What is a riad? ~ a rather grand traditional Moroccan house.
Where are they located in Marrakech? ~ usually in the old city.
Why would a traveller be interested in a riad?~ Many riads have been converted to luxury accommodation offering an authentic taste of the area.
Where can I find one to stay at? ~ Usual search engines and surfing until you find the one that suits you.
Which one did I choose? ~ Riad Kniza
You have a choice of where to stay in Marrakech as I see it, either a well known chain hotel in the modern sector or a riad in the old city. The Grey Traveller chose the old city because this is where I wanted to spend most of my time. The disadvantages to staying in a riad are that you are unable to park a car close by and you have to walk your luggage to the riad, generally taxis will drop you off at the nearest gate to the old quarters and you make your way from there. It is easy to get lost in the first twenty four hours but easy to find someone to help you. The Riad Kniza organised to meet us where the taxi dropped us off and took care of our luggage. The minute you step foot into the old city its utter madness, noise, smells, people and sunshine but this is what you came for isn’t it?
A riad is a peaceful haven from all of this, once inside the wide walls they offer peace, quiet and shade. There is usually a courtyard with shadowy booths, cushioned and carpeted where you will be offered mint tea whilst you are checked in. Many of the riads have restaurants and bars where non residents can relax and try traditional local foods. They can also offer hammon and massage treatments and Riad Kniza offered both. Many offer pools. I still dribble over the Steak Roquefort from La Maison Arabe not far from Kniza. Being in the old city means that in the evening you can wander down to Jemaa el Fna the main square to watch snake charmers and henna tattooists bargain with tourists as well as meander through the souks.
Riads appear to be family run so they have a wealth of knowledge about the local area and can organise guides to walk you around the city, very useful if you don’t like being bothered with bartering when trying to buy.
The service we experienced in all that we visited was with out exception friendly and excellent.
For more on The Grey Traveller in Morocco, click on these links.