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What is a riad?

A riad is a traditional residence of Morocco characterized by a strong artistic tradition that includes carved arabesque archways, tiled walls, and breezy courtyards with babbling water fountains that act like a natural cooler in strong desert heat. The distinctive style of the building has made riad hotel stays a popular choice for visitors to North Africa and southern Spain especially.

Why should I stay at a riad?

The best riads will make you feel like a sultan of old. Plumed in sumptuous silks and scented with spices from bubbling tagines, they offer cultural immersion for the senses in the heady world of North Africa. Riads can also give you luxury, with 5-star and 4-star options hailing as a real honeymooner's delight thanks to their courtyard pools and incense-smoking hammam spas. A riad is the best way to experience Morocco.


Where do you find riads?

Morocco is the spiritual home of the riad, meaning there's an abundance of them between the dusty streets of ancient medina towns like Marrakesh and Fez, along with countless others dotting sun-splashed Essaouira, Rabat, and the oases villages of the Atlas Mountains. Meanwhile, more Moroccan bed and breakfast stays like this can be found in southern Spain and across North Africa.


How much does it cost to stay in a riad?

The price to stay in a riad will depend entirely on what sort of riad you're after. The top riads in places like Marrakesh and Fez can set you back a princely sum a night – but they do come with 5-star ratings, shimmering pools, and sweeping rooftops overlooking the bazaars. It's also possible to find cheap riads for rent, especially if you're looking for somewhere more off-the-beaten-track and traditional.

Riads are both the most expensive and the cheapest options in Moroccan towns and villages, so definitely do your due diligence to research Expedia reviews, and find the best riad to stay.

What do riads offer?

What is a riad famous for? The stunning architecture is surely first on the list. Laden with geometric designs and painted tiles, along with Arabic doorways and leafy courtyards, there's really nothing else like them. Then comes the pampering. Riads were once the home of Berber nobles and Moroccan princes, so it's hardly a surprise that many riads beckon with soothing spas and sumptuous suites. Riads occupy whole buildings, and are often topped with rooftop terraces.


Riads vs hotels

It's certainly possible to opt for a normal hotel for that vacation to sun-scorched Morocco and its spice-scented bazaar towns.

But what's the difference between riads and hotels? Well, avoiding the former means missing out on an immersive and enthralling journey into the history and heritage of North Africa. Unlike modern-built resorts, these are often centuries old, and still have original architectural features that are bound to enchant.


How to book a riad

Although they are opulent and ancient, it's now possible to book a riad in the same way as a normal hotel. You just need to enter your destination and dates of travel into the Expedia wizard above, and click search, which filters your results to show only this type of accommodation. Those on a budget can even save some money by bunding flights and car rentals in one package, no matter if you're after a traditional Arab mansion or an opulent palace fit for a sultan.