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“A stylish bolt hole in a laid back town”
Review of Riad Chbanate

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Riad Chbanate
Ranked #12 of 74 Hotels in Essaouira
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 July 2011

I think Riad Chbanate would be a perfect romantic retreat for a couple. For part of our family holiday - two sixteen year old boys, one five and one four year old girl my wife and I - this stylish Road was also perfect. I hope the excitement of the girls didn't shatter the romance for the other guests!

The rooms have been designed an furnished with care and for Morocco, real attention to detail. This is not meant in a negative way. Our parents have built an amazing house in Marrakech and the finish there does't match Chbanate. This suggests Jean was fully on top of the build.

The result of the labours is suites of rooms with individual style and grace all furnished and fitted out beautifully. We had three of the suites and my wife and I would have been happy to have stayed in any one of them. Whilst rambling the beds an bed linen were some of the best I have encountered in many years of travelling both on holiday and business.

The staff are, as the other reports state, very helpful and friendly. They also without pressing provided the key information we needed - restaurants and dome tips on shopping.

I rate the restaurant based on delicious canapés with drinks. There is no formal dining room but you can organise lunch and dinner with whatever you may wish to eat. From the canapés I am sure the food will be delicious. Breakfast beckons and from other reports I expect high things.

In all a real find. I strongly recommend Riad Chbanate to anyone staying in this relaxed but fascinating escape from the brashness of Marrakech.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank Shoots30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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247 - 253 of 527 reviews

Reviewed 15 July 2011

This is my last of the 3 nights at the Riad and I already can't wait to shout about the fantastic experience I have had here over the past few days.

The whole Riad is most tastefully and elegantly built and decorated by the owner Jean with great attention to every detail. Everything in the Riad plays a part in creating the perfect harmony, from the layout and furniture of the place, to the lighting (both natural light and the lamps used around the Riad) and decorations, to the rose petals and glasses used in the room.

The service and ALL the staff is simply THE best I have experienced! In a five star hotel , you get (with some luck) good service that you 'pay' for, in here, you get great service that one can only wish for! You can really experience how 'happy staff makes happy customers'! The whole team is so cheerful and they felt more like friends than staff at the Riad. I felt like I was staying in the house of the warmest host who wanted to make sure I fully enjoy my stay. E.g. One day I bought some interesting fruit at the market and on return to the Riad, I showed the staff what I bought and he excitedly took me into the kitchen and started cutting the fruit for me and showing me how I should eat it! I said I wanted to reserve some for the next day and he kept them in their kitchen fridge and said I can just wander in to take it whenever I want it and to truly 'make myself at home'!! I don't think this would have happened in a 5 star hotel! If you are looking for the formal butler type experience, this Riad is probably not for you. However, if you are in for friendly conversations in a relaxing environment, ditch the 5-star hotel and be surprised by this enchanting Riad! And all staff speaks good English which is very useful for a non-French speaker like me!

We stayed in the Berbere room and it was amazing! The wood log ceiling added a special touch to the room, the extra comfortable bed, and ample natural light from the numerous windows etc etc. (I can go on and on). Oh, and the massive stone bath tub with the multi-way massage shower are definitely a bonus!

The terrace is the best place to watch the sun set as well as to 'moonbathe' or relax with the gorgeous mint tea they serve! They have also just added a new jacuzzi on the roof terrace though it was not working properly during our stay and Jean was trying his best to fix it (good luck Jean :-) Hopefully the next traveler can benefit from it!

Not to miss in Essaouira - If you like seafood, make sure you visit the stalls by the port, but go early though before the best catch are all gone! It's not the most glamorous eatery but they are certainly cheap and cheerful with a nice local touch. I tried out a couple of stalls and stall no.1 was good, even the bread was nicer than the other stall I ate at, not to mention the much fresher seafood!

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank ApplepieLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 June 2011

As I travel writer and hotel reviewer I've stayed at some of the most specatular places in the world. This riad is among the top 3 on my list of superior accommodations. It is a brilliant aesthetic creation by its young French owner Jean, clearly a labour of love. The attention to detail: from design to the rose petals scattered around the rim of the deep sunken stone bathtub...and especially the graciousness and warmth of the staff--- this raises Chbanate to the level of superior. It is worth traveling to Morocco simply to stay at this riad.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled on business
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Thank Travelers04800
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 June 2011

Me and my boyfriend decided to stay in Essaouira for 7 nights after spending 4 days in the hustle and bustle of Marrakech!

Essaouira is a complete contrast to Marrakech...far more relaxed.....nice near constant breeze....you are less hassled in the streets and the streets are far less invaded by speeding motorbikes, mopeds and scooters!

We arrived in Essaouria mid afternoon after getting a local CTM bus from Marrakech (60DH each) which took just over 3 hours. We managed to navigate our way to the Riad relatively easily and managed to bump into Simone (Riad Manager) along the street so he escorted us to the Riad.

We were welcomed with Mint tea and some pastries and Simone showed us a Map of the Medina and suggested some places to go. We were then given a tour of the Riad and then our room.

OUR ROOM - We stayed in the Berbere Room which was beautiful! It was the cheapest room in the Riad but it certainly didnt feel like it! The room was very big, spotless and decorated very tastefully with nice morrocan decor. Our bathroom had a huge bath which was amazing and we had hot water everyday. They had also put rose petals on the bed, around the bath and on our towels which was a lovely touch!

THE FOOD - We ate in the Riad on the first night and had traditional tagines which were delicious and cooked by Naoual. The breakfast each day was fresh orange juice, either tea, coffee or mint tea and then a selection of pastries, pancakes and jams. That was my only disappointment that we were given the same selection every morning, which although it tasted very nice it did get a bit boring.

THE RIAD + STAFF
Jean (The Owner), Simone (Manager), Naoual (waitress/cook) and Greggy (Waiter) were all very friendly and helpful in recommending places to go, things to try and places to eat. Jean explained how he built the Riad which made us appreciate just how much thought went into the design of his Riad. (THANK YOU ALL!). We also enjoyed the company of Jeans turtle and chameleon in the main courtyard..not something you see everyday!

THINGS TO DO IN ESSAOUIRA

- Eat at Sirocco - has a french owner called Gale who is very friendly. Very good food and good value for money!

- For amazing views of the sunset got to the Hotel (cant remember the name - 'Hotel Fata' to the left of the Taros cafe and climb up the steps...definetely worth it! ( I will upload a picture eventually!)

- Eat at the local fish market by the port...you choose the fish you want which is very fresh and is then cooked for you...very good value!! We had Red Snapper, Calamari, Sea Urchin, Sea Bream, prawns and king prawns, salad, bread and water for 200DH (£18)...bargain!

- If you like to cook book a cooking experience at l' Atelier Matada..it costs 450DH each (£40) each! You learn to cook a traditional tajine and a side salad...whilst its cooking we were taken into the town and shown the other fish market and then taken to a spice shop where the owner gave us the best mint tea we had whilst we were in Morocco and a tour of his shop. As we wanted to buy a tajine we asked the guy who was showing us around from L'Atelier Matada where was best to buy one so he helped us a good quality one for around 50DH (£4.50)....bargain! We then returned to the restaurant to finish our cooking. We then sat down and ate...DELICIOUS!!!

- Camel Ride on the beach - great experience and good value (100DH for 1hr each)

- Eat at Chez Sam - we had the set menu for 85DH each which provided us with loads of fish...we were stuffed!

- At night - visit 'Cafe Des Artes' and climb up the stairs to the top if you want to listen to some authentic Morrocan music in a warm, cosy environment!

- Walk along the beach to 'Beach and Friends' which is a modern cafe facing the seafront which has good food and nice mint tea!

ENJOY!!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Caz1988
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 June 2011

This is probably one of the best hotels I have ever been. Essaouria is a lovely town that I recommend, especially if you have stayed a few days in Marakech. Quite, pretty, a bit windy but the air is fresh. People are very kind. And the food is excellent,
We arrived at this hotel with little expectations. It was a great suprise:
. Interior design is perfect. Unique flavor of what best you can get from morroco
. the room is perfect. Nice decoration. Large volume. Big Bath.
. Location: one or two streets away from the main street: perfect
. Very calm
. Breakfast: very good. I recommend the morrocan pancakes ... Homemade!

But overall, the key factor of pleasure and well being was the service and the warm welcome we received. The staff is so kind. they d do everything to make sure you have a perfect stay. They recommand where to go, where to have a spa, where to have a dinner or a lunch. They ordered a car for us to go back to Marakech.

One of my best experiences in a hotel.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank rafiot_uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2011

Spent a delightful 4 days here. A serene oasis of calm within the medina with close access to all sights. Cool jazz sounds. Check out the "before and after" photographs of this riad renovation and be amazed by the transformation !

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank yanhLondon_England
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2011

We just loved this place starting with the owner Jean's charming personality. He designed this place perfectly and he and his wife Thais were very good at making us feel like this Riad was our home.
It was raining for two days which was rare in Essaouira, but we just stayed in the Riad, having wine and nice dinner, warming ourselves by the fireplace.
Since Jean is French, his choice of wine and bread is perfect. There are so many kinds of bread for breakfast and we couldn't wait for it. Also Jean recommended us nice bakery which was very cheap, but French-quality.
This Riad isn't gorgeous, but it reflects the owners' warm and friendly character very well so you just fall in love with this place.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Makachi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Riad Chbanate

Address: 179 Rue Chbanate, Essaouira 44000, Morocco
Region: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Essaouira
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Essaouira
#4 Luxury Hotel in Essaouira
#6 Family Hotel in Essaouira
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Essaouira
Price Range: £90 - £137 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Riad Chbanate 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This traditional, 18th century Moroccan residence was once home to the Caid d'Essaouira and his family.Located in the Medina of Essaouira the riad is ideally situated near Bab Marrakech and only a 5 minutes walk from the beach.Through a complete renovation, this authentic riad has been transformed into a residence of modern comfort and elegant surroundings. A jewel of the Essaouira Medina, Riad Chbanate welcomes you with a delicate ambiance created by the timeless magic and perfumes of the Orient. Riad Chbanate has been renovated with care and elegance to offer you an authentic, tasteful, and very comfortable environment. The services provided by Riad Chbanate are worthy of the much larger luxury hotels of Morocco. Step through the door of Riad Chbanate and discover its unique magic. Warm and friendly, with the comfort of luxury hotel services, it is only natural that guests feel at home in Riad Chbanate. Faithful to traditional design, and to ensure exceptional comfort, Riad Chbanate is a perfect blend of Moroccan craftsmanship and modern convenience. In the Moroccan tradition of generous and flavorful meals, Riad Chbanate invites you to discover the specialties of the region with each gourmet dining experience. With attentive service and a personalized concierge, the staff of Riad Chbanate is at your disposal, at all times, for your utmost comfort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riad Chbanate Hotel Essaouira

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