Nothing can really prepare you for your first visit to Marrakesh.
It’s everything you imagine.
It’s a city that can be magical.
But, for many, it’s so much less.
It’s definitely not a city for everyone.
Before heading to Marrakesh for a weekend visit, I’d been warned by people who had been there that I may not like the city- they said it was too chaotic, too busy, just too much.
I had a totally different experience- I loved Marrakesh and left eager to explore other parts of Morocco on future trips (namely Fez and Chefchaouen).
In total, I spent three days in Marrakesh, arriving early on a Saturday and leaving Tuesday morning. Over the course of three days, I wandered the city, lounged at rooftop terraces, indulged at a spa, and relaxed at riads.
Riads in Marrakesh resemble authentic family homes, they’re similar to a bed and breakfast. Many of them are restored family homes.
During my trip, I stayed at Le Riad Yasmine for two nights and Riad beMarrakech for one night. When booking my trip last minute, I was at first disappointed no riad I was interested in had availability for my full-stay, but it was easy to walk between riads, and let me experience two different atmospheres.
The best thing both riads had in common? They were fantastic environments to relax.
Each day, I’d leave the riad to explore for a bit, and then return for the better part of the afternoon/evening to sit poolside or on the roof terrace. Taking time to stand still, do things that bring me joy (reading and writing), and appreciate my surroundings ensured I left Marrakesh in high spirits.
If you’re planning a trip to Marrakesh, I’d definitely recommend staying in a riad in the medina so you’re in the heart of the city. There are plenty to choose from, but my favorites: Le Riad Yasmin & Riad beMarrakech (reviews below), and El Fenn & Le Riad Berbere (popped in both, beautiful properties).
Staying at Le Riad Yasmin
Serene and spacious with a plant-filled courtyard, Le Riad Yasmin has become ‘Instagram famous” for its perfect environment to unwind.
A boutique hotel in the heart of the medina, Yasmin is easy to find. Even though it’s right along a main road, the only noise you hear inside is the chirping of birds.
Like most riads, Yasmin is small to ensure every traveller has a personal experience. Seven Moorish style rooms and suites are built around a mosaic pool, and all guests have access to the roof terrace, which offers views overlooking the medina with the Atlas mountains in the distance, as well as plenty of space to lounge and cute reading nooks.
All guests are offered mint tea upon arrival and served a beautiful breakfast in the morning. If you want a fresh juice or mint tea in the afternoon while lounging, all you have to do is ask. Aside from breakfast, I didn’t eat at the riad- if you want lunch or dinner, they request you order it at least a day in advance because ingredients are sourced locally daily.
I loved lounging on the terrace and patio during my stay. Light and airy, both were a tranquil respite from the souks.
After two nights at Yasmin, I walked over to beMarrakech for my last night in Marrakesh.
Staying at Riad beMarrakech
Much like Yasmin, beMarrakech is a home way from home. beMarrakech is actually composed of two riads, connected by a rooftop terrace.
Each riad has its own style, “The Oasis” is full of plants, patterns and colors, while “The Essence” breaks everything down to the essentials of life via traditional woodwork, graphical patterns and classical Moroccan color treatments.
I opted to stay at “The Oasis” in the only room left when I booked- the family room. Because the room is meant for 2-4 people, and I was a solo traveller, I got a great discount.
As with the other riad I stayed at, beMarrakech is located in the heart of the medina but offers a slower side of the city. The attention to details and decor is exceptional.
The riad is filled with color, pattern and texture. And, in the heart of it, you’ll find a charming courtyard swimming pool.
I’d planned on visiting Jardin Majorelle after checking in, but was so entranced by the lovely gardens and rooftop terrace, that I decided to spend the afternoon lounging on the roof, nestled in a hammock in the late afternoon sun.
As the sun set, the riad lit candles and put on soft jazz, which created dream vibes.
I visited the riad in Marrakesh’s off-season, but in warmer months, they offer rooftop yoga and cooking classes.
The morning I left, I enjoyed a lovely breakfast poolside before taking the taxi the riad helped arrange to the airport.
Suffice to say, I was disappointed to leave the riads. They were beautiful, tranquil environments – holiday goals, to say the least.
Have you ever been to Marrakesh or stayed in a riad?