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Hotel Highlights

  • Spacious rooms and traditional riad glamour, at a budget price
  • Genuine home-stay atmosphere with caring staff
  • Buzzy north-Medina location

Overview

Riad Anyssates is clearly a labour of love – but the staff radiate the impression that working here is hardly a chore. Everyone seems totally delighted to be at the hotel, and, after a leisurely afternoon supping mint tea on the rooftop terrace and watching the Marrakech medina bustle away below, you will be too.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Riad Anyssates with us:

A bottle of wine when guests have dinner at the Riad

Facilities

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Riad Anyssates hotel - Marrakech - Morocco

Need To Know

Rooms

Nine rooms, including six suites.

Check–out

10am. Check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.

Rates

Double rooms from $100.54 (€82), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.50 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates include Continental breakfast. You can rent the whole riad for €800–€1,300 a day (there's space for up to 21). The hotel charges a five per cent fee for credit card payments.

At the hotel

Gardens, spa with hammam and two massage rooms, DVD/CD selection, free Wifi throughout. In rooms: air-conditioning, free bottled water.

Our favourite rooms

Simple and spacious, with white walls and brightly coloured fabrics, Riad Anyssates’ suites are named after the owners’ children and friends. We really loved the Josephine Suite for its floor-to-ceiling red drapery and the freestanding bath tub with rain shower in its smart grey taledakt bathroom. Decorated in cream and chocolate tones, the Anyssates Suite is the largest bedroom in the hotel, with its own private staircase. Sarah, Victoire and Bambou can sleep three (the rate is for two, but there's an extra charge of €30 for the third person).

Poolside

There’s a small, candle-lined plunge pool in the courtyard, surrounded by table and chairs and with big crimson cushions for lounging on.

Packing tips

Rooms don’t have TVs, so bring a portable DVD player (or a book) if you fancy a cosy night in during your stay (although with the Medina on your doorstep, why would you stay in?).

Also

Smoking is allowed (the hotel is open to the air) and dogs and cats are welcome. Guests itching to check their emails can use the computer in the bar.

Children

Very welcome. Baby cots are free; extra beds are €30 a night. The Sarah suite has a double bed and a single; Victoire and Bamboo have three single beds. Hotel staff will babysit for €25 an evening and children’s meals can be readily prepared.

Food & Drink

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Riad Anyssates hotel - Marrakech - Morocco

Hotel Restaurant

There isn’t a defined restaurant – but foodies need not fear – resident chef Aicha is both gifted and obliging and can rustle up a traditional Moroccan meal to suit your tastes anywhere in the riad.

Hotel Bar

You can have drinks served anywhere in the riad. We recommend the little tables by the pool, or up on the rooftop under the tented canopy for mint tea and pastries.

Last orders

At Riad Anyssates, there’s no such thing.

Room service

Food and drink can be provided both whenever and wherever you like.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Since you’re almost certain to be dining in privacy, you only need dress to impress each other.

Top table

On the roof terrace, under the stars.

Local Guide

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Riad Anyssates hotel - Marrakech - Morocco
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Palais Soleiman (+212 (0)524 378962) on Dar Layardi and Palais Gharnata (+212 (0)544 389615) on derb El Arsa both provide traditional Moroccan cuisine in beautiful surroundings. Bô & Zin (+212 (0)524 388012) is a Thai-style salon a little out of the way on the Ourika road, but worth the trek for excellent Southeast Asian dishes and a very trendy atmosphere. Le Fondouk (+212 (0)544 378190) in the heart of the medina serves Moroccan dishes with a few diversions into Mediterranean cuisine along the way. Book ahead at weekends.

+ Enlarge
Buzzy north Medina

Riad Anyssates

144 Derb El Bomba, Marrakech, 40000

Planes

From the UK and elsewhere in Europe, British Airways (www.ba.com), Royal Air Maroc (www.royalairmaroc.com), EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) and Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) fly into Marrakech’s Menara Airport.

Trains

The Moroccan state railway, ONCF (www.oncf.ma), runs inexpensive (but limited) services to Marrakech from Casablanca, Fez and Tangier. Look for TCR (Train Climatisé Rapide) trains to guarantee an air-conditioned journey in summer. You’ll find plenty of taxis waiting at the city’s charming, if slightly run-down, station on Avenue Hassan II.

Automobiles

Driving and parking in the congested centre of Marrakech can both prove to be difficult. If you do want to hire a car, companies such as Avis (www.avis.com) have rental desks at the airport. To reach the hotel, follow Avenue de la Menara into the city centre. Parking at the hotel (located a short walk away) costs €2 a day.

Reviews

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Riad Anyssates hotel - Marrakech - Morocco

Anonymous review

by Jethro Clunies-Ross , Interiors inspirer

‘Welcome to Africa’ – now that’s the kind of greeting, delivered with a broad grin, that gets the imagination going. Just 15 minutes later we’re away from the modern airport and in Marrakech, the Red City; immediately everything changes. From the formal French boulevards of the new town the first landmark we spot is the elegant Koutoubia minaret rising, floodlit, abov…
Read more

Riad Anyssates

Anonymous review by Jethro Clunies-Ross, Interiors inspirer

‘Welcome to Africa’ – now that’s the kind of greeting, delivered with a broad grin, that gets the imagination going. Just 15 minutes later we’re away from the modern airport and in Marrakech, the Red City; immediately everything changes. From the formal French boulevards of the new town the first landmark we spot is the elegant Koutoubia minaret rising, floodlit, above the Djmaa el Fna. Next we’re outside the old city walls, hawkers clustered around each of the large ornate gates we pass.

Once we are within the walls, the atmosphere changes again. The streets are narrower, darker and seemingly without any plan, countless allyways and dead ends hint at the navigational adventure ahead. The taxi pulls up on a small street. ‘You are here,’ announces the driver. This doesn’t look too promising, not a hotel in sight. But the guardien of the riad is here to meet us and with more smiles and ‘welcomes’ leads us down a narrow street, weaving between old men pushing handcarts, and onto yet narrower alley and at the end, is a large studded wooden door.

I’ve seen a few riads, some tatty, some a bit too chi-chi, but this one feels immediately inviting. It’s on a very cosy domestic scale – just five suites – and the grin on Mrs Smith’s face says I’ve made a good choice. Check-in is fuss-free and informal, the manager brings us cakes with mint tea and while our bags are whisked up to the suite, he shows us where we are on the map, asking us not to worry about getting lost in the medina. ‘Just call me and I’ll send someone to find you.’ If it’s your first time in Marrakech, these will be comforting words as the old city is a six-kilometre square maze of rarely signposted allyways. (This is my fourth visit and we still manage to get lost almost every time we go out.)

The approach to the suite confirms we’re somewhere lovely; a small private staircase complete with wrought-iron balustrade and giant glass lantern gives it a sexy air of privacy and exclusivity. And the suite itself is a delight; large and airy, decorated in the kind of earthy tones that make this interior designer happy and relaxed. Elegant curtains cover the windows looking out over the courtyard pool as well as discreetly hiding the wardobe niche and bathroom archway. There’s even an open fire for cold winter nights.

Cold beers are ordered and duly arrive with heaped bowls of nuts and olives, delivered by yet another smiling member of staff. Duly relaxed we plan our route into the medina. Although ‘planned’ may not be the right word as we take a wrong turn the minute we leave the hotel and end up back at Bab Doukkala, looking out at the new town. Retracing our steps we find a larger, busier street and soon we are heading to the Djemaa El Fna, the main square in the old city.

Eating in the square is a bit more straightforward than it used to be, all the stalls have prices on the menus now. It’s just a question of picking the place you like the look of (or more likely, the place that hussles you in first) and ordering as many dishes as you think you can manage. Portions aren’t huge so it’s a good place to try a few different local delicacies. I confess we sidestep the sheeps’ heads and the snails; we favour a selection of meats, fish, soup and various vegetable dishes all uniformly excellent. And as the ‘kitchens’ are all on display the hygiene standards are open to scrutiny.

Our feast is followed by sweet spicy ginger tea and cakes from another stall from where we can see the performers that the square is famous for; acrobats, dancers, snake charmers, monkey wranglers and storytellers all vie for our attention – and money. Feeling lucky? Try your hand at fishing for a bottle of pop or challenge the young Berber boy to a few shots on his makeshift putting green.

After all this exotica I hanker after a bit of Marakech’s faded colonial past and we wander down a busy shopping street south of the square to the bar at the Hotel Tazi. Not so long ago this was the only place in the medina where you could get a drink – nowadays new bars and cafes spring up all the time – but the Tazi is the original, and an old favourite.

Finding our way back to Riad Anyssates isn’t simplified by the addition of Casablanca Beer, but with the help of some local boys we find it – that’s the price of staying in a less touristy part of the medina. To my mind, a worthwhile exchange.

Up on the roof terrace that evening we drink cocktails under a broad sky the colour of Turkish delight (and not the pastel colour of the sweets in the market, but the vibrant fuchsia of the Fry’s UK sweet-shop variety). Romance is in the air, eastern promise indeed...

Breakfast is laid out the following morning by the shady pool, but it is ‘no trouble at all, sir’ to have it taken on the roof terrace instead. Trays of pancakes, msammen, fruit, yoghurt, bread, jam, even marmalade are spread out in the winter sun along with coffee, tea and juice. Clearly we aren’t going to get away early today.

Eventually we haul oureslves off the sofas and back out into the bustle of the streets, heading out of the old town towards the Jardin Majorelle (exit Bab Doukkala, first right, first left – something like that). The address, Rue Yves Saint Laurent, gives a clue to the former owner, now commemorated with a small memorial in the garden.

It’s a lovely place, formal plantings of bamboo, agave, cacti and papyrus in reflecting pools surround a modest yet dazzling house, now a small museum, gallery and shop. Tea can be taken – at a price – in another pretty courtyard.

After, it’s back to the riad for a well-earned beer and a shower. Our bathroom finished in tadelakt, the traditional polished plaster of Morocco. The beauty of this material is that the whole room is seamless; walls, floor, walk-in shower are all one continuous surface, broken only by a carved stucco cornice in white.

We enquire about hiring a car for a trip south to visit Tin Mal, the only mosque in the country that non-Muslims may enter. The hotel manager makes the call and arranges for for our own wheels to be brought round the next morning. No fuss, no hard sell for tours or guides. Perfect.

Before we set out the the cook asks if we will be back for dinner, and beaming at our positive reply asks what we would like. There’s no menu, and this is Morocco, anything is possible. Again, ideal.

The drive south is straightforward enough. Leaving the city, across a dusty plain, keeping the Atlas Mountains on the left, we soon start to head into the hills leading towards Tizi-n-Test, the highest mountain pass in North Africa. Later, a little lost, we stop for lunch in a one-horse town before finding the right road again and reaching Tin Mal.

The mosque is open to the sky – its cedar roof long gone – and surrounded by lush fields and barren hills. In the distance, a crumbling old kasbah can be seen on its vantage point above another pass. The place is deserted apart from the guardien who happily gave us a free tour, explaining some of the long history of the area.

On our return to our boutique hotel in Marrakech, the riad’s courtyard is beautifully lit with candles around the pool, gentle Berber music playing, and a single table for two set for dinner. Drinks arrive, followed by steaming tagines: couscous, grilled lamb, Moroccan salad and flatbreads. A fitting feast for our last night in the city.

It is only while packing to leave that I notice the lack of TV or WiFi in the room. If the aim of a hotel is to ease you away from your everyday concerns for a few days, Riad Anyssates certainly rises to the task.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Riad Anyssates's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Great food, small and intimate space, peace and quiet. As a solo traveler it was lovely to get away from the hustle and bustle.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Quiet and relaxing. Helpful staff, always there when you need them but never in the way. A feeling of homely comfort in a hotel big enough to get out of the way but small enough to feel special. The whole riad was just as we were hoping a Riad in Marrakech would be. The hustle and bustle of the streets outside were a world away from the tranquil, relaxing interior by the pool. For the three nights we were there it was perfect.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

It smelt beautiful! Nine out of 10.

Don’t expect

There were no prices ever given to us for wine and beer so it was a bit odd not knowing what you were spending upfront

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Agree with others with regard to the staff really enjoying working here, and would echo all the comments re Nicholas, always accessible, endless helpful tips and really cannot do enough for you. His directions to the main square were so good we didn't get lost once, and if anyone has ever been there before, that's quite a feat! Very full on as soon as you step outside the door, but equally tranquil the moment you step back in. As several guests were dining in, Nicholas arranged entertainment for the evening, and fun was had! The evening ended with everyone sat round the plunge pool, dangling feet into the water, the Morrocan music having given way to western music via the internet! Good value for money.

Don’t expect

Bottled water was only in the room the day we arrived; daily would be good.

Rating: 6/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The tranquility of this hotel was amazing, and Nicholas really made the stay memorable. He was very funny and thoughtful and made sure we were informed about everything before we went out. The hotel dinner was also lovely and we ate here both nights of the stay. The rooms were also very spacious and clean. I would highly recommend this place.

Don’t expect

I think more signage to the riad would be helpful and some updates in the room would be good; some sockets seemed loose and the mattress was quite firm for my taste.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This hotel is excellent value for money. I liked the lovely staff, great food, beautiful rooms… traditional so you know you're in Morocco but with nice little luxurious touches. I particularly liked the tassled pompommed robes and slippers! Great fun. It's incredibly quiet as well.

Don’t expect

It was a bit of a walk to the main souks, square, etc, but it's easy enough to pick up a taxi nearby if need be.

Rating: 7/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved to be in such an ecclectic neighborhood and still in the lap of luxury.

Don’t expect

I would've liked a bit more light at the reception and hallways.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We loved the tranquility and relative coolness (temperature wise) of the riad after the busy medina in the stifling heat. The attention to detail in the rooms was just right. Lovely toiletries in the bathroom, crisp bedlinen and all very clean. The room itself was very nice and even though it was on the courtyard right next to the pool it was very quiet at night. Nicolas is a charming and incredibly attentive host who, it seemed, could not do enough to ensure our stay was enjoyable. My husband and I were spending four days at the riad to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and Nicolas helped us to book a restaurant that we had been recommended by a good friend. Nicolas made sure that we had a fantastic table. On our first morning he sat with us for well over an hour to go through the map of the medina and gave us lots of very valuable tips on dealing with taxis, unwanted guides, etc. It seemed as though he really wanted us to enjoy Marrakech as much as he obviously does. It also felt as though he really had time for everyone. The other staff at the riad were very nice and friendly too. Our French is very stilted but we managed to make ourselves understood and they went out of their way to help whenever able. The hammam was amazing, as was the massage afterwards. I would recommend having one in the late afternoon then eating in at the riad or give yourself time to relax afterwards before you go out. We left it a bit too late in the day and had to hurry a bit to get out for a dinner date. Although it seemed like all the rooms were occupied (mainly by younger couples than us) it was still a very peaceful and restful place to stay. Sadly our camera got lost or stolen whilst we were out and about and once again Nicolas was extremely helpful. At his suggestion he kindly telephoned all the places we could remember visiting to see if it had been found. Unfortunately it had not been handed in anywhere, but we were grateful to him for trying.

Don’t expect

It is hard to say what could be improved here as we had such a comfortable stay. Perhaps the water temperature in the bathrooms could be a little hotter.

Rating: 10/10 stars