Staying in a traditional Riad in Morocco

Live secluded from bustling street life in a Riad in the Medina

Riad Aissi in Taroudant, Morocco.

The heavy door close behind us and the sounds from the bustling street life of Marrakech Medina disappears in the same moment as we enter the Riad`s atrium. The floor is covered with tiles laid in a Islamic geometric pattern. Big palms are planted in red pots and they extend toward the light and the sky 3 floors up. Jars with orange trees are placed in each corner of the atrium garden. The only sound we can hear is a weak trickling of water from the fountain in the middle of the atrium. A Riad like this is a traditional Moroccan house with an inner courtyard. The word Riad comes from Arabic and means garden. In Morocco and especially in Marrakech, many of these traditional houses are made into small hotels and guesthouses. For a foreigner this is like being invited into the story of Thousand and One Nights.

From front courtyard in Riad Ouarzazate in Ouarzazate, Morocco.
From front courtyard in Riad Ouarzazate in Ouarzazate, Morocco.

A Riad is built after Islamic rules for relations between men and women. The house closes public life out and its orientation is towards the center of the house. This center is often like an oasis in big contrast to the bustling life and noise you find in the alleyways outside. The building style protects the family private life and it also protect against all kinds of weather conditions. A Riad have no windows facing the street. All rooms are facing the atrium. Doors and windows are opening up to this courtyard where light and sun floods in from open sky. The walls are up to one meter thick and traditionally they were built in clay, mud and straw.

A Riad is the best way to live when you visit Marrakech or other cities in Morocco. You can find Riads in all price ranges and in various sizes. Most often they are not large, but only 4-6 rooms in 3 floors and a roof terrace at top.

We have stayed at many Riads in Marrakech and other places in Morocco. For us it is the obvious choice when it comes to accommodation in Morocco. This time we stayed at Les Jardins de Mouassine in the center of the Medina, 5 minutes from Jemaa El Fna. This Riad has an OK standard and is very affordable, around 60 Euro a night for one room included breakfast. They serve wine and drinks which is not obvious if the Riad is managed by Moroccans.

Riad Les Jardins de Mouassine, Marrakech.
Riad Les Jardins de Mouassine, Marrakech.

We have earlier stayed at Riad Eden. This Riad has a very nice standard and a beautiful interior. But it was fully booked this Easter. Riad Eden is situated just south of Jemaa El Fna near the Palaces and the Jewish Quarter.

Riad Eden in Marrakech.
Riad Eden in Marrakech.
Riad Eden in Marrakech.
Riad Eden in Marrakech.

Ouarzazate has Riads in many different prize ranges. We choose Riad Ouarzazate, a new Riad built in traditional style. Riad Ouarzazate is like a jewel and has a very nice staff. Delicious food are served on the elegant roof terrace and you can get wine with your food.

Riad Ouarzazate, Morocco
Riad Ouarzazate, Morocco
Roof terrace at Riad Ouarzazate, Morocco.
Roof terrace at Riad Ouarzazate, Morocco.

In Taroudant in Anti Atlas we stayed in Riad Aissi a bit outside town. It was like living in the fairytale Thousand and One Night. Within the modest door, one beautiful garden after the other opened up and when entering at the other side was a big swimming pool. We where placed in a big room with a canopy bed, a big bathroom and an extra room with 2 beds more. These rooms are perfect for a family with children. Just outside your room we had two big private sofas placed under the orange trees. This place serves no alcohol, but they accept if you enjoy you bottle of wine in your room.

On these sites you get information about accommodation in a Riad in Marrakech and in Morocco:

http://www.riadsmorocco.com/riad-marrakech/

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g293734-c75754/Marrakech:Morocco:Staying.In.A.Riad.html

http://www.31best-riad-marrakesh.com

Small details from Riad Aissi in Taroudant, Morocco.
Small details from Riad Aissi in Taroudant, Morocco.
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