These are larger hotels with lots of facilities on tap. We do not work with many conventional hotels, as our clients tend to prefer smaller more authentic types of accommodation.
“Boutique” hotels are built with a high regard to traditional Moroccan architecture and materials (Tadelakt, mosaic, fountains), and are often conversions of old houses. They cannot be classified as riads – they are usually located out of the city and have a less formal layout. Equally they are still smaller and more personable than the large hotels, perhaps without such a wide range of facilities.
A true Riad (ryad/riyad) is an urban house, always situated within the walls of the medina (old city).
Moroccan architecture is more inward looking and given to isolation and intimacy rather than showing off. It is, above all, an enclosure, a place of contemplation and escape for its cloistered inhabitants, an engaging interior away from the outside world.
A mysterious enchantment awaits the guest who is invited to cross the threshold. The typical home is organised around a central square courtyard, often decorated with zelige (mosaic tiles), painted wood (Zouak), sculptured plaster or marble and generally with a fountain and orange or lemon trees giving a profusion of scents and the rippling of running water.
The central courtyard is usually surrounded by an arched colonnade giving access to the living rooms and kitchen. The sleeping areas are generally constructed on the upper floors, thus creating a covered arcade around the patio with balustrades running around each storey. The roof top terrace may have an awning or pergola to protect against the sun where guests will have breakfast or dinner.
Riads have thick walls thus protecting the inhabitants from the sun or the cold and most of the outside noise. Being urban dwellings, they are often situated along a narrow alleyway (derb) with no access by car. For those seeking an authentic Moroccan style of accommodation, the riad offers its guests a haven of tranquillity, an architectural treasure, an insight into tradition, culture and craftsmanship and an opportunity to melt into an anonymous location.
A Kasbah is a fortress or medina that was used as a secure location to withdraw to when the main town was under siege. They would often be located on high ground for better defence and view – this of course makes them spectacular locations for hotels.
Quite simply, this means a guest house. Usually these are private houses that have been converted into small and very charming hotels. As you will see, they vary from riad-style to converted villas, and most recently Tigmi, which is made up from renovated, adjoining traditional rural village homes made of reinforced mud. The majority of Maison d’hôtes rent individual rooms but for larger parties or families who may perhaps like to celebrate a special occasion, you can take over an entire property for your Marrakech holiday.
Luxurious detached country houses complete with large gardens and a good-sized pool.
Auberge meaning Inn or lodge, these are small rural, simple hotels sometimes referred to as a Gite.
Built using sustainable materials as much as possible, minimising its effect on the environment and working with the local population.
Simple village dwellings inhabited by Berber families, mainly in the Atlas Mountains. They are often used for overnight stays during a walking, mule or horse trek. The resident Berber families will be your hosts, supplying your shelter and the evening meal.
Used as overnight accommodation during a walking or mule trek in the colder months. Some are very small and simple; others are larger with dormitory style accommodation (such as the Neltner hut at Mount Toubkal base camp).
Mainly in the desert, these camps usually have traditional Berber or Nomadic Bedouin tents or ‘bivouacs‘, made from hand woven wool.
Some have fixed walls with tented ceilings. All have at least shared toilet facilities, but many are en-suite. They are usually used for an overnight stay after a camel trek, but some can be reached by 4×4 vehicle for those not wanting to ride a camel first.
Used for walking treks during the summer months.
A large traditional tent which is carpeted and draped inside with colourful silk panels, used for the more luxurious Land cruiser safaris.