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Morocco, and the capital city of Marrakech, is fast becoming some of the most popular travel destinations. With planning any trip, comes the question of where to stay, and during your research for Marrakech you will have come across Marrakech riads. What is a riad? Which is the best riad to stay in Marrakech? There are endless riad options and it can be overwhelming, so this guide will help you narrow down your choices and figure out how to pick the best riad to stay at in Marrakech.
What is a Riad?
A riad is a traditional Moroccan house or residence which has some sort of interior courtyard or garden. Recently these traditional riads have become guesthouses and hotels for people looking to experience the authentic Moroccan culture and style.
Traditional riads are usually smaller than a hotel. They have a small number of private rooms, often with an ensuite bathroom but sometimes the bathrooms are shared too. The courtyard or garden is a communal area, usually where traditional Moroccan breakfasts are served.
An increasing number of riads also have a pool in the courtyard or extended seating for lunch and dinners. There are often rooftop spaces on riads too, decorated in various ways to enjoy the rooftop city views over the city and the medina.
How to pick the best riad to stay in, Marrakech
When I was researching my trip to Morocco, I spent a huge amount of time trying to pick which riad to stay in and I was overwhelmed by the choice. Particularly in Marrakech where the range and type of accommodation is so varied and the riads all look so beautiful.
I found myself being particularly enticed by the luxury riads in Marrakech because they were comparatively cheap compared to luxury hotels available in most other places in the world.
But this is the most important thing to consider: what is your budget for accommodation in Marrakech? And what are your priorities?
Should I stay in a luxury riad or a budget riad in Marrakech?
This question is really up to you and depends what type of trip you’re taking and what your budget is. Maybe this is your big ‘treat’ trip this year or your honeymoon, in which case you might want to splash out on luxury. Perhaps you’re backpacking or a long term traveller and budget friendly options are most important to you.
Whatever your situation, Morocco accommodation is very reasonably priced and from my experience, I felt like I got a lot more for my money, even with the more budget options, compared to budget options elsewhere in the world.
In that case, you may decide to do what I did, and stay in budget to mid-range riads, which still turned out to be some of the most luxurious places I’ve ever stayed!
I was in Marrakech for 3 nights and staying in a different riad each night, all in the name of research of course!
I ultimately decided that since I was embarking on a long trip, I had to stick to my budget, so I picked a budget riad, a mid-range riad and I found a deal on booking.com to get a more expensive riad for the price of my mid-range one.
Below I’m sharing the riads I stayed in, my review of each and how much they cost. Then I will share other riads in each budget range which I always considered or was recommended during my research.
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These are the riads I stayed at in Marrakech
Affordable Luxury/most-expensive riad: Riad Assouel
Riad Assouel might not be the high-end price tag that you’ll see on some riads in Marrakech which go up into the hundreds of dollars/pounds per night, but it was the most expensive riad I stay in and I only stay here because I got a discount deal on booking.com.
However it was worth the price, discounted or not. The property was beautiful, with ornate rooms, decorated in a more modern/hotel style rather than the traditional Moroccan style. The rooms all had a private en-suite bathroom, lots of space, incredibly clean and the staff were so friendly and welcoming. The property had a heated pool in the courtyard, which was also where the included breakfast was served and dinner should you choose to eat there.
There was also a rooftop area with shaded areas and sun loungers.
My only couple of issues with the property was that it is down a dark alleyway off the main street which isn’t well-lit. I did feel nervous coming back to the property after dark, however I never had any issues because of it and the property has a 24 hour concierge who will buzz you into the property on arrival.
Also it’s about a 15 minute walk from the Jemaa el-Fna so depending on what you’re interested in doing during your stay, this might be too much of a distance to be negotiating through the medina, although I never once got lost in Marrakech medina (unlike in Fez!).
The benefit of this riads location is it’s proximity to the main roads outside the medina, so for your arrival and departure in Marrakech, getting to the riad with your bags is a lot easier, especially since no cars are allowed in the medina walls!
Cost of riad: £100 per night for 2 people
Distance from centre: 16 minute walk
Type of riad: more expensive, modern style, affordable luxury, breakfast included.
Mid-range riad: Riad Chorfa
Riad Chorfa was my favourite riad I stayed in for several reasons. The location was by far the best, located just off Rue Fehl Chidmi, one of the main streets in the medina which leads directly to the Jemaa El-Fna square and with all the best souks right around you. This location also made me feel incredibly safe as it was a main street, in a fairly touristy area, but tucked back off the street so you didn’t hear any noise.
The riad was colourful and ornate, decorated in traditional Moroccan style with rich colours and authentic touches everywhere. The owner was so welcoming, offering us tea on arrival, maps of the area and breakfast was included too.
The room was huge with a beautiful view of the courtyard. It was also colourfully decorated with a private en-suite toilet and an open shower space very decadently decorated.
The courtyard had a small pool and there was a beautiful roof terrace with dining areas and relaxation areas.
Cost of riad: £75 per night for two people
Distance from centre: 7 minute walk
Type of riad: mid-range, authentic Moroccan style, breakfast included.
Budget Riad: Rodamon Riad
Rodamon riad is primarily a budget hostel style riad, although like any hostel it also has private rooms available. I chose this as our budget option for several reasons. The style of the courtyard area is very similar to that of Riad BE or Riad Yasmine, which were my dream riads to stay in but much more expensive.
The location was also very good, somewhere between the two riads I’ve already spoken about, this one was on the same road as Riad Assouel but further up, about 10 minutes walk from the main square.
Like many hostels, high security standards are expected due to the number of travellers passing through and this hostel was very secure, with the usual hostel regulations and security to enter the building and keep belongings safe, as well as security on the main door.
The pool area was beautiful, with more outdoor space, dining and work space than any of the other riads I stayed in. It also had a bar and a huge roof terrace which felt like you would need days to fully explore! The style was Morrocan but modern, everything had been recently renovated so it felt fresh, new and clean.
Another great benefit was how helpful the staff were in arranging a reliable and fairly priced transfer back to the airport for us, even at 4am!
We paid just £8 each for a bed in a dorm room of 6 people with a shared bathroom. The private rooms were also beautiful and very cheap although sadly sold out when we tried to book one.
Cost of riad: £16 for two beds in a dorm per night
Distance from centre: 10 minute walk
Type of riad: budget hostel, modern Moroccan style, breakfast included.
Those are the three riads I picked, based on my budget, location and availability when I visited in September 2019.
However I had a list of 40 riads in Marrakech which I was researching and considering staying in. So below I’m going to share my top 5 best riads to stay in for luxury, mid-range and budget price ranges which I considered during my research.
Top 5: best luxury riads in Marrakech
Perhaps less of a riad but definitely a luxury hotel with the modern Moroccan aesthetic. This 5-star hotel really is a treat for those looking to spend a bit more on their accommodation. It is located outside of the old city walls so is directly accessible by car from the airport.
Probably one of the most insta-famous riads in Morocco. Riad Yasmine is famous for it’s photogenic courtyard and stunning rooms. Rooms range from €95-€170 which might not seem too expensive, but all their rooms do have a minimum two night stay requirement so you will need to factor that into your budget.
Being such a popular riad, Riad Yasmine is booked months in advance so please check the availability if you wish to stay here.
This is a luxury 4-star hotel located outside of the old city walls but within easy walking distance of the main square and souks. The hotel also has a spa and a stunning roof terrace.
Le Riad Berbere
This stunning riad is just outside of the medina too and with only 5 rooms, the attention to guests really is at the centre of what this riad does. The rooms are chic and sophisticated with modern touches and start from €115 per night. The rooftop is also beautiful.
Le Jardin Secret
This riad is well-known for its boutique style and with just 7 rooms, you will always be well-looked after. Room prices range from €150-€260 and they are gorgeous rooms! There is also a stylish rooftop terrace and the food is always recommended in Marrakech.
Top 5: Best mid-budget riads in Marrakech
Jemaa El Fna Boutique Hotel and Spa
You’d be forgiven for thinking this is a pricier option. With a turquoise and white tiled courtyard complete with a pool, this is a chic option in an amazing location. Rooms start from £52 per night.
This small and cosy riad is well-located right near the Bahia Palace and El Badii Palace. Rooms start from £70 per night and breakfast is included. There is no swimming pool but the courtyard is colourful and decorated in authentic Moroccan style.
Riad Palais Sebban
This riad really does look like a palace that’s because it was formerly one in the 18th century. The rooms are luxuriously decorated and the pool area is full of decorative details and colourful plants. There is also dining and a spa. The location is great too, located just outside the medina. I really wanted to stay here but the prices do seem to fluctuate quite a lot and it was out of my price range for booking on short notice.
If you’re booking 5-6 months ahead for mid-week, rooms are available from £59 per night. 2-3 months ahead, prices are more in the £100 price range. Last minute bookings can go up to around £200 a night.
This intricately decorated riad is ideally located just outside the medina and a short walk from Jemaa el-Fna. Rooms start from around £84 and breakfast is included. The price does fluctuate a lot, particularly on weekends or peak season so make sure to book in advance.
This riad is in a great location and for an incredible price too, just £65 a night. The whole riad is decorated in muted desert tones, giving it a modern, middle eastern aesthetic. There is a beautiful courtyard and pool as well as a stunning rooftop area to relax in. Breakfast is also included in the price.
Top 5: Best Budget riads in Marrakech
This fun hostel has beds starting from £17 per night. The style is traditional Moroccan but with updated decor. The courtyard also has a pool and the location is right in the centre of the souks just a short walk from the main square.
Riad 58 Blu
This riad is a great balance of affordability but without being a hostel. You can get your own room from £50 per night. The riad is colourful, with a traditional courtyard and small pool. It’s outside the city walls but within easy walking distance of the medina.
This stunning riad is an absolute steal with prices starting from £41 per night for a private room. It is a 25 minute walk to Jemaa El Fna and the souks but what it lacks in location, it makes up for with a beautiful pool and roof terrace, elegant Moroccan decor, breakfast included and a spa!
Boho 27 Hostel Marrakech
Located just outside the medina, this chic hostel has beds starting from £19 with breakfast included. Make sure to check out their chilled rooftop area.
It’s hard to believe you can get a private double or twin room here for just £39 per night, or £46 with breakfast included. The location is right by the Heritage Museum and the entrance to the souks. The room decor is more modern western style but with a traditional modern Morroccan courtyard and pool.
There are of course hundreds of options for places to stay in Marrakech and most of the riads listed above were ones I heard off by word-of-mouth recommendations or from discovering them online and seeing how far above and beyond they went for their guests.
The great thing about there being so many riads to choose from is that there’s an option for every budget and every type of traveller. The best way to pick is to keep your budget and your trip priorities in mind when choosing, and just enjoy yourself!
Let me know if you use any of these recommendations!
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Flights: I use Expedia to find great flights and the best deals all over the world, they have regular sales and offers so I always check their website. I also check CheapOair to find cheap deals on round trip flights.
Car Rental: I love the customer service I've always gotten and the variety of options with Rental Cars. But for short notice rentals, I've been using Expedia for the last year, they always seem to have great one-day rates or last-minute rates from the main rental companies.
Accommodation: I prefer the flexibility of booking accommodation with Booking.com so I can cancel or change my reservation without a fee or only pay on arrival for most properties. For longer or more unique stays I prefer AirBnB because you can get the long stay discount, you can also find more unique properties and book experiences with talented locals and businesses. For my budget trips, I always stay in hostels and book through Hostelworld because they have great guarantees if anything does go wrong. If you arrive and your booking is not at the property, they refund the full deposit AND give you $50 extra credit.
Tours and organised trips Although I don’t use tours that often, I do like to book local experiences or day trips once I reach my destination. For that I use GetYourGuide because it has the biggest selection and variety of tour and experience options.
Travel Insurance: I currently use SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. Which allows me to pay a rolling monthly fee to cover my long term travels.
My camera gear and equipment: I use a Canon 77D with an 18-135mm lens or a 50mm lens. And a DJI Mavic Mini Drone. For all my gear including laptops, tripods and more camera accessories read my travel photography gear guide.