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.

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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.

After a long and painstaking restoration Riad Star is now taking bookings, don’t delay in making contact to experience it for yourself.



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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.

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The old town of Marrakech is known as the Medina, set inside an ancient city wall and in many ways little changed since the middle ages. The perfect place for your Marrakech medina stay is a restored Riad hotel, constructed around a courtyard garden.

Individual suites at Riad Cinnamon:
Fez EssaouiraChefchaouen | CasablancaMeknes

Luxurious en suite rooms at Riad Papillion:

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There are an amazing variety of goods for sale in the Marrakech Souks, take your time to browse and you will find glazed pottery to fit any colour scheme!

Our Riads in the Medina provide the perfect base for your holiday or short break in Magical Marrakech. Make contact today.

The team at Marrakech Riad were delighted when a recent guest put our first review on mumsnet. A whole Riad booking whether with family or with friends is the perfect way to enjoy Marrakech. Our Marrakech Riad Papillon sleeps 11 and our Marrakech Riad Cinnamon sleeps up to 16 in comfort.

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Guests at Marrakech Riad Cinnamon have enjoyed unlimited mint tea since we opened last year.  We are delighted that we are now able to offer complimentary Cinnamon tea.

Our Marrakech Riads are the perfect base for your Morocco break or holiday. Don’t delay, make your reservation today!

There are five individual suites at Riad Cinnamon:
Fez EssaouiraChefchaouen | CasablancaMeknes

The patio at Riad Cinnamon has newly installed canvass awnings to provide extra shade in the courtyard. This simple and stylish design neatly folds back at night allowing cooling air to descend into the Riad.

Our traditional Riads in the Medina offer the perfect base from which to explore Marrakech. All our rooms are fully air conditioned and there are dipping pools for cooling off in the hot summer months. Reserve accommodation today!

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Our Marrakech travel guide now has 100 pages of tourist information providing a free resource to visitors to Marrakech, whether or not they are staying in our fantastic boutique Riad hotels.

Learn about the history and culture of this ancient city.

Read Lucie’s guide to haggling in the Marrakech Souks.

Discover the attractions of the old town medina and the new town of Guiliez.

Read about restaurants and cafes then add your comments and share your experience with others.

If you are planning a stay in Marrakech a Riad in the Medina is the ideal base from which to explore.  Our Riad Papillon is located in the fashionable Dar El Bashah antique district. Our newly refurbished Riad Cinnamon is in the heart of the old town near the Marrakech Museum.  Reserve accommodation today!

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Marrakech is the perfect holiday location! Only three hours flight from Europe. Marrakech ofers unlimited shopping in the famous souks! the incomparable Jemaa al fnaa square! historic monuments and museums! the chic new town of Guiliez!

Stay in a traditonal Marrakech Riad and experience the old town medina first hand.

If you are planning a trip to Morocco don’t forget to book a stay in a Riad! Our Marrakech Riads have been sensitively converted to provide a taste of traditional medina life while providing the modern comforts you would expect in a boutique hotel. 

The best of Marrakech and the best of Morocco is on your doorstep in a Riad. Reserve accommodation today!

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Tea in Marrakech is traditionally a Mint Tea made with green tea, sugar and at least three varieties of fresh mint. Known also as ‘Berber Whisky’ Marrakech mint tea is the Marrakech symbol of hospitality!

Complimentary mint tea is served at our Marrakech Riads whenever our guests require. The perfect way to relax after a busy day.  Reserve accommodation today!

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A fantastic new modern railway station opened in Marrakech in 2009 located in the New Town of Guiliez.

The railway station is a short taxi tide from the Medina. Guests staying at Marrakech Riad Papillon and Marrakech Riad Cinnamon should get a taxi to the well known Dar El Bashah taxi drop off point and our Riad staff will meet you there.

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Marrakech Riad Papillon has a fantastic dipping pool in the courtyard. Perfect for cooling off in the hot summer months.

The pool is tiled with intricate Zellige from Fes, a real work of Marrakechi craftsmanship. Its sympathetic shape is the product of many hours of reflection by Lucie and our super architect, Chris Redecke.

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Marrakech Riads provide ideal accommodation in the warm summer months. The Riad house is a classic Medina design, all the rooms face inward to a central courtyard, the bedrooms are in shade protected from the heat of the sun, naturally cooled due to high ceilings and walls several feet thick.

Our sympathetic restoration has added yet more comforts. Air conditioning, luxurious en suite shower rooms, mini fridges so there is always a cold drink to hand. Best of all are our fantastic dipping pools, perfect for cooling off in the Marrakech summer!

We still have summer availability for the months of June, July and August 2010. Come as a couple, or rent a whole Riad and bring a group of friends or family. Marrakech Riad Papillon sleeps 11 in five well appointed rooms (2+2+2+2+3). Marrakech Riad Cinnamon sleeps 18 in five superb suites (3+3+4+4+4). Make your reservation today!

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The renovation of Riad Cinnamon is at last coming to fruition after many many months of planning, designing, redesigning, imagining, repositioning and trying to create our vision. We expect to welcome our first guests for Easter 2010.

Having sucessfully renovated Riad Papillon we felt encouraged to be if anything more bold and adventurous. We know that one of the things that we value most of all about being in Marrakech is the wonderful sense of calm and serenity that one feels as one enters a Riad Boutique Hotel after spending a day at the souks.

I works as a Psychotherapist with people from all walks of life and all ages and I know about the vital need that we all have of a place where we can feel a sense of belonging, peacefulness and contentedness-a sanctuary. This place or feeling that many of us yearn for can be found in many ways. One of the ways we hope to help you find this sense of peacefulness and calm is through the space, light and colours that we have created at Riad Cinnamon.

All the rooms at riad Cinnamon have high ceilings which give an expansivenes that allows  one to breathe and feel that you can expand and spread out literally as well as figuratively. We have designed three of the rooms to have special ‘meditiation spaces’ within them accessed by a slim staircase with treads in wood and risers in smooth tadelakt. It is almost as if you are climbing to a higher place within your self as well as within your room. The meditation space can be used for all sorts of activities-not just meditaion of course- children may stay there and watch a dvd; you may eat breakfast on a low table there or chat with a great vantage point overlooking the rest of the room. Those less spiritually inclined may simply use the staircase as an exercise area to strengthen those thigh muscles!!!

We have chosen to use tadelakt extensively throughout Riad Cinnamon because the material is very sensual and soothing to look at as well as to the touch. The tadelakt material allows one to create surfaces that are slightly rounded and beautifully smooth-no sharp edges from wood and metal here. Somehow the use of this material within the bathrooms and bedrooms enhances the peacefulness and flow of the energy within all spaces.

Our roof terrace is quite amazing-the views are breathtaking especially when the mountains are ‘out’ (sometimes the clouds cover them from full view).  The roof terrace features a Moroccan tent, cosy corners for relaxation, an open air barbeque, two raised viewing platforms and plenty of room for sun loungers.

Love is in the walls!

The workers at Cinnamon are dedicated to their work and one can sense a real feeling of purposefulness, camaraderie and flow as they are creating our lovely rooms. Our building site is quite unlike any other I have ever visited here in Marrakech (and I have visited dozens!). The workmen really take a huge pride in their work. They work in pairs or independently without the need to be closely monitored or persuaded to work-they know their job and they want to do it-and do it well. The workers work silently for the most part the building is like a library apart from the occasional sound of a drill or a bucket landing with a thud on the ground floor as it is lowered by rope.

At lunch times and break times (which are scheduled precisely) all of the craftsmen leave their work and sit together in a circle around a little gas stove. One worker (usually Hassan who is the guardian of the building day and night) prepared the mint tea and tagine with cous cous. They all take a piece of freshly baked bread and by turns scoup up a portion fo the hot meal. It is clear that there is much respect and affection between the workers. They have worked together on our project for nearly two years now.  I like to think that the workers are pouring their love of their craft into the very fibre of this beautiful building and that you will feel that when you come and stay with us!

Choosing fabrics for curtains and sofas

My current task is to choose fabrics, calming colours to coordinate effortlessly with the tadelakt colours on the walls and to find a wonderful person to make them all for me within a reasonable timeframe and budget. You would imagine that this would be a simple task in a country renouned for amazing fabrics and colours and craftspeople. However, my experience so far tells me it will not be so simple. I first have to find someone who can sell me beautiful fabrics that are good quality. Then I have to explain the design of the curtains and sofas with words and pictures (in French) and then I have to negotiate a reasonable price and timescale and quality control. Again this may seem easy but my experience tells me otherwise! about half of the people I ask will not return to give me a quote, a proportion will say they have a fabric and then it will transpire that they do not, a proportion will give an astronomical price, some will not be skilled at sewing neatly and maybe just maybe I will find one who will deliver for us the beautiful, sumptuous curtains in silks and velvets and satins with voiles and sashes  that look just perfect-maybe-we will see!

Lucie, Janaury 2010

Add a comment below or Contact us at Marrakech Riad and make your reservation today!

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Four poster Suite Marrakech Riad

Just a three hour flight away and well served by the budget airlines Marrakech is an excellent location for a more sophisticated hen getaway. Several brides to be have now booked hen weekends at Riad Papillon.  The newly renovated Riad has 5 bedrooms and can accommodate a party of 11 (sleeping in four twin rooms and a triple).  The cuisine at the Riad is fantastic and a private dinner in the Riad for the whole group is an absolute must.

We have other Riads available and a great value ‘Girls weekend’ rate of just £149 per person. Hiring a Riad for the exclusive use of your party is an excellent way to enjoy Marrakech,  with the Riad staff at your disposal for the entirety of your stay. The old town of Marrakech, Morocco is an intimate and welcoming environment. There are shopping adventures to be had in the endless Souks, culture in the historic monuments and entertainment in the incomporable Jema al Fnaa square.

The ancient medina where local families live side by side with luxury boutique hotels is not the place for boozy late nights.  There are however world class night clubs in the new town of Guiliez and the Riad is your perfect retreat from the chaotic and cosmopolitan City. Contact us now to check availablility and make your reservation!

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There is an abundance of property for sale in Marrakesh from traditional Riads in the ancient Medina (old town) to modern Marrakech Villas in the booming Palmeraie and the areas surrounding the walled city. However Real Estate in Marrakech requires patience, particularly in the Medina, and some of the best bargains are not to be found in places other than the internet or the windows of real estate agents.



Looking for a second home?Some of the most stunning new developments in the world of property, Marrakech Villas are sure to exceed your expectation and are relatively easy to buy off plan.



Traditionally Riads in Marrakesh are not marketed on an exclusive basis by western style-agencies. Rather their availability is quietly made known to the network of local ‘Samsar’ who introduce and mediate on behalf of potential buyers. By investing time getting to know the samsar personally the potential buyer gains access to a world of stunning properties for renovation, but as always- buyer beware – in Arabic the word samsar has a double meaning. He is a carrier of poison as well as the carrier of the keys!


Riad Cinnamon

The locations of Riad Papillon and particularly Riad Cinnamon in the heart of the medina makes them outstanding bases to research and explore Marrakesh property. The diversity of real estate for sale in Marrakech is such that property hunting is a holiday pursuit in its own right! and the samsar are as willing to accommodate browsing potential buyers as any of the boutique owners in the famous Marrakech Souks.


So good, they named them three times!

Written in Arabic as رياض and variously by Europeans as riad, ryad or riyad.
A riad is a traditional home built around an internal garden. Literally riad means garden, not house! This courtyard design with no external windows is very practical keeping the home cool and secure. It also has its roots in the Islamic culture of the country allowing privacy for the household and particularly its womenfolk.

Riad Marrakesh

Riad Papillon and Riad Cinnamon are excellent examples of the tasteful adaptation of centuries old dwellings as luxury boutique hotels retainingDipping pool Riad Papillon the proportions, charm, and elegance of the original, while integrating modern comforts like en suites, air conditiong and a luxurious dipping pool. A stay in a riad is an unforgettable experience of an extraordinary intimate space, quite unlike any other. It is also a great opportunity to enjoy fabulous Moroccan hospitality and food in a domestic setting. 

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