Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Rating Riad Libitibito - Marrakech, Morroco

Marrakech offers a wide range of accommodation to tourists. Staying in a riad in the Medina, the old city, is something to consider, for those of you looking for a piece of the real Morocco. We chose to stay at Riad Libitibito for a week, and we did not regret that choice.

Rating Riad Libitibito
: BBBB (4,04 points)

Outside Junior Suite Khmissa
Before rating Riad Libitibito I will make a few remarks to the rating-system. Mine or any rating system does not do justice to lodging like a Riad. 

Libitibito is here awarded a mere four star rating, but if you are looking for a "five-star riad experience" look no further. This low score shows clearly that the rigidity of any rating system as mine fails to describe an extraordinary experience, as staying in an old Moroccan guesthouse.

Libitibito is a riad with only 5 rooms. This explains a low score on facilities compared to a larger hotel, that may offer so much more to guests.

I have awarded the breakfast five star, even though the rating reflects the selection of foods available on a breakfast buffet. At Riad
Libitibito you get a simple, but extremely delicious  "five-star" breakfast.
  • Location: BBBB
  • Service: BBBBB
  • Room: BBBBB-
  • Breakfast: BBBBB
  • Facilities: BBB-
  • Price: BBBB
Ancient gate in the historic Mellah district

Secluded in the old Medina

I will clearly call the area in the Medina, with its maze of narrow streets and passage ways, charming. I can, however understand those of you that find it overwhelming and even scary. Small traders are flanking each side of the street and you are nearly run over by men carrying carts, bicyclists or mopeds.

Riad Libitibito is located in the middle of this maze, as you leave your taxi, you have to drag you suitcase for 10 minutes, into a  quiet part of the Medina.

Finding the direction and the right door requires a sense of direction, as this along this maze you find an even larger number of doors, each leading into a riad, a residence built around a central courtyard, providing much needed shade during the scorching summer heat.

We managed to find our way, by taking one or two fixed routes from the square starting by the Café Argana but finding the Riad may be difficult for those of you lacking sense of direction. 
Friends on each side, Middle left, Zahid, Tania, and Zachary
Exquisite service

The service at Riad Libitibito can only be described with one word - exquisite. Staying with Tania and Zakaria in their Riad is like entering into a home. The staff does an absolutely fantastic job.

All rooms were tidied up every day, and inspected by our host. We were served a delicious breakfast on the rooftop terrace, and one evening they made a delicious meal for us and served it in the parlour downstairs.

Palm trees and banana growing in the courtyard
Zakaria and Tania will give you advice on what to do, what to buy to what price. (The latter made me realize that I had been tricked twice- story coming). Talking with them gave us an intimate and insight in Moroccan culture, history, lifestyle  and culture, making our stay into much more than if we had stayed in an ordinary hotel.

Looking back on our stay, I realize that the relationship between us grew from a professional host-guest to more of a friendship, so much that we in fact are keeping up our contact after our stay.

My bed -  worthy of a sultan
Junior Suite Khmissa

I stayed in one of two Junior suites. There are one large suite, and two smaller double rooms. All rooms are located around a central courtyard.

I stayed in Junior Suite Khmissa on the first floor. It was a spacious room with a beautiful traditional decor.

Through to the bath- and shower room
The centerpiece was the most magnificent bed, worthy of a Sultan. The head board was carved into the stone walls of the ancient house in the shape of a niche, with small lit by small downlights.

I was pleased to find duvets instead of sheets, as I knew that North Africa nights are chilly during winter.

The bed was covered with a beautiful bed spread in white, black and silver with matching pillows. Having a bed like this for your self is pure luxury. 

The suite was long with only one window. The thick ancient walls would be perfect during the hot summer, but the room was a little dark. It helped that much of the decor was kept in white reflecting the little daylight. Other colours were grey and silver. The floors were tiled.

There were two ornate chairs and one table in dark wood, and a generous storage for one and two.

I loved the bathrooms. It was painted in a bright ochre colour, so typical for this area.

Suite Khmissa - beautiful hand crafted chair
It was divided into two sections - one contained a beautiful hand crafted copper sink that was polished to perfection every day and a toilet.

An arch led into a separate shower room. In order to take shower, you had to remove a cap in order for the water to run out. That could take much time, as the surface was not even and some areas of the floor remained wet long after you had enjoyed a shower.

You did not have to wait long for hot water. Our hosts asked us to put the cap back after a shower as fumes from the sewage system would creative an unpleasant smell in the room.

There are a few small and insignificant cracks and dents in the stone walls, but all in all the property is well maintained. Room and bathroom were kept immaculately clean and tidy, thanks to our maid and hosts.

Breakfast on the rooftop terrace

January mornings in Marrakech may feel cool, and I went up every day with a book, and immediately I was asked whether I wanted to enjoy a cup of coffee. This as I am always up early, and find myself waiting for those I am traveling with in order to get breakfast.

The breakfast at Riad Libitibitho was certainly worth waiting for. Instead of the ever present breakfast buffet, Tania and Zakaria served a delicious breakfast prepared for us. It consisted of:
  • Hot coffee, tea or chocolate 
  • Rolls and pastry, usually croissants
  • Freshly made msemen, savoury Moroccan pancakes 
  • Cold butter 
  • Freshly prepared fruit salad 
  • Yogurt
  • Freshly pressed orange juice
  • Cream cheese
  • Preserves and jam 
A healthy breakfast served on the roof
All you need before lunch, deliciously prepared and fresh, keeping you fit until lunch. Very good, European style, coffee with warm milk. If you chose chocolate you got warm milk and added O'Boy to your own taste.

The pastry was crisp right out of the oven, the msemen were still warm, some days neutral, other days flavoured with spices and onions, both delicious with butter and/or cream cheese.

The fruit salad and yogurt made it into a healthier breakfast option for me, than if I'd chosen the ingredients myself by the buffet table.

The breakfast at Riad Libitibito was one of the highlights of the day, and kept us going until lunch time.


The roof terrace - a great feature
As previously mentioned, my rating system is based on what is offered, and facilities is an important part of the rating. Personal terraces, large outdoor areas, abundance of resting space and large swimming pool is a plus, but all these facilities comes at a price. Eden Andalou, the resort we stayed at last year, offered all that, but at a price 60% over the Riad Libitibito.

A smal, riad with 5 rooms can not compete with larger hotels on what facilities to offer the guests. There is e.g. only one TV located in the living room on the ground floor and a small dipping pool.

For those of you in quest for lodging with character and charm, I wholeheartedly recommend the Riad Libitibito. Here is what facilities Tanya and Zachary may offer you. 

Dipping pool
WIFI - free wireless internet access throughout the hotel, but primarely in the courtyard as it fails to surpass the thick walls 
Airconditioning - in all rooms
Pool: A small dipping pool is found the the courtyard, not heated - a dip is a fresh experience in January 
Roof terrace covering the entire roof, brightly painted in Marrakech red
Resting area
on terrace or in courtyard. Separate living room.
- the hosts at Libitibito may offer you a traditional Moroccan meal, either served on the terrace or if cool in the living room   
Alcoholic beverages, wine and beer available at very reasonable prices.

Seating area under a giant banana
Highly Recommended!
I highly recommend Riad Libitibito if you going to Marrakech and are looking for a Riad. Our hosts Tania and Zakaria showed an extraordinary hospitality and the hotel has an atmosphere and character not found in any new hotels,  and all is offered at an unbeatable price. 

You are located in the heart of the mysterious Medina with restaurants, shops and sights just outside your door, but when entering the courtyard you are struck by the tranquility.

Riad Libitibito is a hidden gem, and I cannot wait to get back for another week!!    

Riad Libitibito is number 38 out of 730 guesthouses in Marrakech!

We are not the only grateful guests - see other reviews on Riad Libitibito on tripadvisor.

Riad Libitibito
6 Derb Ouaihah Sidi Abdelaziz
Médina, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
See company website here

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