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“Huge disappointment”
Review of Riad Shemsi

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Riad Shemsi
Ranked #1,016 of 1,172 Marrakech B&B and Inns
Reviewed 5 August 2014

We stayed here for two nights after three nights in the Atlas mountains as part of a package. In view of the recent reviews we were looking forward to our short stay but it turned out to be a huge disappointment. We were met by Nadia who spoke no English and was not able to supply any information such as a map or even accurate directions to the centre of Marrakech. She showed us our room which though nicely decorated was small with a tiny bathroom - the bath robes were hanging over the toilet. The room contained one dirty glass, no hair dryer and a light switch and a socket were dangling by their wires.
Our package stated we would be upgraded to a superior room subject to availability and we came to realise that most rooms were vacant. My wife's French was not up to a conversation about upgrading.
Nadia said the owner Noura (who is mentioned in previous reviews) would be back at 5.00. but when we returned she was not there and, as far as we are aware, she never was there.
We were not informed when breakfast would be available so assumed it would be around 8.00 am. We came out of our room at 8.00 and realised there was no member of staff or owner on the premises. Nadia arrived at 9.10 and, after asking, breakfast was served. We had intended to make an early start so we could do some sightseeing before it got too hot.
We returned mid afternoon and had to request glasses, water and hair dryer, which would have been a problem had my wife not spoken French. We had read that mint tea and water were always available but this is clearly not the case. As arrangements for our pick up the next morning had not been made, my wife raised this with Nadia who phoned Atlas Voyages who spoke to my wife. The pick up was agreed at 7.30 and Nadia said she would make breakfast for 7.00. When we returned from our evening meal, a man who did not introduce himself but spoke English, repeated that breakfast would be served at 7.00.
After we went to bed there was a tremendous argument between a woman and a man, who we believe were connected to the riad and not guests.. This ricocheted round the central courtyard and continued until midnight when they left the building. No one reappeared before we had to leave at 7.30 so had to buy breakfast at the airport.
Clearly there are serious management issues at this place and we have reported our concerns to Fleetway Travel, who arranged the package, and await a response. It is worrying that guests are left alone in the building overnight, maintenance standards have slipped badly and breakfasts are not provided as expected.
This is a shame because there is a lovely small pool and roof terrace and it is only about a 25 minute walk to the main square. The Saadian Tombs, Badii Palace and Bahia Palace are nearby - the latter in particular was very impressive. One night we ate in the main square in one of the pop-up restaurants - despite the crowds there was ample choice and seats, the food was excellent and cheap; just take a seat and choose a selection of Moroccan dishes. We did not feel hassled by the various traders and thoroughly enjoyed the lively atmosphere. We had a drink on a roof terrace overlooking the square which is well worth doing and not at all expensive.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank KeithP1950
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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48 - 54 of 307 reviews

Reviewed 1 July 2014

We stayed here for 2 nights at the beginning of June. We were welcomed with mint tea by the pool whilst we filled out the necessary paperwork. Noura (the owner) explained everything to us and gave us a map with a route from the Riad to the main square, along with some recommendations of restaurants. She was very friendly and helpful.
We stayed in the chocolate suite at the top of the Riad - the room was huge and had a lovely terrace just outside. We had lunch in the Riad on our first day, it was delicious and all freshly prepared. Water and mint tea was free throughout our stay.
The Riad is a very quiet part of the town so it is lovely and peaceful when you return from the hustle and bustle of the centre! It is only a short walk to some shops and the local market, and the main square and souks are a 15 - 20 stroll away.
Thoroughly recommend this Riad.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank PatsyPim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2014

After the hustle and bustle of the streets, this is very tranquil and a perfect place to get away. I even decided to continue working on my book one morning - no children, telephone calls and just more haggling to look forward to.
Some local teenagers showed us the way to the riad when we were lost and proceeded to ask us for money every time we came back. Be warned that this is a precedent that the locals wish to avoid. I told them that if they asked for directions in England I would have given then happily without expectations of a reward.
In the main square, we practically had 200 dirham snatched from our hands by the snake men. Nothing is free! Someone died two months ago from a bite from a cobra whose teeth had not been filed so therein lies a warning. Riad Monceau provided a wonderful patisserie course, the highlight of this trip for me.
Haggling is both exhausting and fun so be prepared! What an experience this has been. Stay here, feel at home, maybe ask for a large room as ours, the pink room, was a little small but comfortable, and enjoy. Highly recommended as the closest to a home away from home as you may get.

Room Tip: Maybe not the pink room as a little on the small side.
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank DorsetVicky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2014

What a little gem. Prior to going I contacted Riad Shemsi and they replied very quickly, and this efficiency was just how the Riad was run. We stayed at the Riad Shemsi for three nights. Arrived at 10pm and was greeted with mint tea and cakes, very welcome. We stayed in the turquoise room, which is really spacious and has a very big shower. The bed and pillows were very comfy and the air conditioning unit was the quietest unit we have ever had. Breakfast was simple, bread, pancakes and home-made yoghurt, jam and cheese with tea. Enough to see you through to lunchtime. Mohammed was very accommodating with our early start on two days and had breakfast ready for us. The pool was an added bonus after a hot day out we spent a couple of hours each evening relaxing before going to dinner.

Tea and water was available free of charge any time day or night. On our last day we were not due to leave until 6pm and they let us keep our room on. A tax was organised by the Riad and was there early to collect us for the airport.

Well done Riad Shemsi you are up there at the top of my list.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank TravellersHarrogate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A Holiday Lettings verified reviewer
London, England, United Kingdom
95
Reviewed 11 June 2014

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank A Holiday Lettings verified reviewer
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveller and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed 7 May 2014 via mobile

We stayed at Riad Shemsi for 2 nights and really enjoyed our stay. It feels like you are staying on someone's home. The decor is beautiful, our room was on the ground floor- which we didn't mind, it had a small but adequate shower room and the rooms decor was traditionally Moroccan which was nice. There is a pool but we didn't use it- we did use the roof top terrace which provides a peaceful getaway from the busy streets. Being in the south of Marrakech it is close to some of the main tourist attractions and only a 15-20 minuite walk to the souks. I would recommend staying here if you like boutique B&Bs :)

  • Stayed: April 2014
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Thank EmmiEdwards
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2014

My husband and I with our 2 teenage daughters stayed here for 5 nights in the Berbere bedroom and the Orange bedroom which are next to each other.
We travelled in early April as we were expecting the temperature to be around 25C but summer came early which meant most days it was around 35C!! This made us extremely grateful for the pool (definitely a swimming pool NOT a plunge pool at 1.2m deep and roughly 20ft x 10ft) which we used a lot to cool off in.
The Riad is truly beautiful, only 6 rooms, very peaceful, each room traditionally but stylishly decorated with air conditioning, great showers, delicious Bains de Marrakech soap, shampoo, shower gel and body milk, a safe in each room and very firm matresses! Plenty of towels for the bathroom and by the pool and large towelling robes which we used by the pool as well. Most importantly for our 2 daughters, free Wifi throughout the Riad!
The roof terraces are both beautifully done with the tented area a great shady place to sit or plenty of smart loungers to lie in the sun, surrounded by potted plants and flowers.
We had pre booked a meal for the first night at the Riad as we knew we wouldn't be arriving till 8pm. I'm so glad we did as our flight was delayed and we didn't end up getting to the Riad till much later but it was no problem for the cook, who had waited for us and then proceeded to cook us a beautiful Morrocan meal - I would thoroughly recommend having a meal there.
Breakfast, which is served from 8.30 till 10.30am every day was delicious - freshly squeezed orange juice, homemade yoghurt, jams, breads and Berber pancakes and eggs cooked to order. I know one reviewer commented that there was no variety in the breakfast and whilst the above was on offer every day there was also sometimes dried fruits, sometimes fresh fruit then either croissants or pain au chocolate or homemade Maderia cake, I also had scrambled eggs which were beautifully cooked and spiced with cumin - with so much choice it would have been hard to be bored with the food! Oh and hot chocolate every day for my daughters.
Mohammed, who is there from about 5pm till about 10.30am each day is a quiet, gentle soul who is very helpful and will book or sort out anything for you - I was a bit of a pain - booking treatments and taxis and then cancelling them when our plans changed but he never batted an eyelid or made me feel I was being difficult!
The ladies who run, cook and clean the Riad during the day are charming - very little English,but if you don't speak French you can make yourself understood. The Riad is spotless and even though my daughters were a quite messy in their bedroom the maid tidied and cleaned their room every day always with a big smile. As other reviewers have mentioned it is incredibly quiet at Riad Shemsi as it is tucked away down a back alley at the bottom of the mainly residential area of the Kasbah, this means there are very few tourists around, however it is still only a 20 minute stroll to the main square (Jemaa el Fna).
This meant that on several occasions we felt very comfortable leaving our young teenage daughters there sunbathing and swimming for couple of hours whilst we visited some sights they weren't interested in.
Having visited the much busier, noisier far more touristy North Medina I was so glad we weren't staying there.
I don't think Riad Shemsi would be suitable for large, noisy groups unless taking over the whole Riad.
Mint tea, coffee, juice and water are provided free of charge and we would often have coffee on the roof terrace when we returned at night which was lovely. I honestly can't fault Riad Shemsi, it offered far more than I was expecting for the price and I think its only fault is underselling itself - I didn't realise until I got there that I could have had a cookery course there, massage treatments there and many trips can be booked from there including guides round the city! Would definitely return. I just hope all these comments get passed on to the staff?

Room Tip: Orange Room is a good size with large walk in shower. Berber Room is on the smaller size with a sma...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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Thank finedinerStAlbans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Riad Shemsi

Address: 194 Derb Chtouka, Marrakech, Morocco
Region: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1,016 of 1,172 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range: £46 - £111 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Riad Shemsi 3*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Riad Shemsi is a beautiful and elegant Riad in the heart of the Marrakech Medina. Situated in the Royal Kasbah, it is in easy walking distance of all the principal sites including the main square and the myriad souks. All the suites are delightfully presented in traditional Moroccan plasterwork and Marrekchi furnishings. The views from its elevated terrace are stunning. The celebrated Shemsi cuisine is sourced locally everyday from the freshest ingredients. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riad Shemsi Hotel Marrakech

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