Riad Chi-Chi

Marrakech, Morocco Book from

A very chic riad tucked away in the central medina, with soothing rooms, a cool roof terrace and unbeatable prices
Tucked away in a quiet cul-de-sac in the heart of Marrakech's souk-land, Riad Chi-Chi’s combination of Zen-cool bedrooms, impeccable service and unbeatable value makes it one of our favourite riad hotels in the city.

The 5 immaculately crafted bedrooms, finished in calming whites and greys, look out - some of them through intricate wooden lattices - to a central courtyard with a tiny petal-strewn pool and cushioned b'hou (sitting alcove). Up top, a terrace with a canopied chill-out area, bathed in blue-green light at night, offers roof-level views across the medina to the peaks of the Atlas Mountains. Slightly grander and more central than its sister property Riad Ariha, yet just as welcoming, this is a calming yet homely haven amid the bustling medina. We loved it.

Highs

  • This is a faultless restoration, from the screened menzeh (bay window) to the domed bathroom of the Ivory room
  • The service is top-notch; staff can arrange day trips, meals and massages, and will happily venture out to rescue guests who've got lost in the medina's maze of alleyways
  • The suite, Indigo, has plenty of space for 3, thanks to its sofa'd sitting area
  • We love the location, in a quiet cul-de-sac away from the crowds, but close to the Musée de Marrakech, the Medersa Ben Youssef and the souks
  • There's a firelit salon for cosy winter stays, and a beautiful open-sided loggia with cushioned daybeds

Lows

  • Like all riads, the bedrooms are narrow and the 2 ground-floor rooms lack a bit of privacy
  • The courtyard pool is tiny - just big enough to dip yourself in
  • The dawn call to prayer from the neighbouring mosque may wake you, but it's all part of the Marrakech experience
  • Bear in mind you're 10 minutes' walk from the Djemaa el Fna, and a few minutes' from the nearest road access

Best time to go

The best times to visit Marrakech are spring and autumn. It's baking in the summer months of July and August - a dry but extremely relentless heat beats down on the city. By the end of October the evenings are cold, although the midday sun is still warm enough to bask in. The weather in winter, from November to March, ranges from cold and rainy to sunny and warm enough to sit outside.

Our top tips

Don't miss the Maison de la Photographie, just a few minutes' walk from the riad behind the Musée de Marrakech. Its fascinating photography exhibitions chart life in Morocco from 1870 to 1950. There's also a roof terrace (supposedly the highest in the city), a café selling reasonably-priced tagines, and a small collection of prints to buy.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Riad Hotel
  • 5
  • Breakfast (+ other meals by arrangement)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Plunge Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room: Aubergine

Rooms

As is the traditional riad design, all 5 rooms gaze in on the central courtyard. The style is what you might call Scandinavia-meets-Morocco chic.

If possible, go for one of the 3 first-floor rooms - they're quieter and more private. We stayed in Ivory, which has a beautifully preserved menzeh (bay window with latticed woodwork) overlooking the courtyard. It’s bathroom has a domed ceiling, creating a quirky, hammam-like space. Our favourite was Aubergine, with its full-height windows, latticed at the bottom and arched up top. In winter the working fireplace adds comfort and charm. Indigo is the largest, with a sitting area and a shower-tub in the bathroom (a rarity in riad guest rooms).

The ground-floor rooms, Plum and Turquoise, are comfortable, but open straight onto the courtyard, so they lack privacy and you’ll hear some noise at breakfast time.

Throughout, careful craftsmanship, creamy white walls and dove grey woodwork are accented by pretty lanterns, bedside niches and chunky rugs. Also expect billowing white drapes, plump pillows and fresh flowers.Bathrooms are peachy tadelakt with glass bottles of fragrant toiletries made from essential oils.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Plunge pool
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Like most riad hotels, breakfast is served and other meals are available by prior arrangement. You can take your breakfast in the courtyard or up on the roof terrace, depending on the weather. You'll get fresh orange juice and Moroccan pancakes, in addition to the usual continental fare.

If you're arriving in the evening and don't want to go out again for dinner, or if you'd just prefer to dine in the pretty candlelit courtyard, ask ahead and the cook will prepare a Moroccan meal to suit your tastes. Tagines of lamb and prunes, lemon chicken with olives, or a vegetarian option if you prefer. We enjoyed a lovely lentil and tomato salad, tasty beef casserole with saffron rice, and crêpes with sautéed seasonal fruit.

Most people will head out at least once to the frenzied open-air stalls and grills of Djemaa el Fna. If you're after a restaurant, neaby Le Foundouk comes recommended. Crisp savoury pastries, succulent lamb skewers and rose-petal-strewn desserts taste as good as they look. For a special celebration, head 5km outside town to buzzy Bo & Zin, whose tented garden seating and superb Franco-Moroccan cuisine draw a jet-set crowd.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity: Medersa Ben Youssef

Activities

  • Marrakech's souks won't have escaped your notice: they're all around and sell everything from spices to hand-carved furniture. Depending on your stamina, allow a day or 3 to pick out and haggle for the best bargains
  • Barely a minute away, the Musée de Marrakech and Medersa Ben Youssef are city highlights. The former is a 19th-century Mnebbi palace given over to art exhibitions and cultural activities, the latter a stunningly intricate 16th-century Koranic school reminiscent of Andalucian Moorish palaces
  • Join in the madness of the central square, Djemaa el Fna (10-15 minutes' walk away), where storytellers, tooth-pullers, tribal drummers, orange juicers and merguez grillers compete for your attention
  • For a break from the crowds, head to the shady Jardin Majorelle tropical gardens, lovingly restored by Yves St Laurent
  • Hire bikes and cycle around the medina's pink city walls at sunset
  • Relax in the canopied sit-out area of the riad's roof terrace, or soothe away post-souk stress with an in-room massage
  • The team can help arrange any of the other activities on offer in and around Marrakech. Golf, horse-riding, hot-air balloon trips, trekking in the Atlas Mountains and water sports on Lake Lalla Takerkoust (40km away) are all available

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Tennis
  • Tennis coaching
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome.

Family friendly accommodation:

Plum, Turquoise and Indigo (the largest) have space for an extra bed; all rooms can hold a baby cot. The riad can also be exclusively booked for larger groups and families (up to 4 rooms can be made up as twins).

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Families Should Know:

Neither the stairs nor the plunge pool are protected, so parents of toddlers should be aware.

Kid Friendly: Turquoise

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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