Luxury Riads of Marrakech
Traditional symbols of wealth and hospitality, riads are grandiose houses with garden courtyards, once owned by governors and other prominent families. In Marrakech, many of these impressive properties have been renovated into private luxury hotels, with incredible touches like traditional antique furnishings, perfectly kept gardens, and world-class restaurants.
Most riads huddle in the mazy alleys of the medina, and upping your budget gets you every imaginable comfort. From private dining to luscious hammam spa treatments with organic products. These riads are designed to feel like home—and make you wish they were your own. Read on for our seven favorites.
La Maison Arabe
On a car-accessible street in the central Bab Doukkala neighborhood, La Maison Arabe is a class act. The interiors showcase all forms of Moroccan craftsmanship, with smooth tadelakt (lime plaster) walls, carved stucco, cedar wood ceilings, and decorative moucharabieh window screens. Flower-draped courtyards and corridors filled with antiques lead to 32 rooms and suites, all individually designed, with marble-and-granite bathrooms, mini-bars, and satellite TV. The majority come with fireplaces and private terraces.
Service is discreet yet attentive, and the atmosphere serene, especially beside the olive tree-lined pool. The subterranean hammam is one of Marrakech’s best, with a relaxation area lit by teardrop-shaped lanterns. Go for a classic treatment like gommage (body scrub) followed by an orange-flower water rinse. A hotel shuttle bus can transfer you to the sister property in the countryside, with pretty gardens to explore and highly regarded culinary workshops led by a dada (home chef).
In winter, you'll dine in the traditional Moroccan restaurant, serenaded by Arabian lute music, while in summer French-Moroccan dishes are delivered poolside. At breakfast, fresh pastries, seasonal fruit, and eggs to order are served in your room or by the pool.
1 Derb Assehbé, Bab Doukkala
With interiors inspired by Baudelaire’s poem L’invitation au voyage, Almaha Marrakech is tucked away in an untouristy corner of the Kasbah neighborhood, a five-minute walk from the Saadian tombs and a 20-minute stroll from Jemma el-Fna square. This five-star escape bears the contemporary hallmark of Belgian designer Charles Kaisin, who playfully enlivens the riad’s original architecture with one-of-a-kind design touches like a cityscape mural depicted in silk pixels. A lantern-lit pool, underground spa with twin hammams and hot tub, and a bougainvillea-draped roof terrace invite lounging. There’s little formality here: dine as and where you wish.
Scented with orange blossom, the 12 rooms and suites are huge (and hugely luxurious), with Berber rugs, bespoke furnishings, handpicked art, and marble-and-tadelakt bathrooms with rain-showers and deep soaking tubs.
55 Derb Ben Zina, Kasbah
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Hidden down a dead-end alley in the medina, Dar Kawa was built in the early 17th century and later transformed into a guesthouse by Belgian textile designer Valérie Barkowski. From here it’s just a few minutes’ walk to the Marrakech Museum and the astonishingly ornate Ben Youssef Madrasa (Islamic school).
The riad-as-home concept comes into its own at this minimalist-chic retreat, with just four rooms and suites, ranging from a cozy double with a four-poster to more lavish suites with Barkowski-designed linens, black-and-white photos of the artists who once stayed here, and monochrome colors that amplify the feeling of space and allow the architecture to speak for itself.
The vibe here is very laid-back, whether you're lingering over a Moroccan breakfast with pancakes and seasonal fruits, relaxing in the orange tree-shaded courtyard, or getting a soothing massage with 100% natural products in the spa.
Kaat Benahid, 18 Derb Ouali
A luxurious conversion of five historic properties in Marrakech’s medina, Riad Farnatchi is an A-lister on the riad scene. The 10 sleek, lantern-lit suites reveal a razor-sharp eye for detail, with handmade beds draped in Egyptian cotton sheets and beautifully carved woodwork and stucco, as well as open fires, Bose iPhone docks, on-demand movies, and Molton Brown bath products. Some have four-poster beds and marble bathrooms with sunken fossil bathtubs. Free djellabah (traditional Moroccan robes) are provided and are yours to keep.
But what really makes Farnatchi stand out from the crowd is its five-star service. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff: whether you want breakfast at midday, a full hammam with argan-seed scrub and rhassoul clay in the spa, or a perfectly mixed drink, just say the word. The restaurant, Le Trou au Mur, is superb and features its own méchoui (slow-roasted lamb) oven. The concierge can advise on how to get the most out of Marrakech and arrange airport pick-ups and drop-offs.
Derb el Farnatchi Rue Souk el Fassis
Villa des Orangers
Near the striking 12th-century minaret of Koutoubia mosque and 10 minutes’ walk from Jemma el-Fna, Villa des Orangers cleverly brings together restrained French elegance with Moroccan charm. Spread across two early 20th-century mansions, it has two large courtyards, one shaded by a namesake orange grove and another with a large pool surrounded by olive trees.
Intricately carved stucco, zellij (mosaic tilework) and tadelakt are nods to Moroccan craftsmanship, while a palette of muted colors keeps things contemporary and sophisticated in rooms with smart TVs, Nespresso machines, and minibars. All-natural NUXE treatments feature in the spa, and breakfasts are delicious, with fruit salad, homemade jams, and flaky pastries. Add to that lunch, soft drinks, and airport transfers all included in room rates and what’s not to love?
6 Rue Sidi Mimoun, Place Ben Tachfine
You’ll receive the warmest of welcomes at Riad Kniza, tucked just inside Bab Doukkala gate, in an easy-to-find corner of the medina. It has been in family hands for 200 years and the current owner is Mohamed Bouskri, a prominent antiques dealer and VIP tour guide. He enlisted master craftsmen to decorate the riad, filling it with a museum’s worth of treasures, so the look is lavish and 100% Moroccan. In the 11 rooms and suites, you’ll find silky tadelakt walls, Berber rugs, intricate lanterns, and rich fabrics in gold and crimson.
Everything here has a personal touch, from the library where a fire crackles in winter to the quiet spa and private dinners (order in advance as the chef shops fresh).
34 Derb l'Hotel, Bab Doukala
From the roof terrace of palatial La Sultana, you can peek into the Saadian tombs next door and spy the Atlas peaks on cloudless days. What sets this cluster of five riads apart is its discreet-yet-attentive service, and attention to detail and history: each riad covers a different epoch, from the brick-built architecture of the Almohad dynasty to the extravagant carved stucco and zellij tilework of the Saadian era.
The rooms are exquisite and at times eccentric, with decorative cedarwood, African objets d’art, and Roman temple-like marble bathrooms. There are nods to modernity too: iPhone docks, complimentary (non-alcoholic) minibars, and DVD players. Add to this a highly atmospheric spa (one of Marrakech’s best—go for the ‘royal hammam’) and fine Moroccan dining beside an arcaded poolside, and it’s five-star all the way.
403 Rue de La Kasbah