Insider Picks: The Best Riads in
Marrakech is a magical city well worth getting to know. And what better way to become acquainted than to stay and mingle with locals in the middle of all the excitement and chaos? The riads of Marrakech often times resemble authentic and charming family homes. Many of contemporary riads are restored and designed by world-known architects who love to maintain the main characteristic of the spaces while adding touches of contemporary design. Their patios are ultra relaxing, also serving as reading sanctuaries and often times, these riads boast traditional hammams to sooth and heal, a swimming pool, and the rooftop with priceless views of the medina. Riads are magical places and so beautiful that it’s hard to choose just one. We’ve handpicked our favorites to make sure you have an unforgettable trip to Marrakech.
Restored by curator Vanessa Branson, with carefully chosen art pieces from Batoul S’Himi and Terence Donovan, this majestic place is a definite crème de la crème. Lush gardens, marble swimming pools, and organic gardens with songbirds chirping – perfect environment to unwind and have a glass of wine or just sit down and do nothing. In you room you will not find telephones or televisions. You could watch a film though in the riad’s private cinema, which sounds like an alternative we could definitely settle for. In the morning tea or coffee will be waiting for you outside the bedroom’s door.
Located just next to the Royal Palace, Saadian Tombs, Bahia, and Badi palaces, Riad Awa makes for an attractive and convenient stay. On the terrace, comprising of 2 levels, you can enjoy the view of the Atlas Mountains. Back on the ground floor there is a hammam and a massage room. If you need to warm up a little bit more, sit down in front of the sculpted chimney in the open lounge area. This intimate guesthouse offers 6 well-equipped bedrooms of varied styles: the Beldi room is decorated with straw, raffia, and linen; zellige room has a ceiling made of leather and zelig – Moroccan print design.
Step into this 19th century residential palace and get lost in its alleyways. Take a peek into the gardens, which impress with the choices of beautiful plants: orange, jasmine, and cypresses, among others. Riad Madani has 15 luxury rooms at your disposal, 6 of which surround the patio. Moorish architecture prevails, but not only. Collection of Chinese paintings, prints of Picasso, and shields from Papua New Guinea are just some of the examples of pieces of art that can be found on the walls of the riad. What is more, Madani has its own restaurant. You can savor some traditional dishes in the salon, on the patio and roof terraces.
Intimate, elegant and low-key – this is Dar Darma in a nutshell. Located in the heart of the medina, the riad features a Blue and Red Apartment, Orange Suite, or Suite of Mirrors. Next to its own patio, swimming pool, hammam and terrace with extensive views, there is a library where you can rest with a book. Book the massage or “gommage” to make the relaxing time away from home complete. Dishes prepared by Dar Darma’s cook Maria include: harira soup, meat or vegetable tajines and some other typical platters.
Formerly a home to the relatives of Morocco’s ruling family, Riad Edward is now one of the top riads of Marrakesh. Restored by its English owner, some of the riad’s original features remained, for example carved cedar ceilings, local artefacts and rugs. Refined and simple, modern and shabby-chic at the same time, the riad’s big doors open to the courtyards, whose arches embrace a small swimming pool- central to the hotel’s patio. Apparently its terrace is one of the highest in this part of town. Riad Edward has 6 suites and 4 rooms all with ensuite bathroom. Ask the hotel’s staff about excursions with quads or camels that can be booked at extra cost.
Dar Les Cigognes
As the sister property of Riad Kaïss, Dar Les Cigognes is also pat of the Sansoucci Collection. Situated in the Palace Quarter, it was transformed by a world-known architect Charles Bocarra into an exquisite 5-star boutique. Dar Les Cigones means “House of Storks” and it was named after the birds that perch on the elevation of the Royal Palace of Hassan II, located opposite the riad. At Dar Les Cigones you can make use of spa treatments using in-house developed cosmetics.
Riad Noir D’Ivoire
A haven for couples and honeymooners, Riad Noir D’ivoire is hidden in the city centre of Marrakesh. Its suites and bedrooms are equipped with a fireplace and some of them with a bathtub for two. Around the pool there are luscious suites exotically named Panther, Cheetah and Zebra. If you wish to sleep under the stars or have an idyllic dinner outside, do not think twice, this is your riad. Friendly stuff will even help to set the mood. Rose petals, candles, you name it. Attention to details seems to be a trademark. Sumptuously tasseled drapes, Moroccan ornaments, and carved in wood designs make the picture complete.
Riad Les Yeux Bleus
You will find this Marrakesh boutique riad just 10 minutes walk from the square of Jemaa el Fna. The eight-bedroom Riad Les Yeux Bleus will not make it easy for you to get to know the city of Marrakesh. It has a lot to offer: two patios – one with a swimming pool, the other one featuring a stylish marble fountain – a library, a hammam, and a roof terrace with a bar. It is not a simple job to combine elements of what constituted ancient Morocco and what is a contemporary vibrant and modern city life of Marrakesh. Riad Les Yeux Bleus did it and they did it tastefully.
Light, water, and night are three leading symbols that are central in the design of riad Snan13. While sitting on the patio, you can admire views on the city’s medina, the sunset, Koutoubia’s mosque or Dar el Bacha’s Palace. This boutique riad hotel is located in Mouassine, the oldest neighborhood of Marrakesh. It is an intimate place with 5 spacious bedrooms. All of them are arranged in a unique style. For instance, Le Hammam room’s design recreates the feel of an authentic hammam, and Le Moucharabieh has a private reading and rest area. At Snan13, traditional Arab dishes are prepared by its in-house chef according to old family recipes.
Two French brothers restored this riad, which originally belonged to Marrakech’s influential Tigani family. Nowadays, L’Orangeraie is a boutique hotel with 7 rooms and suites, all carrying the names of local spices and colors, and 2 extensive patios. On one of them, guests can relax listening to the sounds of the fountain and enjoying the scent of aromatic plants. The other comprises a mosaic swimming pool and hammam. That leaves us with a tough choice. Of course, you cannot miss a rooftop with some magnificent views over the city. Vistas from the Riad L’Orangeraie’s terrace extend over the Atlas Mountains.
Riad Kaiss is another design treat. Rebuilt by a hotel designer Christian Ferre, this luxury boutique hotel is one of Marrakesh’s specials on the riads menu. The architect managed to subtly combine Moroccan with modern French style in a wonderful manner. Many ravel about its suite on the roof which has its private terrace. The nine rooms and suites are appointed to different types of travelers. If you are in need of a personal shopper, or you feel like a cooking class, you do not have to search further, you can find it here, at the hotel. Riad Kaïss is situated close to the UNESCO world heritage site Djema el Fna.
Written by Asia Trzeciak