Best riads in Marrakech
From secret gardens to rooftop terraces, these inviting riads offer myriad ways to spoil yourself.
Words by Ute Junker
The first thing to know about El Fenn: unlike many other properties in the medina, where you have to make your way on foot, here your taxi can drop you right to the door. One of the most Instagrammable hotels in Marrakech, El Fenn is perfect for those who prefer lounging to exploring, with three pools, a spa, a yoga lawn and complimentary afternoon tea. The rooms are also wonderfully inviting: many come with fireplaces and roll-top tubs. If you’re not staying here, making a booking for lunch or dinner: you’ll be glad you did.
Let’s start by talking about the terrace. Any self-respecting riad has a roof terrace, where you can catch the cooling evening breezes; at Riad Kheirredine, however, the multi-level terrace features not just shaded seating areas but also a pool, a restaurant, and a stunning view across the Atlas Mountains. It’s a wonderful place to come back to after a day exploring Marrakech’s labyrinthine streets. (Note to the easily lost: each guest is loaned a mobile phone – if you lose your way entirely, just call for help.)
Marrakech has stolen the hearts of plenty of famous foreigners, most famously Yves Saint Laurent, whose gorgeous Jardin Majorelle, located not far from the Musée Yves Saint Laurent, is one of the city’s top attractions. Similarly seduced was British designer Jasper Conran, who bought up an old riad and converted it into L’Hotel, a five-suite hotel decked out with a sun-drenched terrace, a verdant garden and lashings of voile drapery. Top pick is the Casablanca Suite, where the hand-painted ceiling is inlaid with gold leaf.
72 Riad Living
If you lean towards a contemporary vibe, 72 Riad Living is where Italian minimalism meets Moroccan traditionalism, and the results are exquisite. Wander past the leafy green courtyard and you will find plenty of clean lines and bold colours along with more traditional touches. the hotel has a commitment to personal service – on check-in, guests can select their artisanal soap of choice – and the in-house restaurant, La Table du Riad, is regarded as one of the best in town.
It may have the most comfortable beds in Marrakech, but that’s not the only thing we love about Riad Kniza. There are the exquisitely-restored 18th-century interiors, complete with stucco and tiling, not to mention the staff who can arrange everything from top shopping suggestions to hikes in the Atlas Mountains. What we love most, however, is the relaxed attitude that means meals are served whenever you like. Well, that, and the in-house hammam.