Medina hotels

The Medina has the main concentration of small, budget hotels, especially in the area around the Djemaa el Fna. It is also where you’ll find most of Marrakesh’s riads, usually hidden away deep in its backstreets. Guéliz, whose hotels tend to be concentrated in the mid range, is handier for transport, especially for the train station. Hotels in Hivernage and Semlalia are upmarket, in modern buildings with swimming pools, but they’re pretty soulless. Advance bookings are a wise idea, especially for the more popular places in the Medina. The worst times are the Easter and Christmas/New Year holiday periods, when virtually every decent place can be full to capacity.

Most of the Medina’s budget hotel accommodation is concentrated in the small area south of the Djemaa el Fna, though more deluxe hotels are further afield. Those reviewed below are shown on the map of Around the Djemaa El Fna, unless otherwise stated.

Dar les Cigognes 108 Rue de Berrima, Medina 0524 382740, www.lescigognes.com; see map of Marrakesh Medina. A luxury boutique hotel run by a Swiss–American couple in two converted Medina houses that gets consistently good reports. It’s done up in traditional fashion around the patio, but with modern decor in the rooms and suites. There’s a library, a hammam, a jacuzzi, a salon and a terrace where you can see storks nesting on the walls of the royal palace opposite (hence the name, which means “house of the storks”). BB 1500–2499dh (£120-199/$196-327/€132-219)

Dar Salam 162 Derb Ben Fayda off Rue el Gza near Bab Doukkala, Medina 0524 383110, www.dar-salam.com; see map of Marrakesh Medina. A Moroccan family home which takes in guests, this is a true maison d’hôte as opposed to a riad, a place to relax and put your feet up rather than admire the decor. The food is similarly unpretentious – tasty home-style Moroccan cooking, like your mum would make if she were Marrakshi. BB 350–499dh (£28-40/$46-65/€30-44)

Hôtel Aday 111 Derb Sidi Bouloukat 0524 441920. Friendly budget hotel, well kept, clean and pleasantly decorated. The rooms, grouped around a central patio, are small and most have only inward-facing windows. Shower facilities are shared, with hot water round the clock. Single rooms are half the price of doubles, making them a very good deal for lone travellers, and you can sleep on the roof for 30dh. 100–199dh (£8-16/$13-26/€9-18)

Hôtel Ali Rue Moulay Ismail 0524 444979. Used by groups heading to the High Atlas, so a good source of trekking (and other) information; also changes money, and can arrange car, minibus or 4WD rental, but sometimes has the air of a transport terminal. Booking ahead is advisable, but so is checking your room before taking it (all are en-suite with a/c, but some are a bit whiffy). There’s cheap dorm accommodation (70dh BB) and a restaurant with all-you-can-eat buffet suppers, served on the rooftop terrace in summer. BB 200–349dh (£16-28/$26-46/€18-30)

Hôtel Central Palace 59 Derb Sidi Bouloukat 0524 440235, hotelcentralapace@hotmail.com. A choice of simple rooms, or en-suite or a/c rooms, at this clean and well-kept budget hotel very usefully located just off Rue Bab Agnaou, a stone’s throw from the Djemaa el Fna. 100–199dh (£8-16/$13-26/€9-18)

Hôtel CTM Pl Djemaa el Fna 0524 442325. The hotel is above the old bus station (hence its name), now used as a car park, and handy if you’re driving. The hotel is gradually being modernized, and there are currently three categories of rooms: old, unmodernized rooms with shared bathroom (no hot water); en-suite rooms, clean but drab, with hot-water showers; and modernized en-suite rooms with a/c in summer, heating in winter. The last category includes rooms 1–4, which overlook the square, though this does of course make them noisy. Breakfast (included in the room rate) is served on the roof terrace, which also overlooks the square. 100–199dh (£8-16/$13-26/€9-18)

Hôtel Essaouira 3 Derb Sidi Bouloukat 0524 443805. One of the most popular cheapies in Marrakesh – and with good reason. It’s a well-run, safe place, with thirty rooms, communal hot showers, a laundry service, baggage deposit and rooftop café. 100–199dh (£8-16/$13-26/€9-18)

Hôtel de Foucauld Av el Mouahidine, facing Pl de Foucauld 0524 440806, 0524 441344. Rooms are a little sombre and some are a bit on the small side, but they’re decent enough, with a/c, heating and constant hot water (with a choice of tub or shower). There’s a roof terrace with views of the Koutoubia, and a restaurant with buffet suppers. The staff can arrange tours, help with local information, and put you onto guides for High Atlas trekking. BB 350–499dh (£28-40/$46-65/€30-44)

Hôtel Gallia 30 Rue de la Recette 0524 445913, hotel.gallia@menara.ma. Beautifully kept hotel in a restored Medina mansion with immaculate en-suite rooms off two tiled courtyards, one with fountain, palm tree and caged birds. There’s central heating in winter and a/c in summer. A long-time favourite and highly recommended. Book online, at least a month ahead if possible. Not strictly wheelchair accessible, but staff are very helpful to chair users and there are rooms with more-or-less level access. BB 500–699dh (£40-56/$65-92/€44-61)

Hôtel Ichbilia 1 Rue Bani Marine 0524 381530. Near the Mabrouka cinema, and well placed for shops, banks and cafés, with rooms off a covered gallery, some plain and simple (but still clean and comfortable), others with a/c and private bathroom. Sometimes referred to as Hotel Sevilla (Ichbilia is the Arabic for Seville). 100–199dh (£8-16/$13-26/€9-18)

Hôtel la Gazelle 12 Rue Bani Marine 0524 441112, hotel_lagazelle@hotmail.com. Well-kept if slightly dull hotel on a street with foodstalls and small grill cafés, with rooms around a covered patio – windows of downstairs rooms open onto the patio, those upstairs open to the outside. Some rooms have bathrooms, and there’s a discount on the room price after three nights. 100–199dh (£8-16/$13-26/€9-18)

Hôtel la Mamounia Av Bab Jdid 0524 388600, www.mamounia.com; see map of Marrakesh Medina. Marrakesh’s most famous hotel, in palatial grounds, with full facilities, including a hammam and sauna, a pool (of course), several bars and restaurants, and a casino, plus 1920s Art Deco touches by Jacques Majorelle (of Majorelle Garden fame), but despite the history, the fame and all the trimmings, standards of service have not always matched the price, though the hotel has recently reopened after a long renovation, so things may have changed. For a description of the gardens and some history of the hotel. 2500dh or over (£199/$327/€219 or over)

Hôtel Medina 1 Derb Sidi Bouloukat 0524 442997. Clean, friendly and very good value, with an English-speaking proprietor, hot shared showers, and a rooftop café (especially handy for breakfast). In summer there’s also the option of a cheaper (30dh) bed on the roof. 100–199dh (£8-16/$13-26/€9-18)

Hôtel Sherazade 3 Derb Djama, Rue Riad Zitoun el Kedim 0524 429305, www.hotelsherazade.com. Before riads took off big time, this place was already on the scene, an old merchant’s house, prettily done up, that gets rave reviews from our readers. Besides a lovely roof terrace, the hotel offers a wide variety of well-maintained rooms at different prices, not all en suite. Run very professionally by a German-Moroccan couple, it’s extremely popular, so book well ahead. 200–349dh (£16-28/$26-46/€18-30)

Jnane Mogador Hôtel Derb Sidi Bouloukat by 116 Rue Riad Zitoun el Kedim 0524 426323, www.jnanemogador.com. Set in a beautifully restored old house, with charming rooms around a lovely fountain patio, its own hammam, and a roof terrace where you can have breakfast, or tea and cake. It’s run by the same management as the Essaouira, rather more upmarket, but still great value. 350–499dh (£28-40/$46-65/€30-44)

La Maison Arabe 1 Derb Assebbe Bab Doukkala, behind the Doukkala mosque 0524 387010, www.lamaisonarabe.com; see map of Marrakesh Medina. Though not as famous as the Mamounia, this is Marrakesh’s classiest hotel, boasting high standards of service in a gorgeous nineteenth-century mansion restored with fine traditional workmanship. The furnishings are sumptuous, as is the food (this was a restaurant before it was a hotel, and it even offers cookery classes –1600dh 1–2 people, 500–600dh per person for small groups). There are two beautifully kept patios and a selection of rooms and suites, all with TV, minibar, a/c and heating, some with private terrace and jacuzzi. There is no pool on the premises, but a free shuttle bus can take you to the hotel’s private pool nearby. 1500–2499dh (£120-199/$196-327/€132-219)

Les Jardins de la Medina 21 Derb Chtouka, Kasbah 0524 381851, www.lesjardinsdelamedina.com; see map of Marrakesh Medina. A beautiful old palace transformed into a luxury hotel, its rooms set around an extensive patio garden with hammocks slung between the trees and a decent-sized pool. What the hotel really plugs, however, is its hammam-cum-beauty-salon where you can get manicured, pedicured, scrubbed and massaged till you glow. BB 1500–2499dh (£120-199/$196-327/€132-219)

Villa des Orangers 6 Rue Sidi Mimoun, off Pl Youssef Ben Tachfine 0524 384638, www.villadesorangers.com; see map of Marrakesh Medina. This gorgeous luxury establishment is officially a hotel, but it’s a riad in the true sense of the word: an old house around a garden patio – three in fact – with orange trees and lots of lovely carved stucco. There’s a range of rooms and suites, many with their own private terrace. Rates include breakfast and light lunch. 2500dh or over (£199/$327/€219 or over)

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