If ever there was an example of a hidden gem, it could not get better than a Marrakesh Riad, no matter which one you chose. There are more than 1200 Riads hidden within the narrow alleyways of the Marrakesh Medina, and if you are not aware of their exact location, you would never find out if you are actually crossing by one of them. There are no palatial entrances, no guards manning the doors and some of them do not even have a board with their name engraved. However, once you open the door and take a sneak peek in, it opens up an entire new world in front of you, which is exactly opposite to the one you experience on the other side of it.
A Riad, by its definition, relates to a traditional Moroccan house or a palace with an interior garden, courtyard with a fountain and can also boast of a swimming pool. The name, in fact, originates from the Arab word ‘Ryad’ meaning garden. These are normally two or three-storied buildings with little or no exterior openings except the main entrance. In former times these were stately city homes of some of the wealthiest men of the country like merchants, courtiers or even some Berber warlords.
After being there and having experienced what it feels like, I must say that it is a ‘once in a lifetime experience’ and not to be missed if you are in Marrakesh. It provides you with exactly the amount of tranquility you need to rejuvenate yourself after an eventful day in the hustle and bustle of the Medina. In short, it is much like what a classy boutique hotel would wish to be when it grows up!
We were lucky that we chose one such Riad for our stay and it provided the perfect ending to an awesome Morocco trip. We were in the Riad Bayti, located just behind the famous Jewish Spice Market. A Jewish house in the former times, it was converted to a Riad in 2012 to cater to tourists. The ambiance and the traditional Moroccan-Andalusian way of decoration was in line with everything we expected from a Marrakesh Riad. It is situated in a perfect location too. We could walk to the Bahia Palace in a few minutes and a 10 minutes’ walk through the busy Medina would take us to the Jma El Fna Square, the central square and the ‘place to be’ in Marrakesh. Check out my recommendations on the best Things to do in Marrakesh.
The staff at the Riad were awesome, led by their manager Abdel. He gave us local tips, arranged shuttles, recommended places to visit and eat and also pointed out to a great Hamam nearby.
We highly enjoyed our stay here and would recommend it highly to everyone! This was a perfect way to wind up our 7 Days Magical Morocco Tour on a high!
While you do not need to be millionaire in order to stay in a Riad, these aren’t something that budget travelers could relate to either. However, if you can afford it, give it a go. In our case, we booked from Booking.com and paid 250 Euros for 3 nights for 3 people including breakfast (which was grand by the way!). We thought that it was fair enough for such an awesome stay.
If you are planning on a trip to Morocco, my travel blog on Magical Morocco in 7 days may prove to be that perfect guide to an amazing destination. Enjoy traveling!