Ever dreamed of visiting Marrakech? Check into one of the city’s iconic boutique hotels, or riad, for a truly authentic and indulgent experience.
One of the hottest destinations for the year ahead, Marrakech is home to vibrant markets, stunning mosques, and a rich culture. But the city is also famed for its abundance of chic and intimate boutique hideaways, known locally as riads, each of which boasts the same flare and individuality that has made the city such a popular destination for affluent travelers. Here are some of our favorites.
Riad Chi Chi
Operated as a chic B&B, Riad Chi Chi (above) is about as hidden away as you could want in this city of narrow alleyways and private courtyards. Nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac in the heart of Marrakech’s souk district, and a short walk from the main square of Djemaa el Fna, Chi Chi boasts only five guest rooms and is ideal for families looking to take over the hotel as their own during a visit to the city.
Rooms are dressed in calming cream tones with accents of bright colors and timber notes; our vote is Ivory, a spacious double, for ultimate privacy. Take strong Moroccan coffee each morning in the courtyard’s traditional b’hou sitting alcove, or sundowners on the canopied terrace, with its views across the rooftops of Marrakech to the mountains.
In addition, owners Beryl and Yvonne can organize day trips to the Atlas Mountains or guided tours through the markets to secure the best deals, and after a long day’s haggling, stargaze under the bathroom’s domed ceiling with its stained glass constellations.
Located at the heart of the Medina, AnaYela, a Design Hotels member, is hidden away within a 300-year old palace that’s surrounded by the bustling souks, cafes, and lounges of the Red City district.
A homage to Moroccan history, the palace’s restoration was conducted using traditional Moroccan craftsmanship, with over 100 artisans working together to create a truly special urban gem. Look out for custom furniture designed by owner Bernd Kolb and designer Yannick Hervy, and silver calligraphy panels telling the story of Yela, the hotel’s namesake, a young girl who once lived in the royal household, and who left behind an intimate journal.
With just three doubles and two suites, guests are ensured privacy and intimacy; the brick bathtubs of the suites are the perfect place to soak as the shadows grow long in the markets below, as is the courtyard swimming pool. Be sure to leave time for a tipple on the rooftop terrace and if time allows, sign up for AnaYela’s unique Experience Programmes, which were inspired by the film The Game.
One of the most lavish boutique hideaways in the city is Maison MK, a chic and luxurious six-bedroom hotel located just steps from the Medina, the old Arab quarter. Maison MK is a true expression of globalization – the toiletries are from Paris, the water is from Norway and the coat hangers are from Marseille – yet this pint-sized retreat embodies the ancient city of Marrakech.
Our pick is Bedroom 2, a double in welcoming green hues and traditional teak, with an indulgent bath and rain shower, as well as iPod docking station, 600-thread count linens, and thick, fluffy bathrobes.
The pampering continues at the Spa MK, where treatments fuse traditional and contemporary wellness practices with indigenous methods and locally sourced argan oils. After a day exploring the Majorelle Gardens or listening to the storytellers of the Djemaa El-Fna, try a massage conducted in the serenity of a pitch-black room ‘darkroom’, or by candlelight or leave time for an authentic Moroccan cooking class held in the hotel’s kitchens.
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