There are many travel threads regarding where to stay in Marrakech. Some swear by staying in the medina, near the souks in a typical riad type hotel Others want to stay in a luxury chain hotel. I wanted a bit of both. An authentic experience of a Moroccan riad with some of the familiar trappings and consistency of a brand hotel (if this was possible). After plugging in all of the variables, I chose Le Meridien N’Fis. It is part of the Starwood brand of hotels (St. Regis, W, Luxury Collection, Sheraton). It is close to the action of the medina and souks (5 minute cab ride, 20 minute walk) but not right in the action. Its grounds are beautiful-designed like a riad in that its buildings surround a central garden (which was voted one of the most beautiful of all gardens in Morocco, Spain and Portugal). And it gives good recognition and perks to Starwood frequent guests. This was a great choice. After spending one day navegating the labyrinthine medina and souks, I am very glad that I did not stay there-the heat, crowds, sights (sheep’s head anyone?), smells and general activity were dizzying. But with Le Meridien N’Fis, I could experience this and quickly be back at my hotel for a dip in the pool, a snack or to relax in my room, before setting out to explore again. The hotel rooms are not as modern as the newer hotels, but this means the rooms are much larger. The pool area is beautiful with a poolside restaurant and bar serving grilled meats and vegetables as well as salads and sandwiches. There is also a Moroccan restaurant open for dinner only and a breakfast restaurant overlooking the beautiful gardens. A spa gives massages and facials using typical Moroccan products like argan oil (great for the hair and skin and also used as a medicine). And directly across the street is a shopping mall with a large Carrefour supermarket (at times a life saver) and other cafes, restaurants and shops. An added bonus-Le Meridien N’Fis is only 10 minutes from the airport, great both after a exhausted arrival and before a frantic, hurried departure. Finally, as in all parts of the world (and more so in the Arabic speaking world), security at the hotel is top notch, both for people and vehicles entering the grounds. This is mostly for piece of mind as Morocco is a very safe country.
Morocco is a great country. Marrakech is a great city. Le Meridien is a great hotel to allow you to acclimate youself to them at your own pace.