11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Sharon and Gemma loved the Palais Sebban.
"My daughter and I stayed at the Palais Sebban for 3 nights. I had never been to Marrakech before, although my daughter had, but not at the Palais Sebban. We booked a prestige twin room through Expedia. We had to arrange transfer from the airport to the Riad, by phoning them before hand and having a quote for 20 Euros â well worth it, as we didnât feel like haggling with taxi drivers, two ladies on their own. It all went very smoothly, with the taxi driver there to welcome us when we arrived. I had never been to a Riad before and didnât realise that you couldnât drive a car up to the entrance, but a porter (who was lovely and named me Fatima and my daughter Aisha), took our cases along the narrow dusty non descript, alley ways; to the door of the Riad and the reception area. Oh my Goodness is all I can say, when the carved doors were opened in to the Riad for us. The Moroccan mosaics, carvings, pillars, furniture were breath taking. The ceiling looked like an intricate wedding cake turned upside down. We were served mint tea and Moroccan pastry on arrival and were shown around the restaurant, plunge pool and roof terrace. We couldnât believe how lovely it was. THEN we were shown to our room. An even bigger âOh My Godâ. The porter had a key that opened the large old padlock attached to the heavily carved double doors and we entered our room. It was a breathtaking, palatial, mirrored, maroon and gold paradise. It took us a couple of hours for it all to sink in. Took photos, but none truly captured the magnificence of the room. You had to see it to believe it. Our room was called Oudaya. All the rooms and suites are called different names and are all individual in design and dÃ©cor. All of the guests we spoke to, were enamoured with their rooms, but we never got to get a peek at any of them. That didnât matter, we were so pleased with ours. Just one thing; the Palais Sebban was so fabulous, that we were spoilt and other Morrocan architecture just wasnât as good as where we were staying. Richard Branson has a Riad just around the corner that he rents out to people. We had a look in there and it wasnât a patch on the Palais Sebban!!!! The Riad is really central to everything, within the walls of the Medina. You only had to go out of the Riadâs lane, turn left, then left again, walk a few hundred yards, then left again and straight in to the main square. We were two women on our own, and never felt threatened in any way. We respected the local tradition and wore head scarfs and long dresses and were commented on how we had made that bit of effort. However, there were a couple of teenage girls staying at the Riad, who went out every day in mini skirts and had their bottoms pinched and prodded and were leered at â and I am sure had a completely different experience of Marrikech than we did â poor things. It doesnât take much to cover up a bit. We had breakfast included, and had a glass of fresh orange juice and a buffet at our disposal. You could order omelettes, fried eggs, pancakes and the like and there was a nice choice on the main table for you to indulge in. Fresh breads and a chocolate cake, fruits and ham and cheese. I think that I read other people who werenât happy about the breakfast, but I certainly was, and the setting you enjoy it in, is superb. I have to say that prices at the Riad are expensive compared to other eateries in the area. We had a lovely bottle of wine for Â£22 (you canât buy alcohol anywhere else in the Medina) and the Terrines are about Â£12, but fabulously delicious. Their Moroccan deserts are certainly worth a dabble for about Â£5. I read one review that complained about the location as he had nowhere to park his car (obviously doesnât know what a Riad is) and said that the staff were unfriendly, well all I can say to that man is perhaps you get back what you give out. Be strong ladies. You donât need a guide. If you get a good couple of guide books (we had DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10 Marrakech and Marrakech Select â an unusual book that I bought on Amazon with a fabric Mosaic cover and lovely descriptions of the city by someone who lives there). You must walk around as if you know what you are doing, even if you donât! People try to get you to buy things and take taxis or get henna tattoos, and have photos with their monkeys or wrap snakes around your neck; but you must be firm and friendly and just say ânoâ, with a firm swipe of the hand, and they will go away. You donât have to get stressed about it. Everyone is just trying to make a living. We bought a lot in the Souks. Itâs a bit tiring, but generally, we found that we started our bidding at about 30% of the asking price and paid no more than 40%. We were firm and found that we were quite good at it all!. I think that sometimes I drove down the price a bit too much, and genuinely felt that some of the traders werenât happy. I think that you need to pay what you feel is a good price, and that is how we did it at the end of our trip, and felt better for it. We found some lovely little restaurants in the souks and generally went for first or second floor balconies, so that we could observe all the Moroccan madness below us. We watched the sun go down over the main square, whilst sitting on the top floor of the CafÃ© De France, which was surreal and noisy and aromatic and amazing. We went to the best night club in the new town, called Le Comptior and saw the belly dancers and sophisticated Morrocan socialites going about their business. We had lunch in the best hotel in North Africa, the Mamounia; with a fabulous garden to walk around and mix with rich and famous. Small lunch with drink cost Â£100, yes we had a brain storm, but thought what the hell, weâre here to experience everything, and we sure did! We had a horse drawn carriage around the medina wall and the new town and saw the palace and the storks nesting naturally on the old city walls. We paid 200 durum, which was more than we should have, we haggled him down to that, but he did have the nicest looking carriage and horses. We really wanted to go to the cosybar for our last evening out as they do Jazz and have a very good name, but we were just too tired on our final night, and ate at the Riad instead â tranquil harmony. We met some people on the plane home, and they had spent every night at the Cosybar and loved it ï. We should have made the effort. May be next time. We loved our break at the Palais Sebban. It couldnât have been better. Sharon Robinson and Gemma Newman (Fatima and Aisha). "
- Travel date: 9th May 2013
Lovely public spaces BUT weird odor in the room
"This place was booked for us by our tour company. The location was a bit out of the way from the Djemaa el Fna, but it must have been close to one of the more famous Marrakech restaurants (can't remember the name). I saw a small sign for the restaurant with an arrow and a man asked us if we were looking for that restaurant and of course he would take us there for a tip. When we arrived at the door and rang the bell, it took a while for them to answer; that's because it wasn't their front door technically. You actually had to go inside and walk down a very wide but dark cavelike hallway to a door in the end to the left for their actual front door. If you get there and the first door is open go ahead and walk in. We only stayed for one evening in the "Menara" room on our way back from the desert. The public spaces were gorgeously decorated in the more traditional style. However, it seemed like they stopped placing some of the more beautiful decor inside our room. This opinion is based on a comparison of other riads where the decor continued into the room. This is just a general observation and not at all a complaint of the place since the public spaces were done very well. My complaint of the room is the weird odor! When we first arrived, we smelled an odd odor as soon as we walked into the room. I literally went back outside the room into the hallway just to see if I would smell it again as soon as I walked in. Sure enough the odor was absolutely there. At first we thought that maybe the previous guest had done the deed and just barely left. After all they were still trying to get our room ready when we arrived. I checked the bathroom and everything looked very clean. I opened the bathroom window to let the air ventilate and we left the riad to go walk around the souks for the afternoon and the evening. When we returned to our room the smell was still there! We were so tired from the long drive during the day and walking around the souks that we decided to let it go given that we were only staying for the night before our early morning flight the next day. Don't know why the smell bothered us so much given that we had spent a few nights before that in a desert tent with camel-smelling blankets and of course we had been walking round different souks of different cities. I suppose we were expecting better after seeing the outer public spaces. We think that we did figure out where the stench was coming from the next morning though. The tub for taking a bath/shower was right next to the door and you very easily would get the door wet whilst taking a shower. The constant damp wood seemed to be the culprit in the odd odor. Oh and be careful of the steep stairs, they seemed a bit slippery. As for the positives, they did serve a nice breakfast buffet on the courtyard that was very relaxing, and they served Moroccan pastries as soon as we arrived while waiting for our room to be ready. I liked the fact that rooms were scattered about several smaller courtyards rather than one large central courtyard. We didn't have a chance to let the staff know about the odor problem the next morning in our rush to catch our flight. Hopefully, they peruse through these reviews and fix the problem. Small tip, if the "wheel barrow" guy who takes your luggage to door asks for more tip after you give him something, just calmly shake your head and grab your bags from his cart. The guy tried that with us thinking it was our first time in Marrakech."
- Travel date: 26th May 2008
Beautiful small hotel
"We have just returned from a 3 night stay in Marrakech. Whilst the Palais Sebban is slightly out of the way down the back streets of the medina, it is a lovely hotel. Great service from all of the staff. We stayed in the Dades room, which was beautiful. Everything clean and traditional. Only small complaints were that we were given a twin room not a double which I had asked for, and there is a fountain right outside our room which ran all night, which made us feel like pee-ing a lot! Breakfast is small and not a wide selection, but for only 15 rooms we would not expect more. But it was lovely, service was great and would highly recommend it!"
- Travel date: 14th February 2008
peace and quiet is plentiful here
"We stayed at this Riad for 4 nights on the recommendations from Trip Advisor and we weren't dissapointed, although there where a few minor issues but this certainly didn't put us off. We didnt get off to a good start as our taxi pre booked through the Riad didn't turn up, there where plenty outside the airport so not a problem and it was cheaper than the original price quoted.We were greeted warmly and had our first taste of the lovely traditional mint tea. We did have assistance with our luggage but wasn't shown the layout of the Riad so we had to explore ourselves unfortunately. The place is beautiful, very quiet and peaceful. We stayed in the Mamounia room which was small but cosy. The entrance to the bathroom was low so you had to duck down but this added to the experience of staying in a traditional Riad. The room was kept clean and tidy everyday and all of the staff had a friendly bonjour or bonsoir to us. The room had aircon/heating, a free safe and a fridge with mini bar. The Riad had a plunge pool but this was unheated so it was too cold to try in December which was a shame ! There was ouside seating area's on the roof terrace but this appeared to be for the use with the suites that opened out onto the terrace, we did not clarify this as we where never in during the day when we would have used this. Breakfast is somewhat continental, i wasn't expecting bacon and eggs as it was a traditional Riad but the omelete made on request was a little small. Breakfast was supposed to served from 7.30am onwards but the staff where a little slow, and 2 days when we where up early for an excursion and the airport the breakfast was not prepared. The position is ideal for exploring the souqs as it is 5 minutes from Djemma el - Fna and Koutoubia mosque. It is a peaceful haven from all the hustle and bustle of traffic and people, situated off a main road, off another road and the down an alleyway effectively ! It is very safe to walk back to on an evening. One piece of advice is that a little french goes a long way in Marrakesh, it is by far the language spoken the most. Prepared to get lost in the souqs - it happens ! We asked directions and one gentleman tried to take us to his shop to buy his goods ! He then asked for money when we refused to go any further and wanted to make our own way back to our Riad - so just beware off well meaning people ! We had a trip to the Atlas mountains which i would recommend, try and arrange one which has a walking component with a guide. Narwama is a fantastic thai/morroccan restaurant if you love thai food. It is expensive but worth it, its down an alleyway next to the Jardins de Koutoubia hotel. The cocktails where great, try a mint mojito ! Catanzaro is a great cheap italian off Avenue Mohammed V. Nothing special to look at on the decor outside or inside but full of locals either eating or ordering takeaway ! 3 courses with bread, 2 beers and a bottle of wine cost aprox Â£25. Not all restaurants serve alcohol due to the muslim religion here and there is limited places to buy it if thats what you wish. We purchased duty free and brought it into the country so we could still have pre dinner drinks if eating on one of the Djemaa el - Fna food stalls on an evening ! Palais Sebban is a great Riad to stay at rather than the tourist hotels which you can find here. It is quiet and very pretty in a great part of the city for exploring."
- Travel date: 13th January 2008
Great Riad, great staff
"Beautiful Riad - the building itself was so pretty you could sit and look at it all day. Very pleasant staff and very helpful. Good location."
- Travel date: 8th January 2008
"We checked hundreds of riad's over the internet before we ran into Palais Sebban. The moment we arrived we knew we made the right choice. The hotel arranged a taxi to pick us up at the airport and we were surprised he was still there as our flight was delayed by an hour and a half. The taxi dropped us off near the hotel where a staff member (the cutest senior I have ever met) loaded our luggage into a carriage and escorted us to the hotel. We received a quick tour in which all we could say was ooh and aah. The place was truly breathtaking! Our room (Dades) was better than we expected it to be. Everything one expects to be in a room was there (including a minibar). The bathroom and the rest of the room was very clean... and kept clean throughout our stay. The staff in the hotel did everything they could to make our stay unforgettable. In which they were more than successful. The hotel has a great courtyard with a swimming pool and a large roof top terrace. There's also lots of corners and rooms to sit down in to relax, read a book, etcetera. If you want to eat in the hotel you'll need to order during breakfast. Slow food indeed. But you'll be more than pleased at dinnertime. Whenever I'll be going back to Marrakech, this will be the place I'm staying again."
- Travel date: 29th November 2007
"We stayed here for 2 nights in June, in the Imilchil Room. The Riad is amazingly restored, and has really stunning decor and a very welcome plunge pool. It's only been open around six months, so isn't yet in the guide books. We ate alone one eveing, surrounded by candles, and enjoyed excellent modern moroccan food and perfect service. In fact, service throughout our stay was impossible to fault. We would suggest taking a taxi to the nearby restaurant Riaffa- this seemed to be well known- then phoning the Riad for a guide as its very tricky to find the first time. Once we were given a map and excellent directions we didn't get lost again (well not in that part of town....) In summary, highly recommended. We would definitely stay here again."
- Travel date: 30th June 2007
A wonderful Riad
"My husband, son and I have just returned from a wonderful stay in Marrakech. We spent four nights at the Palais Sebban and found the whole experience delightful. The building has been restored to a very high level and benefits from numerous, beautifully tiled courtyards/terraces and wonderful antique doors with ornamental fittings which give the whole experience an exotic air. The bedroom we had was extremely comfortable, beautifully decorated and clean. The best thing of all though was the staff. We were greeted by the charming Amina, for whom nothing seemed too much trouble. Mohamed, the bell boy, if you can still use that expression, (especially of a man in his sixties) took us on a guided tour of the Riad. He was utterly delightful, with a lovely twinkle in his eyes, so much so that I wanted to bring him home with us. The other members of staff, without exception, were friendly, concerned for our happiness and genuinely cheerful. A working knowledge of French is always handy in Marrakech and some of the junior staff were more comfortable in French that English, however at no stage was this a problem. I read on a review for a different Riad on this website, someone complaining that they were dropped off from the airport and had to carry their own bags down narrow lanes. Why were they staying in a Riad at all? The Palais Sebban, like many Riads, is also down a narrow lane inaccessible to cars and we had a certain amount of difficulty finding it at first. To us that was all part of the charm. When the taxi dropped us off there were people with barrows happy to take our bags for us and lead the way. . small change is a good idea in Marrakech from the outset if you want to use this service. We took our nine year old son with us who loved the whole experience. It must be said though that Marrakech is not really geared up for children who want activities. Toby followed us around happily enough but would in truth have preferred to spend more time near a pool. One of the joys of Riads is the sense of peace and tranquillity they give amidst the bustle and chaos of the Medina and I suppose I would suggest that large families might be better off in a larger hotel. Speaking of peace and tranquillity, the only thing I would change about this Riad is the music they play at mealtimes. It's not offensive or too loud. I just wonder whether it need be there at all. We understand that the Palais Sebban has only been open for six months and there were still one or two rooms empty when we stayed, I imagine that the reason for this is that they are still not in most guidebooks. When they get their publicity up to stream, and if they maintain their high standards, I have no doubt they will be full on a regular basis. My only regret on posting a good review is that when we return, (which we shall certainly do), it will become progressively more difficult to get a room! Thank you Palais Sebban for a wonderful and memorable stay."
- Travel date: 20th April 2007
Fabulous and nothing too much trouble
"My wife and I stayed here for a week ending 20 March. This was our first trip to Morocco so we did not have any other accomodation to compare this Riad with. The experience was simply wonderful - pleasing and beautiful achictecture, spacious, well equipped and spotlessly clean rooms, meal service attentive and staff remembered our personal idiosyncracies. Wine available by the glass or bottle outside of mealtimes. Mde. FranÃ§oise (the proprietor) gave us every assistance to find restaurants and other locales. The Riad is centrally located being about 5 minures walk from Place Djemaa El Fna as well as a short walk to Avenue Mohammed V for taxis to the Hivernage and Guilez districts. We definitely recommend this Riad and will stay again on out next trip to Morocco. We are both well-seasoned travellers."
- Travel date: 25th March 2007
"Stayed in Marrakesh, last place in a 12 day tour of morroco. This place was the best Riad we stayed in. We were here for 4 nights. Staff, location, breakfast was all fantastic. The staff could not do more for us and were accomodating even when we missed breakfast. We met the owner who is french and is around the hotel regularly. She told us that the riad took 4 years to restore by her father and she had moved here with her family to run it and it had only been open for 6 months. The terrace has many nooks and crannies and a great view of the atlas mountains can be seen. There are a number of comfy chairs and tables I became ill for 1 day from something I had eaten and again the staff were so considerate and caring. We were upgarded to a suite on this day and it made such a a difference as I could sit out on the private patio. The Menzeh suite was considerably larger and felt very homely. The location is 5mins walk from the Djema el fna square - the heart of Marrakesh. Here you can also get on a sightseeing bus around the City. The location is also great for the shopping as the medina is right on the doorstep. I would definately recommend this place to experience a luxurius and quality riad that gives you peace away from the rest of bustling Marrakesh (---) Tip As part of our private organised trip, included was a fantasia show. I would not recommend this personally if you do not like tourist events. The dinner is mass produced and served, there are coach loads of tourists, the entertainers (dancers/singers/musicians) will do all they can to get you to join in all throughout dinner and will then expect payment (Maybe we were spolied by having a private small show in an authentic setting in Merzouga from a Gnoua band). After dinner you move to an arena setting. Here there is an unsychronised, random set of scenes played out (no narration) . The highlight was the horsemanship stunts which were spectacular a shame the rest of the show was not to this standard"
- Travel date: 18th March 2007
Our Oasis in the Medina
"My wife and I have just returned from a long weekend in Marrakech, staying at the Palais Sebban. This is the first time we have been to Morocco and our first experience of a riad, and what a lovely experience it was too. The riad is in an excellent location, close to the Koutoubia Mosque and is relatively easy to find during the day or at night. The riad itself was fantastic and proved to be a peaceful haven in the bustling Medina. We stayed in a standard room (the Mamounia room) rather than a suite. The room was decorated to a high standard with hand painted ceilings and a beautifully tiled floor. The bathroom was designed to a high spec and we had no problems with the plumbing. We had a great time exploring the riad and its nooks and crannies. There are numerous quiet sitting areas inside and out, a couple of courtyards, an outdoor (unheated) swimming pool in the spacious garden, and a lovely multi-levelled roof terrace. The whole riad has been restored to a very high standard. The riadâs staff are very friendly and made us feel totally welcome. The substantial Moroccan breakfast was freshly made and delicious and kept us going until dinner time. Breakfast was served to us by Mohammed; a lovely, friendly and knowledgeable chap. All in all, I would definitely recommend this riad."
- Travel date: 11th February 2007
Top traveller tips for Palais Sebban
"Just be friendly to the staff and they will be to you. Take loads of photos, you will be spoilt for Moroccan architecture everywhere else y..."
Palais Sebban is also called
- palais sebban marrakech
- palais sebban hotel marrakech