Renting Riad ..Only once you venture forth into the ancient higgledy-piggledy medinas of Fez, Meknes, Marrakesh. Or, Essaouira do you find a truly authentic Moroccan Riad, and even then you could still walk past it, blissfully unaware.
What is a Riad?
These beautiful, cloistered dwellings are usually trucked away discreetly behind heavy wooden doors set into high, featureless walls on blind alleys, called derbs. Traditional riad-style houses were (and still are) the domain of wealthier families and pass down from one generation to the next. They contain many of the same decorative and structural elements as their more palatial counterparts, including hand-cut, colorful tiles (zellij), silky tadelakt walls of finely pressed and waxed plaster, painted cedarwood ceilings, arched colonnades, and living rooms on the ground floor. At the center of a Riad is an ornamental garden with a central fountain or water feature and rooms that peer inward through windows of wrought iron or wooden latticework.
In more recent times, with changing fashions and the development of modern nouvelle ville by colonial rulers, houses for more comfortable dwellings with 20th century sanitation and modern household amenities. However, the faded charm and beauty of these traditional structures have captured the imagination of foreign investors, who often snap them up as holiday retreats; many have been restored lovingly to their former glory with sumptuous attention to detail and the addition of state-of-the art facilities. Now, hundreds of Riads offer boutique accommodations in Morocco’s older cities, usually with about three to six rooms over two levels.
Why rent a riad?
Renting Riad is one of Morocco’s medieval towns is a superb alternative to the often-charmless option of larger hotels in the modern districts. Most riads are rented on a per-room, per-night basis, and public areas are shared with other tourists. However, nearly all riads offer their entire accommodation at a reduced rate for exclusive rental if booked far enough in advance. For large families and groups or friends, taking on an entire riad gives an authentic and colorful taste of traditional Moroccan life. Noise easily carries renting the entire premise gives more freedom to party well after bedtime.