Morocco & Andalusia: Suggested Hotels & Riads
What is a Riad: In the late 1980s entrepreneurs began converting homes and small palaces, mostly those located within the heart of the old cities, into intimate guest inns, full of local character. These quickly became the most sought-after lodgings by independent travelers (most are too small for groups) and there are now such so-called riads cropping up all over the country, over 1,000 of them in the Marrakech area alone. Some offer an exotic luxury and amenities that no hotel can match, others a rustic local experience (though many of the latter have not yet been accredited by the government and thus you don’t know what you’re getting into!). Yet they are not for everyone: most do not offer the full line of services a hotel does, the vast majority do not have pools, and some travelers just prefer the worldliness of grand hotels.
The following are the hotels, boutique hotels and riads we have favored over the last three decades, due to their level of service, location, character and overall dependability. Indicative costs are as follows; please note that prices within individual riads may vary greatly, as, since they’re converted from former residences, each room is different in size and amenities.
$: under $150 $$: $150–$300 $$$: $300–$500 $$$$: over $500
Arfoud & Erg Chebbhi
- Belle Etoile ($–$$$) – Camp by the dunes; standard Berber tents and deluxe tents with private bathrooms.
- Belere Hotel ($) – Adobe style with ample grounds.
- Campement Asmaa ($) – Camp of walk-in Berber tents at the base of the dunes.
- Kasbah Tizimi Riad ($) – Small hotel around a courtyard within the city.
- Kasbah Xaluca Hotel ($$) – Boutique hotel with Saharan decor, in local adobe style.
- Tombouctou Hotel ($) – The only true hotel by the dunes, simple but in local character.
Beni Mellal region
- Club le Tazarkount ($) — Modern style, located amid olive groves at the foot of the mountains in Afourer.
- Riad Cascades d’Ouzoud ($) — Intimate inn steps away from the Ouzoud waterfalls.
- Xaluca Dades ($$) – Boutique hotel, with spectacular setting above the Dades Valley.
- Meridien Royal Mansour ($$$) – The most character-rich of the city’s big chain hotels.
- Hotel les Saisons ($) – Standard, efficient hotel in the center of the city.
- Casa Hassan ($) – Within the maze of the old town, in local character; not accessible by car.
- Al Madina Riad ($) – Converted from a former indoor marketplace in the old city.
- L’Heure Bleue ($$$) – The city’s best boutique hotel, member of Relais&Chateaux.
- Sofitel Mogador ($$) – Modern hotel with spa, across from the beach.
- Villa Maroc ($$) – Three former merchants’ homes by the port connected into a unique boutique hotel.
- Dar Al Andalous Riad ($$) – Palatial, 3-level home in the 14th-C. section.
- La Maison Bleue Riad ($$–$$$) – 3 homes in the 9th-C. section converted to a deluxe boutique hotel with numerous patios, terraces, a spa and small pool.
- Les Merinides Hotel ($$) – Modern hotel on a hill overlooking the old city.- Palais Jamaï Hotel ($$$) – Built upon a former vizier’s palace and the sole full-service hotel within the old city; the deluxe Medina- rooms offer the best views and sounds.
- Riad Fez ($$–$$$) – A former palace in the heart of the old city.
- Alida Riad ($) – Small basic riad in a central location of the old city.
- Aman-jena ($$$$) – Aman Resorts’ only property in Africa, outside town on the Amelkis golf course; so pleasant you don’t want to leave the room!
- Bab Firdaous Riad ($$–$$$) – Serene ambiance with a traditional herbal spa near Bahia Palace.
- Dar Donab ($$$) – Small former palace with pool in prime location of the old city; suites only.
- Jardins de la Koutoubia Hotel ($$$) – The only full-service hotel within the old city; modern.
- Jardins de la Medina Riad ($$) – Only riad in the old city with a large garden.
- Kasbah Agafay ($$$$) – Crowning a hilltop a half-hour South of the city, this 18th-C. fortress has been converted to a 1001-nights’ fantasy.
- Kniza Riad ($$–$$$) – Built in traditional style in the Doukkala residential section of the old city, with all modern amenities and reputed for its service.
- Ksar Char Bagh Riad ($$$$) – Member of Relais&Chateaux located in the palm groves outside town.
- La Mamounia ($$$$) – Africa’s most famed hotel, period!
- L’Hivernage ($$) – Boutique hotel in the residential section South of the medina.
- Maison Arabe ($$–$$$) – Full-service boutique hotel in traditional style, reputed to be the best in the medina.
- Palais Sebban Riad ($$–$$$) – Former palace in the upper-class Ksour residential section of the medina, with a variety of themed rooms and suites, and small pool.
- Saadi Palace ($$–$$$$) – Historic hotel in the residential enclave South of the old city, with an immense park; standard rooms in the old-world charm original building, plus new all-suite wing and themed private villas.
- Tresor de la Palmeraie Riad ($$$) – Bungalows in a garden setting amid the palm groves North of the city.
- Villa des Orangers ($$$–$$$$) – Another member of Relais&Chateaux, in the heart of the medina.
- Ryad Bahia ($) – Simple riad in traditional style just inside the old city.
- TransAtlantique ($$) – A historic hotel, in bad need of improvement, but with a great view on the old city.
- Kasbah Asmaa ($) – Built to resemble a fortress; simple, clean rooms.
Mt. Toubkal National Park
Kasbah du Toubkal ($–$$$) – Former fortress in Imlil village converted to an award-winning eco-lodge that supports local community education and development projects; from bunk beds to deluxe suites.
- Kasbah Tamadot ($$$$) – Richard Branson’s plush retreat overlooking the Asni valley.
Ouarzazate & surroundings
- Berbere Palace Hotel ($$) – The favorite of the film crews & stars, set like a village amid gardens.
- Dar Ahlam ($$$$) – Former citadel converted to a resort and spa, 45 min East of town in the Skoura oasis.
- Dar Mouna ($) – Family-style riad a half-hour North of town with a view on the Aït ben Haddou casbah.
- Farah Hotel ($$) – Modern hotel across from the old city, overlooking the Bou Regreg river.
- Riad Oudaya ($–$$) – Former home in the picturesque Oudaya Casbah above the Atlantic.
- Sofitel ($$) – In the heart of the new city; all modern amenities, albeit rooms on the small side.
- Hotel el Minzah ($$) – Built in the style of a parador upon a former palace in the heart of the city, with views on the port and Spain across the Strait, and a full fitness center; Tangier’s oldest hotel.
- Le Mirage ($$$–$$$$) – Boutique resort on a cliff above the Atlantic, 20 min South of town.
- Dar Zitoun ($–$$) – A boutique hotel with bungalows amid fruit orchards, 2 miles West of town.
- Gazelle d’Or ($$$$) – Morocco’s most renowned and exclusive hide-away, amid an orange orchard.
- Palais Salam Hotel ($$) – Set around a former pasha’s palace just inside the ramparts, with lush gardens; one of the country‘s most exotic hotels
- Kasbah Lamrani ($) – Small service-oriented hotel decorated in local style.
- Saghro Hotel ($) – Very basic rooms, but spectacular views on the valley and desert beyond.
- Fibule du Draa ($) – A very basic yet charming hotel nestled within the date-palm oasis South of town.
- Kasbah Tinzoulline ($) – Recently renovated, the first grand hotel in the deep South.
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