After the first visit - where I stayed in a hotel on the outskirts of the City, I have always preferred to stay in a Riad within the Medina.
It is much easier to shop and pop back quickly in the riad to deposit your purchases and it is really nice to experience life after hours in the medina and be in contact with some of its inhabitants.
Over the years I have had the chance to visit quite a few riads and below are my recommendations to you. All the riads are close to the famous Djemaa el Fna square.
This list is based on my personal experience and knowledge. I tried to put together riads by budget, so when looking you can quickly find what might do for you. You will not find anything very expensive in my list, so look also in my 'top of the range' as still very affordable.
Riad Bamileke - Derb Dabachi, Medina (derb Jemaa El Kebir، Marrakesh, Phone:+212 661-248481).
Middle of the range:Riad Eva: Derb Moulay, Der Dabachi. (http://riadevamarrakech.wix.com/riadeva ). The owner is a lovely Moroccan entrepreneur who will make sure you have the best time in Marrakech. His name is Radouane, his mobile numbers are: +212 673630736 / +212 611587931 or you can email him on firstname.lastname@example.org . Radouane will also be able to organise for you pick-up at the airport or excursions while you are there at very reasonable prices.
Riad Ivissa, (http://www.riadivissa.com ) - a little further away from La Place (el Fna) and great if you want to get more into the medina and experience life closely. Staff are lovely and welcoming.
Riad Venezia - (http://www.riadvenezia.com/welcome/) A lovely riad, great to experience life in the medina.
I only have views from the terrace (spectacular views)!
Riad Nakhla - (www.riaddarnakhla.com/en/) welcoming staff, several steps and floors to explore and great views from the terrace.
Another view from the terrace
Low Budget:Riad Medina Azahara or also known as Riad So Cheap So Chic - (http://www.riadmedinaazahara.hostel.com/ ) Phone: +212 61248481 or +212 611587931 this is a very friendly place ideal for young travellers or the 'hippy' in you.
Transport to/from airport & excursions:
For excursions at very reasonable prices and pick up/drop off to/from airport (pick up around 100MAD - £8 - contact Redoine on +212 611587931.
From the airport there is also a very convenient bus, last time I used it and it was 30MAD
(ca. £2.30) return journey, to the El Fna. Journey takes ca. 20/30', depending on traffic.
All riads full of character and a pleasure to be and discover.
All the riads mentioned have staff speaking enough English to understand us. All speak French and often you find them conversant in other European languages too.
Hamman or SPAsIf you are like me and want to start your holiday by getting rid of the stress and tiredness from home and journey, there is nothing better than do like the locals and go to the Hamman.
I have my favourites:
Hammam Ziani - rue Riad Zitoune Jdid (a short walk from the main square). You can walk in without appointment.
Or (by appointment only) Les Bains de Kabira - (+212 52434050) Derb Warda n. 3, on the right of Derb Dabachi (opposite end of the el Fna); very handy if you are staying at the Riad Venezia or Riad Ivissa.
Places to eat:Once again my favourites:
Typical Moroccan -
Earth Cafe - n.1 Derb Nakousse, Riad Zitoune Jdid or n.2 Derb Zouak, Riad Zitoune Lakdim (www.earthcafemarrakech.com ). There are two restaurants and both serve delicious food and cater for the vegetarian and vegan among you.
Try also La Port du Marrakech, another friendly restaurant with a great choice of local dishes, great prices and service. Eat on the terrace for a light breeze to cool you off after a hard day shopping or sightseeing in the hot weather. (Riad Zitoun Jdid | Medina, Marrakech)
If you fancy something different like an authentic Italian pizza, try Aqua, right in the main square (68, place de Jamaa el Fna) friendly and affordable with a great view from the terrace overlooking the square.
This list was compiled with the aim to share some of my knowledge of this fascinating city and it is based solely on my likes and experiences.
If you have any questions or would like more information or advice, please feel free to contact me.
Hope you enjoy your next visit to Marrakech.