A varied landscape of mountains, deserts and beaches, an ancient culture stretching back thousands of years, and, of course, plenty of sunshine make Morocco a fascinating destination for a holiday. A budding tourism industry means coastal resorts are filling up with modern, all-inclusive hotels with enough facilities that you need never leave the hotel, but if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, a traditional riad is undoubtedly the way to go.
The name riad comes from the Arabic word for garden, and describes a typical Moroccan family home, with galleries of inward-facing rooms opening onto a shady courtyard. Originally built to provide a calming refuge from the heat and the crowds, a large number of riads are now being converted into attractive hotels and guesthouses, giving visitors the chance to experience this uniquely-Moroccan style of accommodation which dates back to the eleventh century. Check out our range of B&Bs and Riads in Morocco.
Riads in Marrakech
Where better to start than the fabled Marrakech, a city bursting with history and home to a huge number of beautiful riad hotels. Riad Utopia is our choice for the Red City, an elegant riad complete with a swimming pool whose traditional architecture has been stylishly renovated to offer a more modern take on Moroccan living. The ornate décor has been replaced with clean lines and calming, muted tones, but the sense of luxury still remains. Riad Utopia is ideally located just a few minutes from all the magic and mystery of Jemaa el Fnaa and the souks.
Riads in Fez
Whether soaking up the sun on the roof terrace, enjoying drinks and music on the veranda or sampling typical Moroccan cuisine in one of the elegant salons, guests will enjoy every moment of their stay at Le Palais d'Hôtes. Upon arrival, as well as being asked about their favourite foods, guests can choose from a menu of perfumes and essential oils for their visit to the luxury Andalusian spa, which boasts a traditional hammam, a Jacuzzi, a sauna and a swimming pool, as well as a range of health and beauty treatments.
The beautiful riad is over a century old and was restored in the 1940s. The present-day riad has been sumptuously decorated to recreate the glamour of this time, as well as capture the atmosphere of this ancient city. Each of the rooms has been individually decorated with opulent fabrics and antique furniture. Almost all rooms have their own bathrooms and the Royal Suite even boasts a private hammam and Jacuzzi.
Riads in Essaouira
Although somewhat isolated on the windswept Atlantic coast, the lively town of Essaouira has become one of Morocco's most popular holiday destinations, and its dramatic coastline and architecture have been the location for a number of films. Located in the colourful medina, close to the port and just 5 minutes from the beach, is Maison du Sud. An attractive riad, each of the 24 rooms and suites has been individually decorated using traditional Moroccan textiles and artwork.
Riads in Casablanca
Settled by Berbers in the seventh century, Casablanca was an important town long before Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart paid it a visit, and it is now Morocco's largest city. Close to all the action is the Riad Jnane Sherazade, a stylish property presenting a contemporary take on traditional riad architecture; the ornate features of Moorish design are combined with the simple, elegant lines of art deco style. Facilities include a grand dining room, a peaceful garden and an authentic hammam.Book Riad Jnane Sherazade in Casablanca
Riads in the Atlas Mountains
High in the Atlas Mountains hides Ksar Shama, an elegantly rustic property located in the Berber village of Ouirgane. Enjoy authentic Moroccan hospitality amid breathtaking scenery of snow-capped peaks, rivers and olive groves, just an hour south of Marrakech. Rooms have a homely feel and are decorated with hand-carved wooden furniture and colouful Berber carpets. Share a mint tea with your friendly hosts or discover a slower pace of life in the surrounding mountain villages.Book Ksar Shama riad in the Atlas Mountains
Riads in Merzouga
Set in a traditional Taipa farmhouse close to the Algerian border, Chez Youssef Lodge offers warm hospitality and comfortable accommodation along with a few luxuries you might not expect to find on the edge the desert, including air conditioning, WiFi and gourmet cuisine. Experience a true Moroccan adventure with an overnight camel trek into the desert to see the sun set and rise over the sand dunes, rent an off-road vehicle to explore Lake Merzouga, discover the ancient fossils and rock paintings of the area or visit the neighbouring Berber villages to get a taste of local life. Follow up with a relaxing glass of Moroccan mint tea on the garden terrace back at the lodge.
Luxury Riads in Morocco
Heading back to Marrakech we find the stunning Riad Lena set at the heart of the old Medina. Encapsulating Arabian Nights style romance, this luxury riad consists of 11 air-conditioned private bedrooms, all furnished with traditional Moorish extravagance, a number of elegant salons, a swimming pool and a roof terrace with wonderful views of the Atlas Mountains. Enjoy the finest Moroccan cuisine, sunbathe on the terrace, escape the heat of the day in the dipping pool or pamper yourself with a selection of massage and beauty treatments, all without leaving the peaceful haven of the riad. When you venture outside, a chauffeur-driven car can take you to all the most exclusive locations in Marrakech.
Cheap Riads in Morocco
Strapped for cash? You don't need to miss out. There are riads in Morocco to suit every budget, and travelling on a shoestring can often lead to some of the most memorable experiences. With air-conditioned, en-suite doubles from as little as €15 per person, Marrakech riad Dar Salam provides guests with all the character and atmosphere of a traditional riad, as well as great Moroccan cooking, a roof terrace with views of the iconic Koutoubia and an excellent location in the middle of the Medina.
Find out more information about travel in Morocco at VisitMorocco.com.
Do you have a B&B or riad in Morocco? Visit our sign up page to list your property with BedandBreakfastworld.com.
By: Eleanor Brown