite exposed on the roof, the air con could be used to give heat and I think there were extra blankets in the room too.
After an expedition into the local area we returned for some relaxation on the roof terrace which is a nice peaceful area and fortunately the sun was out too.

We had pre-arranged for our first night evening meal to be at the Riad which I must say was delicious, although at 25 euros per person it’s quite expensive going by what we paid at various restaurants in the following days. But as the quality and service were very good we enjoyed it.
The next morning we went down to breakfast which is served buffet style. There was plenty of choice, cereals, fruit, yoghurt, cheese, ham etc. Orange juice, tea, coffee etc etc. Fresh bread and pastries were also available. Breakfast was fine in our opinion.

After breakfast we enquired at the front desk as to when we would be moving rooms as previously discussed as we hadn’t been given any further information. We then found out that we would be moving to the Riad Zineb as there were no rooms available at the Karmela anymore! We weren’t happy about this as it meant packing everything up again and moving. We were offered a free hamman (which we never took advantage of) and given the choice of staying at the Riad Zineb or returning to the Karmela, and, having breakfast at the Zineb or Karmela. This break was meant to be relaxing!

Upon arrival at the Riad Zineb we found the owners to be cleaning the tiled floors and preparing it for us as it had been closed for a week. The Zineb is another nice Riad, much smaller than the Karmela. We were given a room on the ground floor beside the patio, plus front door and room keys. We then found out we were the only guests staying at the Riad Zineb.

We had decided to have breakfast the following morning at the Riad Karmela as we didn’t want to put the owners of the Riad Zineb to any trouble just doing breakfast for us two.

We spoke with Joel and agreed to return to the Karmela for our last two nights stay as we weren’t keen on staying at an empty Riad, although the total peace and quiet may appeal to some, to us it was too quiet.
The room we were then given at the Karmela was the junior suite Kaiss which overlooks the main patio with its own balcony. This was a lovely suite and would recommend it.

I must add that during all changes of Riads our baggage was transported by the Riad staff with no fuss.

For those not familiar with Marrakech, as we weren’t, it may come as a bit of a surprise as to the location of the Karmela and the route taken to access it. If people are expecting a touristy area then they’re in for a shock, it really is in the heart of the local community. We are well travelled but were still surprised at the maze of narrow streets and alleyways in the vicinity. The constant call of “it’s closed that way” by the locals hoping to show you another way for money loses its novelty very quickly too (p.s. the streets aren’t closed.) It took us a few goes to feel comfortable about finding our way to and from the Karmela, even with a map.

So overall the Riad Karmela is a lovely Riad, the Riad Zineb is also a lovely Riad, both with cool courtyards and nice roof terraces. It would have been nice to stay in one or the other for the duration of our stay.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank elevonic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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288 - 294 of 1,300 reviews

Reviewed 25 March 2014

A fantastic riad, down quite a few alley ways but easy to find once you get your bearings ! Breakfast was a buffet style which was excellent. Rooms ok beds a little hard. Water and toiletries supplied. Good service and the seating areas in the courtyards and terraces are excellent. Would definately stay again.

Room Tip: All rooms are fine !
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank juicy16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2014

I really liked this place very much, I stayed maybe 3 times there, first with MIL that are 80 and 86 y o, and it was really nice because they accommodated them very well as they couldn't use the stairs, we were not in the main Riad, we had the next door Riad but I remember we had noisy neighbors, drinking and talking loud late in the night, then there was a noisy weddingin the neighborhood until early morning!
Besides all, I liked it very much that I started recommending it to all my friends, However the last time I stayed there in October 2013, I didn't like it anymore, they were less friendly, and got the big head "la grosse tete" plus the hassle of parking I got tired of it, as our rental car got purposely scratched on a prepaid parking lot close to the RIad, We had a luggage carrier that we paid and the hotel told us that he told them we didn't pay him and the hotel had to pay him, and I told Bouchra I will not pay again as I already paid him, when we got to the parking, he was there and I asked him why he lied and got paid twice, he was denying that he got paid again by the hotel, and he was ready to go back with me to confront the hotel, but I didn't want to return.......so all this got me reluctant to stay again in Riads in the medina! but overall, it's a beautiful Riad and they give you good directions and it is convenient if you don't have a car! There is a very nice fancy restaurant close by, I forgot the name, it's worth the try!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank lafouz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Espelette, Propriétaire at Riad Karmela, responded to this reviewResponded 27 March 2014

Hello I am so sorry at you had such an impression during your last and 3d stay. I understand that you had a challenging experience with the trolley man helping you with the luggage from the parking and this has a cost as it is their job and it is normal to pay for the service. This situation with your car may have had an impact of your overall stay ? or impression on our attitude ? some guests do NOT understand that the trolley man or getting help from local boys when you are lost as a cost and these services need some tipping...We were just explaining the local habits .I just hope that you will give us another chance as we never had such a comment on having a big head as you can see on other guest's feed back and we will all be happy to prove you that this is not the case. best regards Joel

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Reviewed 17 March 2014

Riad Karmela is just fantastic a real get away from all the hustle bustle of Marrakech. It's so peaceful and relaxing and really feels like your own exotic holiday home. I've stayed in a lot of great hotels but this was by far my favourite. The service is great they really can't do enough for you. Food was yummy and the fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast was amazing! It's also great value for money. As others have said use the hotel airport taxi service it's essential and literally takes you door to door via a little walk, we would not have found it otherwise. On a personal note I'd like to ask Joel, Bouchra, Latifa and all the staff who were so helpful, kind and generous when my daughter had an accident. I can't wait to visit again!

  • Stayed: February 2014
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1  Thank Decodendolly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2014

We stayed there last summer for three nights, it is completely magical. After walking down side roads in the Medina and then arriving in the Riad it is wonderful. Joel helped us find our bearings so a big thank you to him! Can't wait to get back there one day.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Gina H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 February 2014

We stayed for 3 nights. Beautiful, great location and excellent, friendly staff. Rooms were gorgeous and seating areas fantastic. It is down a side street so difficult to initially find but safe area.

Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
Thank Neil D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2014

I travelled to Marrakech with my mum and 3 sisters. We all agreed that Riad Karmela is one of our favourite places in the World to stay and we are all reasonably well travelled! It really is an oasis and a real gem hidden within the madness of the Medina. Thank you Joel for your recommendations for lunch and dinner and your patience talking us through the winding roads of the Medina. Our room was a real treat too and breakfast, dinner and complimentary mint tea were faultless. I cannot wait to go back!!!

  • Stayed: February 2014
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1  Thank Tuthers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Riad Karmela

Address: 10 Derb El Feranne Azbetz | Place Ben Salah, Marrakech 40008, Morocco
Phone Number:
Region: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
#28 Luxury Hotel in Marrakech
#39 Family Hotel in Marrakech
#75 Romantic Hotel in Marrakech
Price Range: £58 - £146 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Riad Karmela 4*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The riad Karmela has 19 bedrooms and family appartments located within 3 houses and courtyards connecting together. You can also enjoy a hammam, massages, summer jacuzzi, large terasse. We are located 8 mn walk from the Pace Djemma El Fnaa and 1 mn from the souks. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riad Karmela Marrakech
Riad Karmela Hotel Marrakech

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