For those uninitiated in the ways of accommodation in the bustling city centres of Morocco’s cities: riad = traditional Moroccan house/palace with a central courtyard/garden. Luckily for us, many of these have now been converted into sumptuous hotels, replete with colourful tiles, ornate balconies and flower-laden inner courtyards. Traditionally, a riad would house a multi-generational family within its several floors and so is the perfect intimate size for visitors to Morocco looking for a taste of the authentic. Morocco’s magical capital, Marrakesh, has over 1,000 converted riads in the city centre so it can be very difficult to know which one to go for. Rachael Lindsay has been lucky enough to visit Marrakesh several times so she gives us her pick of the top three riads in the city.
For the space : Les Borjs de la Kasbah
Very few riads in the centre have the space for a swimming pool so if you are the kind of person who loves a morning dip (like me) then go for the spacious, but centrally located, Les Borjs de la Kasbah. The entire riad has been constructed by hand, from the decorative archways to the hand-dug swimming pool, with the help of a trusty donkey of course. Each room is uniquely designed with traditional Moroccan furnishings and handcrafted zellige mosaic tilework. In terms of design, burnt ochre and peach feature heavily with brass trellis lanterns, dark wood four-poster beds and natural marble bathrooms. Don’t miss the sumptuous pancake-filled breakfast or the top-notch restaurant of Moroccan classics.
Check out my full review here: https://houseofcoco.net/a-riad-for-all-seasons-les-borjs-de-la-kasbah-marrakesh/.
For the style : Riad Farnatchi
Down a winding alley and behind a heavy, dark door lies this boutique riad, whose design manages to blend modern chic with Arabic heritage. Think plush white armchairs, vaulted ceilings and intricate Berber pillows. Go here for the spa as well as the style – I enjoyed the best hammam experience of my life in the Farnatchi Spa. The restaurant is also exquisite, featuring twists on Moroccan classics as well as international plates like pate de foie gras and Vietnamese spring rolls. A little more pricey than most riads in the city centre but totally worth it for the effortless luxury which I struggled to find elsewhere.
Read my review of the spa and restaurant here: https://houseofcoco.net/in-the-marrakesh-medina-farnatchi-spa-and-le-trou-au-mur/.
For the atmosphere: Le Riad Berbere
This riad is very reasonably priced for its gorgeous minimalist rooms, lush Islamic garden and romantic, candlelit evenings. Restored to reflect and respect its glory days in the 17thcentury, there is something about the atmosphere in this riad which exudes peace and tranquillity. Perhaps it is due to how tiny it is and how personalized the service (with only five rooms). The restaurant serves up the usual Moroccan affair of couscous and crepes, but with everything produced from scratch in the organic kitchen, you know you are getting the very best of authentic Marrakesh cuisine.
For more information, visit leriadberbere.com.
Cover photo credit: aviontourism.com.