In February and March of 2023 I spent 15 days sleeping my way through a wide range of Morocco riads, hotels, kasbahs, and even desert camps. I stayed in some of (what must be) Morocco’s best riads and hotels, and a handful of others that still need some work.
Regardless, with the vast number and range of Morocco riads and hotels out there, I thought I’d show you the ones I stayed in on my recent trip so you can get a good idea of what’s out there. Here are the 10 Morocco riads, hotels, kasbahs, and camps I stayed at during my 2-week Morocco itinerary in 2023.
I stayed in these Morocco riads, hotels, kasbahs, and desert camps as part of my Intrepid tour: Premium Morocco in Depth. If you’re also considering an Intrepid tour of Morocco, this post will help give you an idea of the kind of accommodation you can stay in. Keep in mind that all of Intrepid’s tours are different, and even if you book the same exact tour you may stay in different places due to availability and other reasons. But, these are good generalizations.
1. Marrakech – Bab Hotel
I stayed at the Bab Hotel in Marrakech for two nights and it was… perfectly fine. Would I stay there again? Well, I wouldn’t rule it out, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.
What I liked about Bab Hotel Marrakech
The rooms – The rooms here at Bab Hotel Marrakech are big, clean, and modern. The bathrooms are equally as large and modern. There is a mini-fridge (that works!), lots of closet space, and the shower didn’t flood (too much). There was also a nice balcony for some private outdoor space.
Breakfast – Being a little more of a “tourist” hotel, there were more options for breakfast than we had for the previous 2 weeks. (Cocoa Pebbles FTW!)
What I didn’t like about Bab Hotel Marrakech
That time I almost died in the elevator – On our last night, Amanda and I were taking the elevator from the 4th floor down to the lobby when the elevator straight up “Tower of Terror”-ed us. (I mean, that’s your worst nightmare, right?) They had been working on the elevator during our stay and, I guessed, marked it as being OK.
We got stuck between floors and neither the elevator nor any of the alarms would work. As I banged on the door and screamed for help, Amanda was able to reach our guide to beg for help. At some point, the elevator went back up to the 5th floor and opened long enough for us to jump out. Obviously, we were fine but incredibly shaken up. Read the whole crazy experience here!
Weird things about the room – Like how the toilet was clear on the other side of the room from the bathroom. And the shower was covered in huge mirrors on all sides which made showering an eye-opening adventure.
Half-assed tea and cookies – Yes, I am a full-on tea and cookies snob now after spending so much time in Morocco. By the time we got to the Bab Hotel in Marrakech, not impressed. I mean, there were tea and cookies, but this was just sad.
Things about Bab Hotel Marrakech that were perfectly fine
The location – Bab Hotel’s location itself is not bad at all, but it’s just a little farther from the medina than I would have liked. On the first night, we took a cab to Jemaa El-Fna Square, and on the second day we actually walked back. It’s not the worst walk in the world, but it is a good 45 minutes.
The hammam – In order to fit a hammam into my busy schedule, I opted for the hammam at the hotel. The experience was interesting as always, and I even got upgraded for free with a couple of extra massage treatments. It wasn’t my first hammam choice, but it was pleasant enough. (Read about my hammam experience in Istanbul to see why I’m so spoiled now.)
Read more reviews and book your room at Bab Hotel Marrakech here.
2. Casablanca – Gray Boutique Hotel
I only stayed at Gray Boutique Hotel Casablanca for one night, but I would have liked to stay there more! I would definitely stay here again.
What I liked about Gray Boutique Hotel Casablanca
The rooms – Amanda and I were assigned a very large, multi-room suite. We had a large, comfortable bedroom, a huge living room and kitchen, a large bathroom, and even a big sitting/makeup/hair area in the hallway.
Our room also had a super huge wrap-around balcony outside. And I don’t think our shower flooded here!
Breakfast – This was maybe the best breakfast spread we had during our entire trip. Big breakfast buffet with lots of Moroccan and “western” goodies too. This was a huge spoil on our first morning in Morocco.
They had a cat – That’s all. There was a cat who hung out in the lobby. Sometimes that’s all it takes to satisfy me.
What to pick the perfect hotel everywhere you travel? Check out my post on the 16 factors you need to consider to choose the perfect hotel every time!
What I didn’t like about Gray Boutique Hotel Casablanca
The confusion at check-in – I just wanted to take my carry-on up to my room with me so I could freshen up after flying all night. But the staff also really wanted to take my carry-on up to my room for me.
A scene unraveled as we fought back and forth about who would take the suitcase up. I eventually won, but I soon learned that the service culture in Morocco is no joke and he was literally just trying to help me as he’d been trained to do. I felt horrible about this for the rest of the trip.
Things about Gray Boutique Hotel Casablanca that were perfectly fine
The location – There was enough around that you wouldn’t have to go far for what you needed. We took a car where we needed to go the few times we left the hotel, so walking distances were irrelevant. It seems like a great location.
Read more reviews and book your room at Gray Boutique Hotel Casablanca here (And for crying out loud let them take your bag for you.)
3. Chefchaouen – Riad Hicham
Our two-night stay at Riad Hicham in Chefchaouen was probably my favorite of all the Morocco riads and hotels we stayed at during the whole trip. This place was just so fun and interesting and delicious!
What I liked about Riad Hicham
The layout – This place was such a fun place to stay, albeit, it’s a total labyrinth. (Watch my Reel here to see what it was like every day walking from the street to my room!) There were so many interesting alcoves and gardens and patios – I was lost for most of my time in Chefchaouen.
The room – I can’t speak for everyone else, but our room was the best. They put us in the penthouse panoramic suite and it was amazing. We had a corner suite at the top where we could see all of Chefchaouen and beyond from above.
Beyond that, the rooms were comfortable, warm, with great Wi-Fi, and everything we needed.
The location – Riad Hicham is right in the center of Chefchaouen’s main square. And while this isn’t the quietest part of town to stay in, it’s definitely the most exciting and most convenient.
The in-house restaurant – Our guide Mohamed told us that when he stays at other Morocco riads or hotels in Chefchaouen, he tells everyone to go here for dinner. We took his recommendation and, wow, he was not kidding.
The food here is amazing – definitely top quality stuff. We even ate here again on the second night because we knew we’d love it. (And we did, again!) It’s such a fun (and funny) place to enjoy dinner. Plus, the staff is fantastic.
Also read: The 14 things you need to know about drinking alcohol in Morocco before you go!
What I didn’t like about Riad Hicham
The toilets – The toilet in our room… was weird. I’ll just leave it at that. And that’s the only negative thing I have to say about this place.
Things about Riad Hicham that are perfectly fine
The breakfast – ‘Twas your typical Moroccan breakfast. Which is to say, still enormous and abundant, but just all sugary pastries which is not my jam (pun intended). However, this was the first place we got to have amlou which I have since become addicted to. (Almonds, argan oil, & honey)
Read more reviews and book your room at Riad Hicham here
4. Fes – Riad Palais Houyam
Fes was one of my favorite cities in Morocco, and our Fes riad was one of my favorite Morocco riads as well. I would definitely recommend the Riad Palais Houyam in Fes.
What I liked about Riad Palais Houyam
The property and rooms – First of all, our room was huge. We had another upper-level room that was incredibly large and beautifully decorated. There was a lot of space to spread out (our luggage) and the bathroom was equally big.
The property itself is gorgeous even as Morocco riads are concerned, with lots of wood carvings, intricate lanterns, and mosaic tile designs all over. There’s a huge rooftop terrace for amazing views over the city, especially at sunset. They also have a great rooftop restaurant too!
Had the weather been warmer, the pool space would have been an awesome place to hang out. (Next time!)
Also read: What to Pack for Morocco: What to Wear in Morocco as a Woman + Complete Morocco Packing List.
The staff – The staff at Palais Houyam was so friendly and helpful. They helped us get our laundry done and assisted me in communicating when my custom leather jacket was delivered. They put together a great breakfast too.
What I didn’t like about Palais Houyam
Our bathroom – Though our bathroom was a good size, there was a leak in the shower. So, when you showered, it pretty much flooded the bathroom. Since that couldn’t be taken care of while we were there, we just kept asking for more towels to soak it up.
For what it’s worth, they did immediately offer to move us to another room. But, we liked our room so much we told them not to worry about it, just to give us some extra towels.
The (lack of) light – Our room was beautiful and filled with gorgeous Moroccan lamps, but it was dark AF in our room. Even during the light of day, we could hardly see anything in our room. This was super annoying. I’m not here for romance; I’m here to frantically gather my things together at the last minute and I need light to do that.
Also check out: The Best Morocco Itinerary to See and Do Every Awesome Thing
Things about Palais Houyam that were just fine
The location – This riad is in a great location just on the edge of the Fes medina. Had it been anywhere else, there’s no way we could have found it anyway.
Whenever we left, we took a car, so walking distances weren’t an issue. But again, had it been within walking distance of things, you’d never find your way back anyway. Regardless, even though we drove, it felt like it was very close to everywhere we went.
Read reviews and book your room at Palais Houyam here.
5. Erfoud – L’Hotel by Chateau de Sable
L’Hotel by Chateau de Sable (the Sand Castle) was the one 5-star property we stayed at and WOW. This place is incredible from top to bottom – because of course it is; it’s a 5-star property.
What I liked about L’Hotel by Chateau de Sable
The location – The location is, essentially, irrelevant because it’s in the middle of nowhere. It’s where we stopped for the night on our way to the Sahara, as it’s right on the edge. But that’s what I loved about it… there is nothing else around here!
It was such a cool feeling to feel like you were literally staying at a sandcastle in the middle of the desert. And it was a 5-star property so you really did feel like royalty out here. We got to enjoy an amazing desert sunset and I just loved the emptiness of it all.
The entire property – I mean, it’s a gorgeous property. I counted four pools, and some of them go right up to your room. So you can literally walk out your patio door and jump in the pool. In the desert. They have fitness rooms (that no one is ever going to use), a really nice bar/lounge area, and a stunning restaurant.
I also really loved that they had a number of rooftop terraces for amazing views, and even a “star deck” where I assume people go to watch the stars. (We had an almost full moon when we stayed so we missed out here.)
The food – This was the first time on our trip we got to enjoy something other than tajines and couscous, which was nice. The food choices were unique, as in, that’s not what I expected to eat in the desert, but the food itself was fantastic! (Oddly enough, I had the best salami of my life here, lol.)
What I didn’t like about L’Hotel Chateau de Sable
The ambience – Yes, it’s a nice place, but the whole 5-star property thing is not really my vibe. The rooms and décor felt very clinical – just very plain and sanitized. The only piece of art in our room was a framed picture of New York City that said, “Brooklyn” on it. Weird.
I really love the Moroccan-ness of the traditional riads in the other parts of the country, so this was a bit disappointing as far as aesthetics is concerned.
Ants in the room – OK, I’ll admit I only had to get rid of three ants in our room. But, I had, not one, but two traumatic hotel ant experiences in Chamonix, France last year so this left me a little stressed out before going to bed. In the end, there was no issue beyond that, just… trauma.
You might like: 10 Things I Learned in Morocco I Hope to Never Forget
Things about L’Hotel Chateau de Sable that were just fine
The staff – I hardly had any interaction with the staff here at all, and when I did it was just fine. Nothing extraordinary, but nothing upsetting either. Just, fine.
The room – It wasn’t super comfortable, but it wasn’t uncomfortable either. It was just… a room. Everyone has different definitions of “5-star hotel” so just keep that in mind. The shower didn’t flood though! It was a nice shower actually.
Read more reviews of L’Hotel Chateau de Sable here on Tripadvisor.
6. Sahara – Golden Camp Merzouga
Staying at Golden Camp Merzouga was an undisputed highlight of our entire trip. I mean, it’s a luxury camp in the Sahara desert – how could you not love it? Regardless, this place totally surprised me!
What I liked about Golden Camp Merzouga
Our tent – Golden Camp Merzouga has private, permanent tents that were nothing like I thought they were going to be. They had real beds with lots of plush bedding, plush rugs, heating and air conditioning, flushing toilets, hot water, Wi-Fi, and even a fancy lantern hanging in the shower. In other words, the exact opposite of “roughing it.”
The location – Deep inside the famous Erg Chebbi dunes – this place is a dream! The Sahara Desert is literally your backyard. After arriving and getting settled, we went back up the dunes to watch the sunset. Then in the morning we took our camels up the dunes again to watch the sunrise.
The whole camp – Besides our tents, the whole property is cool. There’s a nice firepit space where you can listen to (and play) music at night, a big dining tent, and the whole place is beautifully lit and decorated. Plus, excellent Wi-Fi believe it or not. Actually, I was even getting texts when I was way up on the dunes. The Wi-Fi in my house isn’t even that strong.
The food – We had an excellent dinner here!
What I didn’t like about Golden Camp Merzouga
I can’t think of anything to put here. It was all such a delightful experience. It was chilly the night we stayed but we stayed snug in our tent without even needing to turn the heat on.
Although, there was a time in the morning when the water and power completely shut off. We were heading out the door anyway so it didn’t really affect us, but I’m not sure if it was an accidental power outage or if they just shut the power off during the day. (If that’s the case though, it was still only around 8:30am, so still too early to be doing that.) Either way, not a deal breaker – would totally stay here again.
Things about Golden Camp Merzouga I should mention
The rides to get there and get out – Golden Camp Merzouga picked us up in Erfoud to take us to our camels. Then the next day they drove us back out through the desert. And dude. Those rides are NO JOKE.
There are two ways to look at this. They are either (a) hella fun, or (b) the scariest moment of your life. In short, the drivers will literally fly over the dunes at full speed. Your ass will leave your seat. Your soul will leave your body.
As long as you know this ahead of time you can prepare. Whether that means stocking up on motion sickness meds (see how I cured myself of motion sickness here), wearing a helmet (I am not kidding), or making sure not to sit in the very back of the vehicle.
Personally, I found the rides to be super fun… but at the same time I was like, “So, this is how I die.” Just be prepared.
Read more reviews and book your tent at Golden Camp Merzouga here.
7. Meknes – Riad Ritaj
The second of all the Morocco riads we stayed in was in Meknes – Riad Ritaj. This was my first real Moroccan riad experience and it was exactly what I had imagined.
What I liked about Riad Ritaj
The property and rooms – This whole place is really beautiful with every bit the “Moroccan” vibe you’re looking for. The rooms are large and have everything you need—heating and air, nice bathrooms, proper lighting!
The location – I didn’t do a whole lot from here, but I loved that this riad (like most Morocco riads) was truly tucked away in the maze of tiny streets. Without a guide, I never would have found this place, but I loved that.
What I didn’t like about Riad Ritaj
The beds – I personally don’t mind a harder bed, but the beds at Riad Ritaj were the hardest we slept on in all of Morocco. It wasn’t such a big deal since they provided huge plush blankets. I slept on top of and under that which softened the bed and I slept like a baby anyway.
Things about Riad Ritaj that were just fine
Breakfast – The staff was really accommodating and the breakfast was perfectly fine. Traditional Moroccan breakfast, nothing special, but still good.
Read more reviews and book your room at Riad Ritaj here.
8. Aït Benhaddou – Kasbah La Cigogne
After our day spent exploring fascinating Aït Benhaddou, we checked into one of the most unique places I’ve ever stayed – Kasbah La Cigogne, a traditional Berber guesthouse.
What I liked about Kasbah La Cigogne
The location and surroundings – This was another that felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, even though we weren’t this time. In fact, the surrounding buildings made for a really interesting experience. From the terrace, we were awarded with amazing sunset views.
The staff – The staff here was so incredibly fun and friendly and welcoming. I really liked interacting with everyone here. So happy, so many smiles!
What I didn’t like about Kasbah La Cigogne
The Wi-Fi – Not that this was a huge deal because I didn’t have the energy to spend any time on my phone anyway, but the Wi-Fi here was only available downstairs near the pool area, not in the rooms. Not a deal breaker by any means and down at the pool it was super fast.
Things about Kasbah La Cigogne that were just fine
The rooms – The rooms here were the smallest we stayed in our whole trip. Again, not a deal breaker, just a bit more cramped and difficult to stay organized. (It smelled really good though!)
Read more reviews and book your room at Kasbah La Cigogne here
9. Dades Valley – Hotel Riad Bahammou
One of my favorite places to stay in Morocco was Hotel Riad Bahammou in the Dades Valley. We stayed here two nights and it was such a blast!
What I liked about Hotel Riad Bahammou
The staff – I talk about this more in my post on lessons I learned in Morocco, but the staff here was the NICEST. Every day we were greeted with big smiles and high-fives, lots of love, and just general enjoyment. The staff here treated us so well and deserve so much recognition.
The food – The food at Hotel Riad Bahammou was such a surprise! Everything we ate was so different. Every night we had a 4 course meal of something new and interesting and delicious. The restaurant is also a very comfortable space and I love the outdoor lunch terrace too.
The property – This place is so fun! Like our riad in Chefchaouen, the place is a total maze but you actually feel like you’re staying in a palace. (Check out my Reel here of what it was like walking from the street to my room here!) There are so many rooms and grand staircases; there’s a rooftop pool and so many huge terraces to hang out on.
What I didn’t like about Hotel Riad Bahammou
The fire – The only thing that worried me a little bit were the indoor heaters they used in the dining areas. You know the kind – the gas-powered heating towers they have on outdoor patios at bars in the winter? Only they had multiple of these, inside the low-ceilinged dining room. That just doesn’t feel safe. I’m thinking too much into this, right?
Things about Hotel Riad Bahammou that were just fine
The location – While this part of Morocco felt a lot quieter than the rest, the hotel was in a good location. We were able to walk to many things and get to other places quickly by driving. At night, we were remote enough to see tons of stars.
The rooms – Our room was huge, and even had a second bedroom attached. We had a private terrace and a large bathroom. The shower was fully enclosed (!!!) and never flooded the bathroom. Everything worked as it should have. Except one of the outlets, which could have been a hazard.
Read more reviews and book your room at Hotel Riad Bahammou here.
10. Ouirgane – Ksar Shama
Towards the end of our trip, we stayed in Ouirgane at Ksar Shama, just outside of Marrakech. This is a huge property that looks nice, but needs a lot of work.
What I liked about Ksar Shama
The food – We had a great Friday couscous dinner here! Breakfast was likewise good the next morning. Service in the restaurant area is fantastic as well.
What I didn’t like about Ksar Shama
The rooms – You could totally tell that they thought a fresh coat of paint was going to hide the room’s many problems. They were wrong. For starters, yeah, it smelled like they just painted the room that morning so it was tough to breathe for a while.
The shower flooded the bathroom (no surprise there), but the sink was designed in such a way that the water never drained. This was not a drain issue, this was a “trying to be fancy with this marble” issue. Basically, we had to remove some of the marble pieces of the sink in order to let the water flow out. It was weird.
The lamps flickered on and off on their own, the hair dryer was missing, the TV didn’t work, some of the lamps (like the one next to my bed that I needed) didn’t even have light bulbs, and, for some strange reason, the toilet paper was pink and scented. Basically, the place looks nice, but they forgot people care about more than just fresh paint jobs.
Things about Ksar Shama that were just fine
The property – This place has a big resort feel. Huge pool area, bar and restaurant, lots of lounge areas, and your room feels like its own private cottage (even though it’s attached). It was nice to check out something a little different, but it also felt like Florida.
Read more reviews and book your room at Ksar Shama here.
Overall takeaways from staying all over Morocco
As you can see I stayed in a wide variety of Morocco riads, hotels, kasbahs, and even desert camps. However, here are a few general takeaways from my time sleeping all over Morocco:
Don’t judge a book by its cover
This is a sentiment you’ll notice all over Morocco. What you see from the street will never, ever, ever reveal what it looks like on the inside. This is part of the Moroccan idea to never show your cards.
From Morocco riads and hotels to rug shops, restaurants, and beyond, what you see from the outside will be plain, simple, and probably brown. But walk through that modest entrance and you’ll almost always be greeted with color, intricate mosaics and carvings, plush rugs, fountains, pools, friendly cats, and more.
If you were thinking that this sounds like Dorothy emerging from her black and white midwest farmhouse into a magical land of color and wonder, you’re exactly right.
I always felt safe
Regardless of where we stayed, I always felt safe. When I travel throughout Europe or when I travel solo, I always bring a whole travel safety arsenal with me. But while staying in these Morocco riads and hotels, I didn’t feel the need for all my usual hotel safety items.
For starters, I trusted that Intrepid (the tour company I traveled with) vetted the properties and the neighborhoods, and I knew I had our trusty guide Mohamed to look after us if anything went wrong. But beyond that, I never got any weird vibes or felt uncomfortable with anyone or any place.
It’s all about compromise
Sure, we stayed at some Morocco riads and hotels that had some issues, but they usually made up for it in some other way. You really just have to weigh your priorities.
For instance, a shower that flooded the bathroom is sometimes a small price to pay for an excellent location or great food. Or, plain-jane décor is not a big deal when you get to stay at such an interesting and unique property.
Everyone always wants to take your bags
If you’re like me and you would just prefer to take your suitcase to your room with you, go ahead and get over that now. Wherever you stay in Morocco, you’ll have someone (or some people) aching to take your bag to your room for you. Just let it happen. It’s fine.
Breakfast is the same almost everywhere
Breakfast in Morocco is going to be the same almost everywhere you go. Jams and butter, maybe some amlou if you’re lucky, the same three kinds of bread, orange juice, tea, coffee, and a variety of sugary pastries.
Every once in a while, you’ll be offered an “omelette” which is really just a fried egg. And some places will even have hard-boiled eggs. And that’s about it. If you need a little more protein in the AM (ahem, over here!) consider packing your own protein bars or jerky or such.
More info for visiting Morocco
- Heading to Morocco? Read reviews and find more great places to stay here.
- Want to take a tour? You can book my exact Morocco tour here.
- Looking for day tours while you’re there? Check out these great options from Viator and Get Your Guide.
- Don’t forget a Morocco guidebook and this must-have customs and culture guide!
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