Among the many treasures that Morocco hides, there are the riads. We show you the most beautiful and charming riads in Marrakech.
Nestled at the foot of the Atlas, the imperial city of Marrakech is large, noisy, chaotic and dirty. But Marrakech is also fascinating. With more than 1,000 years of history, the “Land of God” (Marrakech in Berber), will probably catch you up.
To get to know Marrakech is to immerse yourself in its ancient area, the Medina, with its maze of alleys and markets, souks and gardens, mosques and palaces.
Among the treasures that the old city of Marrakech hides are the riads, those mysterious houses totally closed to the outside, following the old Muslim belief that one should never show the neighbour the misery or wealth of a house in order not to create envy.
What is a Riad?
A riad is a traditional Moroccan house of several floors that is characterized by an interior courtyard or garden as the central element of the building. The name comes from the Arabic word “Ryad”, which means garden.
Following the Islamic idea of privacy, a riad does not usually have large windows looking out. Instead, the rooms have windows facing the inner courtyard of the house.
For that very reason, riads often go unnoticed, because no one would say that behind a simple door lies an incredible palace. Some of the riads don’t even have a sign outside their doors.
Why stay in a Riyadh in Morocco?
- Because it’s like being in a palace.
- Because generally riads, unlike hotels, have few rooms and this allows for personalized attention from the owners and staff.
- Also, unlike hotels, in riads it is very common for each room to be individually decorated. This has nothing to do with impersonal hotels.
- Another reason for choosing a riad as your accommodation is the food. Most riads are as well known for their restaurants as for their beauty. And Marrakech, is world famous for its restaurants.
- And finally, after the madness of the souks and the medina of Marrakech, there is nothing like entering the peaceful oasis of a riad.
The only reason not to stay in a Riyadh in Morocco
The price. Unlike hotels, staying in a riad in Marrakech is not cheap. With only a few rooms and the constant maintenance it demands, staying in a riad is not exactly what one would call an economical accommodation.
Hotels are cheaper, but if you can afford the price, don’t hesitate.
There are around 600 riads in the city, and that number can be daunting, so here are the 7 most beautiful and charming riads in Marrakech.
The most charming riads in Marrakech
1. La Maison Arabe
Located in the heart of the Medina and within walking distance of the Jemaa el Fna square and the souks, La Maison Arabe has the distinction of being the first riad hotel opened in Marrakech.
Renovated by the Italian aristocrat Fabrizio Ruspoli, it has 26 rooms, an open-air swimming pool, a world-famous cooking school and three restaurants that are among the best in Marrakech. Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle and Jackie Kennedy ate here.
2. Dar Darma
Of all the riads in Marracech, Dharma stands out for its mystery and beauty – a true palace of a thousand and one nights! Hidden in the heart of the medina, Dharma is located only a few minutes walk from the souks and the famous Jemaa El Fna square.
As in a palace, each room has its own decoration and is painted in a different colour.
3. Riad Noir d’Ivoire
If you want to sleep under the stars or have an idyllic dinner under the starry sky of Maraketch, think no more, this is your Riad.
This charming hotel, run by a French-English couple, consists of three suites with Jacuzzi and private rooftop dining room, outdoor swimming pool and nine other rooms, each individually decorated with a blend of Moroccan craftsmanship, Syrian furniture and voluptuous plush chairs.
4. Riad Kheirredine
Thanks to the comments and praise of its customers, Riad Kheirredine was chosen by TripAdvisor as one of the best riads in Marraketch in 2014.
It has an open-air swimming pool, a Turkish bath and ten rooms that combine Italian elegance with Moroccan décor. This place is a corner hard to forget.
5. El Fenn
This majestic riad has been restored by Vanessa Branson, the head of the Marrakech Biennial, with a careful selection of art pieces chosen from Batoul S’Himi and photographs by Terence Donovan.
This luxury boutique hotel has lush gardens full of bougainvilleas, old-fashioned Turkish steam baths and three swimming pools to make it the ideal place to relax and have a glass of wine or just sit and do nothing.
6. La Sultana Marrakech
The riad La Sultana is integrated in the luxurious hotel Palacio de la Bahía, and takes the Moroccan style to the top. The details of its decoration, between the paintings and the golden mouldings, create an exotic and opulent atmosphere.
Among its facilities there is a solarium, an elegant lattice window in the garden, a heated swimming pool and a spa with columns reminiscent of a sultan’s palace. Hence the inspiration for its name.
The suites, as you’d expect in a five-star establishment, feature all kinds of amenities, including a bathrobe and slippers, dressing room and balcony with a view.
7. Riad Joya
The architecture of Riad Joya displays a palette of shades reminiscent of the desert, between browns and beiges. Around the courtyard are seven eclectic style rooms in suite, with custom-made cedar furniture, bronze sculptures, and details in linen, silk and velvet.
Lanterns provide a dim light in the traditional hammam, while the discreet staff of the rooftop bar offers appetizers to guests, who spend time by the two swimming pools.
8. Riad Vert
With seven suite rooms, Riad Vert goes deeper into the concept of traditional decoration, with white walls, textile handicrafts on the walls and on the armchairs and a common room ideal for socializing.
Every morning a hearty Moroccan-style breakfast is offered, and its restaurant specializes in Moroccan cuisine, at affordable prices.
9. L’Oriental Medina Riad & Spa
One of the most stylish riads in Marrakech. It is also a little more expensive than the previous ones. The common areas, including the terrace, are tastefully decorated. The staff is known to be particularly charming and always seeks to make the guest feel at home.
The hammam and the massages, on payment, are particularly well regarded in what is one of the best Riad in Marrakech. Right in the centre of the courtyard, there is also a wonderful swimming pool which is lit up at night.
10. Hotel & Spa Riad El Walaa
A nice boutique hotel located three minutes walk from Djema el Fna Square. Exquisitely decorated and with a pool that occupies almost the entire ground floor, ideal for when you return from your day in Marrakech.
The rooms are facing the pool and have all kinds of amenities. The terrace has a chill out area, perfect to enjoy an end of day.