Take a look at the best boutique hotels in Morocco.
Deep in the medina, in a tangled web of narrow red streets, Riad Kheirredine fashions itself as a doorway to the soul of Morocco. The secret's out (and the prices are up) on this traditionally styled, four-pearl guesthouse. The staff is a dream come true, and the riad's white-linen opulence could be the setting for a fairy tale. Unlike many riad rooms in the old city, these have minibars and Bluetooth music systems, but like most, they're narrow (as they're built around a courtyard or garden), and don't have TVs or coffeemakers. Riad Kheirredine is not as ornately furnished, nor that close to Jamaa El Fna Square (some might consider this a plus) as other riads, but its rooftop terrace and fantastic service stand out.
An historic riad in the heart of Marrakech's picturesque Medina, Riad le Clos des Arts was once home to a family of artists and has been lovingly restored by an expat Italian couple to honor that tradition of beauty and hospitality. Each of the seven rooms -- four rooms and three suites -- has been individually decorated with traditional Moroccan tilework, rich fabrics, and both traditional and modern furniture and artwork, to guarantee upscale modern comfort. An extensive homemade breakfast -- included in the room rate -- is served on the rooftop terrace each morning, alongside a small pool and both outdoor and shaded loungers; an exceptional Moroccan dinner can be served in the courtyard salon upon request.
The two-and-a-half-pearl Riad Abaca Badra is a cozy, charming, and distinctive family-owned riad hotel in Rmila, at the north end of the Medina. It's a 15-minute walk from Jemaa el Fna square. Guests enjoy a well-regarded free hot breakfast featuring crepes and eggs, and the hotel also serves high-quality Moroccan cuisine for dinner. The rooftop terrace provides a hot tub and Saharan-style tent. The five rooms are a bit dated in their feel, but the look is colorful and distinctly Moroccan. Rooms have air conditioning, safes, and free Wi-Fi, but the amenities list is rather thin, as units lack TVs, electric kettles, and coffeemakers. Riad Andalla is closer to Jemaa el Fna, and its rooms are a bit more detailed, but it has no hot tub and room rates can run higher.
A luxury guesthouse in the historic quarter, Riad Dar Anika is a private sanctuary with a wonderful garden courtyard and a staff with a penchant for luxury pampering. With 12 rooms, it's a bit larger than other riads, and has a heated pool and a marble hammam. The rooms are covered in colorful Moroccan textiles and rich hand-carved wood, though even the higher-tier rooms are small. It's located toward the southern end of the medina, and has the rare benefit of being right off a main avenue near street parking, making it easier to find than competing riads located deeper in the maze-like streets of the medina.
La Maison Aribe is a luxurious boutique hotel built around an interior courtyard with 12 guest rooms and 14 suites, all decorated in unique and color-saturated Moroccan style. Located in the heart of Marakech's old city, the hotel is close to the Jemaa el Fna marketplace and many other must-see sights. Other highlights include cooking classes, two restaurants, a piano bar, an intimate spa, and two pools, one on site and another at the property's country club. This is easily one of the top boutique options in Medina; the Riad Kniza and La Sultana are among the only small hotels that can compare.
Set within the walls of Marakech's bustling Medina, Riad Idra is an intimate seven-room, luxury boutique hotel with a rooftop terrace, a small spa, and a romantic fine-dining restaurant. Guests enjoy the personal service, the tailored Moroccan decor, and the tranquil interior courtyard, which provides a soothing place to linger after a day of navigating the souks. The rooms are individually decorated in traditional Moroccan style, featuring tall ceilings, local art, and plush amenities, but they lack terraces. The special decor and central Medina location help make this one of the city's top riads, but it is missing key amenities such as a pool and fitness room. For those, consider the also intimate Riad Noir d'Ivoire -- but note that it is farther from Jemaa El-Fna square.
Riad Les Trois Mages is a three-pearl, six-room property located in the historic Medina. The center of the Medina can be reached in around 15 minutes on foot, and many popular attractions are also within walking distance. The hotel is a good example of a traditional riad, with authentic Morrocan decor throughout. The vibe is peaceful and tranquil, attracting mostly couples and families. Individually decorated rooms overlook the beautiful courtyard, and all include air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi. A delicious homemade breakfast is included, and lunch and dinner can be served with advanced notice. The riad also has a lovely rooftop terrace with a small pool. Travelers preferring to be closer to the heart of the Medina should consider the Riad Karmela, which adds a hammam and spa.
The lovingly restored 18th-century Riad Kniza is a luxurious 11-room hideout in the heart of Marrakech's old city. The hotel's serene atmosphere and authentic Moroccan decor attract well-seasoned travelers who prefer to explore the sites of the old city and then return to a plush, quiet retreat. The rooms are spacious with fireplaces and lots of Moorish detail and there are several courtyards and gorgeously decorated salons in which to enjoy a leisurely Moroccan meal. It's one of the top boutique options in the Medina, but if it's booked, travelers can also consider the comparable (if slightly larger) La Maison Arabe or La Sultana.
The eight-room boutique Dar Ayniwen Villa has the feel of a luxury guesthouse with top-notch amenities. The architecture and decor are dramatic, with spectacular museum-quality antiques in common areas and guest rooms, each of which is unique and individually-designed. The hotel sits amid acres of lushly landscaped gardens and an exotic aviary; the restaurant serves fine Moroccan cuisine in a lovely dining room or spectacular winter tent. The romance factor is high (as are the prices). This is a special location with a one-of-a-kind Moroccan feel.
This four-pearl, eight-room riad is located in the heart of the ancient city of Fes. The historic 17th-century building has been beautifully restored, blending traditional Moroccan decor and contemporary elements. It's a calm and tranquil respite away from the medina, popular with couples and families. Spacious guest rooms and suites wrap around a lush green central courtyard, and all include air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and furnished terraces, but no TVs. The riad has a small heated pool, as well as a traditional hammam offering relaxing spa treatments. A rooftop restaurant and bar serves Moroccan and Fassi cuisine and a free daily breakfast. It offers stunning views of the medina. Travelers preferring a more lively property should consider the Menzeh Zalagh Hotel, which adds a nightclub and 24-hour room service.
Located in Marrakech's historic Medina, the elegant Riad Noir d'Ivoire is a luxury boutique hotel masquerading behind a traditional riad's walls. The entire riad has been restored with rich modern furnishings with both Berber and more typically Marrakeshi artwork, textiles, and accents, and the sprawling courtyard is home to two swimming pools. The kitchen serves exceptional Moroccan and French food throughout the day -- in addition to the free continental breakfast -- to wherever on the grounds guests would like to eat. The nine spacious, sumptuous rooms have flat-screen TVs and the rare-for-Morocco alcoholic minibar; the five suites have private balconies. The riad also has a hammam, small gym, lounge bar, boutique, and library. Wi-Fi is included.
Travelers looking for an authentic Moroccan experience in the heart of the old city will appreciate Riad Al Badia's personal touches and the intimate atmosphere maintained by its friendly owner. The upper-mid-range hotel is located within a maze of narrow streets at the southern end of the medina, so guests can easily walk to the Bahia Palace. The staff is attentive and eager to help with any requests, but those who prefer privacy may find them a bit too hovering. The rooms vary widely, and its decor, while comfortable and appealing, is less ornate than that at other riads. But the air-conditioning works, and the rooftop terrace is a great place to enjoy slow, home cooked meals.
Villa Gonatouki is a beautiful, mid-range villa property located in a rural area a 20-minute drive from the Medina of Essaouria. The 10 rooms feature marble interiors and beautiful handicrafts, and some have terraces with lovely views of the countryside and out to the sea beyond. Features include two swimming pools -- one with a kids' area and a second with an infinity edge -- plus a spa offering a hammam, facials, and massages. Breakfast is included in room rates and lunch and dinner can be arranged on request. The hotel also offers a shuttle service into town, which is especially useful given its rural location and lack of attractions within walking distance. Travelers wanting to be right in the center of things may prefer the kid-friendly Riad Baladin.
The three-pearl Riad Miski is located in Marrakech's medina, a five-minute drive from Jemaa el-Fna and the souks. Decor is traditional throughout, from the spa to the six rooms, which are arranged around a pleasant courtyard and feature free Wi-Fi and attractive bathrooms. The rooftop terrace is a highlight, with shaded loungers for taking in medina views. The hotel has a traditional Moroccan hamman, and a cooked-to-order breakfast is available each morning (included in the rates). The restaurant also serves lunches and evening meals, though reservations are required. Prices are reasonable for the medina, but guests looking for a pool might try nearby Riad l’Oiseau de Paradis, where rates are actually lower.
The three-and-a-half-pearl Riad Assakina is a six-room boutique hotel in the Medina, just a five-minute drive from Jemaa el-Fna square and the souks. Decor is muted throughout, from the lobby to the rooms, which are arranged around a peaceful courtyard and feature flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. The rooftop terrace is a highlight, with shaded loungers, Medina views and a small plunge pool for cooling off. A hot and cold Moroccan breakfast is served on the terrace each morning and the restaurant offers local dishes and international cuisine for lunch and dinner (reservations needed). You can also score artisanal goods in the hotel's boutique. Prices are reasonable for the Medina, but travelers with similar budgets wanting to be closer to Jemaa el-Fna might try Riad Princesse du Desert instead.