Riads vs Hotels: Which one is best?

Riads vs Hotels: Which one is best?

When traveling to Morocco you will encounter countless new experiences.  Culture, food, excursions, history and even accommodations can and will probably be very different from daily life in the West.  One of the choices you will want to make when deciding on traveling to Morocco is whether you will stay in hotels or in riads.  Before you can make a decision, it is important that you know the difference between the two!  So let’s take a look at the difference between these two types of accommodations so you can make the best choice for you and your travel companions.


Hotels will be similar to what you would see in the United States, Europe, and Australia.  Many large chains also take residence in Morocco as they do around the world.  The benefits of hotels are that they are generally consistent.  There is a standard that is implemented around the globe to ensure that a hotel meets the expectations of the larger company. 

Hotels vary from smaller boutique-like hotels to sprawling resorts outside the city limits – and everything in between.  Rooms will often be standardized meaning that while you will get a consistent experience, some people find the experience to offer less of a cultural experience.  Depending on the star level of the hotel, it will likely outfitted with one or more swimming pools.


Meals at hotels can range from being a luxurious, sit down meal with a customized menu to a large buffet spread with countless options. If you are a “foodie”, we often recommend considering a stay at a riad because the food tends to be a significant focus of the experience during your stay.

Hotel Accessibility

Hotels are generally thought to be more accessible than their riad counterparts.  Whereas this is definitely not always true, we do find that hotels do generally provide more accessibility options.  Due to the fact that they often are outside the medina walls, have more room options and are often held to international standards, hotels can be an excellent choice for those needing the utmost accessibility


Riads are essentially the Moroccan version of a guesthouse. Historically, these are houses that were, generally, once occupied by wealthy families in the thriving walled cities of Morocco.  Now, many of these luxurious guesthouses have been remodeled and adapted to provide a culturally rich experience for their guests.

Often these historical properties look down on a large open-air courtyard with beautiful greenery.  Rooms, typically, are individually designed and have their own unique features.  Pools and spas are often available at the middle to higher end properties, while the more budget riads will be without.

Location is another vital piece of the decision making process.  Riads, generally, boast excellent locations as they are often within the walls of the city.

Service and hospitality are also an important component to riads.  Often treated like their home, they have smaller staffs, a higher level of consistency in the service and tend to be more personalized.

What riads may lack in the consistency found in hotels, they make up for in hospitality, service and location.


Foodies, get your forks (or hands if you really want the cultural experience!) ready for a culinary delight! Meals at these guesthouses are consistently a highlight for those visiting a riad – even if you don’t decide to stay there.  Often cooked fresh with ingredients purchased at the local market that morning, this is one of the places that really shines in a riad.  Eating at a riad becomes less about eating good food and more about experiencing the taste, flavors and culture of Morocco.

Riad Accessibility

Whereas hotels generally have more options, more rooms and overall increased accessibility, there are exceptions.  There are some incredible riads with excellent accessibility and some with adapted accessibility.  With a bit of an adventureous spirit, these cultural gems are within your reach.

What should you choose?

The decision becomes pretty multi-faceted doesn’t it?  Riads provide culture and experience.  Hotels offer consistency and ease.  Both promise to make your travels comfortable and inviting.

Ultimately, it comes down to what components are most important to you, the traveler.  Some important questions to ask might be:

What kind of experience are you looking for while traveling in Morocco?

What accessibility needs do I have when staying at a hotel or riad?

What accommodation amenities are most important to me when traveling?

Whatever you decide, a trip to Morocco will be full of experiences and memories that you will remember for a lifetime.  Maybe the decision is not one accommodation type over the other but rather a mixture of both.  Either way, we’d be happy to dialogue, dream, and create something spectacular with you.  The more we explore and encounter the beauty of Morocco, the more we fall in love with this place.   Come discover accessible Morocco with us!

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