North Africa's Arabian Arcadia
The closest equivalent to apartment-style accommodation in Morocco is the maison d'hôte, or riad. These are generally in the upper price range for holiday accommodation and they provide a standard of service equivalent to a four-star hotel. Riads originated in Marrakesh, but they are now found throughout towns and cities in Morocco. They are usually independent businesses and you will find that each has individual characteristics that is often a reflection the owners themselves. As you might expect, riads can offer luxurious accommodation, including romantic bedrooms, personal service, wonderful views from their rooftop terraces and delicious breakfasts. (Often they will include an evening meal as well). As with budget accommodation, it is always best to make sure that the accommodation matches the description on the website, or advertisement. Maisons d'hôte can also offer you a relaxed, intimate setting for your holiday. This is perhaps surprising, because most of them are located amidst the hustle and bustle of Medinas. The downside of all of this is that you can find some riads that lack air-conditioning or heating, or which offer little privacy because of their thin walls. Some suites in riads may only have curtained entrances, with no locks, or they may be accessible by climbing numerous flights of steep, narrow stairs. As they tend to be located in Medinas, most riads or maisons d'hôte, will be accessible only by foot. However, staying within the Medina does mean that you will be within walking distance of most sights and attractions, and you will gain an experience of life in the Medina as it really is. Riads are probably not the best type of accommodation, if you are travelling with children, given their staircases and the fact that many have swimming pools that are not cordoned off. In fact, some maisons d'hôte simply refuse to accept them. Typical prices for a riad/maison d'hôte in Marrakesh can range from £80 per night to £350 per night, depending upon season and the level of luxury.