Derb Alaati Allah No. 14, Marrakech, Morocco
www.riadassakina.com - 212(0)-524-38-05-52
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Riad Assakina Marrakech Reviews
A Personalized Touch Makes all the Difference Nov 12, 2010
Staying in a riad is a part of the experience of Marrakech. A riad is an Arabic-style house where all windows face inward to an open-roofed garden with a fountain or water feature.
After doing much research online, I chose Riad Assakina and was very glad I did. British owners Grant and Michele are extremely nice and helpful and their staff made me feel right at home. Located in the Mellah area (former Jewish quarter) of the Marrakech Medina, Riad Assakina is a three minute walk to the Bahia Palace and roughly a ten minute walk to the main square, Djemaa El-Fna.
Michele did most of the riad design work herself, and a book on the lounge coffee table shows the progress of the riad from 2005 until today. The design of this hotel is nothing short of beautiful.
As is the case with most riads, this riad has just a few rooms (seven). Reservations will need to be made well in advance with a 50% deposit required. Visa or MasterCard is accepted but like most businesses in the Medina, American Express is not. Deposits can be handled through a riad booking agency, but I corresponded directly with Grant and Michele who made the process easy and painless.
The rooms are cozy and a quiet retreat from the bustling Medina. While I paid more than I normally would for a hotel, this riad was worth it. The beds are comfortable and special touches like fresh fruit, flowers and a welcome candle make visitors feel a part of the Riad Assakina family. The bathrooms are nicely decorated and the showers/drains work fairly well, but as Marrakech plumbing is delicate, drains do fill quickly.
Visitors are provided detailed maps of the Medina (which you will definitely need as it's easy to get lost), and each room has a welcome packet outlining some of the problems in Marrakech such as child beggars, "broken" taxi meters etc.
Breakfast is included in the price and options include french toast, eggs, fruit and yogurt or fruit-filled pancakes. Definitely try the banana-filled pancakes, which were delicious. Breakfast comes with a big basket of bread. If Moroccan pancakes are included, these are a treat. The soft, spongy dough is wonderful.
Afternoon tea from 4-5 is also included in the price with options of either English or Moroccan mint tea with pastries or cakes.
Lunch or dinner can also be pre-booked but there will be a charge.
WiFi is available or there is a spare laptop which visitors can use. Some rooms have television, while others do not, but frankly, with the beautiful views of Marrakech from the riad's roof, who wants to watch TV?
This riad also offers an airport pick-up for roughly US$25. I did take advantage of this as while this is higher than a taxi, if you are visiting Marrakech for the first time, it can be challenging navigating the alleys (derbs) as taxis cannot drive down the alley ways and will just drop you off somewhere. An airport transfer will get you to your riad.
Tours can also be arranged through the riad and I took advantage of a 1/2 day orientation tour of the City which was well worthwhile.
This riad is filled with personal touches and Grant and Michele want everyone to feel at home. They own a cat, Zak, who wanders the riad and as these owners are animal fans, there is a stray cat who often visits the riad as well.
The only downsides I can think of with this riad are (1) the riad is not particularly child friendly for small children and (2) the neighborhood itself is poor. The Mellah fell into disrepair after World War II and while this area is coming back slowly, this is one of the poorer parts of the Medina. I was approached a few times for money while walking to the riad at night which, while not scary, is a part of the day-to-day financial reality of the Mellah.
I visited Marrakech solo, which can be daunting in a new culture and country. Michele and Grant made me feel so welcome that I found myself very sad to leave this riad. The personal touches are what make this hotel so memorable. On my last day, Michele and Grant walked me to my taxi and gave me a traditional Moroccan good-bye with a kiss on each cheek. I actually found myself getting a little emotional and realized how much I enjoyed this very special hotel.
Part of the Solo in Marrakech, Morocco travel blog
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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