These days, there are tons of options on where you could lay your head when travelling. On my past few trips, I’ve generally stayed in Air BnB and I had thought I’d do the same in Marrakesh. But once I started doing some research, I realized that this was one place I had to try staying in traditional lodgings. In Morocco, these traditional lodgings are called riads. I highly recommend a riad as they are generally small enough that you almost feel like you’re a guest in someone’s home but have the privacy like you would in a hotel. Best of both worlds! I managed to stay in three different riads during my stay in Marrakesh and I enjoyed all three. You can’t go wrong if you choose one of these places as your home base in Marrakesh!
All three are under 100€ per night and all can arrange airport/bus station transfers at reasonable prices.
One thing I noticed at riads is that unlike hotels, free toiletries are at a minimum.
These are all my unsolicited opinions – I received no compensation for this blog post.
Location: Located in the historic neighbourhood of Kasbah but still within a 15-minute walk to Djemaa el Fna, the Saadian Tombs, and Bahia Palace. Situated on a relatively quiet and narrow street (still accessible by vehicle), you can only enter this riad if the front desk buzzes you in. I liked this extra layer of security.
Overall Feel: While there is no sense of history in the architecture in this riad, Berta still has some traditional elements and has been put together quite nicely. I especially liked the tall palm trees rising up from the inner courtyard floor. The rooftop terrace and the chill living room are great places in which to relax or have a meal.
Rooms: There are eight rooms at Riad Berta. My simply decorated twin room was fairly spacious and comfortable. The wifi worked well as did the air conditioning!
Staff: They were friendly enough, some more so than others. Some of the staff spoke English but not all. French is your next bet if you don’t speak Darija.
Food: I had both breakfast (included in the price) and a dinner here – both were pretty good. If you do not want to have dinner at the riad or are looking for a lunch spot, Café Clock is just down the street. It’s a funky restaurant that also hosts a number of cultural events. This is where I tried a camel burger!
Location: Located in the Kennaria neighbourhood but within a five-minute walk to Djemaa el Fna. Tucked away off a quiet alley, the riad is still within walking distance to souks, the Dar Si Said Museum, Bahia Palace, and a multitude of restaurants.
Overall Feel: Riad UP is a beautiful contrast to the hustle and bustle of the media. I pretty much sighed in relief every time I walked back inside the riad. I loved the minimalist Moroccan-modern style in which the riad is decorated. The simplicity of the décor really showed off the furniture, the textiles, and the crafts. The terrace, the courtyard pool, and the living room complete with fire place are all nice places in which one could chill.
Rooms: There are six rooms – mine was a double room with minimalist contemporary décor. Wi-Fi and air conditioning worked great.
Staff: Everyone with whom I interacted was lovely – warm and personable. If you don’t speak Darija, your best bet is French if the owner is not around (she speaks English).
Food: I always had breakfast really early here and it was never a problem. Service was prompt and the food was delicious. I also ordered dinner one evening (need to order in advance) and was very glad I did as it was an amazing meal.
Location: Located in the neighbourhood of Kaat Benahid but within a ten-minute walk to Djemaa el-Fna. Also within walking distance are the souks, the Medersa Ben Youssef, and the Maison de la Photographie museum.
Overall Feel: A 16th-century house with a courtyard that has trees surrounding a central plunge pool. The décor was similar to Riad UP in that it was minimalist style showcasing Moroccan textiles and furniture. But it was still a very different place, equally as lovely. The rooftop terrace was fantastic and has phenomenal 360º views on the medina.
Rooms: There are six rooms here. My room, had high ceilings, retained many traditional elements, and was decorated with a minimalist feel. My favourite part was the grand traditional doors. Wi-Fi and air-conditioning worked great.
Staff: Friendly staff that went out of their way to ensure my stay was perfect. Generally spoken were English and French.
Food: Served on the roof terrace, the lovely breakfast spread (included in the price) definitely got top marks from me. As did dinner (you must order it in advance) – mine was served on a table sprinkled with rose petals, in the courtyard right in front of the pool. Fancy!