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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Learn about the history and culture of this ancient city.
Read Lucie’s guide to haggling in the Marrakech Souks.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
Riad Papillon and Riad Cinnamon are excellent examples of the tasteful adaptation of centuries old dwellings as luxury boutique hotels retaining 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.