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I spent a good deal of time researching places to stay in Marrakech before my April visit. Deciding between a more traditional riad (think small palace with a courtyard) or a larger hotel/resort outside the city’s Medina or old town is a major consideration. Since my friends and I stayed several nights at the Palais Namaskar, a fantastic destination resort in the nearby Palmeraie region, I wanted a more traditional experience in Marrakech, preferably in the Medina, where mud brick ramparts enclose winding narrow streets packed with shops, food vendors, mosques, and homes.
My pick is La Villa des Orangers, which I wholeheartedly recommend. This Relais & Chateaux property strikes the perfect balance between traditional riad and full-service hotel (such as La Mamounia and Le Royal Mansoor), offering a decent-size swimming pool, onsite restaurant, gym, and hammam/spa. There are also several stunning libraries and sitting rooms with fireplaces. Read more
One of the coolest things about Marrakech is the juxtaposition between the chaotic and dusty, ancient streets of the Medina and the tranquil, sumptuous riads (traditional Moroccan homes turned hotels/guesthouses) that lie hidden within the Medina’s walls. And I’m not exaggerating when I say hidden. When we arrived in Marrakech we were instructed to go to the small parking lot at the Bab Doukkala Mosque so that someone from our riad could come meet us (with donkey and wagon in tow for our luggage) to lead us through the maze, impossible to navigate on your own if not first guided. We walked past food and crafts stalls, narrowly escaped death by moped more than once, and arrived at an intricately carved door – not so different from the dozen or so doors we passed on the way. Inside, we found a surprisingly chic, and quiet, sanctuary. The Riad Noir D’Ivoire, one of my favorite riads, is beautifully decorated, with two courtyards, a bar, cigar room and wine cellar, a slender pool backed by a wall with a 21-foot-high waterfall, hammam, and several nooks that extend off the courtyards for lounging, sipping wine, and planning out the day’s adventure. Read more
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