My friends and I were looking for accommodation in Marrakech; we wanted something very traditional, close to the Souks and Djeema el Fna (main square) as the main purpose of our visit was to shop, relax and shop some more!
Having spent hour after hour, week after week trailing through accommodation sites, blogs and reviews of fellow travellers, we still weren’t anywhere near making a decision. Just when we thought we’d found the right one, we’d discover it was actually miles away from where we wanted to be (not that we were sure exactly where we needed to be) or it had negative comments on the review sites…back to the drawing board.
There were three of us travelling; myself, my friend and her daughter. We wanted a traditional Riad (guest house), her daughter wanted a pool to lounge by. Simple you may think…
Well during my research I learnt that if we wanted a decent pool then we were looking at a hotel, some Riads do have pools but most of these are no larger than a child’s pool at best, some weren’t even that big!! So we had to compromise.
We discovered that the main hotels with large pools and different board options were all slightly further out of the centre of the city. This would mean taxis into the main area we wanted to be and that could be a bit of a hassle. We realised that to be close to the Souks, we needed to be in the ‘Medina’, that’s the walls of the old city.
The problem is there are so many accommodation only sites to choose from all of which have hundreds of Riads and jumping from one to another just causes even greater confusion. So here goes with my advice to find the best accommodation for your needs in Marrakech.
- Have a pen and paper handy – write down possibilities and if you rule them out, put why. It saves a lot of going over old ground later on.
- Highlight strong possibilities but make a note of anything that might be a negative.
- Make a note of prices as this can be a deciding factor when it comes to the final shortlist.
- Don’t read too deeply into other people’s bad reviews, what doesn’t suit one person might not be the same for you. Remember, some people will moan about anything.
- If it is the souks you are interested in then look for accommodation within the Medina.
- If you want to spend time relaxing by the pool and perhaps enjoy all inclusive hospitality, then you need the larger hotels.
- The roads in Marrakech are very manic and traffic is very heavy, walking 20 to 30 minutes is often much easier (and quicker) plus much less frantic than trying to get taxis.
- Riads are usually located down small alleyways; do not let this put you off, as once inside, they open up into a tranquil haven of peace, beauty and relaxation.
- Try to choose one that has some English speaking staff unless your French is up to scratch.
My friends and I finally settled on the Riad Cannelle, within the Medina and just metres from the edge of the Souks. The staff were so friendly and helpful, our surroundings traditionally Moroccan and the ambience so peaceful and quiet after the hectic atmosphere of the Souks.
All the hard work and research certainly paid off but I think if I’d followed my own advice, we could have probably made our choice much sooner, but then again, maybe we are just hopeless at making decisions.