A trip to Morocco is incomplete without a visit to Marrakech. But where should you stay? At a hotel or a riad? What is a riad anyway, and what should you expect when you stay there?
With its bustling marketplaces, soothing hammams, and delightful restaurants, the historical yet alluring city of Marrakech offers a ton of romance and exoticism. It’s a tourist attraction that blends the finest Moroccan culture with modern conveniences.
So, where do you stay when you reach the historic town? There are two lodging alternatives available. The first is the obvious choice- staying in a hotel. These are standard hotels with excellent amenities, and you get the comfort of choosing what you already know.
But if you want a more genuine, one-of-a-kind experience, consider staying in a riad. If you’re confused and have the question “what is a riad?” in your mind, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn more about it.
What Is a Riad?
The word “riad” quite literally means, “enclosed garden”. A riad is a traditional Moroccan dwelling with roots dating back to ancient Rome, Greece, Iran, and India. The most notable feature of these homes is the focus on the interior courtyard.
Often these homes are multiple stories with rooms facing the courtyard that is generally home to a fountain, garden, or communal living area. Some riads even have spas or pools to give you a break from the scorching desert heat.
A quick Google search reveals the beauty and splendor of the rich Moroccan architecture. Detailed mosaic designs and arched doorways are a staple of these homes once belonging to the wealthy and affluent. These days, riads have been converted into hotels and Airbnbs for an authentic Moroccan experience.
What sets these beautiful places apart from regular hotels is the intimate atmosphere. Most riads have only 4-6 rooms with a caretaker who personally attends to your needs to give you an individualized experience unlike any other.
Why You Should Stay In a Riad
There are many pros to staying in riads in Morocco. First, living in these will allow you to experience authentic Moroccan culture and tradition. The Moroccan family who manages or owns the riad usually reside there themselves, which means they can guide you through all of their customs.
Most riads are small, with only about five to seven rooms. You can get undivided attention from the host and a more relaxed and intimate visit. They welcome you with a dish of Moroccan pastries, coffee, tea, and fruit. If you’d like a tour of the riad, the owner will make sure to give you one after giving you time to rest in the courtyard.
Morocco is an affordable holiday destination; thus, the riads accessible here are suitable for everyone’s taste and pockets. You may find one between $30 and $200, depending on your choice of the riad. Since there are around 500 of these in the medinas, you’ll be able to find a wonderful one even if you’re on a tight budget.
Riads provide a tranquil haven away from the hustle and bustle of the medina. The hearts of medinas are quiet respites with little more than the babbling of the central fountain, whether due to the structure of the buildings or the thick walls they have. After experiencing the crowded Marrakesh streets, believe us when we say that you’ll appreciate the calm that a riad provides.
What To Expect While Staying In a Riad
If it is your first time staying in a riad, you might be a little curious about whether it will be worth booking it or not over the traditional hotel. So what is it like staying in a riad? Let’s find out!
Riads are small institutions with fewer than ten rooms. However, what makes a riad attractive is not how big the place is, but the uniqueness of it, including its rooms. The owners create and decorate rooms using exquisite Moroccan architecture and gorgeous tile work, which brings out the room’s charm and personality.
Tiled floors are more common than carpeted floors, and bathrooms have bright Moroccan tile work. Colorful textiles, hand-woven rugs, hanging lanterns, and carved wood are all prominent design features that you will find. Wifi is frequently available so you can keep connected with our friends and family.
No trip is complete without experiencing traditional local food when visiting different nations. Morocco also has a rich culinary culture, and staying in a riad enables you to experience Morroco’s high-quality cuisine, as each has its team of cooks preparing authentic Moroccan meals.
You’re likely to be served a simple breakfast with pastries, Moroccan bread, honey, fruit, mint tea, and fresh juice. Some riads have full-service eateries, so the cooks prepare dinner using fresh ingredients acquired the same day. All you need to do is inform the staff that you would like to dine at home, and they will dazzle you with their local dishes.
Riads offer highly individualized and excellent service standards because of their small size. During their visit, many guests remark on how impressed they are with the staff’s attention to detail. The workers treat you like their family and teach you all there is to know about Moroccan culture, so you feel at home even in a country not your own.
Best Riads In Morocco
While there are several options to choose from when planning to stay in a riad, not all are created equal. The following are some of the best riads in Morocco that will make for an experience like no other:
Right in the center of the medina, a beautifully furnished Riad Kasbah stands. There is a massive pool on the lower floor, and you can view the Atlas mountains and the Koutoubia Mosque from the rooftop patio. The Riad Kasbah’s beauty comes from spectacular woodwork, tall archways, and traditional decor.
You can enjoy the home-cooked breakfast and dinner served on the patio with the breathtaking views. You will also be able to rest easy knowing that you have access to air conditioning and reliable wifi after a long and tiring day of roaming about the sweltering medina.
Dar Darma is about a ten-minute walk from the Jamaa El Fna Square. It offers luxurious, air-conditioned suites, a terrace that provides panoramic views of the city, and a hammam that provides steam baths.
The apartments and suites here are huge and come with free wifi. Are you feeling bored? Entertain yourself by watching television with satellite channels. If you are hungry, order the traditional Moroccan cuisine and enjoy it on the terrace, central patio, or guest room.
Riad Jemaa El Fna & Spa
The perfection that visitors experience while staying at riad Jemaa El Fna leave them speechless. It is designed with the perfect blend of comfort, simplicity, and quality. Customers leave high ratings and remark on how pleasant the staff was and how excellent the meals were.
At this lovely riad in Morocco, you’ll be treated like royalty. You can unwind in the immaculate outdoor pool in the middle of the courtyard, in a bar, or on the sunny balcony. If you want beauty treatments, you can use the hammam spa. A delectable meal is also prepared in the morning so that your day kicks off ideally.
Conclusion – What Is A Riad?
One of the first things you must consider when traveling to a destination is where you will stay. While you may enjoy staying in a hotel or resort, Morocco offers a unique accommodation choice you may not find anywhere else in the world.
Opting for accommodation in a riad when you travel to Morocco is perhaps the best way to receive an authentic experience of the Moroccan lifestyle and traditions. The experience of living in a cultural place and receiving Moroccan hospitality will make the stay worth it.
We hope this article answered your question of “what is a riad” and convinced you to stay in one of the most spectacular places imaginable!