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“Coloured cottons hang in the air, Charming cobras in the square”
Review of Riad El Mansour

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Riad El Mansour
Ranked #140 of 501 Hotels in Marrakech
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 April 2009

At the risk simply repeating the previous reviews Riad El Mansour is definitely more than well deserved of the ‘tripadvisor’ award it proudly displays in the lobby. Not only for the quality of the accommodation and board, which is exceptional in itself, but mostly for the excellent staff looking after you and you’re every need during your stay. It does actually feel like a home from home.

The Riad is sited down some smaller alleys in a very local area in the North West of the Medina not far from the city gate of Bab Moussoufa on Rue el Gaza and the big black door at the end of the alley system hides the oasis that is the Riad el Mansour.

You could easily spend all your time in the Riad if you were just seeking a relaxing few days, with its sun terrace, on site hamman and in house dining but then you’d completely miss the fun in negotiating the old town streets, alleys and souks and the rest that Marrakech has to offer.

The local streets and alleys can seem very confusing at first but it takes little time to orientate yourself and with the help of a local map (supplied by the Riad) and Abdess the Day Managers initial help it is reasonably simple to find your way around and down into the maze of backstreets and alleyways to the main square of Jamaa El Fna and the city highlights

We found that walking was by far the easier way to negotiate the old town and it is only a 10 – 15 minute walk to the Main Square and approx 25 – 30 minutes to completely cross the old town to the South and reach the El Badi Palace. That way you get to take in the sights, sounds and smells that are part of everyday life.

Initially the streets can seem very intimidating especially at night – but as Abdess ensures you they are perfectly safe and we wandered back most evenings quite late after eating in town and didn’t even give it a second thought after the first night. The biggest danger is the abundance of mopeds and bicycles that share some of the smaller streets and alleys with the pedestrians – even the crowded souks. Be assured they will miss you as long as you continue in the same direction – the best tip is not to step sideways or turn suddenly without checking over your shoulder first

The Riad can provide evening meals provided you order in the morning and the one meal we ate there was, as somebody already reviewed, one of the best we had during our 4 night stay. Be warned the food is great but the portions can be a bit on the large side with the pastillas and the house dessert being easily enough for 2 (if not 4) by themselves.

Abdess will recommend places to eat and pre book for you in advance generally steering you away from the ‘set menu’ dining establishments - as most of the guide books state that these can be a bit excessive in quantity as well as price.
We generally ate in the old town but there are also a number of establishments outside the city walls especially in the new town that looked promising. Top tip to get Abdess to book as most of the decent places get very booked up and don’t generally have room for passing trade.
Café Arabe – Moroccan/Italian 10 – 15 minutes walk. Great cocktails made with a lot of care in the bar before (even better as they didn’t find there way on to the bill) and a great ambience
El Marrakchi – Moroccan a little further 15 -20 minutes on the NE and over looking the square. Nice ambience and reasonable food – although a little dark. Music and belly dancing upstairs.
La Tajia – Moroccan/Italian furthest away and a good 30 minute walk through the square and to the South (near El Badi) but broken by a visit to the square both ways makes a good night out. Live music and dinner around the central courtyard open to the stars in good weather.
There are also plenty of places for lunch around the square – most with upstairs terraces overlooking the square and in and around the souks. The Art Café was a good stop off for lunch and better value than places immediately on the square.
Check out La Stylia – if you can find it and amazing setting tucked away in the middle of nowhere – we never ate there but supposed to be good for fish lovers and an amazing authentic dining room in a i6th century manor house. It takes some finding but they are more than welcome to show you the splendid dining area.

There is enough to do for 2 – 3 days visiting the sites in town. We got 48hr tickets on the tour bus that enabled us to pick up a number of the sights the same day and cut down on a lot of the walking.

El Badi Palace is worth a visit if only to see some of the storks nests precariously balanced on some of the ramparts. Only 10 dhms entrance fee but check opening times as its shut for a long lunch. Top tip turn left and left again as soon as you enter to beat the crowd to the upper terrace where there is a good opportunity to get some good pictures of the palace with the snow capped mountains as a backdrop before the rest of the crowd arrives.

Jardin Majorelle to spend some time in the picturesque and relaxing gardens. Top tip its open from 0800 and only 10 minute walk from the Riad and it can get crowded with day trippers so visit early to get some good pictures.

The Souks are best discovered by yourselves and worth at least an afternoon just getting lost and discovering alleys and squares that don’t appear on any maps, plenty of opportunity to buy almost anything but be prepared to haggle very hard to get a bargain. The ones nearer the square stay open later at night – some still open till 10pm. Very relaxed and no where near as pushy as they can be in other Arab countries

Jamaa El Fna – visit at different times of day and the scene will always be different from the juice, fruit stands and snake charmers during the day to the food stalls and other entertainment late into the night. Definitely try the fresh orange juice and if feeling more adventurous eat at one of the evening stalls anything from snails, sheep heads to the more ordinary fried fish and kebabs. As one of the stalls proclaimed “not just food, but M& S food at Asda prices”

Take advantage of the bus ticket and take the ‘blue’ route around the Palmeria. It’s a more limited service than the standard ‘red’ route so check times. Good views of the golf course and some of the more affluent dwelling and resorts as well as the palm forest itself. Stop off and have the camel ride experience if it takes your fancy.

Definitely take a trip to the Oirika Valley in the Atlas Mountains if your time permits. It can be organised through the Riad for a driver and guide when you get there. Some of the reviewers advised against having a guide. However whilst the route up to the first large waterfall can probably be found, the ‘upper’ route on the way back would be next to impossible (and unsafe) without a guide and there are even more spectacular views of the falls and mountains on the way back. Wear good hiking boots/trainers it’s a bit of a scrabble up and crossings over make shift bridges and stepping stones can lead to wet feet. It can seem a bit pricey at 400 dhms/head for the trip and a further 400dhms (per party) for the guide but over a two hour trek through some remarkable scenery and well worth it. You will need a reasonable head for heights and sense of balance, especially for the long route back as it does involve a short vertical climb once past the cafe (although plenty of help is at hand for a push and a pull). Even then you will pass the obligatory gift stall on the way back.

If by chance you do get lost most of the routes head back towards the square and start again. Take the NW exit from the square between the plant sellers and the fruit stalls, through the arch in the left corner of the smaller square and follow your nose straight, past the Art Café a little jink at ‘demented donkey corner’ another little jink at the mosque stained glass door, straight past Café Arabe right at the end left at the two old guys playing checkers bear left at the foot lathes and carry straight on for about 500yds then left after the snail seller and before the cows head shop then right after the goats trotter seller and follow the alley around to the right till you reach the big black door – easy really.

A fantastic few days made even better by the staff at Riad El Mansour and a special mention to Mustapha, Abdess,Wadia, Latifa and the rest of the staff that made the stay that extra bit special.

Would definitely recommend to anyone.

PS It’s also owned by a Brit – so at least you can get a decent cup of tea.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Howard-Moon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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584 - 590 of 821 reviews

Reviewed 14 April 2009

We had a superb time in Marrakech and this Riad was the reason why. Yes, it is in the middle of the medina but we soon became accustomed to the area, the donkeys, the dust, the street markets, the motorbikes etc and the Riad was just an oasis of calm after all the excitement of Marrakech and the souks. Our suite was delightful, comfortable and cool. All of the staff, without exception, were polite and always smiling. The food was brilliant and Latifa welcomed me into her kitchen for a lesson! Abdess is a delightful friendly manager and nothing is too much trouble. We loved it, explored in the mornings and read on the roof terrace all afternoon. If we return, we will definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank gill3sq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2009

El Mansour is a lovely place to stay just like so many others have said. I paid a little extra for a cooking lesson. We communicated by smiles, watching and making notes and smelling ingredients. So much work went into the dishes which we had chosen for our evening meals and it was great to watch it all being prepared. The Riad was so lovely and we felt so wonderfully looked after. It was easy to ask for help and information and when my husband was ill someone came with me to the Chemist to help me get the right medicines. Visiting Marrakesh is made easy by having so much care.
We particularly enjoyed walking round and being able to see many shops and workshops where everything is made from scratch. Tiled water fountains start with wet clay, slippers are made from shapes drawn onto shhets of leather and furniture starts with lenghts of wood or metal. So much skill and ingenuity! Having seen this I would say that you need to pay a reasobale price and not try to get things for peanuts.
Marjorelle Gradens is a lovely garden and really well presented.
Two things to be aware of. Don't accept any offers of help with directions unless you want to pay. A casual offer of help or a look at your map seems to mean you are agreeing to the help so beware. Also there are a few places where guys hang about and offer to show you where the carpets are - only today! We were even told the gardens were closed but we could go to the carpets instead! Not true.
However generally everyone was friendly and helpful. I felt safe and not overly pestered. Chill out, smile and enjoy.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank JackieNewburyBerks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2009

Very awsome place, we had tons of fun. This hotel is what made our trip as good as what it was. Everything from being picked up at the airport to awsome breakfast. Abdess made every aspect of the stay incredible. Thanks!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank texastraveller101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2009

We cannot recommend this Riad highly enough. We were given an extremely warm welcome by Abdess and Wadia (the day and night managers) along with all of the other staff - the Riad soon felt like home and we were encouraged to treat it as such. Abdess's advice on what to see in Marrakech and how to get to the main sites was invaluable.

The Riad itself is beautiful. The rooms have been recently refurbished in a modern Moroccan style, and are very comfortable with good bathrooms. Wireless internet access is free through the laptop in reception, and bottled water, fruit and nuts were supplied free in our room each day. The Riad is also ideally placed to explore Marrakech - we didn't take any taxis while we were there, we walked between the hotel and all of the major attractions. The Riad is located down alleyways in the old medina, making arrival pretty dramatic (you walk down three alleys, then the wooden door to the Riad opens onto a little piece of courtyard paradise) but we (two women) felt safe day and night walking to and from the Riad and around the medina.

We ate dinner one night at the Riad and it was by far the best (and not the most expensive) meal we had while in Marrakech. The Moroccan salad starters, pastilla, tagine and cous cous were fabulous, and we think we are pretty well placed to judge the quality of the food, given how much we ate while in Morocco!

We can also highly recommend the day trips that the Riad organises with driver Moustapha. We went to the Ourika valley, and spent a great day visiting Berber houses and villages and walking up through the mountains to waterfalls (warning: wear good shoes - ideally walking boots - if you plan to walk up to the waterfalls - we wore trainers and were just about OK, but only because our local guide helped us over the slippier rocks) and doing yet more shopping. Moustapha is a knowledgeable and very friendly driver, who speaks excellent English and who answered all of our many questions about Moroccan history and politics.

In sum, if you go to Marrakech, stay at Riad El Mansour!

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Kirsten777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2009

My girlfriend and I stayed at Riad El Mansour in early March and it's one of the finest establishments we have ever stayed in. First and foremost, the staff are EXCELLENT, incredibly friendly, helpful and courteous - we had many interesting and laugh-fillled conversations that really helped to enhance our understanding and enjoyment of Marrakech, the Riad staff definitely contributed to making this one of our favourite ever holidays.

Much respect and thanks to Wadi, Abdess, Mustapha, Fatima and the very cheerful girls who brought us breakfast every morning on the lovely roof terrace. All the staff have mastered that fine balance of being right there when you need something/want to have a chat, while at the same time giving you space to enjoy yourself... we felt like we were being welcomed by old friends from the outset.

On the one day it was a bit rainy we used the hotel's in-house Hammam and got a top notch massage, followed by a delicious home cooked dinner that was easily the best meal we had.. compliments to the chef.. food was so tasty I actually ate a good deal more than my share.. don't think I've ever been that full before

The Riad itself is a beautiful old house that has been done up to the nines, furnished with taste and attention to detail, and the rooms are very comfortable and well appointed. We stayed in two rooms, Room 2 for most of our stay and The Suite on the final night as Room 2 was booked.. both were a pleasure to spend time in. There are loads of little classy touchs in the rooms like handmade soap, jellaba style robes, a nice basket of stuff when you arrive, etc and it all helps to make you feel like a truly appreciated and welcome guest. Also the staff allowed us to use one of the unoccupied rooms to relax in on our final day as we had booked a late flight, this kind of gesture makes a big difference and is typical of the incredibly warm and accommodating service.

The rooms are cleaned twice a day, every time you go back to your room it seems to have been cleaned in your absence! While some reviewers have mentioned that the Riad is a bit out of the way/down a couple of alleys.. we actually found this to be a huge plus - for one thing they aren't alleys, they're residential streets, and we never felt unsafe... there was a friendly neighbourhood vibe to the place. Being in the northern part of the medina away from the bustle (and hustle) of the Djemaa el Fna is preferable.. it's nice to "go home" to somewhere less tourist saturated after a long day of trekking around in the souks. The Riad is about 15 walk/5 min cab from the sqaure, and ideally placed to venture into Gueliz (the new town). All in all we had a fantastic time and would recommend Riad El Mansour for anyone visiting Marrakech, you won't regret it.. we hope to return there someday soon ourselves.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank barnes1000000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2009

Would agree with all previous comments about this Riad. It is a delightful place to stay. The staff are wonderful and do eat in at least once, the food is the best we had in Marrakech, cooked fresh to order. The location down the ubiquitous alleys is daunting at first, but you soon realise that it is as safe as they say it is. It provided what for me was the essence of Marrakech ie. the contrast between the sensory overload within the Medina and the peace and tranquility once you step off the streets and go behind those big wooden doors. A day trip with 'Smail' to the Atlas mountains was expensive but well worth it...I wouldn't have missed it. He epitomised the gentle courteousness of the majority of the people we met. Have a Hammam....you have to experience it to describe it!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Pensi0ner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Riad El Mansour

Address: 227 Derb Jdid | Bab Doukkala, Medina, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Region: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
#23 Romantic Hotel in Marrakech
#25 Family Hotel in Marrakech
#78 Spa Hotel in Marrakech
#100 Luxury Hotel in Marrakech
Price Range: £107 - £183 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Riad El Mansour 4*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
6 bedroom hotel ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riad El Mansour Marrakech
Riad El Mansour Hotel Marrakech

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