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Friday, 16 May 2014 12:00 AM

Pros and Cons of a Riad Holiday in Marrakech and Other Cities

Naturally Morocco has one of the most extensive range of selected accommodation in Morocco of any company, the vast majority being riads and similar Moroccan style buildings (dars, kasbahs and ksours).

We have described in previous articles previously what a Moroccan riad is , what it is like when you first enter a riad and how to choose a riad to suit you; however, it is very important to set expectations correctly as staying in a riad on your holiday has its pros and cons (like virtually everything has) so that you get the most enjoyable holiday possible for you.

In this article we cover those pros and cons, comparing a holiday stay in a riad to that in a large hotel. In general, staying in a riad puts your holiday in the heart of Moroccan history in an authentic Moroccan building with staff that care about their limited guests, but you may sacrifice services and amenities of larger hotels.

Pros of a Holiday in a Riad

Fundamentally the pro of a riad is its link to Morocco. A riad is a Moroccan building that would have been home to a Moroccan family and, although they have been renovated in various styles, the large majority are still in Moroccan themes. If you are interested in knowing more about Morocco on your holiday, a riad will immediately surround you in Moroccan culture – whereas a large hotel will be generic and could normally be anywhere in the world.

Riads are typically found in the heart of historic medinas, so step out of the front door and you are in the heart of Moroccan life and close to the historical centre – whereas large hotels will be outside of the medina walls, often a reasonable walk away.

Riads are small (typically between 4 and 7 bedrooms) so they are personal. Managers and staff will soon recognise you and you them, and they will be happy to stare tips and help you in your holiday, and talking to other guests will not feel strange if that is what you want to do – whereas large hotels are impersonal.

Cons of a Holiday in a Riad

Although riads have much to say for them as a place to stay they are not perfect, so it is best to be open about some of their major weaknesses -

Riads are designed with rooms around a central courtyard and noise within the central courtyard can echo and be heard in the bedrooms – whereas in large hotels rooms are normally well soundproofed with long corridors stiffing the noise of other guests.

Riads typically have few extra services. Most will offer evening food if pre-ordered but few have restaurants with a la carte menu, some may have an on-site hammam but spas services will be very limited, and riads generally have not much more than a plunge pool as opposed to larger pools of big hotels – whereas some larger hotels have a huge range of services.

Equally riads have few amenities and utilities may be a little more fickle. Any air con and heating will have been retro-fitted so may not be as effective, television will be generally limited to a communal room and hot water may be occasionally fickle – whereas large hotels will generally have these amenities built into the fabric of the building.