What is a Riad and Why Should I Stay in One?
You may have heard people talking about riads in relation to their holidays to Morocco. With Morocco becoming an increasingly popular destination for tourists, the riad is becoming more and more commonplace in holiday conversations. With package deals enabling us to swipe cut price getaways and low cost flight providers slashing the price of jaunts to the northern African country, you could find yourself jetting off to Morocco in no time. So, what is a riad?
Riads can be found in the old parts of Moroccan cities, such as Marrakech’s old town, known as the Medina. Riads are the traditional homes of old, wealthy Moroccan families, many of which have now been turned into elegant accommodation or museum spaces. Some riads are now used as restaurants, but the main draw for most people is actually staying in a riad on holiday.
The riad building looks relatively plain from the outside, but as we know, looks can be deceiving. Behind the whitewashed exterior is the astonishingly ornate, intricate decoration and ornamentation. The floors are decorated in a tiling style unique to Morocco, and there are stunning Moroccan artworks everywhere. The main focus of a riad is a luxurious, opulent atmosphere, and the vast majority of riads certainly still offer this.
A couple of centuries ago, the riads were abandoned by the wealthy families who lived in them when they moved to other prosperous cities, leaving the riads empty and neglected. It is only in the past 50 years or so that they have been given a new lease of life. Families have once again moved into the riads and have decided to capitalise on the fact that people want more than a tired old hotel on their holidays by reopening the riads as guest accommodation.
One of the most unique aspects of a riad is the beautifully designed inner courtyard. Many of these have retained their original features, such as fountains and citrus trees, with others opting to install plunge pools where guests can cool down. These courtyards stay cool even in the heat of the day as the walls of the riad keep the space in the shade throughout the day, making it a pleasant place to sit and eat lunch when the relentless desert sun becomes unbearable.
If it’s a little touch of luxury you want, a riad is the perfect place to spend your trip in Morocco. You won’t want to leave the beautiful indulgence of your surroundings, and it’ll leave you desperate to return.