Riad Saba hotel, Marrakech, review

The focal point of Riad Saba is the fountain in the garden

The bedroom doors and shutter windows at Riad Saba are black teak wood

The red brick terrace at the Riad Saba features loungers, and lamps
Now I’ve written a post on what I did in Marrakech, and what I bought, so I thought it worth reviewing where I stayed.      
During our trip to Marrakech, we wanted to spend most of our
time in the heart of the city- the bustling Medina. This is where the
world-famous souks and jemaa al ‘fnaa square is housed.          
To enjoy an authentic Moroccan stay, we decided to spend the
first few days in a Riad.
  
This is a traditional guest house, formally a family home, where
the focal point of the house is a central courtyard.
  
Riads were built to represent paradise, with fruit trees, a
fountain and even a swimming pool take centre stage.
Sadly most Moroccans no longer live in Riads, as they are too
expensive to maintain. Locals have vacated to the new town, Geliz.
So the beautiful homes were left to ruin, until developers,
mainly from France, threw some cash at them and converted them into guest
houses.
The Riad Saba Hotel, where we stayed, was situated just minutes
from the souks and the square.
From the outside, our Riad wasn’t much to look at. In fact, upon
arrival, I thought we’d come to the wrong place. 
Outside the Riad Saba, the old town Medina in Marrakech
Riad Saba from the outside
   
However, typical of Riads – which are hidden by high walls –
inside was palatial.  The interior decor was stunning, with a fountain centerpiece,
ornate lanterns and solid cedar wood doors.
Our Riad was owned by a very hospitable Moroccan man who bought
the place from a family who just got sick of the sight of each other and
decided to go their separate ways.
With just four guest rooms, we really did get a personal service
a larger hotel just couldn’t match.    
As it was our anniversary, the entire room was decked out with
flowers and tealight candles.
A gold and blue threadwork chaise lounge
Green and white tiling is typical of Moroccan architecture
Daisies adorn the tiles sink at our Riad in Morocco
Traditional Moroccan skincare tools and toiletries in our bathroom at Riad Saba

  

Magazines on offer at the Riad Saba
Look what I’ve found!
Also, staff, including the owner, took their time to talk to us
every day and advise us on where to go using their local knowledge.  They also generally took time out to chat to
us about our adventures. Though they offered some excursion packages of their
own, and plugged them where possible, we declined their offer as they proved a
little more expensive than the rest.
  
However, the service was second to none.  On one occasion the cleaner had taken my
husband’s handwashed shorts, hung them out on the terrace to dry and ironed
them before returning to their rightful owner. 
You wouldn’t get these kind of thoughtful, personal touches in a larger,
anonymous hotel. 
Bread, olive oil, jams and juice for breakfast the Riad Saba in Marrakech
Breakfast at Riad Saba
Breakfast was served on the roof terrace, so we could enjoy the
fresh air mingle with other guests. 
Again, the intimacy of a small Riad meant that people were much more
chatty than they would be at a large hotel. 
The breakfast was also better than I’d expected.  We were given fruit, yoghurt, egg, cold meats,
juices, green tea, preserves, and the Moroccan staple of bread.    
The terrace was a great perk. 
Decked with sun loungers, day beds and patio sets, it was a great place
to escape to when the busy streets got too much but we didn’t want to sit
indoors.
So those were the good points.      
The bad points are few but notable.
The bedroom itself was quite dark, even when lit.  The ceiling lights had dark, lantern-style
fittings which didn’t afford much light. 
Also, the very nature of Riads is that you get very little
privacy compared to a hotel.  The
traditional wooden doors are locked with a latch, and the glassless windows
look into the rest of the Riad.  So if
you do want privacy, you have to close the black shutters, plunging you into
darkness once again. 
The other thing I noticed was the distinct lack of
wardrobe.  Instead there were a few
hangers on a short rail in the wall. 
Again, during holidays, I tend to live out of my suitcase.  But for many people, especially those staying
longer than a few days, not having a wardrobe may prove a bit of an issue.
The final thing, and this bothered my husband more than me, is
that there was no TV in our room, let alone the rest of the hotel.  While I quite enjoyed the lack of TV, and
relished the chance to read a book, my husband really felt the lack of
box.     
However, these cons were far outweighed by the pros to staying
at Riad Saba.  The guest house provided
and authentic Moroccan experience and we really were in the heart of the
city.  The souk and Jemaa Al ‘Fnaa Square
were just five minutes away.  

The
personal touches, in-depth knowledge, and friendly atmosphere makes the Riad
Saba a great crash pad during a stay in Marrakech.    

The Riad Saba Hotel costs around £55 a night, though prices may vary depending on season.

   
HalimaBobs

About the Author

HalimaBobs

I’m not a makeup artist, chef, lifestyle guru or stylist. I’m just me. And like you, I’m trying to make the best of most things, only I’m sharing my warts-and-all thoughts along the way.

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