About Marrakesh and riads

Marrakesh has become an iconic city and one of the most popular destinations in the world. Staying in one of the Marrakech riads offers an enriching and authentic experience.

Charm, uniqueness, peaceful ambience of a former age, an authentic experience in the old city of Marrakech and also price—all these factors contribute to a memorable holiday in Marrakech Morocco.  All add to the pleasure when visiting Marrakech. Given the hustle and bustle and the sensory overload of Marrakech souks, it is desirable to find a place of peace and quiet to relax and go over the experiences of the day. A stay in a riad in Marrakech is perfect for this.


Our chic boutique riad hotel in the heart of Marrakech medina

BEST PRICE GUARANTEE! Book via our website www.riadsapphire.com

Riad Sapphire and Spa Marrakech Roof Terrace


Marrakech has the charm of being both a new cultural experience and offering a combination of the familiar with the exotic.  The new town of Guèliz, created by the French, with its outdoor cafés and boutiques reminds you of Europe.  The old city of Marrakech, the medina, takes you back in time and reminds you of old cities in general when they were enclosed within city walls.

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Our sun loungers on the roof terrace Riad Sapphire and Spa Marrakech

Riads* are city houses contained within the old city walls and were homes to the wealthy with their interior courtyards and private gardens.

Many ancient riads have been recently renovated allowing us to experience life as it may have been centuries ago – but with all modern conveniences including WiFi!

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Grand patio Riad Sapphire and Spa in Marrakech

Marrakech riads run as boutique hotels offer wonderful Moroccan architecture, uniquely designed rooms or suites, modern conveniences and superior service to huge hotels.  For many people, riads beat out many of the best hotels Marrakech. Plus they are right in Marrakech city centre. You step out of your door and you’re there already!

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Riad Sapphire and Spa_riad in Marrakesh_latticework

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dining area in loggia of Riad Sapphire, Marrakesh

RIAD SAPPHIRE AND SPA:  Affordable chic — for an authentic experience in Marrakesh, come and stay at this very recently restored riad (small boutique hotel) located in the heart of the ancient city (medina) of Marrakesh. Airy, minimalist and perfectly positioned in the heart of the Medina, Riad Sapphire and Spa exudes casual elegance — a perfect place to stay and relax in.

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Sitting room in Riad Sapphire, Marrakech

Operated around the idea of “authenticity and affordability”, it is ideal for city breaks, honeymoons, family stays, stylish hen parties, shopping trips, foodie breaks, special occasions and romantic getaways. The twin sisters, Barbara and Beryl, former owners of two highly successful riads in Marrakech, have now completed the renovation of a third riad.

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view from petite patio to bhou, Riad Sapphire Marrakesh

With their great love for Moroccan architecture and great respect for its craftsmanship, they have ensured that the skills of local Marrakchi artisans have been put to good use.

At the same time, they have added a modern twist to traditional design: lampshades were custom-ordered, woodwork was all handmade [including a very handsome lattice screen called a menzeh], fabrics were woven and made up into drapes, and a normally traditional metal railing was rendered in modern glass with the traditional design etched in the glass.

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Grand patio, Riad Sapphire, Marrakesh

Akin to the first two riads, the twins have kept the cool, chic look with simple, elegant furnishings that have a touch of luxury, modern comforts and great service. They used the best of Moroccan craftsmanship and set out to interpret a pure form of Moorish architecture with clean lines and restrained décor.

English-owned and managed and with English, Italian and French-speaking personnel, you get an authentic experience of living in the old city of Marrakech–a different environment to that found in modern hotels. The owners speak English, French, German and Arabic.

The aim is to provide a welcoming refuge after the tumult and excitement of the souks (local markets) and the main square and to offer good value. Individually designed suites.

Cinnabar suite
Cinnabar suite
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Cinnabar suite

The rooms are individually decorated with air conditioning and heating for your comfort. All rooms have private bathrooms, two with bathtubs.

All rates include a host of goodies: freshly-prepared breakfast; all local tourist taxes; VAT included; bottle of mineral water in your room upon arrival; free safe in your room; hairdryer in each room; organic toiletries by local Moroccan companies, Natus or Nectarôme; free WiFi; mint tea and Moroccan pastries served upon arrival.

Guests are offered the use of a mobile phone during their stay (against a returnable deposit of 100 dirhams).

They offer reasonably-priced meals, and from the many reviews from the previous riads, they are much appreciated by clients.

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Topaz suite

You can enjoy relaxing massages and other beauty treatments in your room. Riad Sapphire and Spa has a dedicated spa area, with a private hammam and massage/beauty treatment room — a lovely treat and an authentic Moroccan experience.

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Riad Sapphire’s private hammam in our spa area

For a full real-life experience of life in the medina of Marrakech, do stay in a riad. Even better, one with its own private spa so you can experience a Moroccan hammam in luxury. Follow it up with a massage using Moroccan essential oils and you’ll think you’re in heaven.

Topaz suite, domed roof, Riad Sapphire and Spa, in MarrakechYou can book individual rooms or the whole riad — the riads are a great place for family reunions, meeting up with friends, celebrating special occasions, stylish hen parties, chilling out or experiencing the magical city of Marrakesh — book a fabulous break in our riad in Marrakech to experience the extraordinary.

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Amethyst suite

The riad organizes transfers at the airport/train station/bus station to ensure a smooth and hassle-free arrival. The riad also helps arrange tours, excursions, restaurant reservations — a general concierge service offered with a smile. Book via our secure site, www.riadsapphire.com or call us at +212 (0)5 24 38 71 99.

Riad Sapphire and Spa_boutique hotel in Marrakesh
Amethyst suite
Ensuite bathroom Amethyst_riad sapphire and spa_riad in marrakesh
Amethyst ensuite bathroom
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Ebony suite
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Ebony suite
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Ebony ensuite bathroom
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Peridot suite
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Peridot suite, Riad Sapphire and Spa Marrakech

Peridot suite, by night, Riad Sapphire and Spa, in Marrakech

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Peridot ensuite bathroom
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Amber suite
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Sapphire suite, Riad Sapphire and Spa Marrakech
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Citrine suite
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Citrine suite
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Citrine ensuite bathroom

Riads in Marrakech

We love Marrakesh — it’s a great mix of the exotic and the familiar. It’s also a tremendously creative city — blending the input of both Eastern and Western design and the skills from both parts of the world. You can design something yourself and have Moroccan craftsmen execute the design.  See the finer details of our newly-renovated riad.

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Our ‘bhou’ in our grand patio


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Highly-skilled woodworker in the old city of Marrakech






We have done a series of video vignettes on workshops in and around Riad Sapphire on the various skills being practiced and still handed down from father to son within the city walls of Marrakech. We would be delighted to have you as our guests in our riads as you explore Marrakesh. Marrakech is a truly fascinating city — a blend of African, Arabic and European cultures as well as modern and mediaeval living. It is buzzing with life against the backdrop of the magnificent Atlas Mountains. There are few cities left in the world where there is such a high level and diversity of craftsmanship and creativity as in modern Marrakech.

Modern Marrakesh

A combination of modern design with traditional craftsmanship has led to a whole new array of goods on sale in the local markets. This evolution of design is exciting to watch and learn about. A great place for shopping — with a choice of inexpensive items as well as upmarket quality goods, uniquely Moroccan. Some suggestions.   el ramla hamra, i-pad covers, online shopping, Marrakech products pretty bags at Pretty Linge, made in Marrakech, bed linen store You have a great choice of restaurants: traditional Moroccan cuisine, French cuisine, fusion, Italian cuisine, Thai cuisine…. new restaurants keep opening up all the time. It’s great to try them out. Restaurants are often located in beautifully renovated riads or in modern buildings with a design edge. Restaurant suggestions. Interior of Le Zinc restaurant, Sidi Ghanem, Marrakech The night club scene is lively and there are many cultural events happening all the time in Marrakesh: art exhibitions, a film festival, street arts and performances. The main square, known locally as ‘La Place’ for Place Jemaa el fna’, bustles with acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers and musicians. By night food stalls open in the square turning it into a huge busy open-air restaurant. Spice market, Marrakech medina, colourful spicesWater carrier, in Marrakech, Place Jemaa el Fna', main square Marrakesh See our blog for more information

So what is a riad?

Riads (also spelled as riyad, ryad or ryadh depending on how it’s transliterated) are town homes with courtyards featuring a garden that may be small or large depending on the wealth of the owner. They are contained within the ramparts of the old city of Marrakesh where the streets are small lanes and alleyways with no formal layout — meandering around the medina is one of the experiences not to be missed.

The grander riads are mixed in with more humble dwellings and from the outside they all look similar – wealth is not on display. Really grand ones were owned by members of the royal family, ministers or wealthy traders. Most authentic riyads are over two hundred years old, perhaps even older, and if not well maintained are in the process of disintegrating.

Fortunately, the skills that made these old homes special — the domes, the sculpted plasterwork, the ornate wood carvings, the traditional patterns of metal grillwork and the beauty of tadelakt — are alive and well today. In the very recent past and continuing today, many people have discovered that these beautiful riads can be restored to their former beauty and perhaps even embellished, making arches where none existed before or perhaps adding fireplaces to take off the slight chill to the air in the cooler months.

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Riyads can also be made less ornate — stripping away elements considered today over-the-top. It’s a matter of personal taste. The best riads are restrained in their decoration such that a harmonious state of mind is a gift of the surroundings — a wonderful contrast to the tumult and exuberant life outside the doors of the riad. This process of rehabilitating these wonderful ancient dwellings has brought new life to the medina (translated literally from Arabic as ‘town’ or ‘city’ but known in this context as the old city of Marrakesh). The old city was declared a  UNESCO World Heritage Site   (Patrimoine Mondiale) in 2008.

*   What is a riad?

According to Wikipedia, a riad (Arabic: رياض‎) is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. The word riad means garden. Due to transliteration from Arabic into European languages, the word is spelled differently, as “riad” or “ryad” of “riyadh”.

A smaller place would be described as a ‘dar’ meaning home, house or residence. They would also have a central courtyard but small compared to riads that generally have larger courtyards  with trees and flowers.

Riads were traditionally multi-generational family homes, but today they often serve as guesthouses in Marrakech and can be described as luxury boutique hotels – one of the best places to stay in Marrakech.

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