The Unmissables in Marrakech: Riad Kheirredine – TravelMole true

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The Unmissables in Marrakech: Riad Kheirredine

Friday, 29 Nov, 2022 0

This week’s Unmissable is the Riad Kheirredine which is consistently rated as the best place to stay in Marrakech.

Helena Beard went to find out what all the fuss is about.

I have wanted to visit Marrakech for more than 20 years, but world events, work commitments, and the arrival of children conspired to scupper my plans. Now I was finally on my way, I was determined to make the most of it which meant a stay at (according to one well-known review site) the number one hotel in Marrakech. And that is how my partner and I ended up at the rather wonderful Riad Kheirredine.

 

Location

Situated in the northern part of the Medina, Riad Kheirredine is a 20-minute walk from the craziness of the main square of Jemaa el-Fna and around 10 minutes from the edge of the colourful souks of Marrakech. The riad offers an airport shuttle service which, if you stay a minimum of four nights, is free of charge. I recommend you take it. The chances of you finding the riad on your own are close to zero.

Your car will drop you by the local school, and you’ll be met by one of the riad’s friendly and helpful staff, who will organise your bags and lead you through a maze of tiny streets. You will pass small stores, street sellers and dozens of cats, and dodge a number of motorbikes, before arriving at an unassuming wooden door. This process of having no idea where you are going, but putting your trust in a smiling stranger, is something you will get used to in Morocco.

And then they open the door.

 

First Impressions

I love the excitement of arriving at a new hotel, but I think I actually gasped on entering this one. Stepping over the dusky threshold, we walked into a bright green garden of banana trees, palms and exotic plants, forming the central sun-lit atrium of the first of this three-house riad. We were led into an antechamber, where we sat on white linen sofas and were served delicious mint tea alongside delicately flavoured dates and walnuts. The welcome was exquisite, the reception staff spoke perfect English, French (and probably many other languages) and we were addressed by name by everyone we encountered. I didn’t see what happened to our bags, but by this point, I didn’t much care.

This kind of super service extends throughout your stay. One of my favourite touches was the provision of a free local mobile phone to all guests leaving the riad. When you want to come back from the souk and find yourself completely lost, just call the number on the phone, and one of the many bell boys will come to find you and walk you home safely. Feel your stress levels plummet.

 

Sleep

There are 14 rooms at the Riad Kheirredine, including five deluxe bedrooms and nine suites. They also have three courtesy rooms which are used by guests with late flight departures – a welcome chance to freshen up after you have inevitably spent the morning returning to the souks for a final haggle over that wooden chess set, leather bag or silk dress that slipped through your hands the day before.

The riad is owned by two Italian business partners and hence, the decor is a delightful fusion of Italian and traditional Moroccan. Sumptuous colours and dark woods are offset by bright white walls and twinkling lights. There is no hint of the chaos of the outside world. All rooms have heating and air conditioning, they are quiet, and the beds comfortable. You will sleep well here.

Each room is stocked with a complimentary mini bar of soft drinks and still and sparkling water, and tea, coffee, orange juice and lemonade are offered all day at no charge. You are invited to help yourself from the bowls of fresh fruit dotted throughout the riad, and there are complimentary robes, slippers and toiletries in the bedrooms and a free laundry service.

 

Eat

One of the most wonderful things about eating at the Riad Kheirredine is that you can choose to sit pretty much wherever you like. Sunny mornings and warm evenings on the roof terrace, or cosy winter dinners inside by the log fire. We chose to have lunch in the shade of a pergola, beside a huge double daybed normally reserved for honeymooners, allowing us to lie down between courses. A first, even for me!

The riad offers three different menus: Italian, Moroccan and International, and a simple snack menu of burgers, pizza and salads.  There is also an extensive wine and cocktail list. Breakfast is a typical Moroccan spread, with eggs cooked to order, served alongside juice, local breads and pancakes, and a selection of jams and honey. We enjoyed the Moroccan set menu for dinner, with tasty vegetable dishes, soup, and a wonderful chicken tagine.

 

Work and Play

This riad is perfect for couples. There are no children under 12 allowed, and the entire experience is focused on relaxation, romance, and indulgence. The riad is three houses joined together, giving way to a new garden atrium at every turn and the benefit of a huge, intertwined roof terrace, complete with plunge pool, sun loungers, a bar, and numerous nooks and crannies. The calls to prayer from the surrounding mosques drift across the rooftops and the sounds of the city are below. You have escaped your normal life and you know you are somewhere special.

If lounging about in the sun drinking mint tea isn’t relaxing enough for you, the Riad Kheirredine offers a full menu of traditional hammam and massage treatments at its two-person spa. We opted for the gold standard ‘Royal Pack’, a two-hour hammam plus full body massage experience for two people. Coming in at €160, this was yet another indulgence, but was something I’m sure neither of us will forget.

The surprisingly chatty women who met us at our bedroom door, holding robes, slippers and some rather ‘interesting’ underwear options, put us at ease and told us we would be treated like babies. And that was exactly right. The process of the hammam involves pouring hot water over the body multiple times, washing, rinsing, then scrubbing with the traditional black soap. You are cared for, cleansed and patted dry. It’s unlike any other spa treatment I’ve experienced, and it is a delight.

 

Highs

The service levels in this riad are incredible. There are nearly 50 members of staff here dedicated to only 14 rooms; an exceptional ratio.

 

Lows

The shuttle driver who picked us up from the airport was in an extremely bad mood and spent the journey shouting down his phone. Fortunately, he couldn’t have been more different to the the riad staff of who were without exception delightful.

 

Unmissable

The hammam and spa experience, followed by dinner by an open fire should not be missed.

 

Verdict

I have no hesitation in confirming that the Riad Kheirredine is worthy of its superb reputation. The global hospitality industry has been badly affected by Covid and, in some cases, service levels have been compromised, but not here. Here, you are welcomed and indulged. When I come back to Marrakech, I shall choose my travel dates based on the availability of this riad. You might like to do the same.

Prices start at €160 per night for a double room including breakfast for two people.

Check out the Riad Kheirredine at www.riadkheirredine.com

 

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