What We Love
- Free daily breakfast and butler service are included in the Jetsetter rate
- Central location close to the buzzing souks in the medina
- Individually designed rooms give a nod to Marrakech’s different influences: Arabic, Berber and Roman
What To Know
- A city tax of approximately $3 per person, per night will be collected by the hotel at check out
- Best for romance-seeking couples; there are no kid-friendly facilities
- Cars aren’t allowed in the medina, but the entrance is a five-minute walk from the hotel, and porters will carry luggage
- Suites are very similar in size, though layouts do differ
Marrakech has more iterations of the riad hotel than Madonna has had reinventions, yet Riad Joya, which opened in 2010, is undoubtedly one of the city’s most enchanting. Centrally located in the medina, at the edge of the souks, the seven-suite hotel has a sleek take on Moroccan style without overdoing the whole kasbah-chic look. Instantly soothing is the inner courtyard’s sedate design in creams, beiges and sand tones. The whole place is dressed in a grown-up palette of cream-on-beige-on-taupe-on-sand, but it’s far from bland thanks to bold design motifs, a romantic roof terrace and exceptional service by a team of butlers.
Bed and Bath
The seven suites — all spacious, with sitting areas, large dressing rooms and cavernous bathrooms — take their design cues from the civilizations that have passed through Morocco over the centuries. The Dar Arabe suite reflects Morocco’s Arabic heritage, with tadelakt walls and a large mashrabiya (a bay window enclosed by wooden latticework). Gilded lamps and gold accents recall the Turkish empire in the Ottoman Suite, and the Naos Suite looks to ancient Greece, with flowing white curtains and a romantic canopy bed. For a dose of pampering, the Africa-inspired Zanzibar Suite has a truly enormous shower that’s virtually a room unto itself.
Outside your suite, there are plenty of places to relax, from the lovely inner courtyard with its fountain and olive trees, to the ground-floor salon, complete with a fireplace. The expansive rooftop terrace has killer views over the medina, the Koutoubia Mosque and the High Atlas Mountains — best enjoyed over an alfresco breakfast or at sunset with a glass of Moroccan wine in hand. The Riad Joya is a small hotel, but it doesn’t skimp on service. All rooms come with butlers, there are guides available for souk shopping trips (and excursions to more far-flung destinations), an excellent chef whips up down-home Moroccan food (delicious salads, pastilla and tagines) and Italian cuisine, and there is a tiny hammam offering spa treatments. Our favorite? The scrub down ceremony paired with a traditional Maghreb-style massage.
How to Get There
Having never stayed in a riad before, we were not sure what to expect. Travelling with an electric wheelchair and a lot of luggage, we were worried about whether it would be suitable for us. We needn't have worried, our experience was excellent!
Nordin (the manager) met us at our vehicle outside the Medina and guided us to the Riad. He had organised some porters and carts to carry all of our luggage for us. We were welcomed with traditional Moroccan tea and pastries on check-in before being shown to our beautiful, luxurious rooms.
The rooms were beautifully decorated with a massive fourposter bed and seating area. For the wheelchair, a rollaway bed was added for us. The shower was huge, although the doorway and was a little bit tight with the wheelchair. At the entry to the riad there is a small step that we used our own portable ramp to get up to enter. Once inside, there is a larger step, but they have a large ramp to get up that easily. I wouldn't say it is 100% wheelchair accessible, but if you are flexible, they make it work for you.
Dinner and breakfast at the riad was outstanding! The first night the chef surprised us with a meal of his choice (assorted vegetables, chicken tagine, and honey/saffron poached pears), the next night the chef worked with us on a menu and served up a beautiful lamb dish and salads. Breakfast each morning included a huge spread of pastries, crêpes, fruit, yoghurt, cheese, juices. Our only complaint was that there was so much food that we couldn't eat it all! The chef was extremely friendly and kind, and was more than willing to cook something different for our vegetarian family member.
The staff were always very helpful whether it was asking for directions, getting recommendations for restaurants, or anything else we needed. Our rooms were always clean, and restocked with freshwater, towels, and fruit. We hardly ever saw the maid, but she somehow managed to make sure our rooms were perfect for us at all times.
It was lovely to sit in the central courtyard enjoying the peaceful sounds of the fountain and birds. We met some lovely couples also staying at the same time.
The location was great. The Riad surprisingly easy to navigate to and from using the landmarks pointed out by Nordin. We felt very safe walking around the area (day and night).
Thank you for this lovely stay.
We spent 15 days on a tour of Morocco and had our last night in Riad Joya. It is a beautfiul Riad, they are all so different and unique, but Riad Joya was on the top of the list of places we stayed. Rooms are very large, modern, beautifully decorated. Just a beautiful oasis in the medina. Staff were wonderful, kind and helpful, they even do a turn down service. We would stay here in a heartbeat again.
We were not sure what to expect here. The place is well located for shopping in the area; however it is impossible to find if you are not met by the hotel. Granted they did arrange to meet us and were very helpful with this.
I have to admit that our experience may have been an exception, but the room that we stayed in had a major design flaw that resulted in quite a severe and bloody injury that nearly required stitches; this soured the whole experience for us. The hotel did provide some minimal first aid.
Riad Joya is essentially a 3 star bed and breakfast. The service we received was very good; however, for what you pay it is vastly overpriced, even if you compare it to hotels in London.