Private stays, boutique breaks, historic homes – there’s something for every traveller in our round-up of the best riads in Marrakech. Book your stay with Culture Trip.
Staying in a riad is, perhaps, the ultimate Moroccan experience. These quintessential, traditional buildings – with their multi-storeyed enclosed courtyards, detailed tiling and sunny rooftop terraces – are full of unique North African atmosphere, and even just one night’s stay gives insight into the local way of life. Marrakech, in particular, is stuffed with beautiful riads that have been converted into luxury hotels, affordable hostels and even private hires.
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Most riad rooftops are squeezed, with just enough space for morning OJs. But at Riad 72, it’s the main attraction. Spend all day here, stretched on loungers or plunging into your hot tub – then all night, dine on refined tagines or sip cocktails on cushy sofas. A main-floor courtyard, lush with greenery, is an appealing getaway when the rays become too intense or nights turn chilly. As are the rooms, among the most sophisticated and stylish to be found in Marrakech.
Hello, garden! With orange trees, towering palms and a mirror-like decorative pool, by which you should take breakfast or read a book, this lush heart of this riad is a tranquil and welcome getaway from the full-on souks and squares of the city. White and sandy colours throughout the hotel – from the rooftop sofas to the simple-but-elegant rooms – reinforce the serenity. It’s only the occasional pop of deep, vibrant scarlet that nods to its location in the Red City of Morocco.
Strictly speaking, this is less riad, more resort – with soaring ceilings, rambling gardens and stone fireplaces to warm cool, arid nights. But the sentiment of a riad is here, thanks to real intimacy (just seven bedrooms) and, of course, decor: traditional Berber-style furniture, embroidered cushions and giant lanterns. As you’re a hop northeast of the city centre, rather than in the crammed heart, there’s even space for a lounger-lined al fresco pool.
Fancy a riad all to yourself? That’s what you’ll get at this extravagant, immaculate resort, commissioned by the Moroccan king and crafted by more than 1,500 artisans over three years. There are no traditional guest rooms in the orange blossom-scented grounds – just stand-alone, multi-floored riads, sleeping between two and six, with traditional tadelakt plasterwork and, in some cases, rooftop plunge pools. Service is next-level: staff unpack your bags on arrival, and deliver breakfast via underground passageways and secret doors.
With chandeliers and columns, this stay in the thick of the old centre has a certain regality that you don’t necessarily expect in a riad. Basically, this place feels suspended somewhere between Morocco and France, with extensive buffet breakfasts, a spa with massages and hammam treatments, and a roof terrace with sunbeds lending the vibe of a classic resort. There’s even an indoor plunge pool for dips on hot spring and summer days.
From the yoga sessions around a plant-filled courtyard to the eye-catching green and white tiling, this intimate spot is an Instagrammer’s dream. Owned by French couple Alice and Gabriel, who clearly have an eye for detail, it feels fresh and contemporary with cactus frescoes by the plunge pool and traditional Moroccan crafts mixed with modern finds. A cosy reading nook with a fireplace is the perfect spot to curl up and unwind after a day exploring the maze of the medina.
With high ceilings and colourfully painted interiors, each room at Dar Darma has an alluring and local aesthetic. And although the rooms are photo-worthy, the crowning views are those from the rooftop terrace which stretch over the head of the city to the folded Atlas Mountains beyond. Gawping over, relax at the in-house hammam or library, or explore the souk, which is just a few minutes’ walk away.
This eight-bedroom boutique riad was curated by interior designer Willem Smit, and now dazzles in a rainbow of colour – the rooms come in vibrant greens, yellows and blues, offset by intimate black-and-white portraits hanging over the bed. You’ll also find a library with a fireplace at one end, a mustard-yellow restaurant and a spa with a hammam. Head to the sun lounger-lined terrace for views over the Marrakech rooftops.
Taking the bones of an old riad, owners Manel Moncusi and David Minguillon, both from Barcelona, revived and reopened Aguaviva in 2008. Now, six guest rooms look onto a central courtyard, where you’ll also see an inviting pool. It sits near the Bab El Khemis flea market, in a quiet part of town, but you can easily access the traditional markets and Plaza El Fna on foot.
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La Maison Arabe, as the name hints, is larger than most riads; one of many modern riad hotels to have emerged in recent years. It has 32 rooms and suites filled with rich fabrics, hand-carved furnishings and traditional Moroccan finishes, plus one apartment should you want more space. An on-site cooking school offers a glimpse into traditional Moroccan cooking; but to really get your teeth into it, book the five-day immersive course with daily lessons, market tours and a trip to an argon oil producer.
The 600-year-old Maison MK mixes historic architecture with contemporary design. It’s a spa hotel with full-time beauty staff, a massage room with charcoal-polished tadelakt and a traditional hammam. And in each of the six rooms, beds float above under-lighting and you can stream music from your smart device to really embrace that holistic wellness vibe.
With a library and a log-burning fire, Riad Noir D’Ivoire is dedicated to comfort. On the roof terrace, cushions lie inside a curtained, carved-wood pavilion, while a pool and hammam will keep the chill going. Each room is individually decorated with a mixture of Moroccan handicrafts and Syrian furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl. In addition, the in-house chef creates traditional Moroccan dishes and North African classics.
Vanessa Branson, sister of Sir Richard, created El Fenn on the edge of the oldest part of the Medina. Opened in 2004, this riad mixes Moroccan style with Western vintage design. Each of the 31 rooms and suites has been individually conceived with vivid colours, unique furniture and baths that are either claw foot, moulded or sunken into the floor.
This boutique riad hotel is located in Mouassine, the oldest and most traditional neighbourhood in Marrakech, and is only a short walk from the souk entrance. It offers five double bedrooms and one grand suite with a patio and a swimming pool. The terrace overlooks the city with incredible views over the Medina, Koutoubia mosque and Dar el Bacha palace.
Just steps from Jemma El Fna square, Riad Boussa is a four-bed riad in the Debachi area of Marrakech, to the east of the Djemaa el Fna and a 10-minute walk to the souks. The roof terrace – with sun loungers and a shaded sitting area – offers a relaxing communal space. The owner also lives in the riad in a separate apartment, so is always nearby to help and share local knowledge. Each of the four bedrooms is ensuite and one offers family accommodation.
Two French brothers bought a neglected riad from Marrakech’s influential Tigani family and transformed it into Riad l’Orangeraie. Situated in the Mouassine district of the old Medina, a five-minute walk from the vibrant Djemaa El Fna, L’Orangeraie is a seven-room townhouse with two expansive patios – one with fountains and aromatic flowers, the other with a mosaic swimming pool and hammam. The roof terrace offers views of the Atlas Mountains, and a rather scenic dining spot.
Ellie Hurley contributed additional reporting to this article.
These recommendations were updated on September 2, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.