They say a visit to Morocco won’t be complete without making a stop at Marrakesh, so we made the most of our visit by allocating two days in this city. We booked Riad Boussa after reading visitor feedback and reasonable cost. What was uncertain for us was what a riad is and how it looks like, despite ideas presented through property photos. Nonetheless, we booked it as we believe it’s one way of experiencing authentic Moroccan culture.
Before our arrival, riad owner Brigitte has sent me a confirmation message, which is kind of reassuring that they are awaiting our arrival and that prior arrangements on transportation is being taken care of. On our arrival at Marrakesh’s train station, the riad arranged for car pickup. We then headed to the entrance of Jemaa El Fna, where the riad is located. The riad also got someone to pick up our luggage from the car to the riad, which would be difficult to find if we did it on our own.
The riad is located in the middle of Jemaa El Fna right past the spectacle of the medina — snake charmers, spice traders and juice dealers — the main road can be pretty crowded during afternoons and early evenings. But Ali and his wife, the inn keepers and Brigitte’s assistants were on hand to provide guidance with very detailed, handwritten notes on getting around (with maps carefully drawn to guide us out and return to the accommodation easily) plus attractions nearby.
More importantly we were warned of common tricks some folks employ such as inviting tourists to visit tanneries (Ali said the one in Fez is better than in Marrakesh) and how to deal with them. Such advice came handy as we were later swarmed with men who invite us to try their goods, eat at their restaurants and so on. Just politely turn them down and they’ll remark: “no problem friend, have a good evening.”
If I am not mistaken, there are only four rooms available at the riad, so no wonder every guest gets proper attention. We were also toured in the terrace upstairs and were shown the fireplace as alternative place to spend cold December evenings. The rooms are small but adequate for us, complete with hot and cold shower and beds adorned with roses and a general cozy atmosphere in a truly Moroccan setting.
One of the more enduring features in the riad are its in-house cats, one of whom has become endeared to us — meowing in front of our door and we would cuddle him in bed.
One thing I really like about this place is that its quiet surrounding and well-maintained interiors. It’s like we are living in a typical Moroccan household.
Breakfasts are arranged before hand: you tell Ahmed the other inn keeper what time you’d have yours, and your choice drink. At exact time the following morning your table is ready. It came with croissants, condiments, traditional Moroccan pancakes, orange juice, pan-fried pancake which became my personal favorite. When we had ours, other guests were probably still asleep.
We only stayed for two nights but it was memorable enough that I wrote a lengthy note in the guestbook guests typically write on before checking out.
Overall, it was a nice stay for us in an authentic Moroccan home, and Moroccan hospitality was clearly on display with how we were treated.
Value for Money: 8/10