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Experience Morocco's Unique Riads

by Hassan El Amrani on 04/29/15

Touring Morocco is not just about the sites you visit but also where you rest and relax between destinations. What better way to experience authentic Morocco than by staying in some of its many riads. But what is a riad, and why stay there? The term riad comes from an old Arabic word referring to a garden. Riads are traditionally private homes, or even small palaces, within the walled medinas that are designed around a central, open-air courtyard decorated by ornamental and scented trees or plants, fountains, or even pools. Many riads have been restored in keeping with Moroccan techniques and design to offer modern amenities that equal the comforts of 4 and 5-star hotels. Although a riad may be steps away from the hustle and bustle of the medina sites, they offer a tranquil haven for their patrons.

On the riad’s first floor, there is typically an entryway, reception area, and comfortable salons to gather in and relax. The second floor features the bedrooms suites with windows and/or mezzanine walkways overlooking the interior courtyard below. Unlike the chain hotels, each bedroom is a unique size and shape with its own distinctive décor. Above, on the third floor, is typically a terrace overlooking the skyline and scenery, often with comfortable seating, shaded areas, and rooftop gardens.

Many of Morocco’s riads are quite historic, featuring unrivaled craftsmanship. Be it ornate zellij tilework, carved plaster, architectural delights, or décor, riads are an outstanding alternative to traditional hotels. Riads offer all the modern amenities (some even equipped with spas, Jacuzzis, etc.) and comforts while simultaneously providing a more authentic, private, and personal experience.

Aside from the unique accommodations themselves, riads also offer attentive and personable service that exudes Moroccan hospitality. Guests are often greeted by the riad’s owner or manager and offered mint tea and light snacks upon arrival, for example. Many of the riads also provide your meals, deliciously prepared in their own kitchen and served in the intimate setting of the courtyard or on the terrace.

Under Moroccan Sun is proud to have well-established relationships with many riads across the country, and we’d be delighted to select accommodations to suit your tour group's size and budget. If you are looking for a true cultural experience, choose a riad for an unforgettable sojourn!

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