All around the world Morocco is famous for it’s carpets and many travellers land in Marrakech in search of a quality piece of authentic craftwork. But it is rare to find a carpet seller who sells quality products, at fixed prices, without the tourist-spiel. However, the El Wifak Carpet Cooperative, located in the Ensemble Artisanal in Marrakech’s Medina, is one such place.

Located just a five minute walk from the Koutoubia Mosque and Jemaa el-Fna, the Ensemble Artisanal is the antithesis of the Souks: the atmosphere is relaxed and the prices are fixed, so no haggling!! Whilst looking through the many shops at the Ensemble Artisanal, we stumbled across the El Wifak Carpet Cooperative and were welcomed by Mustapha Alaoui; who happily spent over half an hour with us talking about carpets, the cooperative and his life.


Mustapha told us that he used to work in the government’s department for Artisanal craftwork, checking the quality of carpets and grading them based on various criteria. It quickly became clear that this man had a strong passion for and a large knowledge of traditional Moroccan carpets; a passion and knowledge he was enthusiastic to share. He explained that, the historic isolation of rural communities meant that peoples of different areas developed very individual styles. He continued to explain that El Wifak sold three kinds of carpet: Berber ‘Kilim’ carpets, used for throws, rugs or hung on walls, Tapestry carpets, made from wool and Arabic carpets, also made from wool, which tended to be bigger in size. Where the ‘Kilim’ carpets were made in the Atlas Mountains in Berber villages, both the Tapestry and Arabic carpets are made by the El Wifak Cooperative.


El Wifak, Arabic for sharing equally or a group of people in agreement, consists of around 70 women who make the carpets sold in the shop. (Traditionally, in Morocco, women make carpets and pottery whilst Men make jewelry and metal utensils.) The most important this about the cooperative is that everyone profits from all these sales are shared equally and everyone benefits. So, if you are looking for a quality product from a reputable source, if you are looking for an ethically sourced souvenir, or even if you are just put off by haggling in the Souks then this is the place for you.

The Ensemble Artisanal and the El Wifak Cooperative is located at the start (or the end, depending which way round you walk) of the ‘Needle and Thread’ Medina Walk available for free MarrakechRiad app. If you would like to find out more about the free MarrakechRiad app, the ‘Woodworking’ walk or any of our other Medina walks then our Riad staff would be happy to help.



Whilst walking around Marrakech, it is impossible not to notice how many of the doors, window shutters and wooden tables are carefully adorned with exquisite carvings or intricately painted tessellated patterns. These humble items extend far beyond their functional use: the beautiful designs, that are so unique to the region, represent a certain respect for traditional design and artisanal techniques that is prevalent throughout society.


Where it is easy to find small stalls in the Souks inhabited by skilled workers making beautiful wooden item like small boxes or chess sets, items that are perfect for souvenirs, it is perhaps more difficult to find the workshops that make the larger items like the Riad doors, the carved wooden panelling and so on. Located a short walk form the Jemaa el-Fna square, just metres away from Dar Habiba we found Abdil’s workshop. Abdil, a quiet man of little words, invited us into his space to show us his work: we looked through a series of beautifully painted panels that he uses as samples to demonstrate his work to clients before he showed us a carved doorframe he was currently working on for a Riad renovation. He explained that he mainly works for local businesses, but he has in the past also worked for visitors to Marrakech who wanted to take home a unique item to furnish their house. Perhaps you will need more than the basic hand luggage allowance to take home such an item, but a custom-made piece of artisanal history would maybe be the greatest souvenir of all.

Abdil’s shop is located just off the ‘Woodworking’ Medina Walk on the free MarrakechRiad app; but it is well worth the detour, especially if you are interested in bringing home a special memory of Morocco. If you would like to find out more about the free MarrakechRiad app, the ‘Woodworking’ walk or any of our other Medina walks then our Riad staff would be happy to help.

Candlelight is one of the delights of Marrakech, a mediaeval city just three hour flight away and ideal for a romantic short break.

Enjoy a candlelit dinner on your arrival evening.

Soak of the atmosphere after dark in the candlelit courtyard.

Or enjoy a personal Hammam and massage in the traditional Hammam at Dar Habiba.

There has never been a better time to stay in a Luxury Marrakech Riad.

The arabic word Rais usually means ships captain, the berber language has borrowed this word to describe the leader of a group, like this one, that play with the traditional Ribab instrument. Recorded live in the Jemma al Fnaa square Marrakech at the time of the Marrakech Film festival 2011, note the giant outdoor screen in the background.

There a many beautiful hotels and Apartments in Marrakech, as there are all over the world. The really unique opportunity when visiting the Red City is to experience a traditional Riad courtyard home.

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.

Leave a Comment

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.



Leave a Comment


The Koutoubia mosque was built in the 12th century under the Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur to be the crowning glory of his North African based empire, it is indeed today still the largest mosque to be found in Marrakech today. The structure stands 69 metres tall towering over the surrounding city, an impressive structure by any account. However it was during the period of imperialism under the French that it was decreed that no structure in the rest of marrakech was permitted to be taller than the Koutoubia, thereby sealing the Mosque’s place in Marrakech’s architectural history. The name of the Koutoubia derives from the Arabic for library as the mosque used to be surrounded by sellers of religious manuscripts thereby gaining the mosque literary connotations that led to it being quasi designated a library. Although the actual mosque itself does not permit non-muslims to enter a non-muslim can still observe the majesty of the mosque from the outside of the Building.

The prayer hall within the mosque is one of the largest of its kind and has the capacity to house up to 25,00 people at any one time. Adjacent to the mosque are archaeological remains of the original mosque which it is believed was rebuilt to correct its orientation to Mecca. These remains are accessible to visitors and can be seen through glazed protective cases. The fabulous Rose gardens adjacent to the Mosque are an oasis of calm in the city used by locals and tourists alike, a must for any Marrakech holiday.

Stay in one of our luxury Marrakech Riads, the perfect base to explore the ancient red city.

Marrakech Jemaa al Fnaa Map

» Explore the Jemaa el Fnaa Map

Leave a Comment

The aptly named Sky bar is located on the seventh floor, that is the top floor, of the Renaissance hotel in Guiliez.  Access is from an elevator inside the hotel lobby, the bar is open to non residents.

An ideal spot for a pre dinner drink before visiting one of the excellent restaurants in the new town of Marrakech, or enjoy a meal in the bar.

There are stunning views along the Boulevard Mohammed V toward the medina and the Koutoubia mosque.

If you are planning a stay in Marrakech, stay in style, the staff at our Marrakech Riads will be happy to help with all aspects of your vacation.

Leave a Comment

From October 1st 2011 BMI are adding a further two flights a week to Marrakech (Thursday and Saturday)

The full service airline now fly days a week Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  We will be pleased to meet you at Marrakech airport and whisk you away to your luxury Riad hotel in the Marrakech Medina where a delicious Moroccan banquet can be waiting for you!

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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:

Leave a Comment

Moroccan summer days can be extremely hot.  The dipping pools in our Marrakech Riads are perfect for cooling off. We also have air conditioning in all rooms. Riad Cinnamon even has a second dipping pool on the spacious roof terrace.

Check out our Marrakech accommodation before making your reservation:

Individual suites at Riad Cinnamon:
Fez EssaouiraChefchaouen | CasablancaMeknes

Luxurious en suite rooms at Riad Papillion:

Leave a Comment

We are very proud of new table and chairs at Marrakech Riad Cinnamon. Made to measure by craftsmen in the Sidi Boukshish district of the Souks they feature distinctive local ‘Maichault’ metalwork as well as leather from the Marrakech tanneries.

Perfect for your arrival meal or just to chill out and enjoy the ambiance of the courtyard at this distinctive Marrakech Riad. There is no better place to stay when you visit exotic Marrakech, make your reservation today!

Svenge is a widely available in Marrakech, often served from street food stalls.  Rings of dough deep fried in oil, usually sold tied in bunches of five. Svenge is eaten at breakfast or as a snack throughout the day.

Our Marrakech Riads offer the perfect base from which to explore the Red City. Reserve Accommodation today.

The choice of accommodation in the Medina of Marrakech can appear confusing. Our Marrakech Riads offer a warm moroccan welcome, and great value for money, make your reservation today!

Individual suites at Riad Cinnamon:
Fez EssaouiraChefchaouen | CasablancaMeknes

Luxurious en suite rooms at Riad Papillion:

Riad Le Clos des Arts, Riad Zitoun J’Did 50 Derb, la Prefecture Medina near le Palais Bahia

Riad El Mansour, 227 Derb Jdid | Bab Doukkala, Medina

Dar Silsila, 11 Derb Jdid Laksour

Riad Al Massarah, 26 Derb Djedid, Bab Doukkala

Riyad Al Moussika, 62 Derb Boutouil, Kennaria

Riad Les Trois Palmiers, 36 Derb Tizougarine, Dar El Bacha

Riad Kheirredine, 44, derb chourafa ex derb draoua, sidi ben slimane

Dar Ayniwen Villa Hotel, Tafrata – Palmeraie de Marrakech

Riad Elizabeth, Derb el Baroud 33, Hart Essoura

Riad Aguerzame, 66 derb jdid

Riad Dar Dialkoum, 317 derb Jdid, derb Nakhla, Bab Doukkala

Riad Reves D’orient, 44 derd abib allah, Medina – quartier mouassine

Riad Dar Najat, Derb Lalla Chacha 18, Douar Graoua

Riad Mur Akush, Derb Zaouia 2, Bab Doukkala

Riad Jonan, 35 Derb Bzou, Kasbah Medina

Riad les Orangers d’Alilia Marrakech, 216, rue Tadla, Derb Chtouka Marrakech-medina

Les Borjs de la Kasbah, Rue du Mechouar, Kasbah

Riad Amirat Al Jamal, 33 Rue Fhal Zefritti

Riad Menzeh, 34 derb El Arsa, SIDI AYOUB

Riad Slawi, 92 Derb Ahmed el Borj, Sidi Ben Slimane, Kaa Sour

Riad Tizwa, 26 Derb Gueraba, Dar El Bacha

Riad Lorsya, 61, Derb El Hammam, Mouassine

Derb Eliane, Derb El Maada, No 39 Azbezt

Dar Selwan & Spa, 12, Res Al Bassatine, La Palmeraie

Riad Dar Anika, Riad Zitoun Kedim No 112

Riad Hayati, 27 Derb Bouderba, Riad Zitoun Jdid

Zamzam Riad, 107, Rue Kaa El Machraa

Al Fassia Aguedal,   MH 9 bis route de l’Ourika

Riad Tzarra, 22 Derb Lalla Azzouna, Medina

Riad Maipa, 5, derb Jdid- Derb Dabbachi, Marrakech Medina

Es Saadi Palace, Avenue El Quadissia, Hivernage

Le Rihani, 52 derb el Arsa Kenaria

Les Jardins de la Medina, Derb Chtouka, 21, Kasbah de Marrakech

Riad Alamir, My Abdellah Ben Hsein, Ksour

Riad Monika, 29 Hart Soura

MonRiad, 4 Derb Lahbasse, Riad Zitoun

Riad Dar Zahia, 60 derb El Hammam, Mouassine

Maison Arabo Andalouse, Derb Touareg 66-67, Kasbah

Riad Dar Attajmil, 23, Rue Laksour, Quartier Laksour

Riad Jomana, 62 Arset Aouzal, Bab Doukkala, Medina

Riad Ariha, 90, Derb Ahmed Elborj – Sidi Ben, Slimane, Kaa Sour

Riad Karmela, 10 Derb El Feranne Azbetz, Place Ben Salah

Riad Les Trois Mages, 11 derb Jamaa, Marrakech

La Maison Arabe, 1, Derb Assehbe – Bab Doukkala

Riad Farnatchi, 2 Derb el Farnatchi, Rue Souk el Fassis, Qua’at Ben Ahid

Dar Crystal, Derb El Fath no5, Es Salam

Riyad El Cadi, 87 Derb Moulay Abdelkader, Dabachi

Villa Dar Zina, 4, Lot Jnane Brika, Rte de Targa

Riad Massiba, 38, Route Douar Graoua

Dar Tasnime, 131 Derb Hammam, Kasbah

Riad Noor Charana, Houmat Ben Sahl, Derb el kebir n°31

Riad Bakara, 21, derb Ennour, Arset El Houta

Dar Rocmarra, Derb el Halfaoui, 29, Bab Doukkala

Riad Yasmine, 209 Diour Saboune , Bab Taghzout

Riad Amazighen, 4 bis, Arset Guessous. Bab Lakhmis

Riad La Rose D’Orient, 17-18 derb draoua-sidi soussan-medina, Bab Lalla Aouda Saadia

Dar el Souk, 56 Derb Jdid, Riad Zitoun Ked

Riad Hizad, 80 Derb el Cadi

Riad La Porte Rouge, 48 Derb Jamaa

Riad l’Oiseau du Paradis, 27, Derb Cherrata, Arset El Houta

Riad Porte Royale, Marrakech, Morocco

Riad Diana,   85 Derb Jdid, Quartier Riad Zitoune Lakdim

Riad Nesma, 128 Riad Zitoune Lakdim, Medina

Riad Ajebel, derb chotuka 91, kasbah

Riad Les Bougainvilliers, 5, derb Ben Amrane, Riad Zitoun Lakdim, Médina

Dar Soukaina, 19 Derb El Ferranne, Riad Laarouss

Riad Carllian, 24,25 Derb Dabachi – Derb Jamaa

Riad Baba Ali, 74 Derb Baba Ali, Moukef

Dar Les Cigognes, 108 rue de Berima

Riad Djemanna, 69 derb el Halfahoui, Bab Doukkala

Riad 5 Sens, 10 et 11, derb El Baroud, Hart Es Soura

Riad Alma, Derb Kbala 77, Kasbah

Riad de la Belle Epoque,  29 Derb Sidi Bouamar

Riad Dollar Des Sables, 13 Derb Deffa Ourbaa, Laksour Smarinne

Ryad Dyor, 1 Derb Driba Jdida Sidi Ben Slimane

La Villa des Orangers,   6 rue Sidi Minoun

Riad Meriem, 97 Derb El Cadi, Azbest, Medina

Dar Zemora, Rue el Aandalib

Dar El Kanoun, Route de Targa, Lotissement Farida, Villa 64

Riad O2, 97-98 Derb Semi Ben Slimanemaria – Sid, Sidi Ahmed soussi, Zaouia

Palais Sebban, 43 Derb Moulay Abdellah Ben Hsseine, Quartier Laksour

La Sultana Marrakech, 403 rue de la kasbah, Kasbah

Hotel La Renaissance, 89 Angle Bld Zerktouni et Mohamed V Gueliz, Gueliz

Riad Chouia Chouia, 40 rue Fahl Zefriti Ksour, Djemmaa el fna

ClubHotel Riu Tikida Palmeraie,   Route Fes, km 6

L’Heure d’Ete, 96, sidi Bouloukat

Riad Samsara, 6, Derb El Aarsa, Tarzout -Médina

Les Deux Tours, Douar Abiad BP 513, Circuit de la Palmeraie

Riad Asna, 20, Derb Ezzamouri, Bab Doukkala

Riad Les Jardins Mandaline, 55, derb Ferrane Riad Laarouss

Riad Noir d’Ivoire, 31, Derb jdid Bab Doukkala

Riad Charlott’, 10 Sidi Ahmed Benacer, Kaat Bennahid

Maison MK, 14 Derb Lafkih Sbaai, Quartier Ksour, Medina

Riad Dar One, 19 derb Jemaa el Kabir, Hay Salam

Riad Kniza, 34 Derb l’Hotel, Bab Doukkala

Riad Assakina, Derb Alaati Allah, 14, Hay Salam

Hotel Kasbah Dar Ilham,  Km 13, Road to Fes

Riad Zolah, 114-116 Derb El Hammam, Mouassine, El Haouz

Dar Charkia, 50 Derb El Halfaoui, Bab Doukkala

Riad 58 Blu, Derb Jdid 58, Douar Graoua

From October 2010 Budget airline Ryanair offers convenient morning flights Rome on four days a week, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We can arrange to have you collected at Marrakech Menara airport and whisked away to one of our luxury Marrakech Riads for brunch. With Ryanair’s low fares and our special offers a luxury break in Marrakech has never been more convenient or more affordable!  Reserve accommodation today!

Leave a Comment

Slilou is one of a number of seasonal specialities prepared during Ramadan. It consists of a blend of nuts and spices ground to a fine powder and eaten with teaspoons, usually from a shared dish during the ‘breakfast’ after sundown. Slilou is a high energy food, and it’s absolutely delicious!

Our Marrakech Riads are located in the heart of the Medina and offer guests a fantastic opportunity to experience and ancient culture living alongside local families. Reserve accommodation today!

Leave a Comment

Budget airline Ryanair fly to Marrakech from four UK airports. Luton, East Midlands, Edinburgh and Bristol. As of April 2010 the Bristol service operated on Saturdays and Tuesdays departing at 12.30 and arriving Marrakech Menara airport at 16.05.  Marrakech Riad can arrange to have you collected at the airport, only twenty minutes later you could be relaxing in one of our Boutique Riad hotels- your oasis of calm from which to explore the Marrakech Medina

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

The best way to experience the Old Town Medina of Marrakesh is to stay in a Riad. Marrakesh is an ancient caravan trading post in Morocco, historically the meeting point between Europe and sub Sahaaran Africa. Now one of the hottest destinations for a weekend, short break, or holiday, a variety of hotels, hostels, villas, guest houses and maison d’hotes are on offer in Marrakesh. The first thing that sets the Riad Marrakesh experience apart is the location of your accommodation in the heart of the ancient Medina now a UNESCO world heritage site. The second is the stunning architecture of the Riad itself and the third is the wonderful welcome of your Riad Marrakesh staff.

The present layout of Marrakesh, known as the Red City, was established in the eleventh century. The ancient Medina is constantly evolving but retains its distinctive flavour and character. Our Guide to Marrakesh is regularly updated and offers the visitor a fantastic resource also covering the new town of Guiliez and popular excursions such at the Atlas and Essaouira.

We offer guests the choice of two recently renovated luxury Riads. Beautifully decorated and exquisitely furnished they are your oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the Souks. Visit our Riad Marrakesh homepage, look more closely at our boutique riad hotels then make your reservation!

Leave a Comment

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!

Leave a Comment