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Riad Meriem

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Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool

Image courtesy Terry Ward

What's Special About Riad Meriem:

Marrakesh is a city of surprises, with residences of exquisite beauty hidden behind crumbling cement walls. Riad Meriem greeted me like a yawning oasis of Zen-like calm in the heart of the medina's eternal drone of commerce and catcalls. Big on the cozy factor, rooms feel cocoon-like with darkly painted plaster walls and stylish dimmed lighting. Bougainvillea drips from balconies and communal areas are as cozy as the rooms. New York-based designer and riad owner Thomas Hays has a talent for giving traditional African and Asian textiles and furnishings super-stylish presentations that ooze cool. Pictures of Riad Meriem

Guest Rooms at Riad Meriem:

Five suites at Riad Meriem all have plush queen size beds and individual Arab-Oriental fusion themes. I stayed in the Matisse suite, a long narrow room on the first floor with deep purple and olive walls, colorful paintings and photos from Hays' travels, and one of the deepest bathtubs I've seen. The Star Suite, with a gauzy fabric draped from the bedposts and star shaped lanterns lighting the room, looked even more romantic. There are no TVs in the rooms, but Wi-Fi is free throughout the riad. The rose scented bath products smell fantastic, and there are plush bathrobes to cozy up in. Nightly rates from about $425.

Dining at Riad Meriem:

  • Breakfast, a simple affair of Moroccan breads, homemade jams, boiled eggs and fresh orange juice and coffee, is served at a communal table on the rooftop. If you prefer to dine alone in your room or privately elsewhere, just let the staff know.
  • I loved eating dinner in the Chimney Lounge, a womb-like alcove centered on a round fireplace on the ground floor, where glowing lanterns and exotic Egyptian music set the tone for a romantic meal of Moroccan beef tajine and vegetarian couscous.
  • Moroccan cuisine is offered for lunch, and I heard other guests raving about the roasted eggplant and potato salad.

Amenities at Riad Meriem:

  • With the colorful and chaotic shopping and sightseeing of Marrakesh's medina right outside, your time is most likely to be spent winding down and catching your breath from the sensory overload surrounding the riad's private walls - a good thing, since there aren't many activities inside the riad itself.
  • The plunge pool, on the ground floor of the riad and open to the sky, is small but adequately deep for cooling off. The arabesque outline of the pool, lined with lanterns at night, makes it particularly romantic.
  • Staff can arrange day trips to Ourika Valley, shopping trips in the souks, golf excursions and tours.

Good to Know about Riad Meriem:

  • Lighting in the rooms and bathrooms is very romantic. But I found it too dim to be practical – particularly when I fished through my suitcase for items or put on my makeup. Applying makeup with any confidence was challenging. And there was no hair dryer in the room (the staff brought one at my request).
  • Relax in the sun on a chaise lounge on the rooftop terrace while listening to the cooing of doves, the call to prayer and ambient chatter from surrounding homes.
  • There is no spa. Staff can recommend the best spa experiences nearby, including a traditional Moroccan bathing ritual at an authentic or luxury hammam.

Nightlife Around Riad Meriem:

Hire a taxi to reach Gueliz or Hivernage in Marrakesh's new city, Ville Nouvelle, to experience Las Vegas-style nightclubs and South Beach-esque restaurants where candles flicker by the hundreds and beautiful people abound. The staff will help you arrange a nightlife program to suit your taste, and book tables at the hottest restaurants in town.

Finding Riad Meriem:

A snaking pathway hardly wide enough for a golf cart twists and turns its way off a main medina thoroughfare to Riad Meriem's door, and finding the place always felt like a serious accomplishment, no matter how many times I succeeded. Should you not want to brave the confusing walk back to the riad after exploring elsewhere in Marrakesh, the staff is always on hand to meet you wherever you are and guide you back. Taxis can get you within a five minute walk of the riad, but not to the door itself.

Privacy at Riad Meriem:

It's important to note that there are no doors between the bedroom area and the toilet/shower/sink area in the rooms, leaving the toilet essentially open, if out of sight, to both the bedroom and shower. I found the lack of privacy from my travel partner slightly unnerving at times. The idea, I was told, was to create one flowing space in the rooms. Still, I wouldn't have minded more privacy in the bathroom.

Contact Riad Meriem:

Roughly 10 minutes by foot from Riad Meriem to Marrakech's main square, the Djemma al Fna. Compare Flights
Derb el Cadi 97 – Azbezt, 40008 Marrakech Medina, Morocco
Phone: 011-212-24-38-77-31
Web site: Riad Meriem

Guest Reviews of Riad Meriem:

Have you stayed in Riad Meriem? What did you think? Add your comments here.

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodations for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.

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