If you’re thinking of planning a trip to Morocco anytime soon, make sure you set aside one or two nights to stay in a Moroccan Riad. Riads are found in the Medinas, or the walled cities of Morocco and are a great way to experience the traditional Moroccan culture.
A Riad is a traditional local home with two or more floors and is constructed around an interior garden. Typically, every floor has a balcony that overlooks the first floor. Along with their unique architecture, Riads are decorated with ornate plasterwork and intricate tile. If you’re still trying to imagine what it’s like, think about the nicest boutique hotel you’ve ever heard of.
The outer appearance of most Riads is simple and modest. Every Riad has one singular large door used to come and go. When visitors step in for the first time, they are often astonished at the stark contrast between the outside appearance and elaborate inside. Windows in Riads can be scarce, but the high ceilings give an impression of spaciousness.
There are no windows on the first floor and upper-level windows can be infrequent. This is because back when there was not a lot of space for living, Riads could share up to three walls, but still be spacious and intimate inside, giving families plenty of their own space. Today, it is not uncommon for two or three Riads to be inter-connected, offering guest multiple courtyards, gardens, and pools.
The interior garden is what creates the uniqueness of Riads. The lowest level has rooms for relaxing and entertaining that are very open and lead out the central gardens. The upper levels of the Riad are luxurious and quiet bedrooms. All of the rooms in a Riad are different, some may have shuttered windows with metalwork and others may only have the door that leads to it. All rooms are decorated and maintained with the utmost care.
Moroccan Riads are typically open at the top to allow fresh air, birds, sunlight, and sometimes rain to enter into the central garden. It’s not uncommon for Riads to be built around trees that are growing strong and tall. Although most of the Riads are open, some do have glass covering the top opening to preserve what’s inside.
Another common feature to Riads is the small to medium dipping pools for guests. The water is icy cold since they are not heated, but the pools are a great way to cool off on a hot Moroccan day. Some pools are designed to be more aesthetically pleasing while others are strictly there just for swimming.
Moroccan Riads are also known for their generous hospitality and delicious food. Every experience is unique and can be catered to the guest’s needs. Every morning a simple but delicious breakfast spread is laid out and guests are asked to let staff know if they are planning on eating out, or if the chefs should prepare a homemade meal for dinner.
From budget-friendly to over-top-luxurious, Moroccan Riads are magical places that are often the highlight of visitors trips. Between the beauty of the structure, hospitality of the staff, and delectable home-cooked meals, a night in a Riad is not to be missed.