If you are planning to visit Marrakesh you HAVE to stay in one of these hidden gems of the city! Riads used to be the homes of large wealthy Moroccan families, housing several generations under the same roof. Many of them have been converted into small hotels, usually with only a handful of rooms.
They all have the same distinct architecture: an open-air atrium in the middle with a small pool or bath, surrounded by a square or rectangular building, several stories high and a rooftop terrace at the top. Moroccan people say that the concept of an open air atrium originates from the belief that they are closer to god if there is no roof. Most riads have maintained their luxurious interiors; but some of them are true miniature palaces probably competing with the homes of kings and queens!
What we loved most about these places is that they give the feeling of being a well kept secret. They are usually very hard to find in the streets, only have a small sign and a simple door that you’d never expect to be hiding a secret palace inside…
We spent most of our time in Marrakesh visiting one riad after the other and decided to list our 5 favourite ones below. There’s a riad for every budget category – so there’s no excuse to miss out!
This riad has incredible reviews so we had to pay it a visit. This is the cheapest riad we visited (70 EUR/night), but as soon as we stepped inside we were stunned by how cute this place was. We received a very warm welcome, were offered traditional tea and biscuits, before exploring the rest of the riad. The ground floor has beautiful traditional furniture and soft Moroccan rugs, organised around a small pool. There are a handful of simple but beautiful rooms on the first floor, there’s a traditional Moroccan bath and a small little rooftop terrace at the top. We loved our stay in this stunning little riad!
Ksar Kasbah, what a discovery! This riad only very recently opened in the summer of 2018; it was the house of a wealthy Moroccan family before that. You can get a room as of 105 EUR/night. The French owner kept the style intact, with stunning mosaic walls, luxurious hallways, magical Moroccan lamps and a stunning central terrace with pool. The rooms and bathrooms are huge, but what we loved the most about this place is the rooftop, which offers a spectacular view over the city and the snowy Atlas mountains in the back. It was our favourite spot for sunset! We ordered hot tea and were watching the sun go down when suddenly the sound of prayer resonated from all the minarets over the city – literally a magical moment.
This riad was very hard to find but it was worth the search. The entrance is in a very small and narrow little street in the center of the medina. All you can see from the outside is a solid wooden door with a beautiful handle and lock, which are the only things that might hint to the fact that there’s a small palace inside. We almost wanted to take off our shoes when we entered, afraid to stain the white carpet in the hallway. It has a beautiful bright central terrace with pool and a cute little library. Rooms are very comfy though you might prefer those on the 1st floor which have bigger windows. Prices start at 160 EUR/night.
The first things that struck us when we entered this stunning riad is the romantic atmosphere with soft music and candle light. As soon as we passed the entrance door it felt like we traveled back in time and were in the wealthy palace of a Moroccan prince. This riad has a much bigger pool than the other riads we visited, surrounded by lush vegetation and beautiful red and yellow flowers. Like the pool, the rooms are massive, and the owners kept the traditional style and furniture. Prices start at 190 EUR/night.
We’re not sure if this place falls under the category of a riad, or rather a boutique hotel, but it had to be on the list of our favourite places in Marrakesh. We were literally mesmerised as soon as we stepped foot in this hotel. It falls under a different category as the other riads (prices start as of 400 EUR/night), but if you can afford it you will understand why when you enter. Luxurious hallways, huge flower bouquets, detailed mosaics, stunning statues and wooden carvings, and on top of that impeccable service. It’s much larger than a normal riad and there are several atriums with small pools, as well as one larger swimming pool. And it has an amazing spa with a stunning indoor pool, and several Moroccan baths. If you’re looking for a luxury retreat to Marrakesh, this is the place to be!