Finally that day came, the day that we could fly to Morocco. My friend Katrina and I had been planning this trip for years but for one reason or another we had been postponed this wonderful road trip through Morocco. I don’t want to hide that when the moment came we were really excited! By then we had so thoroughly prepared and learned about the country that it didn’t take much time to schedule our Moroccan itinerary.
We booked all our nights in these so-called riads and believe me, that was the best thing that we could have chosen for our Morocco road trip.
When we were searching for hotels on Booking.com, we casually noticed that many of the given options had the suffix “riad” and obviously at that point I didn’t know what it was. To be honest, I thought that it was an Arabic translation for the word hotel.
What is a Riad in Morocco
Only later, I mean when we had arrived in Morocco, we learnt that Riad was a traditional Moroccan house. A riad is normally two or more floors around an interior garden where plants and fountains are located. In Morocco, a riad was a building that was once a city home of merchants and courtiers. Since they were built for the wealthy they represent the finest example of Moroccan architecture. The word riad comes from the Arabian term for garden.
Even if the style of these riads has changes over the years, their basic shape still remains. They are all built around a central open courtyard which often includes a fountain. All the house activities are focused in this inner garden.
Most riads in Morocco even have a pool or hamman (wellness area).
An interesting and unique fact about riads in Morocco is that they have no exterior windows. The windows in a riad all look towards the central courtyard. This inward facing scheme of the riad reflects the importance of privacy in the Islamic Religion.
Within the riad, you can see amazing ornamentation and handcrafted arts but never a representation of living figures since that is forbidden by the Islamic Religion.
However, know that nowadays many Europeans live in Morocco and run activities linked to tourism, especially in Marrakech. Since this is the case, you may see photos and pictures hanging on the wall.
Thankfully many of these riads have been restored as hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, or shops. There were plenty of riads in Morocco, both outside and inside the Medinas of all the cities. So, combining accomodations at a riad with a visit to the Medina, is certainly an excellent idea.
Read Also: Ultimate tips for Marrakech Medina
Five reasons for why you must stay in a Riad
- Be ready guys, Morocco was one of the places where I ate the most delicious food. Even now when I think of Morocco, the first thing that comes to my mind is food. If you stay in a riad, then you will have an opportunity to taste the original homemade dishes. What they offered in the riads had nothing to do with what we found out in the restaurants.
- Staying in a riad definitely brought the original Moroccan culture to us. The Moroccan family who owned or managed the riad usually lived in the riad itself and they were good enough to guide us through their traditions. Even when they were not very good at English, they tried somehow to make things understand.
- We enjoyed the Moroccan interior design.
- Being in touch with the locals helped us to overcome our cultural prejudices. Yes this is really true.
- There are riads for everyone’s pocket and taste: modern styled ones or traditional ones for the price starting from € 25 to € 200 or even more. With more than 500 Riads in the Medinas, even if you are on a budget, you can still have a wonderful one.