Riad Le Plein Sud, Marrakech
2 reviews from the community
Review of "Riad Le Plein Sud, Marrakech"
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RIAD PLEIN SUD
56 Derb Derdouba Arets Ihiri,
Bab Doukala, Marrakech,
020 3684 4822
Last month my other half took me to Morocco for my birthday, we stayed in Marrakech. This was a first time experience for us in Marrakesh though I was in Moroco before. The flight was just 4 hours from Gatwick Airport.The break was for 5 days and 4 nights and was booked via Teletext Holidays who have a direct website.
*** WHAT IS A RIAD? ***Staying in a riad in the old medina of Marrakech is a unique experience, but as we found out later, it is not for everyone.
The name ‘riad’ means garden but it is given to guest houses built round a central courtyard and usually in the heart of where the locals live.Nothing like a hotel and no plush amenities such as a pool even though some state there is one. The pool here is more like a fishless pond and the Riad is dark inside, it actually feels like you’re entering a cave dwelling.
They are generally owned by individuals, sometimes the owner is the manager and sometimes there is a manager who can be a local.A word of advice - many riads do not accept credit cards.
Often a riad is booked on a website, only a small deposit is paid - some or all of the balance must be paid on arrival.This may have to be cash, and may require a trip to the ATM. Also, being forced to pay the bulk of your accommodation costs in cash may cause cash flow issues, especially on arrival.
One solution is to take enough euros or travelers cheques to cover your accommodation expenses. (As most riads publish their prices in euros you could consider taking euros.)Currently taking Dirhams is not an option as the currency is closed and cannot be obtained outside of the country. The airport exchange rate is not good so wait till you get to an ATM to buy the bulk of your currency. We bank with Nationwide and they do not charge for withdrawals abroad with specific flex accounts.
Its always difficult judging money when you’re in a new country Advice would be to look at your Dh currency in the following way: £1 = 10 Dh.Any remaining currency must be changed back before you leave.
***FIRST IMPRESSIONS****When we landed the weather was a big improvement on Gatwick. We paid for a private taxi transfer when we booked the holiday and the driver was waiting outside the terminal for us. Not the most polite of men, though he was ok with my other half, he just didn’t want to converse with me so I didn’t bother either.
There was no plush entrance; we had to walk two alley ways down as it’s too narrow for a car to get through. The door inside was heavy, wooden and no window. I was beginning to think what on earth had we come to, not the most welcoming outside and plus we were situated right in the heart of where the locals live and they all congregate by their doors and just stared at us. I suppose being the only westerners
in this area didn’t help and I felt a bit uncomfortable.
It Is very dark inside and I felt I was inside a cave not a guesthouse.
****THE ROOMS****There is no lift here so disabled access is impossible. No ramp either and plus the place is very dark inside.
The one stair case that leads you to the where the rooms are has no hand rail, made out of concrete and it’s a narrow spiral. I felt very uncomfortable coming down and totally unsafe. Fortunately I didn’t fall but it’s not the easiest of stairs to come down from especially with luggage.Six rooms in total and once inside these are done in typical Moroccan style, dark wooden doors and hanging lamps. Spotlessly clean I must add and the towels were crisp and white as well as the sheets.
The shower was more of a wet room, no tiles just a concrete shell. The floor is incredibly slippery so take extra care but once inside the shower, though the unit was basic, the water was always warm and had a strong jet. There are no complimentary soaps etc. so make sure you take your own.The beds were extremely comfortable and after a long day travelling, it was a welcome sight for sore feet and weary travelers.
No TV in any rooms and the Wi-Fi signal is a bit hit and miss at times, just use the room as a base to sleep and change in as there is nothing else to do here so take some good reading material. There is no bar but reception is always available if you wish to buy water or order tea.There is air con in each room and ours worked perfectly as did the heater on colder nights.
Bringing young children here would be a nightmare. The hotel offers baby sitting but to be honest this is more of a couples or older group place to stay.****FOOD****
We had bed and breakfast only. They are laid back with breakfast times, no rush. Literally come down stairs, sit in the courtyard and Rajan will bring out either English tea or coffee (goats milk) or Moroccan tea which I became totally addicted to. She doesn’t speak a word of English but we managed on hand signals and lots of thumbs up gestures.The best Wi-Fi signal is downstairs in the courtyard as it’s close to the router. It’s hard to believe how quiet this place is because as soon as you leave the safety of the big front wooden door it’s when mayhem and pollution start.
Back to breakfast. Orange juice followed which was fresh and delicious. Then a basket of dry bread with honey or jam and either an omelette or a pancake.
It’s not filling but still tasty.
There is no bar license.I did laugh at the cutlery. It was minuscule, children’s size. Perhaps it was to deter you from asking for more food.
****HOW TO BOOK AND PRICES ****The Riad is on many travel sites and you have to book with the agent direct or call Shoki.
Prices vary; we paid £150 each for bed and breakfast via teletext in March per person plus flights. When you leave you will also be charged city tax for the “pleasure” of staying there. This is another £18 each on top.www.booking.com/RiadLePleinSud/Marrakech
****CONCLUSION****In reception there is a certificate of excellence and trip advisor have awarded them 5 stars. This is a great riad in the chaos of the city.
Shoki will do anything for you, you just need to ask. They will also give you advice on what to do and where to go. If you have a phone with maps I would recommend you mark the location of the hotel as it is down a small street which can be hard to find (though the staff give you their number and will come and find you if you get lost).Amazing staff, so friendly, welcoming and helpful. We felt that they really looked after us. Shoki organised a day trip for us to Essaouira with our own driver, and we felt safe with him.
The atmosphere of the place is lovely; we liked it being away from the souks and the madness of the square.Would I go back? No I wouldn’t, though as a host he was brilliant, it’s just the area, it doesn’t feel safe especially at night and locals constantly follow you once you’re outside begging for money.
A very poor country, but once seen never forgotten.Please remember it’s a Moslem country and most of the women were in full burkha, dress appropriate and respect their culture. Unfortunately I saw a few western ladies who didn’t and they were followed by the local men around the square. High heels are a non-starter here too; take flats and trainers if possible.
Another piece of advice, take a map as the lanes surrounding the Riad are like a rabbit warren and if you ask a local for help then you’re asking for trouble as they will follow you and demand money.If one local sees you with another then he too will latch on. Keep your head down and try not to communicate. They are persistent and it’s quite intimidating.
Shoki will rescue you if you call him but take a lebara sim to use as most networks cost a fortune there.Small, clean and simple, with the kindest and most courteous hosts, happy to give advice and arrange anything for you. Just remember keep your wits about you once outside and enjoy your stay.
Thanks for reading
Product Information : Riad Le Plein Sud, Marrakech
Manufacturer's product description
Address: 56 Derb Derdouba Arest Ihiri Bab Doukala, Marrakesh 40000
Rating: 3 Stars
Listed on Ciao since: 29/03/2017