One of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in the world is that of Marrakech. With its unique charm, infamous landscapes, countless attractions and winding alleys in the city’s medina, it has been dubbed one of the most intriguing holiday destinations. Once in Marrakech you may wonder which accommodation would be best for both comfort and to enjoy the stunning environment. Of course, there are traditional options such as hotels, villas, guesthouses and B&Bs available; however tourists in Marrakech may be more interested in the Moroccan riad. This article will provide information of why renting a riad can be highly beneficial.
1. The location
Unlike many hotels, apartments, hostels and B&Bs, the riad is more often than not located within the Marrakech’s city walls. This provides you with access to the city’s ancient medina while enjoying traditional lodgings. While you may be wary of renting a riad near the medina, consider this: the medina is defined as one of the most fascinating and vibrant parts of Marrakech. It is close to historic monuments, palaces and the extraordinary Djemaa El Fna square. By living closer to these spectacles you will save on the cost of travelling into the city, and will have quick access to the cultural setting.
2. The services
A riad is a small traditional residence located in the older areas of the medina. Due to its appearance many individuals assume that the services will be restricted and poor; however, this is a fallacy. Firstly, there are numerous types of riads available to rent ranging from little family homes with 3-4 rooms to large, regal properties comprised of two riads pushed together. The services offered are identical to any 3 or 4 star hotel. When renting a riad you can expect room service, an entertainment system, a Wi-Fi internet connection, access to a swimming pool, a restaurant, etc. The only difference is the services are on a much smaller scale.
One service unique to the riad in Marrakech, Morocco, is that of event organizing. To ensure you enjoy your Marrakech experience the staff will assist in organizing day trips to the desert, mountains, sea, etc.
3. The price
Some individuals may assume that the location of the riad may cause an increase in price, however this is another fallacy. The rental price of a riad is generally similar to that of hotels; however they do have the advantage of being situated within the city walls with unique services. As there are numerous riads in Marrakech the competition for guests is fierce. This means it is easy to find discounts and promotions for accommodation, but it does not mean that the riads are cheap or common in appearance. In fact, reviews have stated that some of the most luxurious, elegant and sumptuous places to stay in Marrakech are raids.
Final words on the matter
Finding accommodation for holidays can be difficult, but taking into consideration the tips above should make choosing a riad the easy solution.
There are several sites in Morocco listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites according to various criteria, such as representing a masterpiece of human creative genius, exhibiting an important interchange of human values, being an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural ensemble or landscape, traditional human settlement representative of a culture or cultures, or being tangibly associated with events or living traditions of outstanding universal significance.
Medina of Fez
Fez remains nowadays Morocco’s cultural and spiritual capital. It was founded in the 9th century and flourished during the Marinid rule, in the 13th and 14th centuries, when it replaced Marrakech as the capital of the kingdom. Besides the world’s oldest university, the Al Qaraouiyyîn University, the medina of Fez also hosts impressive monuments dating from this period, namely madrasas, fondouks, palaces, private residences, mosques and fountains.
Medina of Marrakesh
The Medina of Marrakech hosts some of the most important historical jewels in Morocco, especially the Koutoubia mosque, the Badi Palace, the Ben Youssef Madrasa, and the Saadian Tombs, as well as several great residences, monumental doors and gardens, the Kasbah, etc. The city, which was founded in 1070-72 by Ibn Tachfin, head of the Almoravids, remained a political, economic and cultural centre for centuries and influenced crucially the western Muslim world, from North Africa to Andalusia.
Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou
A ksar is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat that consists of group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls. Defensive walls, reinforced by towers in each corner, protect the inside houses crammed together. Ait-Ben-Haddou, in Ouarzazate province, is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco.
Historic City of Meknes
Meknes is a perfect testimony of a 17th century Maghreb capital city where the harmonious blending of the Islamic and European styles of the 17th century Maghreb is still evident today. It was founded, also by the Almoravids, in the 11th century and originally was merely military settlement. Under Sultan Moulay Ismaïl (1672–1727), the founder of the Alawite dynasty, it became a capital. During the Sultan’s rule, it was turned into an impressive city in Spanish-Moorish style, surrounded by high walls with great doors.
Archaeological Site of Volubilis
Volubilis is an exceptionally well preserved example of a large Roman colonial town on the fringes of the Empire. It was founded in the 3rd century B.C. and became an important outpost of the Roman Empire, as well as the Mauritanian capital. As such, it was graced with many fine Romanesque buildings. It became the capital of Idris I, founder of the Idrisid dynasty, for a short period.
Medina of Tetouan (formerly known as Titawin)
Being the main point of contact between Morocco and Andalusia, Tétouan was of particular importance in the Islamic period, from the 8th century onwards. After the Reconquest of the Spanish Peninsula, the town was rebuilt by Andalusian refugees, whose work shows an evident Andalusian influence and displays all the features of the high Andalusian culture. The medina of Tétouan, although one of the smallest in Morocco, has remained quite untouched by subsequent outside influences and is unquestionably the most complete of all Moroccan medinas.
Medina of Essaouira (formerly Mogador)
Essaouira was laid out by a French architect who had been profoundly influenced by the work of Vauban at Saint-Malo and is an extraordinary example of a late 18th century fortified town, built according to the principles of contemporary European military architecture in a North African context.
Portuguese City of Mazagan (El Jadida)
The Portuguese fortification of Mazagan, now part of the city of El Jadida and one of the early settlements of the Portuguese explorers in West Africa on the route to India, was built as a fortified colony on the Atlantic coast in the early 16th century. It was taken over by the Moroccans in 1769. The fortification with its bastions and ramparts is an early example of Renaissance military design. There are several notable surviving Portuguese buildings from the Portuguese period, including the cistern and the Church of the Assumption, built in the Manueline Gothic style of the early 16th century.
The Cultural Space of Jemaa el-Fna Square
The Jemaa el-Fna Square is a very special place, listed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage, since it represents a unique concentration of popular Moroccan cultural traditions performed through musical, religious and artistic expressions. These oral expressions have been continually renewed by bards (imayazen), who used to travel through Berber territories. They continue to combine speech and gesture to teach, entertain and charm the audience.
So, if you are planning to visit Morocco, do not miss these amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites unique in the world. You can stay in one of the fantastic hotels in Marrakech, or in one of the typical Marrakech riads located in the medina, as well as some villas in Marrakech. Come to Morocco and enjoy the culture, the history and the architecture of this wonderful country.
Morocco is one of the most fascinating countries in the world, offering an incredible combination of rich cultural heritage, fabulous gastronomy, over 2300 miles of coastline hosting wonderful resorts, exotic desert and mountain areas, and the celebrated and authentic warm Moroccan hospitality. On top of this, Morocco is conveniently located, extremely close to Europe (just 10 miles!), and is one of the most economic and accessible destinations for travellers from all over the world.
Marrakech, also known as “The Ochre City” or “The Pearl of the South”, is certainly one of the most fascinating cities in Morocco, if not in the whole African continent. Among many other interesting sites, Marrakech has the largest souk in North Africa, where all sorts of products are bargained for in an incredible cosmos of smells and colours.
Also, you will find in Marrakech the famous Djemaa El Fna square, listed by UNESCO as Intangible World Cultural Heritage and the only place on the planet where musicians, storytellers, dancers, jugglers and bards put on a new show before large crowds every day of the year.
Places like the spectacular Badi and Bahia Palaces, the elegant and sumptuous Dar El Bacha House and Museum, the charming and refreshing Majorelle Gardens or the historic Koutoubia mosque are also highly recommended.
Near Marrakech, you can visit the stunning Atlas Mountains, snow capped during most of the year, where you can ski at the Oukaimeden ski resort from November to April or visit some of the most amazing archaeological sites in Morocco, where you will find several cave paintings dating back to 2.100 years BC.
If you like adventure, you cannot miss an excursion to the incomparable Sahara Desert on camelback, buggy, quad or whichever means of transport seduces you the most. It will be an experience that will no doubt be absolutely unforgettable. You can choose to sleep under a traditional Berber tent or simply under the stars, explore the different types of desert landscapes of the kaleidoscopic Sahara Desert and admire the impressive and ancient Kasbahs that spot the scenery.
You may also want to spend some relaxing time by the Atlantic Ocean, in one of the many new and impressive beach resorts quite near to Marrakech. Within a two-hour drive from Marrakech, there are two beach resorts where you can enjoy both a good swim in the ocean and a great amount of history. The medina of Essaouira is a UNESCO World Heritage Listed city, and Agadir enjoys a long, sandy beach and is famous for its seafood and its mild winter climate.
So if you want to relax and enjoy a quiet and placid holiday, or rather want to have an exciting experience, stimulating and full of adventure, Marrakech is the perfect destination. The Ochre City not only offers culture and a fascinating tradition, monuments and countless tourist attractions, but also a great nightlife, a delightful cuisine and the widest range of shopping opportunities.
Moreover, hotels in Marrakech are of the highest quality and quite affordable, and particularly Marrakech riads, which are full of charm and very inexpensive. You can also stay in a wonderful villa in Marrakech, closer to the countryside, where its inhabitants will welcome you with open arms.