Friday, February 18, 2011

Moroccan Riads

Something wonderful about Marrakech, and all of Morocco, are the gorgeous riads. Each of these traditional homes provides a small oasis from the chaotic hustle and bustle of the city. They are relatively small for hotel standards with typically 5 or 6 rooms, a courtyard, and often beautiful roof top terraces.

Upon looking for hotels I have to say I was overwhelmed, because there are so many impeccably styled options. In the end, we chose Dar One during our first stay in Marrakech and Riad Awa after our return from Essaouira. Neither were exactly easy to find, which tended to be the theme of the old Medina with its winding streets and back alleyways. Behind unassuming doors are these brilliant and spacious abodes.

At Dar One, our suite even had its own private terrace overlooking the city. It was relaxing to go up and hear the nearby storks clacking as they sat perched atop the mosques. I also loved to hear the call to prayer echoing through the city.

The owner, Jean Pere, was very inviting. He told us he lives out in the country, although he stops by the riad frequently and often with his two dogs in tow, who appeared so worn out they hardly batted an eye when we pet them. The maps that we were given had many wonderful restaurants and locales marked and with those we set out to explore the city. It was a great introduction to the Medina.

At Riad Awa our room had a gorgeous headboard that was etched concrete with built in lights and beautiful intricate details everywhere you looked. Once again it was a very relaxed atmosphere... so relaxed in fact that people didn't lock their room doors when they were out in town.

Both riads had great roof terraces with quiet areas to relax in after busy days exploring the Medina.

If you're planning a trip to Morocco it's best to know the riads typically take cash payments and you'll have to get Dirhams once you arrive, so plan for that, or make sure they know you'll be paying with Euros beforehand!

No comments: