Wherever you go, know that the rates for Marrakesh accommodation are more expensive than anywhere else in Morocco.
Prices are continuing to rise, as the value of the dirham fluctuates against the Euro, the state levies additional taxes on guest houses. Even so, more travelers are coming back for their second, third and seventh helpings of Marrakshi hospitality.
The licensed Riads in this chapter have been selected not on looks alone, but for convenient locations, gracious staff and home-cooked Moroccan meals. Atlas Mountains recommends riads that promote environmentally sustainable practices, fair compensation, time off, cultural exchange and genuine Moroccan hospitality.
Hotel Essaouira: www.essaouirahotelmarrakech.com Elusive and quite the colorful character, this 30-room hotel hides out on a derb off Riad Zitoun el-Qedim, just five minutes from the Djemaael-Fna. This former family home was converted to a hotel back in the 1960s, and the original psychedelic poly chrome stucco hints at its wild past. Rooms have merrily mismatched decor and the odd sink but no private bathrooms – expect a wait for showers and toilets.
Hôtel Souria: How are you? Every thing’s good?’ Even if it’s been mere minutes since you last saw them, the women who run this place expertly never fail to ask. The sentiment is straightforward and so are the rooms – 10 no-frills rooms with shared bathrooms around a garden courtyard, with a patchwork-tiled terrace – but somehow it’s all so heartfelt. Be sure to book ahead.
Hôtel Central Palace: Sure it’s central, but palatial? Actually, yes. With 40 clean rooms on four floors arranged around a burbling courtyard fountain and a roof terrace lording it over the Djemaa el-Fna, this is the rare example of a stately budget hotel. In summer, book cooler 1st-floor rooms.
Hôtel Sherazade: www.hotelsherazade.com Conversation comes naturally in this laid-back riad run by a Moroccan-German family, with 22 rooms and a magnetic central yellow courtyard with a trickling fountain and floor pillows. Room rates vary according to air-con, decor and bathroom a couple have slinky tadelakt tubs. Between the rooftop backpacker-scene and the gruff muezzin next door, terrace rooms with shared bathrooms call for earplugs.
Hôtel de Foucauld: foucauld.morocco-ma.website One block from the Djemaa el-Fna, the Foucault offers spacious, frayed rooms with private bathrooms and a surprisingly good restaurant at the right price. It’s a good place to ask trekkers and bikers converging on the buffet breakfast (Dh25) for tips on exploring the High Atlas. Though it may seem counter intuitive, ask for rooms overlooking the street and Place Foucault, or you’ll wake up at 5am convinced you’re sharing your room with the Koutoubia’s muezzin.
Hotel Belleville: bellevillemarrakech.morocco-ma.website Tucked right behind the Djemaa el-Fna, but with nicer digs and more attentive service than you’d find at bigger budget hotels. What the nine rooms lack in size they make up for in personality: think bathrooms with zellij fixtures, curtained beds and high ceilings. Light sleeper alert: get the rooms away from the busy street, and bring earplugs.
Talaata wa Sitteen : www.tlaatawa-sitteen.com Effortlessly charming, with stools pulled up to pine-wood tea tables, canvas-covered chaise longues on the terrace, starkly chic rooms, and straw mats and sunhats strewn about casually. Not far from Ali ben Youssef Med-ersa, though a hike from the Djemaa – but chatty, tasty dinners here are a highlight, and the shared tadelakt bathrooms are spiffier than you’d find at any Djemaa budget hotel. Breakfast is included.
Le Gallia: www.ilove-marrakesh.com/hotelgallia Sprawl out in the air-conditioned/heated comfort of one of 17 rooms around two leafy courtyards, enjoy a leisurely breakfast you could eat off the sparkling art deco–tiled floors, and soak up the rays on the tiled terrace listening to caged songbirds below. Cheerfully run by the same French family since 1929, the Gallia is constantly packed with repeat visitors, so you’ll need to book at least a month ahead by fax.
Jnane Mogador: www.jnanemogador.com An authentic 19th-century riad with all the 21st-century guest-house fixings: prime location, in-house hammam, double-Decker roof terraces and owner Mohammed’s laid-back hospitality. A favorite with visiting diplomats and artists; book well ahead and enjoy fascinating conversation over breakfast (Dh40 extra, and worth it).
Hôtel Toulousain : www.hoteltoulousain.ma An easygoing budget hotel run by a kindly Moroccan-American family in the heart of Gueliz. The 31 room aren’t glamorous and 1st-floor rooms can get stuffy in summer, so guests hang out in the tranquil patios under the banana trees.Here you’re surrounded by boutiques and inexpensive, tasty restaurants, and next door to a literary cafe.
Hôtel du Pacha : www.hotelpacha.net Novels practically beg to be set in this period piece colonial hotel, with balconies and tall French windows to catch the breeze and neighborhood gossip. Rooms are high-ceilinged and old-fashioned; the stuccoed entry, Bogart-style bar and courtyard add noir-novel charm. Skip the Dh30 breakfast and head down the street to gorgeous patisseries.
Hôtel Oudaya : www.oudayahotel-spa.com What looks like a Soviet Kasbah on the outside opens into a grand courtyard draped with bougainvillea with a swimming pool and grassy knoll. All 77 rooms have hotel hammam- and pool-access plus marble bathrooms and geometric-pattern wood trim.
Caspien : www.lecaspien-hotel.com Central yet quiet location, sharp staff and not so big that you get lost in the shuffle of tour groups in this newish hotel. Pointed archways, zellij on floors, pierced-brass lamps and balconies add Marrakesh atmosphere. For maximum quiet, choose upper-floor rooms overlooking the pool.