Do you want to experience the real Morocco? Stay in a gorgeous traditional Riad in the heart of Marakkech, such as Riad Dar Aman.
Ever since I was a little girl, it was my dream to spend a night in a traditional riad in Morocco. Finally I can cross this from my bucket list.
For those who do not know, a riad is a traditional Moroccan house located in the old medina of town. These houses are built around a courtyard. The main purpose of this was privacy and protection against the weather.
Riad Dar Aman
This was also one of the first things that immediately struck me when entering Riad Dar Aman. Coming from the busy, overcrowded Jemaa el Fna and narrow streets in the vibrant medina, you immediately feel peace and quiet when arriving in the courtyard of Riad Dar Aman. You don’t hear medina salesmen shouting how good their products are or the sound of honking motorcycles, … You hear nothing, except the whistling of the birds that hide in the huge fruit trees in the courtyard. These trees bring a pleasant coolness and delicious smells into the whole riad.
The owners became fond of the exceptional architecture of the riad through visiting several in Marrakech. In 1998 they started an extraordinary adventure by falling in love with a riad in ruins but with an incredible soul and a perfect location. They decided to have it renovated by Quentin Wilbaux, an Belgian architect expert in the medina of Marrakech. They were among the first foreign owners of a riad in the medina of Marrakech. In 2000, Riad Dar Aman opened its door to the first guests.
Riad dar Aman has 3 rooms and 1 suite. The proportion of this riad is just perfect, not too small, not too large. It’s creates a peaceful atmosphere and is the ideal setting for escaping the busy medina.
The rooms are decorated in a traditional Moroccan style, but each has its own character. You see that a great deal of attention has been paid to furnishing the rooms. The owners certainly have an eye for detail. Moreover, they all give a warm, cozy and peaceful vibe. I felt at home right away. You see that all the rooms are well cared for. They are cleaned every day.
Two rooms are located on the ground floor coming out on the courtyard. On the first floor there is one more room and a suite. All the rooms have a private bathroom with shower, bathroom supplies and toilet.
We stayed in thet Afrika suite. It is perfect if you want a little extra luxury. The suite is quite spacious with a sleeping- and living room area and a bathroom with a gorgeous bathtub and a separate toilet. The suite even has a fireplace to enjoy romantic evenings. A great advantage is that you can turn the fireplace from the bathroom to the living room and reverse it. So you can enjoy the fireplace from both areas.
The manager Mohamed warmly welcomed us. He took his time to receive us with a delicious cup of Moroccan tea. Mohamed speaks fluent French and English. You can always ask his advice for activities in the medina and around Marrakech. He also likes to transmit his knowledge on the history of the riads and is a good guide for architectural visits of the medina.
He introduced us to the family Rkia who has worked for over 18 years in Riad Dar Aman. You immediately see that they take care for this riad with heart and soul. This familial atmosphere makes you immediately feel welcome and at ease.
As I was telling you before Riad Dar Aman is the perfect place to escape the busy medina. You can relax with a cup of fresh homemade tea on the courtyard terrace near the fountain in the shade of the fruit trees, or in one of the traditional decorated outdoor lounges on the ground- or first floor.
In the daytime I especially liked spending my time in the lounge area on the first floor, because there I had an incredible view over the juicy oranges and bananas in the trees.
In the evening I preferred relaxing in the lounge downstairs because the entire courtyard was always so beautifully lit with traditional Moroccan lamps and candles.
There is also a very cozy indoor salon for when the weather is colder.
And when it is really hot you can sunbath on the rooftop sun deck. I enjoyed watching the sunset there with the best olives I have ever tasted!
Family Rkia serves breakfast every morning in the dining room on the ground floor. They cook exquisite traditional Moroccan dishes especially those little pancakes and pastries are delicious.
In the evening you can also enjoy their cooking skills by reservation. We ate the specialty ‘tajine kefta’. It was so good!
There is wifi available throughout the whole riad.
Riad Dar Aman is located in a little, quiet street in the heart of Marrakech. It is a perfect base to discover the traditional and authentic old medina by foot. Riad Dar Aman is within 2 minutes walking distance of Jemaa el Fna and the souks where you can find a lot of markets, shops, restaurants and bars.
It is also close to the main attractions such as Ali ben Youssef Medersa, Le jardin Secret, Bahia Palace, Saadian Tombs,…
More information about the hotel and reservations you can find right here.
Where to eat in Marrakech
In the old medina you can find a lot of cozy places to eat traditional and not expensive. Many restaurants often offer the same Moroccan dishes in different variations such as tajine.
We were especially fan of the rooftop terraces. One of our favourites is Café des épices from the same owners as Nomad and Le Jardin. Also the rooftop terrace of La porte du monde and Kasbah café Marrakech were great places to dine. The only disadvantage of dining in the old medina is not being able to enjoy a good glass of wine. But we survived without 😉
What to do in Marrakech
Take a day or even a few days to discover the old medina of Marrakech. Start on Jemaa al fna the main square, where you can get the tastiest smoothies in the morning. Enter the souk and wander around in cozy streets. The souk is divided according to crafts so you will find a market where the grocers have their stalls, but also alleys where you see metalworkers and weavers manufacture their products. The souk is the perfect place to buy local products or original souvenirs. Get your best negotiation skills ready because these are a must to make a good bargain.
In the evening Jemaa el Fna is the place to be. This square is filled with food stalls where you can taste delicious Moroccan street food and enjoy street animation such as snake charmers, fire breathers and henna tattoo artists. Be careful nothing is for free. If someone wants to try henna on your hand, you have to pay for it!
One tip: if you want to visit the main tourist attractions in Marrakech, go as early as possible.
Ali ben Youssef Medersa
I really wanted to visit Ali ben Youssef Medersa known for its beautiful architecture and decor, but unfortunately this old learning centre was under contruction. So we couldn’t visit it.
We visited the enchanting Bahia palace when it just opened and it was so relaxing to wander around without hordes of tourists around. The Bahia palace is stunning. Whenever you leave an area to discover another you get surprised all over again by beautiful traditional architecture and design.
Around noon we visited the Saadian Tombs. The domain is not very large. You can walk around and admire the beautiful Moroccan tiles. You can also watch a tile worker at work. To behold the tombs yourself you have to wait in line. After an hour in the queue, we finally arrived at the tombs. We couldn’t enter the tombs ourself, but could just catch a glimpse inside and take a picture. What a disappointment!
In the afternoon we decided to go to the new part of Marrakech and visit the Jardin Majorelle. This garden is next to the YSL museum. Be sure to queue at the correct entrance. At the YSL museum you can only buy combi tickets (YSL museum + Jardin Majorelle) and no ticket for just the garden!
Since the weather was great we chose to visit only Jardin Marjorelle. We had to queue for 2 hours and the entrance price 70 MAD per person was significantly higher than the attractions in the old medina. When we entered, we felt like we were still queuing. Tourists overwhelmed the place. The garden is mesmerising, but we could hardly enjoy it. It was difficult to move freely and we had to wait turns to take a picture. What a pity. If you really want to visit this garden, I advise you to come as early as possible!
In the new part of Marrakech you especially will find luxurious resorts, popular shops, trendy bars, restaurants and clubs. If you want to escape from the medina and shop without being disturbed, this is the place to be. Here you can also enjoy a glass of alcohol.