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Guide to Riads in Marrakesh, Morocco (updated)

June 20, 2011

Riad Al Massarah

Riad Al Massarah

A riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. The word riad comes from the Arabian term for garden, “ryad”.

If you want to experience the Marrakshi hospitality then stay in a riad guest house and gain an understanding of Marrakesh behind those brass medina doors. Be aware that the websites you may book your riad at can have candid and retouched shots of the majestic guest house, promising locations ‘5 minutes’ from the Djemaa el-Fna. While some may be authentic and located exactly where they say, others may be located in remote neighborhoods far from restaurants, taxis and other traveler amenities, down winding, covered alleyways that can seem dark and forbidding even in broad daylight.


Check the price before renting one and make sure to lock down on the decided price as there can be no no guarantee of an idyllic riad experience. Even some high-end riads have only bare-minimum staffs of underpaid employees, who are kept so busy with cleaning and basic chores they have no time for the social graces that give Marrakshis such pride in their hosting tradition.

The rates at most licensed, reputable riads are not cheap, since riads can only accommodate a few guests at a time, upkeep is a non-stop undertaking, and the hard-working, mostly local staff deserve decent salaries. Breakfasts are typically included in the price, and will offer the souqs with Moroccan and European pastries, yogurt, fresh orange juice, coffee or tea and sometimes fruit or eggs.

So what is the best time to visit Marrakesh and save on those exorbitant rates? For the best choice and sweetest deals, avoid high season during major European holidays especially Christmas–New Year, Easter, and the end of April/first week of May around the May 1 workers’ holiday. During high season you’ll need to reserve a month in advance and expect to pay almost double low-season rates for popular riads. Low season is usually summer (mid-June to August) and winter (mid-January to mid-March). Mid-season rates cover most of spring and autumn.

It pays to be flexible with riads. In the off-season, there are chances of getting a better rate by contacting the riad directly to ask if there’s anything available in your price range within a date range. If you’re staying a week or more you might get rates of up to 30% off and these are often posted on the riad website. Renting out an entire riad in exclusivity with friends or family is also an option where rates usually start around MAD 5000 (approx US$632) to MAD 8000 (approx US$1,012) per night in low or high season, respectively, for up to six rooms and 15 people.

Last-minute and package deals are listed on several Marrakesh accommodation websites, many in French but with buttons to click for the English version: www.riadomaroc.com, www.ilove-marrakech.com, www.riadsmorocco.com, www.terremaroc.com and www.splendia.com. Riad and villa rentals available by the day, week or month can be found at www.marrakech-riads.net, www.marrakech-medina.com and www.habibihomes.com.

Some of the ones we found are:

Riad Eden
Tel: +212 6 72 04 69 10
Website: www.riadeden-marrakech.com
Address: 25, Derb jdid – Riad Zitoun Lakdim
Rates: double room incl breakfast MAD 490-1090
Owned by a young French family, this is one of the best place to stay. Standard rooms are more snug and sweet than the suites, especially the African-inspired Fig room and the rooftop Orange room.
Price range: $$

Riad Magi
Tel: +212 52442 6688
Mobile: +212 6 7735 3067
Website: www.riad-magi.com
Address: 79 Derb Moulay Abdelkader, Derb Debbachi
Rates: single/double incl breakfast MAD 650/930
Six rooms in shiny lime, lemon and blueberry tadelakt. The souqs are just around the corner, but the rest of the world seems miles away under the lemon trees in this serene blue-and-yellow courtyard. Ask the English-speaking manager about on-site cooking classes and restaurants; food is a favourite topic here.
Price range: $$

Riad Nejma Lounge
Website: www.riad-nejmalounge.com (at the time of writing this post, the website was hacked!)
Address: 45 Derb Sidi M’Hamed el-Haj, Bab Doukkala
Rates: double room incl breakfast MAD 495-795
Young, hip staff. Tasty meals. Modern colorful rooms.
Price range: $$

Riad Julia
Tel: +212 5 24 37 60 22
Website: www.riadjulia.com
Rates: Double Room incl breakfast MAD 495-715
There are 5 to 7 rooms that have AC, are well-kept and clean. Handicrafts are laid out in rooms and artifacts around the Riad. English-speaking Omar arranges excursions, henna tattooing, and dinners under the Berber roof tent. Swimming pool, massages, babysitting service.
Price range: $$

Riad Zahr
Website: www.riadzahr.com (at the time of writing this post, the website was being redesigned)
Address: 14 Derb El Kori, Sidi Ben Slimane
Rates: single/double room MAD 540/870-1100
Tadelakt floors, white Verner Panton plastic loungers on simple red Berber rugs. Not easy and something of a shock to find a mod Zen bolthole on the pilgrimage route to an ancient zawiya, far from any tourist landmark –
but taxis are only a few minutes away.
Price range: $$

Riad el Borj
Tel: +212 5 24 39 12 23
Website: www.riadelborj.com
Address: 63, Db Moulay Abdelkader, Derb Dabachi, Médina
Rates: Double MAD 935-1540
Mountain excursions, hammam, swimming pool, Wi-Fi. This was once a lookout of Grand Vizier Madani Glaoui, and now you too can enjoy it over the neighbours in the suite with original zellij, double-height ceilings and skylit tub, or the tower hideaway with the rippled ceiling and book nook.
Price range: $$$

Riad L’Orangeraie
Tel: +212 661 238 789
Website: www.riadorangeraie.com
Address: 61, rue Sidi El Yamani, Mouassin
Rates: double incl breakfast MAD 1430-1870
Smooth and suave, with perfectly buffed tadelakt walls, massaging showers (the best in town), a generous pool and sprawling rooms. This place has all the right moves, with five employees looking after seven rooms, a car and driver on call, excellent breakfasts and soothing hammam treatments.
Price range: $$$$

Riad Al Massarah
Tel: +212 524 38 32 06
Website: www.riadalmassarah.com
Address: 26 Derb Djedid, Bab Doukkala, Marrakech Medina
Rates: double incl breakfast MAD 1200-2000
This eco-friendly riad is owned by British-French owners Michel and Michael, who redesigned this ancient riad to provide ultimate comfort and allow more sunlight, and reduce electrical and water usage. Offers top-notch hammam, massages, cooking lessons and eco-excursions – all while donating to local nonprofits and providing full benefits to a staff of five. Has Wi-Fi and swimming pool.
Price range: $$$$

Riad Zolah
Tel: +212 5 2438 7535, +212 6 6133 0608
Website: www.riadzolah.com
Address: 114-116 Derb El Hammam
Rates: double incl breakfast MAD 2100-3000
With six rooms and in the heart of the Medina, this riad has Friendly and helpful staff. Beautifully furnished in traditional style, a magical environment of long silken drapes and palatial luxury. Swimming pool, hammam, massage and henna tattoos.
Price range: $$$$

Riad Farnatchi
Tel: + 212 5 24 38 49 10
Website: www.riadfarnatchi.com
Address: 2 Derb el-Farnatchi, Ka’at Benahid
Rates: suite incl breakfast MAD 3400-4750
Private salons aglow with skylights and fireplaces, sumptuous suede coverlets begging a snuggle, magically
appearing cookies and canapés, and a jellaba and slippers in your size to lounge around the riad and take home. This is your dream five-star vacation with chauffeured cars, personal shoppers, in-house hammam, and massages.
Price range: $$$$

Also check out:
Marrakesh riad hotels: four of the best [Telegraph.co.uk]
Morocco: readers’ tips, recommendations and travel advice

Marrakech Walking Tour A walk through the important and former imperial city in Morocco, known as the “Red City”. The city of Marrakech is the capital of the mid-southwestern economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains.

Price: $1.49 Price: $1.49 Price: $1.49 Price: $1.49
Buy on Amazon.com Buy on BN.com Buy Now on Smashwords.com Buy now on Google Play

Points of interest:
Bahia Palace, Dar Si Said, Cinéma Eden, Djemaa el-Fna, Bab Fteuh Fondouq, Al-Kawtar, Kif-Kif, Dar Cherifa, Assouss Cooperative d’Argane, Mouassine Fountain, Souq Sebbaghine, L’Art du Bain Savonnerie, Cooperative Artisanale Femmes de Marrakesh, Café Arabe, Terrasse des Épices

Marrakech Spaziergang Spazieren Sie durch die wichtigsten und ehemalige Kaiserstadt in Marokko, wie die “rote Stadt” bekannt. Marrakesch ist die Hauptstadt der Mitte der südwestlichen Wirtschaftsregion Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, nahe den Ausläufern der schneebedeckten Berge des Atlas-Gebirge.

Price: $1.49 Price: $1.49 Price: $1.49 Price: $1.49
Buy on Amazon.com Buy on BN.com Jetzt kaufen auf Smashwords.com Jetzt kaufen auf Google Play

Sehenswürdigkeiten:
Bahia Palace, Dar Si Said, Cinéma Eden, Djemaa el-Fna, Bab Fteuh Fondouq, Al-Kawtar, Kif-Kif, Dar Cherifa, Assouss Cooperative d’Argane, Mouassine Fountain, Souq Sebbaghine, L’Art du Bain Savonnerie, Cooperative Artisanale Femmes de Marrakesh, Café Arabe, Terrasse des Épices

 

Actual prices on the respective websites or stores may be different from that mentioned here; please check the prices on the respective websites or stores before purchasing. All prices mentioned on this website are in USD, unless otherwise mentioned. Price for regions around the world may show in their local currency and may be different. We apologize for errors and would love to hear from you.


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