Marrakech is a chaotic den of dirt and dust, intoxicatingly loud at all times and overwhelming with its never-ending sensory overload, but it’s also deeply charming and authentic. There seems to be something so fantastic and riveting in all the chaos. Still, after a day of exploring everything the ancient city and its lively souks has to offer, you’ll surely be dreaming of a little bit of calm and quiet.
Staying at a traditional Moroccan riad can be a magical experience, taking you back decades or even centuries – to a different world in a different time. Meticulously restored old riads have become increasingly popular among visitors, because they offer a unique atmosphere of historic authenticity and royal luxury that the modern world rarely has.
One of my absolute favorites is Riad al Moussika, an unhurried oasis at the heart of the city. This lovingly restored former palace only has five guest rooms, each filled with intricate details and an authentic Moroccan atmosphere. The incredibly opulent Al Azrak Suite is a thrilling experience – the huge suite, decorated in shades of muted blue, has a bathroom decked in ornate Moroccan tiles and a bathtub almost big enough to be called a swimming pool. A true luxury, and a necessary one in this hectic city.
The riad also has a wonderful restaurant, Pepe Nero, functioning in the delightful inner courtyard, reminiscent of royal palaces in old Indiana Jones films. Birds ruffle calmly in citrus trees and fountains filled with rose petals ripple quietly. Try the pastilla au pigeon, a savory pigeon pie covered with powdered sugar and cinnamon, one of Morocco’s most unique and tasty dishes.
The sights and sounds of the legendary Djemaa El-Fna square are only steps away from Riad al Moussika