Riad Olema: True Oasis inside the Marrakech Medina
Riad Olema: True Oasis inside the Marrakech Medina.
It was a warm day in March as we drove from an olive tree lined road of the quiet Agafay desert into the chaotic and narrow streets of Marrakech. We stopped in front of a small community mosque where our lovely driver, who barely spoke a word of English made a walking gesture with his fingers informing us to walk from there. He shouted in Arabic out of the car, and a man with a cart ran over to help us with our bags. We followed him on a short two minute walk down a narrow alley when he finally put our bags down and rang a doorbell.
The door slowly opened, and we were warmly greeted and ushered into the bright courtyard of the riad. During checking in, we were welcomed with Moroccan mint tea and cookies while our bags were discreetly taken to our room. The lovely hotel staff gave us a map and informed us of all the nearby landmarks and offered to make us any restaurant recommendations or reservations we needed while we were in town. The level of warm and welcoming service set the tone for our entire stay. The riad is conveniently located in the heart if the medina near the "Grande Mosque Bab Doukkala", a short 10 minutes walk to everywhere in the city, whether to the bustling Jemaa el Fna square or the new part town of the city, Guiliez.
Riad Olema itself is a beautifully decorated riad with a perfect blend of traditional Moroccan and modern European design. It has six rooms and two suites and offers many lounging areas and private corners to unwind, dine and have a glass of wine. There are two buildings which are connected by the roof terrace which are great spaces for breakfast, tanning, or having a dip in one of the three plunge pools.
Apart from the inclusive breakfast, we did not plan to eat at the hotel, but we got to experience the rare phenomenon of heavy rain and decided to spend one dinner inside the comfort of the riad. Olema offers a broad range of cuisine on their menu ranging from traditional tajines to Mediterranean and Italian dishes. After experiencing some of the best restaurants in Marrakech, the food at Olema proved to be better than some of the highly reputed restaurant options. We ordered the beef tagine with onions and raisin which was heavenly and only cost 120 Dhs (around £11) and a bottle of Moroccan La Ferme Rouge, La Cuvée du Terroir white wine.
We truly enjoyed our stay here at Riad Olema & Spa and would recommend this oasis of calm & relaxation to anyone who is looking to stay in the heart of the Marrakech Medina.