Riads Marrakesh

Riads Marrakesh
Riad Marrakesh: When staying in Marrakesh one can get a greater sense of the city if you stay in a riad in Marrakech medina. A riad is a house with an interior garden. The word riad comes from the Arabian term for garden, ryad. The beginnings of riad architecture in Morocco were an adaption of the Roman villa. When the Almoravids conquered Spain in the 11th century they sent artisans from Spain to Morocco to work on monuments, and with them came the idea of arranging the rooms of the house around the central open-air courtyard. The Marrakech riads are meant to be focused inwards and enable family privacy as well as protection from the weather (both hot and cold) in Morocco. This inward focus is also expressed in the lack of large windows on the exterior walls of the Marrakech riads, although in reality this is probably more because all of the riads are intertwined, and few have many walls that look outwards. What most tourists find extraordinary is the walk through a labyrinthe of narrow roads (Derbs) and alleyways, often somewhat grubby, and generally expect the worst. Some also fear that they are being led into a dark alley to be robbed, although Marrakech is very safe for tourists in general, and then just as these fears reach a peak they are led into some of the most glorious houses you will ever stay in. The contrast from the outside derbs or alleyways, and the magnificent entrance or interior that awaits you leads to a major transitional experience, and encourages reflection because all of the rooms open into the central garden (ryad). The central garden of many traditional ryads often has an orange or lemon tree, a fountain, and with European refurbishment, many also have plunge pools in which you can cool your feet whilst supping a glass of wine. The walls of the riads are covered with tadelakt (a very smooth plaster that is shiny when new) or zellige tiles.   When booking a riad in Marrakech you should look at the number of rooms available other than just bedrooms. Some riads in Marrakesh try and cram as many bedrooms as possible into the house to maximise income, and pay scant attention to space for clients. Others, however provide ample space for clients. For example, Darhani (which means house of tranquility) provides plenty of space. Although Darhani only has four bedrooms, it also has a sitting room, the blue room with two sofas overlooking the courtyard pool, an Indian room which has a large Indian day bed, and sofa to while away the afternoon while reading in the shade, as well as a large terrace and a tent to hide away from the sun, or drink whilst listening to CDs in the evening, or loungers for sun worshippers, and a separate dining room with a piano and guitar for the musically inclined. In other words there is a separate space for each and every bedroom in the riad. Some ryads in Marrakech that we have stayed in have only a dining room and a terrace in which to relax so beware!!


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