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“Faultless”
Review of Riad Noir d'Ivoire

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Riad Noir d'Ivoire
Ranked #8 of 500 Hotels in Marrakech
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 February 2011

All these positive reviews are true and say it all. I have never reviewed anything on Tripadvisor before, but the welcome and service that Jill and Damien gave our family was the best we have ever received anywhere (and we travel a lot) so I felt I must! Jill even arranged for my youngest son's favourite t-shirts to follow us to the mountains (no mention of charging us) after he lost them down the back of a wardrobe ..... nothing was too much trouble.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled with family
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Thank benitoLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 February 2011

We spent 4 marvellous days of our honeymoon in this gorgeous riad.
I couldn't praise it higher. Everything was perfect from breakfast to the pashmina Damien handed us at night fall so that we could still enjoy our roof terrace. As we were on honeymoon we opted for the Guepard Suite with own roof terrace. It was so beautiful, a real 1001 night dream. We are still stunned by the service and the welcome we received. The food was amazing, super fresh and beautifully prepared/cooked. We also got some excellent shopping tips from Jill and Damien (inclusive maps and directions) which were highly appreciated (we shopped til we dropped basically). All of the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Also the location of the riad was perfect for us. We wanted the full medina experience, close enough to the action but also out of the way enough to get a good nights rest. The riad is located in a very friendly neighbourhood. We never got any hassle at all and it felt very save. It was only a 10 minute walk to the djemaa el fna and we managed not to get lost thanks to Damien's instructions :-).
The whole experience has simply been magical and we would like to thank Jill, Damien and the staff wholeheartedly for making our honeymoon so special.
I'm sure we will be back!!!

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Scotsfireblade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 February 2011

Absolutely and wholeheartedly agree with previous comments. A feast for the eyes and ears as we walked a short way with our guide to the Riad accompanied by Couscous, a donkey which carried our luggage. The Riad Noir d'Ivoire is in a perfect location, in the heart of the Medina, to explore the real Marrakech at work and savour the atmosphere. A very warm and thoughtful greeting as we arrived which set the scene for our whole stay and continued throughout.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Snowdropalison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2011

Let me set the stage as it will quickly give you reference to how the rest of our stay at the Riad Noir D’Ivoire went....

It’s Friday afternoon and this would be my and my wife’s first trip to Marrakech; we were excited....excited about all the adventures and unknowns waiting for us. We start our adventure with a taxi ride to our departure airport (we’re Expats living in Eastern Europe). Upon arrival the main departure/arrival gate entrances are barricaded by Police and there are Fire Trucks and Ambulances everywhere. However, we did get inside, but were unable to check-in for our flight because the international flight section of the airport was cordoned off. Anxiety sets in because no one could tell us how long the delays might be, but as fortune had it; we did make our scheduled flight to Casablanca. Anxiety subsides....

We had a 2.5 hour scheduled delay in Casablanca, which wasn’t a big deal as we thought we would wander around, have a beverage or two and just take in some of the culture. Well....guess what? Once you’re in the “holding” area there is nothing to see or do other than go to a small kiosk that sells coffee, cakes, beer, sodas, etc....that’s if you have the correct currency and only if you have small enough denominations of the correct currency. The kiosk will take Moroccan Dirham’s, Euro’s and Dollar’s, however, there is neither an ATM/Bancomat machine nor is there a currency exchange counter. Remember my comment about small denominations...a $100 bill is too big and they would not accept the “other” currency that I had in my pocket. Two hours of solitaire on the computer for me.....

We arrived at Marrakech on time (~10:00pm) and proceeded to the passport control counters. Several lines were open, but each one had 30-50 people in them. About an hour later we arrived at the baggage area and guess what....our baggage is not there and there are about 10 people in line at the lost baggage area. I think Aretha Franklin wrote the song “F-R-U-S-T-A-T-I-O-N”, or was it “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”? Anyway, while waiting in the lost baggage line it occurs to me that we’re so late that our “ride” that was arranged by the Riad is probably wondering what happened to us, if not already gone? I get permission to exit the baggage area and it was a relief to see our driver standing there with the “Riad Noir D’Ivoire” sign. I explained our situation and went back to the baggage area. At about 12:15am we were in the taxi and our driver tells us that it’s about a 15 minute ride to the Riad. Our driver was extremely cordial even after having waited for what I would assume was two hours. Now that the stage is set, exit left....

We arrive at the small alley to go to the Riad and there stands a young man ready to escort us and carry our luggage, which at this time was only carry-on. I asked where Cous-Cous (the donkey that normally hauls luggage) was and he replied that Cous-Cous stops working at 8:00pm and that he is the Cous-Cous for late nights....once I dry my eyes from laughter we arrive at the Riad (I will leave the names of the Riad’s staff out of this review because I don’t remember all of their names, but I assure you that all 18 of them are just awesome!). So we’re shown our room and asked if we would like anything....I asked if I could have a beer....please, please, please? “Would you like a Heineken or a Casablanca Especial”... “S-M-I-L-E”. We’re then asked if we would like something to eat and we respond with “a sandwich would be nice”. Well, little did we know that the chef had stayed at the Riad anticipating our arrival and that we would probably be hungry. It’s now 1245am, we’re sitting in front of a fireplace at a romantic little candlelit table eating baked chicken, couscous (not the donkey), fresh bread, and drinking our 2nd Casablanca Especial. All is well with the world right now.

The next morning we get up, shower, put on our “not too smelly” clothes and proceed downstairs towards the next unknown. Well, well, well....Bonjour Monsieur et Madame, and some other nice sounding French welcomes (I don’t speak French, but do speak Italian), and I responded with a very exotic sounding, “I’d love some coffee”. Next thing I know the young man is speaking English. We’re then asked if we would like to eat breakfast on the top terrace....how do think we answered that question? Fresh fruit, toast, yoghurt, eggs to order, honey, apricot and strawberry jam, but I digress! Did I mention that the terrace of the Riad is one of the taller terraces in the area and that you have a 360 degree view? Or that the Atlas Mountains are beautiful in the southeast distance...or.....you get the idea.

Well it’s now around, who knows, let’s say 10:00am, and we walk back down into the main courtyard (there are two) and meet Damien. Damien may be billed as the Manager, but he’s also the Concierge and the all-around positive person...in a nutshell he’s the perpetual energized bunny and extremely knowledgeable about the area. He also has the gift of “reading” people and knowing what they may or may not like. If Damien recommends a restaurant or a daily excursion then you should just do it.....he had us pegged and we have stories for a lifetime of the weekly events, much to the credit of Damien. We go through all the cordialities and then start talking about the day ahead. We review maps, he marks them up, gives us an “emergency contact” cell phone (nice to have it in your pocket...gives you a warm fuzzy feeling like a kid’s security blanket), and provides us suggestions for our first day in Marrakech. OMG! Did you see that map? Did you see how many alleys and streets there are? How will we ever find our way back? Heck, how will we find our way out of here? Phew, I’m sure glad we have that phone. Oh yeah, hey Damien, our luggage was lost last night can you tell us what we need to do? Not a problem. Just give me your passports and baggage tickets and we’ll take care of it. Really, but, but...don’t worry, you’ll have it this afternoon (it’s the positive person in him). Well OK then....the wife and I’ll go exploring. But before we can leave, guess who shows up? Enter Jill.....

Now I don’t know if it’s Marrakech, the food in Marrakech, the fact that someone who moves to Marrakech is cast from a different mold or perhaps it’s just working in a fantastic Riad with a great staff, but Jill is also extremely positive and full of energy; the warm welcome, the hug, the stories, the smile or whatever. Jill is billed as the Director of the Riad and let me tell you, she stays busy! But never, not once, did she “not” stop what she was doing to say hello, answer questions, to ask how things were going or to share some insight. And never did we feel she was impeding on our space. Jill makes you feel like you’re at home....and with that being said.....

Home at the Riad; think about this. You’ve gone on a vacation, to wherever and to do whatever you enjoy. What are usually the first words out of your mouth once the vacation is over and you step back inside your home? “Man, I had a great time, but it sure is nice to be home”. Don’t lie; you know you’ve said it! Well, every time we returned from an adventure (believe me, leaving the Riad and exploring Marrakech is always an adventure) it felt as if we were home. I know it may sound silly or somewhat crazy, but instant calm occurs when you enter the door of the Riad. Someone always greets you at the door and asks if you’d like something (better than home) and depending on your answer you may have a beverage of choice, food, or peace and quiet. I hope you’ve reviewed some of the pictures from Trip Advisor and have said to yourself, “It seems nice”. Now please listen carefully....the pictures do not capture just “how nice” the place really is!! There are two courtyards that are kept immaculately clean, both with dipping pools. I didn’t count them, but there are, I think, seven separate sitting areas, some with books, some with fireplaces, some just for relaxing (beware the sofas, you are getting very sleepy). There are columns, banana trees and a mesmerizing waterfall that adds more calm ambience and will ensure you fall asleep on one of the sofas. There are interesting artifacts...everywhere. I challenge you to sit in the same room twice and “not” notice something interesting that you didn’t notice the first time. There are so many interesting things that you may find yourself searching to see what you may have missed. And get this; everything is in its place and nothing is “overboard” or “not meant to be”. Jill has an incredible eye for decorating...the colors, designs, furniture....it’s just perfect! Then there are the cat’s....they’re part of the entire personality of the Riad and part of the total package as they jump in your lap and start purring (mind you, this is coming from a dog person). They’re also entertaining at times...like the one that fell into the pool (from a dog person, sorry). The place is surreal. There is a calm that will envelop you....it can’t be avoided! Part of this is because there are only nine rooms at the Riad and its layout and size are such that every guest can have a space and never impede on another guest’s space....go ahead, the sofa is calling. So enjoy all the pictures on the internet, but know they don’t give the whole story. It’s like when you see a picture of the Florida Everglades at sunset...it’s beautiful, but the picture doesn’t give you the full experience of the mosquitoes. Well, the Riad pictures do not give you the full experience of the Riad’s comfort and ambience. And isn’t comfort something we all strive for when on vacation? Comfort, relaxation, great service....speaking of service...

The Riad’s Staff Members (RSM) are not like any we’ve encountered. The closest we ever came was in a boutique hotel in Jamaica five years ago. As a rule, most hotel staff members everywhere are cordial and polite or they wouldn’t have a job, and as such, sometimes their politeness is forced. Not once, let me repeat, not once, did I ever feel as if the RSM were uncomfortable, forced, insincere, or that they disliked what they were doing. Not once, repeat please, did I feel as if I made them uncomfortable or if they minded doing anything that was asked of them. Not once, repeat again, did they “not” go out of their way to add some touch of personal flair or nicety to ensure that your beverage was more than a beer or that your dinner was more than a sit down meal. Beer or Scotch was always accompanied by Pistachios and Almonds; you should try a 12yo Single Malt with Pistachios.... much to my surprise they go quite well together! Ah, I digress again. The coffee was always in a nice carafe, with cream and sugar cubes, served on a nice tray. Let me mention that they make great coffee; strong and always fresh! Breakfast was served every morning at any time that you decided to start your day...none of that “by 10:00am” stress that is forced on you as in so many places. And.....every morning when you came down your stairs you would be greeted with a Bonjour or Good Morning, may I get you some coffee or tea. Once you received your coffee or tea you would be asked where you would like to eat breakfast.....terrace, court yard, sitting room or bed room. No matter where you wanted it, the RSM would set up a beautiful spread. The breakfasts varied, but there was always fresh squeezed orange juice, yoghurt, fresh fruit, jams, honey, toast and sometimes waffles, crepes, and you can always get eggs to order. Would you like a fire lit; would you like another log on the fire....always with a smile and always in a calm and respectful manner. Perfect, always perfect! Every afternoon when you returned from an adventure the bedroom was cleaned to perfection (more on bedrooms later). I could go on, but the bottom line is that the RSM rate as the most sincere, respectful, and comfortable hotel staff members we have ever met. This may or may not make sense to some of you, but the RSM ensure that you are comfortable without you feeling as if you’re imposing on them. I think it’s more than training because you can’t train sincerity....I think they enjoy working at the Riad and that Jill provides them with a “belonging” to something that’s more than a job....it’s as if everyone is one big family and we were extended family stopping by for a visit, except that we were treated better at the Riad! Speaking of “it’s more than a job”.....

If you’re anything like me, you did all the research you could about Marrakech and in the end you just hoped that you had some good ideas on what to do, where to stay or where to go, and yet were still unsure....Trip Advisor is great for information, but in the end it’s always up to you whether you did or didn’t enjoy yourself. As I mentioned earlier Damien has a good knack for reading people, or maybe it was just us, but every morning, afternoon or night he would provide two or three suggestions for the day, the evening or the next day. Not once did we not take him up on his suggestions and not once were we disappointed. Trust Damien’s suggestions as they’re all based on knowledge and what I think is that “knack” and because I think it’s more than just a job for him too. I won’t discuss all the great places and adventures, but I must tell you this one...yes, it’s a must! Damien had suggested we take the Atlas Mountain day trip (it’s briefly mentioned on the Riad’s web page) and we thought why not. As part of this trip, since we would be climbing mountains (you don’t need to be a seasoned mountain climber, but it’s not a lazy trail or for the timid), why don’t we come back from our day’s adventure and do a couples’ hammam and have dinner at the Riad. I’m telling you now.....DO IT....JUST DO IT!! It was without a doubt an incredible day! It starts like this....one of the RSM’s takes you out to meet your ride and guide at around 9am and WHAM....there sits this beautiful black Mercedes (we were expecting a taxi of sorts) and Samir the guide and driver or as my wife called him, “Samir the handsome driver”. Appearances aside, Samir is a fantastic driver (we always felt safe), guide and storyteller. He has a great sense of humor and will ensure you have a great day trip to the Atlas Mountains. Anyway, take this day trip, have the hammam (it’s not something you eat....do an internet search) and have a beautiful romantic dinner at the Riad that night....I promise you won’t regret it and it will be one of your fondest memories....a true day to remember.

The bedrooms in the Riad are nicer than the pictures too. The pictures don’t exude personality and the rooms are full of personality. Again, Jill has them decorated “just right”. After all I’ve said about the Riad do you think the rooms would be anything less than “perfect”? The oversized rain shower heads, the tubes of specialty soaps and lotions (refilled daily), the silver sinks, modern plumbing, the large comfortable beds, the local handcrafted furniture and lighting, a safe, wet bar and a TV and DVD player(never did turn those on). Now to add some perspective since I too can be somewhat cynical when I read other peoples reviews and they stayed in the “Super-Duper” or “I’m the President” suites....We stayed in two of the rooms during our visit, the Touterelles and the Cameleon and they are what I wrote above....perfect! Every day we would return from our adventures and cleanup for another nice dinner somewhere later that night. Every night we would return to clean towels and a turn down service....of course, not before we were met at the door with a smile, “bonjour” and a “could I get you something”. Yep, we always felt as if we were royal members staying in the “Royalty” suite. Nuff said.....

Another great thing about the Riad Noir D’Ivoire is that it’s not in the heart of all the hustle and bustle of the Medina. It’s in a typical medina neighborhood where you start your day with a short stroll through the alleys. Within three minutes you’re on a busy local market street with the bakeries, butchers, barbers and the day-to-day necessity shops where the local residents are out doing their shopping and business. There is a small bakery that has some great baklava...try it! It gives you a real sense of the medina without the pressures of the tourist shops. Not once did we ever feel uncomfortable walking around this area and actually got to where we recognized the kids, as they did us, and we were always greeted with a “hello” or “bonjour”. However, you’re also only a 20 minute walk from Jamal al Fna and the action of the Medina. It’s the best of both worlds and why you went to Marrakech in the first place, right?

As for that luggage that wasn’t at the airport for our arrival...it was at the Riad at 3:00pm the same afternoon. That phone they gave us...never needed it. The map and all those alleyways and roads.....you’ll need the map, but it won’t take you long to read all the signs, you know, like turn left at the tall palm tree, right at the red barrel, there’s the butcher store, remember that wall and the restaurant Al Marjana...we turn left there....the map keeps you in the right neighborhood and all the non-street signs will keep you going in the right direction. And if you get lost...keep walking because I know that moped repair shop is just up the alley where you’ll turn right and then you’ll see the carpet store....

Well, I hope this gives you a good overall perspective of the Riad Noir D’Ivoire and the wonderful people that make you feel like family during your visit. There are over 500 Riads in Marrakech and we never visited any of them....why would we...we were staying in the best one!!

But in case that isn’t enough I have one more thing to add as the pièce de résistance; long story short is that we had a horrible return flight reservation. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 5:30am, which of course meant we had to be at the airport around 3:30am. The day of our departure my wife and I arrived downstairs at 3:00am to fresh coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, lite breakfast, a smile, “bonjour” and a “did you sleep well” greeting. After our brief breakfast, two young men carried our luggage down the alley to meet our taxi, who was none other than the infamous Samir....and the rest they say is history. Did I mention the bar.......you’ll just have to go see for yourself.

Happy travels to all!!

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank Steviemain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 February 2011

We recently spent 3 nights at this Riad, being our first visit to Marrakech. When we were met at the airport and our very courteous taxi driver told us he was taking us to meet the donkey, my husband thought he was joking! He took us to the outskirts of the Medina, where, indeed, we were met by our donkey and trap, who carried out luggage directly to the Riad. Within 5 mins of walking down winding, narrow, streets our chaperone stopped at a large wooden door and rang the bell. I can only describe the inside of the Riad as a perfect haven. Such a contrast from the streets of the Medina and absolutely stunning! Jill, the owner, was fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble. She welcomed us as if she already knew us. The perfect hostess in every way. Large black velvet sofas, the sound of trickling water, open burning log fires and courtyards with waterfalls - It is wonderful. We were lucky enough to stay in one of the suites. It had a bath big enough for a party of people, a rainforest shower, a four poster bed with open fire in the bedroom that was made up and lit for us within seconds of asking. We also had our own roof terrace which was private and enclosed, giving a perfect breakfast spot in the early morning sun, and our own personal hot tub on the roof. Absolutely brilliant! I did feel a bit sorry for the waiter carrying our breakfast up the next morning, but one thing I would say about the staff is it was certainly service with a smile. Again, nothing too much trouble, anything possible, very friendly I really couldn't find fault. My birthday morning, I was serenaded by the staff, presented with champagne and a birthday cake. I was treated to a hammam which you've got to do if you go - it's a great experience. Jill arranged a private room at the riad for dinner that night and when we got back to our suite, it was candlelit with 30 or 40 tea light candles and red rose petals scattered throughout. Whatever you want arranged is no problem and done immediately. Jill is great with suggestions so if you want general advice it's overflowing and she's also more than happy to arrange any personal requests, trips etc. The riad is decorated tastefully and beautifully with great attention to detail and style. All in all, a perfect 3 day break. Thank you so much Jill and all your staff for making our stay so memorable. I would recommend this Riad to anyone who's looking for a taste of Marrakech with a boutique, luxury feel where you really are made to feel 'worth it' (as Loreal would say)! You really couldn't ask for more.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank DeeGloucestershire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Riad Noir d'Ivoire

Address: 31, Derb jdid Bab Doukkala 44.000, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Phone Number:
Region: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Marrakech
#3 Spa Hotel in Marrakech
Price Range: $277 - $684 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Riad Noir d'Ivoire is a romantic, luxury boutique hotel composed of five suites, three of which have private roof terraces and jacuzzis, two junior suites and two double rooms. Services include bar, Spa with traditional hammam, fully equipped gym, library, restaurant and a heated pool. All suites have fireplaces and all rooms, have air conditioning, heating, mini-bars, hairdryers, wall safes and flat screen televisions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riad Noir d`Ivoire Hotel Marrakech
Riad Noir d Ivoire Marrakech

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