If you think the Marrakech hotel scene is all glitzy palaces and expensive riad retreats, think again. There are many affordable places in this live-wire city – and they don’t have to be basic, either.
In Marrakech, you can get a whole lot more bang for your buck than in many other cities, as long as you know where and when to look. For the best bargains, visit outside the high season – during summer and around Christmastime – and since petit taxis are very cheap, be prepared to stay farther out of town. Here are Culture Trip’s best budget stays in the Red City.
For a real dose of local life, you can’t do better than this cosy, traditional riad located in Marrakech’s lively souk-lined Kasbah district – close to the 12th-century Bab Agnaou gate and a stroll away from the fabulously ornate 16th-century Saadian Tombs. Renovated by local craftsmen, Riad Schanez’s five rooms are on the small side, but gleaming copper lamps and polished tadelakt walls make them seem bigger. There’s also a rooftop terrace with jaw-dropping views of the Atlas Mountains, while the host, Anna, is a mine of suggestions for things to do and places to eat.
This basic but comfortable hotel might have simple decor, but as a budget-friendly, centrally situated base, it’s ideal – especially for solo female travellers. It also wins points for its air-conditioned rooms and en-suite bathrooms. Along a peaceful derb (alley) close to the musical instruments and fascinating exhibits in the Mouassine Museum, and just a 20-minute walk from Koutoubia Mosque, the hotel has plenty nearby to keep you occupied. However, you’d be just as well to spend a lazy afternoon over lunch in Aqdas’s small garden, where you can tuck into local specialities.
Slap bang in the heart of the labyrinth-like medina and an easy walk from the snake charmers and food stands on Jemaa el-Fnaa, this eight-room riad, dotted with bubbling fountains, is a budget haven in the heart of the city. The decor is traditional, complete with low tables, colourful tiled floors and Berber rugs. However, there are plenty of modern features too, including a bijou plunge pool surrounded by sunbeds and a sofa-strewn Berber tent on the rooftop terrace, where you can chill and chat with fellow guests as you sip on mint tea or sample the riad restaurant’s succulent spiced tagines.
Amani Hotel Suites and Spa is a gleaming modern hotel in the centre of swanky Hivernage, a neighbourhood popular with wealthy Moroccans for its many first-class restaurants. Good-size doubles and larger suites boast breezy pink-and-white colour schemes, cushy beds, dressing tables and en-suite bathrooms. The breakfast buffet – with plenty of local and international choices – is included. While there’s a small spa with a traditional hammam, the biggest attraction here is the large plunge pool, where you’ll have plenty of space to splash around after a hot day of sightseeing.
Just around the corner from the grandly ornate 19th-century Bahia Palace and a short stroll from Jemaa el-Fnaa, Hotel du Trésor is a real find for budget-aware travellers who want to be close to the action. Behind high wooden doors, this riad-style hotel, built around a central courtyard with a pretty little plunge pool, has 13 light-filled rooms with polished tadelakt walls, low sofas and en-suite bathrooms. It’s at the pricier end of the budget scale, but well worth it, especially during low season when you can bag great deals. The icing on the cake here is the stylish rooftop terrace, where playful details include large rope cacti and long sofas perfect for lounging as you chat to other guests.
If you have a car, this country-style hotel offers great value and is just a 10-minute drive from the sleek Yves Saint Laurent Museum and the fab shopping in the medina’s souks. Air-conditioned rooms with en-suite bathrooms are spacious and clean, and there’s a shared kitchen area (with a washing machine), where it’s easy to spend time chatting with other guests. However, the biggest plus here is the tree-lined, bird-serenaded garden, where a hearty continental breakfast is served every morning.
Halfway between the Red City’s souk-studded medina and its beautiful bar-lined new town, this traditional riad combines mega comfort with mini prices. The facilities here are first-rate, with the rooftop plunge pool, pretty breakfast patio and cosy steam room particular highlights. Rooms are small, but the decor is elegant, with built-in shelves, colourful lamps, large windows and vivid statement walls.
Ruby-red carpets and plush red sofas lend a somewhat luxurious edge to this old-style hotel in the peaceful, hot-on-the-radar Agdal district just outside the city walls. A 20-minute stroll from the medina’s spice souks and a stone’s throw from the vast Jardins de l’Agdal botanical gardens, Hotel Narjisse’s 37 bedrooms are basic but comfortable, with velvet throws, sober black bedsteads, tiled floors and en-suite bathrooms. For solo travellers, there are 10 single rooms, which means you won’t need to pay a double room supplement.
Behind the tall facade of this modern (alcohol-free) hotel, spacious light-filled rooms are simple but clean with small balconies and (scalding) hot showers in en-suite bathrooms. There’s also a restaurant serving comforting bissara (fava bean soup), tangia (a slow-cooked meat dish) and other must-try local delights. If that wasn’t enough, the hotel is perfectly located – just a five-minute walk from the Yves Saint Laurent Museum and a short taxi ride from Jemaa el-Fnaa.