We stayed our entire time in Marrakech at the lovely Riad Catalina, reserved with Booking.com. We had researched, as always, on Booking but also Tripadvisor & the reviews were excellent, as were the guest photos & comments. When we arrived, we were greeted so warmly & given our first experience of the refreshing Moroccan Mint Tea & biscuits.
Sitting in the stunningly tiled courtyard surrounded by the sounds of birds, murmurs of the other guests & beyond the walls, the bleat of horns, calls of merchants & clip clop of the horses & carts, we immediately felt the immersion into Moroccan life.
We were given our choice of two rooms, shown where the rooftop pool is, and told of the meal times. We knew we could ask any info of the staff there & did! Our friends Samara & Baha were just two of the wonderful people we met there. The food was fantastic, the room was spotless, as was the rest of the Riad.
There was a fountain & mature trees inside the courtyard, quite a few types of birds, 2 cats(wait… plus the 5 new kittens!) & 2 turtles. There was plenty of seating for meals or just to visit. Once, when it had rained overnight, we were able to sit inside & still have the wonderful views & a comfortable meal.
We did join in breakfast on the days we were not on adventures, and it was delicious! Always hard boiled eggs, plentiful fresh pastries, bread, jam & the best freshly squeezed orange juice, a pot of English tea for my husband & a pot of coffee for me with hot milk for it! We enjoyed a couple of evening meals with them as well, but most times we were out adventuring.
The service from all of the staff was perfection, always smiling, always polite, our room had sweet touches each day after being refreshed.
One thing we must unfortunately mention, was the extremely loud, outdoor neighbouring patio bar. You must understand, the way the buildings are, there is quite an echo at the best of times, it’s usually not an issue, especially when the hauntingly, soulful Calls to Prayer play, but when it’s music played from 9:30 pm till sometimes 2:30 am & it’s mostly only the bass you can hear… it’s so disruptive & there’s no rest to be had the nights that is going on. We experienced at least 6+ nights like that when we had daylong excursions to wake up for, we can’t imagine how the poor families function daily that live right there. We would highly recommend to stay here still, but do bring good earplugs. It would be a shame to miss out on this lovely, centrally located spot due to an ignorant neighbour.
There were many things to see and do from this location such as coffee or Moroccan Mint Tea across the street from the Koutoubia Mosque visitmarrakech.com/en at the Cafe Koutoubia, where we watched the worlds of Moroccan life & travellers combine.
There was not too far of a walk to the main Jemaa el-Fnaa Market & all its stalls, stands, merchants, restaurants & more.
We found rooftop restaurants & street side diner-style spots to sit & enjoy the city while we ate Tajine.
The Riad itself is an amazing piece of architecture – from the winding staircases, the tile-work, the soaring wooden ceilings, the dreamy draped curtains, the carved Moroccan furnishings… the colourful stained glass-type windows, the carved doorways within doorways… what an experience in Marrakech! We’ll never forget it!
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