News from the Riad

Ramadan, coming to Marrakech during Ramadan

There is no need to avoid coming to Marrakech during Ramadan. There is a change in the daily routine, and a change in street etiquette. With a small adjustment it can be just as enjoyable as any other time of year, and there should be less hassle.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The exact dates cannot be determined in advance due to the sighting of the crescent moon, but it generally moves forward by 11 days each year. If Ramadan occurs during the summer months Daylight Saving time will not apply, so clocks will go back the Sunday before Ramadan is expected, and forward again the Sunday after it has finished. It is a holy month for Muslims during which they abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from before sunrise to sunset. It is a time to focus more on the spiritual aspects of life, and also time to re-connect to family and friends after sunset and in the night. The last ten nights are particularly special for Muslims, one of these the mosques stay open all night and Muslims will walk from one to the other throughout the night to hear the full recitation of the Qur’an. Well-known Imams are invited to the Mosques in Marrakech, so for Muslims this can be a special experience. It is also a time to be generous in giving.

Will I have to fast in the day?

As a non-Muslim you are not expected to fast, however out of respect, you should avoid eating (including chewing gum), drinking and smoking in public during daylight hours.

How should I dress in public?

Everyone should dress modestly. It is advisable for women to avoid short skirts and sleeveless tops. We advise to bring loose fitting layers.

Will shops and banks be open?

Banks will close earlier, and New Town shops will not close for lunch, but close about an hour before sunset, and then re-open after breaking the fast. On Fridays very few people go back to work after the midday Muslim prayer.

Can I get something to eat during the day?

Most restaurants and cafes in Marrakech will stay open day and night during Ramadan, but often close an hour before sunset and re-open after breaking the fast. It can be more difficult to find alcohol in restaurants and bars. Many Muslims will not even handle alcohol during this time. It is more difficult to find places to eat during the day outside Marrakech, unless they cater just for tourists.

Will all the sights be open?

Yes they will, but again will close earlier

How about taking an excursion?

Most excursions and tours will still operate, but there may be a change in times available. Coaches and buses may alter their schedules or routes to match sunset or reduce traffic. Taxi drivers are less likely to engage in afternoon or evening travel. Trains generally keep to their given schedule but can be busier as people try to re-join their families. Just before sunset traffic can be busy and drivers tend to speed as they head home to be with their families and break the fast. At sunset the street will be empty.

And what happens locally?

The Riad is located just off a street market, so it can be very busy in the afternoon as locals shop for the evening meals. There is lots of street food, special pastries, all to be bought and consumed after sunset. Remember people will not have drunk, eaten or smoked all day so at times it can get a bit fractious.

Can I get food in the Riad?

We will be serving drinks and food as normal in the Riad, except we ask you to let the staff have time to break the fast at sunset.    

Marrakech in the Spring

Marrakech Spring weather is very pleasant, with daytime temperatures of around 22°C in March. rising to the high 20s by May. It may rain a couple of days each month, but these short sharp showers are over very quickly. Spring is the perfect season for exploring the old medina and its souks or for visiting sites of historical importance. Indulge in a hammam and massage or explore the nearby Atlas Mountains. Bring lightweight summer clothing and a hat, but something to cover up with at night when the temperatures can still feel a little chilly. Sand can blow in from the Sahara in the Spring so sunglasses are necessary to protect your eyes

Winter breaks

Winters can be surprisingly chilly in Marrakech, particularly at night. Daytime is mostly sunny and highs remain in the high teens Celsius, but nights can fall to around 4 or 5 degrees C. Don't worry, we have fires and radiators in the bedrooms so you won't feel this so keenly. Bring a sweater for chilly evenings, and layer clothing for the warmer days.

Riad Al Massarah awarded Travelife Gold Award

Travelife Gold Award

We are delighted to announce that we have just achieved a prestigious Travelife for Hotels & Accommodations Gold award. Travelife – the international sustainability certification scheme – assesses a property’s performance in managing their social, environmental and economic impacts. The labelling scheme helps hotels cut costs and increase sales, by improved sustainability. To gain Travelife Gold certification the hotel must meet their 150 sustainability criteria. This includes environmental issues, such as minimising their waste and use of energy, water and chemicals; as well as taking positive action on social responsibility, such as employee welfare, working with the local community, child protection and human rights. They must also show how they are helping to support local businesses, protect local traditions and engage with the local community.

Energy

We have reduced our energy use by using solar power for water heating, installing low-energy lighting, active management of in-room air conditioning, and setting and achieving energy efficiency targets.

Waste

We have reduced the amount of waste it produces by the development of a waste minimisation programme, including reducing the amount of resources used, reusing materials or recycling, using refillable containers, buying in bulk, and setting and achieving waste minimisation targets.

Water

The Riad uses various methods to save water, including dual flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and taps. In addition, shower cold water is collected for plant watering or toilet flushing, night-time watering of gardens to avoid unnecessary water evaporation and using less water when cleaning. As well as these day-to-day environmental measures, the Riad goes further to protect the environment by using environmentally friendly cleaning products, providing re-usable bags for guests shopping and encouraging guests to participate in eco-friendly activities. We measure our performance regularly to monitor the impact of our sustainability efforts, report on results and plan improvements.

Supporting people

Travelife certification shows that the Riad is committed to treating people fairly and with respect. As well as providing good working conditions for staff and investing in its employees by providing regular training, we aim to be an active member of the local community. The Riad supports local people by giving money to local charities such as Atfalouna and Espoir, encouraging guests to donate clothing or visit the charities and engaging with the local community on issues affecting them.

Local economy and businesses

We also try to support the local community from an economic perspective by buying food/other services from local suppliers and encouraging its guests to visit local restaurants, markets and attractions so that they have an opportunity to spend money and support the local economy. A key reason for tourism businesses to care about sustainability is to help protect the unique natural and cultural characteristics of their resort, so it continues to attract tourists in the future. We therefore serves local food, albeit with a modern twist, provides information on local customs and etiquette, heritage sites/places of cultural interest, restaurants, and places to buy locally-made goods or souvenirs, particularly from co-operatives.