Where Cheaper is Better

by Colleen Clark

Riads in Marrakesh

With a Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, and W Hotel all set to open in 2011, Marrakesh is poised to be a prime destination for large luxury resorts. But to find the real Morocco, look in the heady alleys of the medina, tucked behind the unassuming doors of its riads. These traditional Moroccan houses operate much like intimate bed- and-breakfasts, where in-the-know owners meet you at the door with mint tea and swap shopping tips with you over lamb tagine in an ornately tiled dining room. Most have extras like pools, hammams, and spas, too. Oh, and they happen to be less than half the price of hotels with the same amenities. At Riad 72 (from $185 per night), the hopelessly chic Italian owners balance florid architectural detailing with a muted palette of sand and cream, while Riad Magi has more traditional decor such as Berber chests and punched tin lanterns at even lower prices ($124 per night). Now take those dirhams you saved and go spend 'em in the souks.

Riad 72
72 Arset Awsel
Bab Doukkala
Marrakesh, Morocco
Tel: 212 24 38 76 29

Riad Magi
79 Derb Moulay Abdelkader
Derb Dabachi
Marrakesh, Morocco
Tel: 212 524 42 66 88

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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