I stayed at this hotel for two nights to experience Marrakech on my own. The hotel is located about 15 minutes from Jamaa el-Fna. In other words, it's quite centrally located, and a nice base for exploring the interesting parts of Marrakech. It's hard a bit to hard to find, as it's located on a kind of random side street in the Medina. Laora is not the only riad with this kind of location though; The medina is a labyrinth and you WILL get lost. But you'll find the way back, one way or another. That's a part of the experience!
There is a pack of very annoying kids that will chase you (I asked the other guests about this) all the way to the hotel door, begging for you money. These kids are very provocative. They even started kicking me when I refused to give them money on my second time back to the hotel. The only way I could get rid of them after that was to be very strict and tell them to stay right where they are and don't follow me, right at the moment they start chasing me. By strict, I mean look really angry and shout at them. I highly recommend that you do the same. Do NOT let these kids follow you. They will not stop nagging until you enter the hotel, regardless of the amount of money you give them.
The riad and it's rooms are beautiful. They have a nice, exotic atmosphere that's worth experiencing. I have no complaints as for the cleanliness.
Don't expect to have much privacy at this hotel. As it's a riad, all the rooms are facing a "courtyard" (for a lack of a better word) with a nice kitchen and living room, and the doors are "paper thin". So, if anyone is the common areas, you will hear them talk, they will hear you talk - type, or even use the toilet.
As a solo traveller this model might good thing, as the common areas leaves opportunities to meet new people. I had quite a few interesting conversations myself, from people around the world.
The staff is ok, but, for reasons I'd like to reflect on, I never felt at ease when staying at this hotel. Here's why:
The hotel claims to have good english speaking representatives, but that's not really the case. They didn't seem to be comfortable with talking to me at all. I was mostly ignored by the staff, contrary to the french speaking guests. They refused to let me lock the door to my room, so I had to leave my 1500€ laptop and camera in their care.
Moreover, they do not give you a key to the outer door. You have to knock on the door or ring the doorbell and hope that someone opens the door. I asked Hassan (hotel staff) how I can get in at night, and he told me I had to be back by 23:00 (preferrably 22:00) so that he can open the door for me. So basically, I felt like I've paid to live at a hotel that demands I'd be home by nighty-night time. When I told his manager about this the day after, she told me that this is not true, and that I could of course come in at any time. I don't know whether this was due to Hassans' preferations or a communication problem, but nevertheless, it was a weird experience.
The second thing is their lack of proactivity. It's up to you to ask for information. This could be as simple as "do you have a rooftop balcony?", "what's in the 30€ dinner you are asking me to order?", and so on. I think this is due to their lack of confidence in english, and not a bad service attitude.
The third thing is that the hotel staff talks you into signing up to ridiculously overpriced services (ehm.. Ripping you off, basically). I was in an overwhelmed mood when I checked in and said yes to a 35€ tour (which basically was a french-only speaking taxi driver dropping you off at four sites - 2 hours) and 15€ dinner in the hotel (which was nice, but expensive for morocco). Since euros are not the currency in Morocco, the staff is happy to give you Dirham-conveted prices on demand, where the conversion is severly given in their favor. My guess is that this is their core business model - cheap hotel, expensive services. My advice? Refuse their offers, and get them for a third of the price elsewhere.
All in all: Good facilities with poor privacy, good service if you speak french, but stay away from any services apart from the room.
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Laora Hotel Marrakech