10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"Having stayed at El Fenn in March I couldn't wait to get back but had booked 4 nights in Riad Kniza as a present for my son before my first trip, so tagged a few days in El Fenn on when he couldn't go.
Kniza was very nice, very old world, helpful staff and good service but by comparison simply not in the same league as El Fenn.
The suite in Kniza was barely bigger than the average room in Ell Fenn. Pretty, but only a basic shower in the bath. The larger rooms in El Fenn are gargantuan by direct comparison, the bathrooms awesome and overall the whole Riad feels 6 times the size of Kniza. Maybe more because of the very high ceilings throughout.
Modern versus traditional is everywhere but in terms of the facilities and space for visitors El Fenn wins hands down.
With poor weather most of our stay we felt at a loss for somewhere to sit out of our room when not out and about at Kniza and even when it was possible there was only a very small courtyard with 4 tiny chairs and the small terrace with almost everything covered over and no pool at all. The two rooms off the square were very dark in daytime. We did feel a little claustrophobic at times. Wireless intermet in the room was helpful though.
We really noticed the difference at El Fenn where there are any number of spots indoor and out to languish about plus the 2 pools and splash pool on the roof terrace. The new pool with its own courtyard, seating areas surrounded by greenery and ample space is fabulous.
Having had back surgery comfortable seating is a must for me and El Fenn has it in spades.
As a returning customer to El Fenn I simply couldn't believe the welcome even though it was for only a few days and they knew we had been at Riad Kniza. Everyone smiled and greeted me. Frederic, the manager, and his lovely wife, who will forgive me for forgetting her name, Salma and Mohamed were all kisses and questions. On leaving Mohamed and Frederic insisted in walking with us to our transport at the end of the alley.
In terms of organisation the high spot at Kniza was the Berber market and Atlas tour. Mostly superbly organised with a truely awesome mule ride over tiny mountain paths. But sightly marred by no one at the hotel telling us it is essential to prebook lunch. To be fair to our guide Abdul he did sort it out but at one stage a whole day with no lunch was not a great prospect.
The low spot the organised tour of the Souk, not by the owner which by all accounts is excellent, but the usual quick sprint through what you want to see and ages in the appointed shops particularly the spice shop which is a complete rip off. My companion fell for the Â£1.50 massage and then a hard sell of about Â£30 of stuff buyable for less than Â£5 on every other corner.
Never mind the wasted time.
By comparison our requested booking by El Fenn for Vaudeville restuarant, who didn't answer the phone or Salma's fax, resulted in another booking at Bagatelle just in case and was just as well as Vaudeville was closed when our taxi took us there first. Taxis are arranged or hailed as you request. I even got the same table at Tobsil, another fab resturant el Fenn recommend, as on the last trip, again arranged by the wonderful Salma.
Service at both Riads is hard to fault but again El Fenn excelled when on our first night out Hussein, the diligent night porter, asked did we want the usual nightcap in the room on our return.
We did and it was there. Perfect.
They ask that you don't tip staff at all until you leave which is a real relief and doesn't effect service in any fashion. Probably improves it actually.
We had room 16 this time, in the new wing, truly breathtaking with red leather walls, huge ceilings and fabulous furniture but what really makes any place you stay memorable is the ambience, the service and the helpfulness of the people who run it.
It is hard to believe but really nothing is too much trouble for the staff and management at El Fenn and to a man and woman everything is done with a genuine smile and desire you enjoy your stay and come back.
I will. You should."
- Travel date: Fri 25th of May 2007
"Simply excellent. El Fenn is beautifully decorated, very cool but not so much so that you feel that you are unstylish. Our room had enormously high ceilings and an opulent black marble bath. The rooms have ipod speakers as well which was brilliant.
The staff were really helpful, from the concierge full of ideas for shoppign and eating, to the wait staff who were efficient and friendly.
The food was excellent too and all in all it was hard to leave the hotel despite the delights of marrakech."
- Travel date: Wed 23rd of May 2007
Upscale living in Marrakesh
"My wife and I stayed here in March 07. We found this hotel on the website " Mr and Mrs Smith " from the UK.
This is more pricey than most of the Riads we have come across or stayed at in Marrakesh. It is no doubt luxurious, has wonderful food and is well located in the medina.
It recently underwent an expansion and we had a large room in the new wing.
There are 2 heated pools in the courtyards and a small pool for dipping on the rooftop garden. Afternoon tea is served in the courtyard every day.....very civilized!
If you are willing to spring for the higher price of Riad Fenn, I don't think you will be dissappointed.
Staff are helpful and very hospitable.
Look forward to a return visit."
- Travel date: Wed 28th of March 2007
Jewel in the Crown
"Wow, what can I say this truly lives up to its reputation. The place is an amazing boutique riad, where the staff will go out of there way to help however they can. We feel that we could really relax here and also the massages are amazing best I have experienced and I have had a few!!! I have recommended it to friends and family ideal for a weekend break or a weeks holiday. The location is perfect which is one of the main reasons we chose to stay here, as it is close to the square and easy accessible to all the good food places. I felt relaxed straight away and the rooms are very private, and only a few. I believe that the pictures on the internet do not do it justice as the rooms are bigger than they look and are very roomy, and with all the amenities that are needed. The staff are very welcoming and helpful when it comes to places to eat and go. I had direct contact with Salma who helps run the hotel, she emailed me straight away after I enquired about booking. This is also one of the reasons we booked to stay here as other Riads did not respond. This to me is always a good sign. It was my husbands birthday and Salma booked us dinner at Tobsil which was Amazing one of the best places we have eaten, and they came and sang happy birthday to him which was arranged by Salma. Amazing place and service would highly recommend staying here."
- Travel date: Tue 13th of March 2007
"We were recommended by friends to stay at Riad El Fenn who assured us that we would not be disappointed and we wasn't. The Riad is beautiful, the staff are absolutely fantasic and were so great with our three girls. It is an oasis of peace and tranquility once you step inside out of the busy streets of the Medina. Food is excellent served with care and attention, rooms are gorgeous with extra large beds and extra soft sheets, delicious cake is served in the afternoon. We loved it so much we are returning in April as there are so many beautiful rooms to choose from!!"
- Travel date: Tue 6th of March 2007
"This 'hotel' was outstanding. Great rooms, spacious and well decorated, fabulous food in the restaurant (the best we ate in Marrakech). Close to all the action and the atmosphere was great
The room was sumptuous and well appointed.
Food and service was great, excellent breakfast and morning tea brought to your room.
The pool area was small but very nice. The rooftop terrace affords excellent views over Marrakech.
I cant quite understand the view of one reviewer that the staff were difficult. We are no movie stars (perhaps my wife thinks she is...) and we had great attention and stimulating conversation with the staff. They were great.
If I return to Morocco, I would stay here again in a heart beat."
- Travel date: Mon 26th of February 2007
Magical Riad El Fenn
"It seems that you can't go far wrong with riads in Marrakech and we were thrilled with Riad El Fenn. We had room 5, a gorgeous shade of turquoise tadelakt, extremely comfortable bed, bath at the end of the bed and superb waterfall style shower.
The roof terrace was beautiful too and we spent hours each afternoon lazing around reading books and dozing.
The location of this riad is brilliant so you don't have to walk too far for anything.
The breakfast they serve is amazing though you might feel guilty that you can't possibly finish it all. It comprises freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee/tea, cereal, baguette, croissants, pains au chocolat, porridge, melon, yoghurt and these gorgeous little rolled up pancake type things soaked in honey.
We only ate there once in the evening and it was an experience to remember. It's quite strange sitting there and not knowing what you are going to have but the food was scrumptious.
They also have a cinema room with a fairly good selection of day beds, you lie on a day bed in front of the screen."
- Travel date: Sat 2nd of December 2006
Peace and tranquility in the Medina
"This is a beautiful Riad with lovely staff. Stayed a week in Marrakech with a perfect combination of the frenetic Souks and the stillness of the Riad. The food is magnificent, particularly the breakfast and lunch. The pool is just big enough and the hammam - superb. It is very stylish and the staff were uniformly attentive. If you get a chance - do go for a day trip to the High Atlas - stunning.
You can stay in a hotel in Marrakech but staying in a Riad is much more interesting and this must be one of the best."
- Travel date: Mon 27th of November 2006
"This place is awesome! Very chic and stylish, great food, beautiful surroundings, plunge pool, well stocked library and screening room - nothing was too much trouble for the staff - we will definitely be back! Tom Hanks even dropped in for dinner one night (shooting his latest film on location in Marrakech!) Book it!"
- Travel date: Tue 17th of October 2006
Definately worth the money
"We stayed at the Riad El Fenn for two nights following our stay at the Kasbah Tamadot. I believe this place is owned by Richard Branson's sister. Either way, the style and laid back nature of the Riad was excellent and provided a nice quiet escape from the heat and bussle of Marrakech.
The staff were totally unobtrusive and let you do anything u wanted. The Spa was OK, probably very good but after the Kasbah Tamadot, it was difficult not to compare the two.
The food was excellent and they allowed you to choose where you wished to eat.
The Riads location to the main attractions is probably one of its best assets.
For our visit, the staff were very gracious and allowed a late check-out at no extra cost as the hotel was quiet.
If I had a couple of notes, our room had steps up to the bathroom which were polished marble. I accidentally dripped some water after a shower and totally slipped down the stairs. Thankfully being 6'3'' I was able to reach out and grab a chair. Anyone older or shorter would have flown and totally cracked their head! (UK Health and Safety requirments all of a sudden seemed very sensible to me!) Also the DVD player in the film room seemed not to be able to read a vast majority of the DVDs!
Apart from this,I would recommend the Riad to others. Richard"
- Travel date: Sun 27th of August 2006