Hassan the young wood turner works on a street corner near to the Ben Yussef Mosque in Central Marrakech just a few hundred yards from Riad Cinnmaon. His traditional North African lathe is powered by his right hand while his left hand and feet control his tools, this is in contrast to a European pole lathe which is foot powered.
The busy life of the street does not disturb his concentration as he turns a babies rattle in minutes. Hassan is always delighted to demonstrate for visitors, and a modest tip is of course welcome! Make your reservation today to experience the ancient medina in an authentic boutique hotel.
Most of the souvenirs on offer in the Marrakech Souks are produced locally, often just a short walk from the shops where they are sold. Don’t be shy about asking for a special size or design, they can usually be produced to order amazingly quickly.
Marrakchi artisan Azdine supports his young family by making ‘treasure boxes’ of all sizes using wood, ‘maichault’ pressed metal and coloured pieces of bone. His workshop is in the Fondouk Almelak near to the Chrob Chauf fountain in Central Marrakech.
Qu` elle est jolie is a folk group usually to be found playing in the Jemma al Fnaa square opposite to the landmark Cafe France. Their best known song of the same name switches between Spanish, Berber, French and the Darija Moroccan dialect.
The group was established in the early 1980s, and today usually comprises four or five musicians. They remain a favourite act in the busy Jemma Al Fnaa- not to be missed! and just ten minutes leisurely walk from your luxury Riad hotel.
The Marrakech street ‘traffic’ whizzes by as young plaster carver Yussef works on a piece in his boutique in the Souk Sidi Isshak near to the Ben Yussef Medersa in central Marrakech just around the corner from Riad Cinnamon.
Youssef is a 17 years old, since he left school he has been learning this craft from his father a master plaster worker or ‘mellem gubs’.
We are delighted to have discovered ‘Hanout’ a newly opened ladies designer clothes shop in the Marrakech souks. It is modestly named, literally hanout means ‘the shop’ in Darija Moroccan arabic, but the designer clothing on offer is world class.
Collections include Indian inspired pieces from Anaya in London and other select designer clothes, hand bags and jewelry. Centre stage is the work of Hanout’s owner, Marrakech based designer Meriem Rawlings. Meriem is a Moroccan national who returned to her home country to work after studying at the International School of fashion in Amsterdam and Central St Martins in London.
At the time of writing in December 2011 Meriems’s designs on display at Hanout include a stunning range of beautiful kaftans, tunics, trousers all cut in silk fabrics and hand embroided – along with unique one–off pieces. These have been sold at Selfridges, featured in several magazines such as Sharq and Now, and have been worn on tour and featured in an album photo-shoot by singer / songwriter Natasha Atlas.
Hanout is located in the well known Souk Cherifa under the Terrasse des Espices just a few minutes walk from Riad Papillon and Riad Cinnamon. It is open every day except Tuesday from 10.30 am to 6.30 pm. .
Arranging payment for your Marrakech break just became even easier with our new online payments gateway.
Contact our reservations team to secure accommodation and we will email an easy to follow link. You can use the link to pay at your convenience using most commonly accepted credit cards.
Best of all we are making NO PROCESSING CHARGE for credit and debit charge payments through the online gateway during an introductory period. Browse our luxury Marrakech accommodation and make contact soon!
The fourth Marrakech Biennale will take place between 29th February and 4th March 2012. Visual Arts Exhibitions will remain open until 3rd June.
The main Exhibition entitled ‘Higher Atlas’ will be located in the sixteenth century Al Badi Palace. The full programme of events including Film, Literature and Music will be announced nearer the time. The Biennale is Trilingual, Arabic/French/English and has a successful partnership with the British Moroccan Society.
Riad Cinnamon and Riad Papillon are located in the heart of the Marrakech Medina, ideally placed for the Marrakech Biennale and associated events. We will be supporting the biennale by providing accommodation for a visiting artist. At the moment we have good availability of rooms, don’t hesitate to make contact! We can usually hold accommodation for 24 hours while you book flights.
January is a fantastic time to visit Marrakech to escape the mid winter weather in the UK and continental Europe. Fly three hours South to Magical Marrakech which sits on the same latitude as the Canary Islands. Whats more the budget airlines have some fabulous deals on January flights, for example at the time of writing (9 November 2011) Ryanair are offering Luton to Marrakech return (out sunday 8th January back sunday 15th January 2112) at just £63.98 per person including all taxes and charges.
All internet bookings for our Marrakech Riads benefit from a 20% discount. We are pleased to offer our first ever JANUARY SALE! with a FURTHER 20% discount for stays between the nights of 5th and the 30th of January 2012.
Or take advantage of a spectacular bargain break in a luxury room at Riad Papillon for just £64 per night (normally £100).
These rates are offered on a first come, first served basis, don’t delay make contact today.
We wish you all a Happy Eid al Adha, November 7th 2011.
Eid al Adha, is celebrated on the 10th day of the last month of the lunar islamic calendar approximately 70 days after the end of ramadan.
What better way to indulge yourself in scorching Marrakech than a delicious ice cream. Our favourite place for ice cream is located on the Avenue Mohamed V in the new town of Guiliez. Gelati Dino offers authentic Italian ice cream in luxurious air conditioned surroundings. It is one of THE places for affluent cool (no pun intended) young Moroccans to hang out but is relatively undiscovered by tourists.
We are proud to have funded and helped organise the start up of Henna Cafe a not for profit project ‘giving back’ to the welcoming Marrakech Community.
The Cafe is located not far from Riad Papillon near the Dar El Bashash taxi rank. It serves an inexpensive range of drinks and snacks with a menu including some Moroccan specialities which visitors to Marrakech do not normally get the chance to experience. Try the ‘Khlear’ lamb sandwich, great value at just 50 dirhams. There are also (subject to availability) traditional cakes baked by local women in their homes, delicious with mint tea!
In addition, Henna Cafe offers two pattern books of traditional Henna tattoos using pure henna with no additives. Simple designs at 50 or 100 Dirhams are available immediately. Sophisticated designs at 400 Dirhams plus are by appointment at the Cafe allowing access to some of the top wedding henna artists in Marrakech.
The Henna Cafe Project is not for profit, we hope to be able to fund education and development projects as well as a soup kitchen. There are already free English, German and French language classes running at Henna Cafe with more than 80 people benefitting. Basic literacy classes in arabic are planned to start shortly. Below are some of the first English students pictured as they arrive for a lesson in the ground floor room of the Henna Cafe.
We are grateful to our guests at our Riad hotels who have been wonderfully supportive recommending us to family and friends. With so few rooms at each Riad we have, more often than we would have liked, had to explain that we were fully booked for returning guests preferred dates. It seems our Marrakech Riads are not such a well kept secret as they used to be.
It was not easy finding for the right Riad to ‘join the family’ a painstaking process since, as one of our Moroccan friends puts it, ‘you need to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince!’ Eventually, after years of searching we were thrilled to find a beautiful light spacious Riad in the Central Medina with delightful features including intricately carved plaster decoration and Cedar woodwork in an Art Deco style. We instinctively loved the blend of European and Moroccan architecture and it was impossible to miss a quality of craftsmanship the full significance of which was only to become clear later. Of course the house needed more than a little TLC after years of neglect but there was no doubt about it we had found a STAR so the day we got the keys we lost no time registering the name Riad Star with the Marrakech authorities.
Our central medina district is full of history. Guests at Riad Cinnamon enjoy the luxury of staying only a few hundred metres from three of the most important monuments in Marrakech, the Almoravid Kouba (believed to be the oldest building in the Medina), the Koranic School or Medersa attached to the Ben Yussef Mosque and the Marrakech Museum.
The history of the Museum is fascinating, built as a Palace in classic Andalusian style (the history of North Africa and Southern Spain being inextricably intertwined) it was only recently restored as a museum which opened in 1997. In fact the Palace complex extended further to the north than the current museum and included what are now a number of elegant independent dwellings accessed from Derb Alilich our newly discovered Riad Star being one of them.
Meeting our new neighbours was a delight, they were kind enough to show us inside their homes, atmospheric Riad courtyards with elegant proportions and suites of rooms decorated with zellige of Fez tiles under cedar wood ceilings. It was talking to a neighbour that we made an amazing discovery. ‘Did you know that a big star used to live in your house?’ Our new friend, born in the street but now retired explained that in the 1940’s when Pachah Thami El Glaoui was at the hight of his powers the Palace that is now the museum belonged to the Pachah’s family and the renowned Josephine Baker lived in the Palace complex. Miss Baker’s life story is truly remarkable, she rose rapidly from humble beginnings in St Louis, Missouri to superstardom in Paris in the 1920’s and 30’s becoming a French national and distinguishing herself in the French Resistance as well as the American civil rights movement. Fame and status notwithstanding it is for her human warmth that Josephine is remembered in Derb Alilich. The following short film dating from many years later in 1974 gives a glimpse of possibly why.
The wonderful quality of light in Marrakech is famous, but don’t overlook the pleasure of sitting out under the Marrakech Moon.
The image here is the first moon after the holy month of ramadan 2011. Our Riads in Marrakech provide the perfect base for your holiday adventure.
Renowned Jewellery expert Sarah Corbett is leading her latest five day shopping trip based at Riad Papillon starting on 31st January 2012. Sarah’s comprehensive Itinerary is as follows:
Arrival Day … A driver will be waiting for you on arrival at Menara Airport Marrakech.
Transfer to your beautiful Riad, Riad Papillon.
time to explore or to relax following your flight.
A delicious 3 course evening meal cooked at your riad dining beneath the stars!
Second day…A morning of guided jewellery shopping in Marrakech, with Moroccan jewellery expert Sarah Corbett on hand to help and advise.
Lunch in the Medina
Afternoon activites a caleche tour of Marrakech or A Traditional Hammam
Evening Meal at one of Marrakechs’ top eateries.
Third Day …A morning of guided jewellery shopping with Moroccan jewellery expert Sarah Corbett, within the Medina, visiting trusted dealers with exceptional stock.
Lunch in Gueliz (French Quarter of Marrakech)
A visit to Samarcande, a veritable treasure house in the vibrant new town of Gueliz.
Henna evening for those who would like!
Meal in a restarant in the Medina.
Fourth Day ….free time for souk shopping or even more jewellery shopping if you feel the need!
or a visit to the Maison Tiskiwin a museum with an exceptional collection of jewellery.
A shopping trip to the Mellah area, with access to new production beads and Jewellery and many traditional jewellery components.
Lunch in the Medina
Afternoon of Jewellery shopping with Moroccan jewellery expert Sarah Corbett
An evening of show and tell, share tales of your purchase ( and of the ones that got away!) over a feast at your riad.
Departure day …Free time and transfers to Airport.
Reservations can be made through vividtrading.
Before you travel to Marrakech check out our new online store! When you make purchases in the store Amazon pay an introduction fee of at least five percent. Marrakech Riad donate all these commissions to Moroccan charities and development projects particularly those helping women and children.
Brush up on your arabic with a bargain phrase book, pay special attention to the numbers and you may overhear something that saves you money in the Souks!
Prepare for you trip by selecting the guide book to meet your needs or grab a copy of the outstanding Rough Guide map of the medina.
Le Comptoir also known as Le Comptoir Darna is a legendary Marrakech venue, located in the Rue Ahmed Chaqui in the heart of the buzzing Hivernage district West of the Old town Medina. Dependable up market dining with an excellent show usually comprising drummers and dancers who perform in a variety of classical and cabaret styles. Upstairs is a bar with music and dancing until the early hours.
Le Comptoir is a favourite recommendation for a group looking to celebrate a special occasion. Your Marrakech Riad can help you reserve a great table, we can even arrange for a horse and carriage to collect you from the Riad to take you on an unforgetable night time tour of old Marrakech ending at the restaurant just in time for for dinner.
The donkey and cart is a common sight in the medina of Marrakech where the streets are too narrow for truck and vans. These docile and dependable creatures, known as ‘brill’ in arabic are essential to everyday life.
A Riad hotel in the Medina is the perfect base from which to explore and experience this ancient way of life at first hand.
Abdel Monaim works in partnership with a childhood friend. They learned their craft together as young men and now share a workshop in the Souk Belaarif in the Central Medina near to Riad Cinnamon and Riad Star.
Marrakech Riad are pleased to announce the launch of the new Riad Cinnamon Gallery Website
This site allows quick and convenient browsing of great images of our elegant Riad Cinnamon.
The world famous Jemma al Fna square is packed with Entertainers. Acrobats, snake charmers, storytellers musicians and a host of other performers all compete for attention and each individual has a personal story to tell.
Abdelkhalk is from the dessert, he is wearing traditional costume and visibly enjoys sharing traditional gnawa music.
Check out the accommodation at our fantastic Marrakech Riads just five minutes from the main square.
Many visitors to Morocco are familiar with Tagine, the classic slow cooked Moroccan meal prepared in a cone shaped clay pot of the same name. The ancient City of Marrakech has a signature slow cooked dish which is even more special, the TANJIA.
The Tanjia dish is shaped like a greek urn, it is perfectly adapted to be used for slow cooking in the embers of the wood fires burning underneath the many Marrakech hammams public baths. Tanjia is tradtionally prepared by the men of the household, fresh meat, herbs and spices are carefully mixed and sealed in the Tanjia, these days lamb is most often used though historically it might also have been camel. The minimum cooking time for Tanjia is an incredible five hours at the end of which the meat is tender, succulent and tasty.
Our friend Simohammed is responsible for the ‘Farnaatchi’ wood fired boiler room of the hamman two minutes from Riad Cinnamon in the Central Medina. Simohammed is a proud Marrakech Tanjia cook as well as being an instinctive and talented gnawa musician. For special occasions Mohammed can come to our Marrakech Riads and perform. Here he invites you into his Farnatchi, demonstrates how to prepare Tanjia and welcomes you to the Marrakech!
Flashpacking is the latest craze for affluent independent travellers, posh backpacking for the internet age. What better location for the flashpacker than Marrakech the ‘Capital City’ of the hippie trail, and what better flashpacking accommodation than a luxury Riad hotel in the heart of the ancient Medina.
Todays super hippies have come a long way from their couch surfing days demanding luxury accommodation with no compromises, air conditioning, luxury linens, first class toiletries, dipping pools, satellite tv, ipod docks and most important of all….. fast free wifi!!!! Where better for a great value for money luxury flashpacking experience than Riad Papillon with it’s stunning roof terrace. Relax, sip a complimentary mint tea and soak up the bohemian atmosphere.
The flashpacker is a truly independent traveller, seeking an exotic experience on their own terms. Our friendly and efficient staff offer the warmest of Moroccan welcomes. We can hold your luxury room or suite while you grab one of the flashpackers favourite low cost flight bargains to Marrakech.