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“Paradise with a friendly face”
Review of Riad El Mansour

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Riad El Mansour
Ranked #142 of 502 Hotels in Marrakech
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 April 2009

I don’t know where to start in praise of this place.
I guess from the start! I was, (like so many other first timers to Marrakech) bogged down with choices and narrowed my search down to five riads, having emailed all of the five, Riad El Mansour was the first to reply, they were unfortunately fully booked for part of my stay, but Abdess suggested that perhaps I spend some time in Essaouria whilst they were booked.
I had always wanted to go there, and Abdess arranged everything for me, including the booking of the hotel there.
Another thing I was very impressed about was in these bleak times of recession, Riad El Mansour were the only ones that actually offered me a discount to take into account the weak pound. In these current times, that was a very nice gesture.

My husband is vegetarian, and I mentioned to Abdess in the emails of this case, as I wanted to eat at some restaurants and at the hotel and wondered if he had any recommendations.
He advised of some good choices of places to eat (I will add reviews of these places shortly)
The best meal to be had was by far at Riad El Mansour (more of this later!)

Upon arriving at Marrakech airport over an hour late, I was worried that the hotels driver would not be there to meet us, this was a complimentary service offered by Riad EL Mansour, I had heard on trip advisor some horror stories about the taxi drivers at the airport and was not relishing the thought of having to get in a taxi there.
Much to my pleasure, Mustapha, the hotels driver was there to meet us, he welcomed us with a cheery smile, insisted on taking all of luggage, and made us feel so welcome right from the offset.

The drive from the airport to the hotel was around 15 minutes, in this short time Mustapha (who spoke perfect English) told us a brief history of his amazing city.

When we got close to the hotel, Mustapha took our cases from the boot of the car and lead us to the hotel.
The area was amazing, such a sensation on all your senses! We were faced with a huge black wooden door, and did not know what to expect.
A few seconds later we were welcomed by Abdess the manager, and the person who was so helpful in our (many) emails! He immediately got another member of staff to take out luggage upstairs to our room.

We were in Room 2, the room was so beautiful, and there was a welcome gift, along with a map, and a welcome card for us. A lovely touch. We unpacked, and then went down to meet Abdess, he took us around the Riad and gave us a short history. We then went upstairs and were offered complimentary drinks. Abdess then chatted to us telling us about Marrakech and gave us some wonderful tips.

The terrace was amazing, so peaceful and quiet, a real suntrap.
On the terrace there was a small gym, I knew of this beforehand, and was pleased to use the facilities as I am training for the London marathon this year!

We were a little worried of venturing out for the first time, but Abdess pointed us out on the map where we were, and he offered us the hotels mobile phone, but promised us that in the 3 years Riad El Mansour had been open, only one person had ever needed to use the phone to be found! Abdess walked us out of the hotel for the first time, and pointed us in the direction of the souks.

We ate at the hotel on our first night, my husband had his vegetarian feast, and I can honestly say it was the best meal (and so much food) I had in Marrakech. The cook there, Latifa is a wonderful cook. (Thank you Latifa, she also gave myself a cooking lesson)

The other restaurants we ate in were Al Fassia, and Fondouk.

Abdess arranged a taxi to pick us up at the hotel to take us to both of these restaurants, and also the same taxi was waiting for us outside the restaurants to bring us back ‘home’ the taxi driver walked us right to the front door.

Every evening our room was cleaned, (and of course, in the mornings as well) there were slippers at the bottom of our bed, lovely bathrobes, and toiletries that were absolutely first class.

On our second day we had a hammam, an amazing experience, a lady came in, and scrubbed us, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of dead skin we saw! You must try this along with the massage.

We were in Marrakech for 4 nights, we wanted to stay 6, but as mentioned, unfortunately the hotel was fully booked.
We found the best way to get to Essaouria was by coach (Supratours) Abdess had already arranged for our coach tickets to be bought in advance for us.
It really seems as nothing is too much trouble for the staff there.

It is really 5 star service, but without the formality and stuffiness, it was like being at home, we felt so relaxed.

Thank you all at the hotel, I am now planning to come back over New Year. If you want the best service, Riad EL Mansour is for you.
We will be back!

Alice and Stephen

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank floobydooby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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578 - 584 of 821 reviews

Reviewed 29 April 2009

Just returned from Raid El Mansour where 6 of us celebrated my husband’s birthday. We all had a blast. Because transfers from the airport were included in the price, the riad organised a people carrier to pick us up and was with us for the duration of our stay as we went to restaurants and sightseeing in the Atlas mountains.

We had wonderful lunches and an awesome dinner there. The cook Latifa is wonderful making pastilla and beef with oranges and a surprise chocolate birthday cake. Even though Richard’s birthday was earlier in the month, Abdes, the manager overheard us say that we were there for my husband birthday and so arranged the cake. Wadia the other manager organised all of our restaurant bookings before we arrived.

Nothing can be said that was not previously said. We had a wonderful time most of which was down to the staff. Bravo and keep up the excellent work.

Susan and Richard – Westchester.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank suziandrich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 April 2009

Unfortunatley my husband and I didn't have a good time in Riad El Mansour. It' s very noisy (you will wake up at 6.30 am every morning), the rooms are very narrow and the prices are really too high. But we were especially disappointed by the way the manager/owner threated us.
We stayed 7 nights in this hotel (booked upfrond: we will never do this again!) and payed full price. When we had to leave 1 day before our scheduled departure day for family reasons, the manager made us pay the full price for the night we missed, even threateting us with the police! No, we will never stay at this hotel again and we certainly will not recommend this to our friends. Besides, there are so many other options to choose from in beautiful Marrakesh!

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank JoycefromAmsterdam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
scrsteve27, owner at Riad El Mansour, responded to this reviewResponded 6 May 2009

I am sorry to read this review as the alleged incidents transpired over a year ago and only now have been mentioned. It has obviously taken us a few days to review our databases to verify the facts.

We at Riad El Mansour pride ourselves on our service and attention to detail that the vast majority of our guests appreciate, as is evident by the many positive reviews from former guests left for us on Tripadvisor.

Our riad, like so many others, is situated within the ancient walled city of the Medina, which, by its very location, has an abundance of Mosques whose call to prayers are heard throughout. Our riad is not situated near a mosque but naturally the call to prayer is heard and if you are a light sleeper you too may encounter this sound.
Many guests find the call to prayer to be a soothing and a positive experience of their trip to Morocco.

Our Riad is in keeping with the authentic traditional raid guests so often seek out, therefore many of our rooms are indeed narrow as we have kept as much originality and authenticity as possible.
The sizes of our rooms along with pictures are clearly detailed on our website.

All of our guests are very important to us and for those who mention a special occasion, as this particular reviewer had done, we go the extra mile to make sure that their stay with us is a positive and memorable experience.

As this guest at time of booking mentioned it was their honeymoon, we gave them a 20% discount off of the regular room rate, plus an upgrade to our most expensive room, the Suite and a complimentary bottle of wine, none of which was mentioned in their review nor was the fact that we gave them an additional 50% off the last night.

With regards to the comment about our prices being too high, I would like to know too high compared to whom, we feel our prices are every competitive and are very good value as do many of Tripadvisor’s readers as evidenced by our being recognised this year by Tripadvisor Travellers Choice 2009 “Best Bargain”.

All of our guests receive complimentary airport transfers by the Riad’s own driver, fresh flowers, Moroccan pastries, a welcome gift and map, bottled water, fresh and dried fruit, bathrobes and slippers, WIFI, docking stations the use of a mobile telephone and twice daily maid service.

We have also been awarded "Best Hidden Gem - Africa" Tripadvisor's Travellers' Choice, 2008.

This particular guest booked with us for five nights and on the penultimate night after arriving back to the Riad after dinner informed us they wanted to depart in the morning and did not want to pay for the last night.

We at Riad El Mansour never ask for full payment upfront. Our guests always pay for their accommodation upon departure only.

We naturally have no objection to when a guest wishes to depart but as this guest had reserved a room for the five nights and we were not able to resell this last night on such sort notice, as per our and to the best of our knowledge every other hotels’ policy, the guest is indeed responsible for payment of the room.

Unfortunately as this guest did not want the room for the last night, they felt they did not have to pay of it and when it was mentioned that they were responsible for it, they told us they would write a bad review on Tripadvisor and also will depart without any payment.

Our Riad looks forward to all of our guests’ comments, whether positive or negative, as we learn from both.

As this particular reviewer felt that Riad El Mansour did not meet their expectations unlike the 160+ reviewers whose expectations we have far exceeded, we all at Riad El Mansour wish this reviewer a very happy time at another hotel on their next trip to beautiful Marrakech.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 April 2009

My son and I stayed for 3 nights. Abdess, one of the best concierges ever, could not have been more helpful, introducing us with delicious mint tea and pastries, showing us the best routes, facilitating our excursion. The staff were all genuine smiles, welcome and helpfulness: they had a real joy and pride in their Riad. Latifa the chef - we will never forget her cookery lesson to us and her sublime pastilla. Last but by no means least, Robert the owner whose charm and approach ("nothing is too much trouble; we just want you to enjoy yourself" set the whole tone for the Riad's approach". The accommodation is beautiful too: calm, elegant and authentic .

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank London-Silver-Tongue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2009

After reading all the reviews already posted about this Riad, our expectations were very high and we certainly were not disappointed!

Our flight on the first night was delayed but the welcome from Wadi on arrival more than compensated. A wonderful breakfast served the next day by Nadia was excellent followed by the crash course in Marrakech by Adbess.

Unfortunately the weather wasn't great but despite this, the guys at the Riad arranged great activities for us including Quad biking and camel riding. Wadi and Abdess could not do enough to ensure that we were having a pleasant stay and were comfortable.

Our tour guide Mustafa was brilliant. He was very knowledgable and friendly and I highly recommend a trip toward the mountains with him

In summary, the Riad was the perfect place to enjoy Marrakech. The whole team there were like old friends. In fact, we felt like we were staying with family.

Since returning we haven't stopped talking about our holiday, but what made it so special was the team at the Riad. I will certainly return to this Riad in the not too distant future and I hope that any readers of this review will also pay the Riad El Mansour a visit.

PS. a visit to the Hammam for some pampering and relaxation is unmissable! and don't forget to sample their home cooked delights, the best meal we had out there.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank m0500325
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2009

We heartily endorse the fabulous reviews for this Riad. We arrived late at night and were warmly greeted at the door of our taxi. We were glad that a previous reviewer had warned us that the dark, narrow alleyways can be a little intimidating. This initial concern lasts only a minute though as we were led into the Riad. In planning our time whilst on our trip,we had mentioned that we would be celebrating our anniversary during our stay. We were greeted with a complimentary (and very good) bottle of wine.
The service is lovely, very polite and gentle, but extremely efficient. We enjoyed a hamman for 2 ( I dare you not to giggle) and dinner on the roof terrance under the stars. Again, to repeat previous reviews, the food was lovely.
You could stay in a 'luxury' sanitised hotel but you would be missing out on the real essence of the place. We loved the local neighbourhood especially in the evening. It was fascinating just to 'people-watch' as the locals went about their business - shopping, cooking, mending scooters! (Lots of mending scooters!) Go to the Riad, relas and let your suspicions melt away and get into the Marrakesh vibe!

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

Address: 227 Derb Jdid | Bab Doukkala, Medina, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Region: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
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 - £190 (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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