A riad is a traditional Moroccan house with a courtyard at the centre of which there will usually be a fountain. Riads were homes of the wealthy who wanted to keep their wealth out of sight. Many of these homes have been bought over by foreigners, mostly French, who have renovated them and turned them into beautiful hotels. There are no windows to look in from the outside. All you will see is a wall with a nondescript entrance. But once you enter, you are transported into an enchanting courtyard of chirping birds, the sound of flowing water and lush greenery.
Riads usually have only 6 or 7 rooms spread out on 2 levels. Some of them might even have 4 levels including the roof. Something to take note of is that none of them have lifts. Many of them are also located within the kasbah which is an ancient walled city. Cars are not allowed into the kasbah as they weren’t made for modern transport. They relied on donkeys back then, and still do. Your driver would have to drop you off at the kasbah entrance and if the hotel doesn’t send a porter, you will have to carry your own luggage through the labarynth of cobblestone streets to get there. So it’s not ideal for someone with bad knees or a serious heart condition. Do some research to find out the location within the kasbah, i.e. how far would you have to walk to get there, and ask for a lower floor if you think it’s going to be a problem.
I stayed in 4 different riads during my trip to Morocco and they were all amazing. In 2 of the RIads, we were served French-Moroccan breakfasts; croissants, pain au chocolate, Moroccan bread, yogurt and fruit, home made jams, olives and Moroccan tea. At the other riads, we had mainly Moroccan breads and olives. All of them had very nice rooms, some with balconies overlooking the courtyard.
If you’re visiting Morocco, staying in a riad is part of the experience and I highly recommend it, even if you only stay in 1 riad, but pick a nice one.