There are some amazing luxury riads for sale in Marrakech. Some of them are ready to live in straight away and some need a good renovation – whatever you’re looking for you will be sure to find it. I’ve visited hundreds of riads in this beautiful city and I’m in love with Moroccan architecture, and with the riad in particular. They were originally based on Roman villas and find their roots in the Roman occupation of the Maghreb nearly two thousand years ago, as well as the Berber approach to building. Based around a central courtyard open to the sky they invite the cooling summer breeze whilst keeping the worst of the winter cold outside. Family life is centered on the patio, full of light and open to view.
Typically, a Marrakech riad will have a spacious open courtyard at it’s heart. There will often be a central fountain and four small gardens each with a citrus tree – lemons, oranges, mandarines … I’ve even seen grapefruit trees. Less typically, yet just as pleasing, you can come across olive trees. Surrounding the courtyard, a luxury riad will often boast classical colonnades supporting cedar wood ceilings around the wide coursives. The rooms on the ground floor are generally reception areas – a summer room and a winter room with a fireplace, as well as a kitchen, loos, staff quarters and utility space. On the first floor will be big bedrooms.
Room size is what qualifies a riad – many riads are constricted by space. Some of the luxury riads in Marrakech that I have visited have vast, wide rooms on the first floor. The best are over 50m2. When you add on a dressing room and a big bathroom you are looking at serious space for a couple to enjoy.
Properly restored riads often maintain their original features, including plaster-work and woodwork. One restoration I managed saw the rebirth of exquisite late 18th century plaster-work previously hidden by nasty paint and gunge. Here it is after restoration …
Luxury riads in Marrakech come in all shapes and sizes. Some are funky places that you can get lost wandering around and others are harmonic, formal structures with astonishing symmetry. All offer you the space and the quiet you need in the hubbub of Marrakech Medina.
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