Marrakesh's big hotels are located in three main areas: La Palmeraie, an expansive palm grove turned suburb northeast of the city; Hivernage, a posh residential area west of the Medina; and Zone Hotèlière de l'Aguedal, the city's newest hotel zone, located along the Boulevard Mohammed VI (formerly Avenue de France), to the southwest of Hivernage and the Medina. But for the connoisseur, the best way to experience Marrakesh is to stayat least for part of your visitin a riad, such as Meriem and Hayati. Converted from traditional Moroccan houses, these boutique hotels are usually located in the Medina, have a relaxed atmosphere, and are charmingly individual with zellij (mosaic tile) fountains, and tadlakt (polished plaster) walls. Plus there's always a rooftop terrace or two for lazing away the day under the Moroccan sun. If you're traveling in the high winter season, book your room two months in advance and expect to pay from $250 to $500 a night for a room in La Palmeraie, Hivernage, or Zone Hotèlière de l'Aguedal, and about $100 to $250 for a room in one of the Medina's many riads.
After a three-year renovation under the direction of hot French designer Jacques Garcia (and with the active involvement of the King of Morocco), Marrakesh's iconic hotel, La Mamounia, reopened in September 2009. A number of other big-name hotels are also in the works: Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, and Rocco Forte Collection will all open their doors in the near future.