Looking for an exotic getaway? Morocco features vibrant markets (souks), delicious street food, snake charmers, and vivid colors. While Morocco contains the flavor and look of the Middle East, it is conveniently located just south of Europe on the African continent (the flight from Madrid to Marrakech is just two hours). While you’re here, you can visit remote Berber villages, explore ruins, relax in a hammam (steam bath), ride a camel, go hiking in the mountains, tour palaces and mosques, or go bargaining in the souks.
A Moroccan riad is a former palace or home with an interior garden or courtyard, many of which have been turned into B&Bs and small hotels. Some riads have partnerships with tour companies and can set up excursions for you so you can see more of the country. Here is a sampling of several riad B&Bs that will give you a true Moroccan experience.
Dar Zitouna (Marrakech)
Dar Zitouna, or "The Olive Tree House," is a colorful riad located in Marrakech’s Medina (the old fortified city). It was built in 1760 and features five guest rooms with private bathrooms. There is a patio with a fountain and massive olive tree, which reaches up to the outdoor terrace above.
Riad Jddi (Marrakech)
Also located in the Medina, this riad has five guest rooms and is ornately decorated. The owners feature a special Moroccan dinner buffet twice a week—it costs extra, but is a fun way to try local food. Bask in the sun in the patio and catch a great view of the area from the terrace.
Riad Andalla (Marrakech)
Riad Andalla’s rooftop terrace features a stunning view of the Atlas Mountains in addition to great views of the Koutoubia mosque. The riad has six beautifully decorated rooms and two suites. There is also a lounge with a fireplace that overlooks the fountain patio.
Riad Youssef (Fez)
This riad is located in Fez (spelled Fes there), one of the world’s largest and oldest medieval cities. Riad Youssef’s building itself dates back to the 17th century and contains beautiful stained glass and mosaics. You will find three guest rooms and five suites here, in addition to a terrace with a panoramic view of the city. The riad also features a swimming pool and a steam room.
Riad Azenzer (Marrakech)
Located in the Moukef area, the location will give you a taste of authentic Marrakech. Each of the five rooms are based on a color inspired by Morocco. The patio features a beautiful pool for those who want to cool off.
Dar Baraka Karam (Marrakech)
Just a 10-minute walk from the Jemaa el Fana Square, this quiet five-room is the perfect place to unwind. It features a two-leveled terrace where you can sit and relax with gorgeous views of the Glaoui Palace and Koutoubia mosque.
Riad Karmela (Marrakech)
Located in the Medina, Riad Karmela features two Jacuzzis, a hammam, and a gorgeous rooftop terrace for those who want some R&R. It’s a two-minute walk from some of the souks, and while it was built in 1890, it was beautifully restored four years ago. The riad contains eight rooms, nine suites, and two large apartments.
Have you ever stayed in a Moroccan riad? Would you consider staying in one if you went to Morocco?