When you are getting ready to visit Morocco, you will be thinking about where you are going to stay. There are two main options for your accommodations. The first option is to stay in hotels. These will be your typical, pretty modern hotels with great amenities. The second option is to stay in a riad.
What is a riad?
A riad is a traditional Moroccan house with a garden on the inside. These are incredible places to stay because they give an authentic Moroccan experience. You will be able to view the intricate Moroccan architecture with its beautiful tilework. The food will be prepared by a Moroccan cook and might be one of the tastiest meals that you eat!
Here are 7 things that you need to know about Moroccan Riads:
1. The Basic Layout: Rooms off of a main courtyard
One of the major components of most riads is the large courtyard in the center with an open ceiling. You also would find a fountain in the courtyard. Some courtyards in the larger riads even have a swimming pool for their guests! There will also be beautiful trees and plants in the garden in the courtyard. An interesting feature of riads is that they are built focused on facing inwards. The windows in the rooms will open up to the courtyard instead of outside. This design is for two reasons. The first originates from the Islamic value of privacy. The second is that the large courtyard-centered house allows cool air to enter the house, making the riad comfortable in hot Moroccan summers.
2. Room Set-Up: A few individually decorated suites
An unusual aspect to a riad is that it has very few rooms. Many riads even have less than 10 rooms or suites! The rooms are each individually furnished so there is great attention to detail. This is one main difference between riads and hotels. Each room will have its own unique features and personality instead of all having the same layout and décor. Think tiled sinks, rich colors, and incredible artwork. The beauty of your room will amaze you with its woodwork and detailed paintings!
3. Food: Worth eating even if you aren’t staying there!
The meals that you eat while at a riad will be the meals that you remember during your travel to Morocco. They are so good that people who aren’t even staying at the riad will come for dinner! Expect a traditional breakfast such as fresh Moroccan breads with jam and honey. You will also find breakfast foods that you would eat at a hotel buffet. The fresh orange juice is amazing! You will also be able to put in special requests for dinner if you have special dietary needs. The dinners at the riads are made by a local chef and are often lavish traditional foods.
4. Location: In the heart of the Medina
You might not even know you are looking at a riad even if you are right in front of one. Most of the doors in Morocco are wooden with carvings on them, and many riads are no exceptions. You might be surprised as a simple door opens up into a gorgeous guesthouse. Many riads will only have a small sign on the street where they are located. Riads are in the old cities, right in the midst of all the activity! Many tourists have appreciated this peaceful contrast to the busy streets they have been exploring.
5. Service: Personalized and Welcoming
Due to the small number of rooms in the riad, service is personalized and exceptional. Guests who have stayed in the riad always comment on the detailed attention that they receive from staff! Individual needs are able to be met and clients say that they felt like they knew or had met every single person working there. This is another area that causes the riad to be different than the hotel and is often one of the highlights of staying in a riad.
6. Downsides: Riads are more expensive
There are a few downsides to staying in a riad. The first is that this incredible service and detailed decoration will cost you more than staying in a hotel. So, if price is the deciding factor for you, a riad might not be the way to go. If you are planning on being out exploring all day, then a standard hotel would be sufficient for your needs. A riad also might be a little harder for you to find than a hotel, depending on where it is located and how clearly it is marked.
7. Some of Our Favorites: Recommendations from years of experience
Fes is the spiritual capital of Morocco and is an amazing location to see the authentic daily life of Morocco. When traveling to Fes, check out these riads.
Dar Fes Medina: This 3 star riad is situated on the edge of the Medina (old city) so it is easily accessible. It has a 5 star rating on TripAdvisor and a Certificate of Excellence. Past guests of Dar Fes Medina have remarked on its beauty, cleanliness and friendly staff. It is a peaceful place to enjoy the charms of Fes.
Riad Myra: This is a 4 star riad. It is located in the center of the Medina, making it easy to explore the real Fes. It is decorated in the traditional blue of Fes. The terrace overlooking the beauty city of Fes is definitely a highlight! Visitors enjoy the variety in the breakfasts served under an open sky.
Riad Fes: This 5 star riad is perfect for those looking to experience ultimate luxury. Riad Fes includes a swimming pool, spa, cooking classes, and a delicious restaurant. It’s the small details like complimentary Moroccan tea throughout the day or the ever-attentive staff that make this riad a relaxed and lavish experience. The beauty of its architecture and design is also unbelievable!
Every traveler to Morocco must go through Marrakech. Whether you are being amazed at the Great Square or enjoying the cafes, Marrakech is a wonderful destination! These riads enhance your stay:
Riad Yasmine: Located only 15 minutes from the Medina, this 3 star riad is known for its excellent service and beauty. Visitors love the comfortable and colorful rooms!
Riad Moucharabieh: This is a 4 star riad in Marrakech. It has a charming swimming pool in the open courtyard for its guests to relax in or beside. Check out the beautiful terrace for a great view while you are eating your breakfast! People love the calm atmosphere in contrast to the activity of Marrakech.
Riad Kniza: This 5 star riad is a Traveler’s Choice on TripAdvisor. Visitors leave this riad overwhelmed by the perfect experience and the luxury of their stay. Every room is immaculate and wonderfully decorated. Visitors rave about the unparalleled friendly service and delicious food! This riad is definitely one of the best.
Essaouira is the perfect tourist town to visit. Its peaceful atmosphere is characteristic of its beach location. Don’t miss these riads in Essaouira!
Riad Mimouna: This beautiful riad is located right on the edge of the ocean, allowing visitors to enjoy the sound of waves crashing against the rocks. The restaurant serves wonderful food and the staff are eager to serve. Due to its amazing location and gorgeous décor, this riad is a perfect 3-4 star stay.
Villa De Lo: This 5 star riad is located in the center of Essaouira, giving you perfect access to all the sites that you will be visiting. It boasts a beautiful view of the ocean and the port. Visitors comment on the outstanding service of the staff and the attractive old Portugese-style rooms.
Our clients say…
Personally, we have seen clients absolutely love their stays in riads, despite the price difference from hotels. Riads provide unforgettable experiences and most visitors leave only wanting to come back for another stay.
Experience the personalized comfort and peace of a riad in Morocco for yourself!