During our time in Marrakech, we spent half our time staying at La Mamounia and half our time staying at Riad Dar Anika. When we decided to travel to Morocco, we really wanted to have the traditional riad experience and so booking Riad Dar Anika right on the border of the Medina was a no brainer! Today I’m sharing what it’s like staying at Riad Dar Anika and what we thought of the riad experience.
Our Stay At Riad Dar Anika
What is a riad?
First things first – what is a riad? When Dane and I started researching for Morocco, we kept seeing “riad” in the names and thought it was the name for hotel. While that is sort of accurate, a riad implies that the infrastructure is that of a traditional Moroccan home with a courtyard in the center. Typically riads are smaller in nature (what Americans might think of as a bed + breakfast-sized property) and feature intricate design, gardens and once served as a multi-generational home.
Riad Dar Anika is a boutique riad property featuring 12 rooms, a swimming pool in the courtyard and rooftop terrace. The best part about the property itself is the location – right on the entrance to the old souk and adjacent to El Badii Palace. The riad is run by an amazing woman named Lyanne and she is truly what makes the experience so special.
We checked in after a really long ride from the desert and were promptly welcomed by Lyanne and her staff. She gave us the details on what the riad offered, what time we could come for breakfast and just genuinely engaged us in conversation. She hails from New Zealand and now resides in Morocco, which I think is just the coolest thing (learning about people and their stories!). Anyhow, we shared some mint tea and then she took us to our room.
We crashed after a really hot shower (excellent water pressure here, I might add), but stayed here for a total of 3 nights and had the absolute best experience. We would absolutely choose this riad in Marrakech over and over again.
A few details we noticed during our stay that make Riad Dar Anika so special:
—I mentioned the location before, but this is truly a highlight. Close enough to the souks to make everything walkable, but on the outskirts enough that it’s quiet at night and serves as a bit of a respite after the craziness of Marrakech is a true gift!
—Loving the manager of a hotel is a weird detail to point out but it bears noting in this situation. Lyanne is so hands-on and always milling about and her dedication really makes a difference. From the time we booked, she was e-mailing with us to ask about what time we would arrive, every day she greeted us at breakfast and genuinely asked what we were doing, our plans for the day, etc. She also is a wealth of information on what to do, where to go, what to avoid and secrets of Marrakech. Definitely take her up on the opportunity to “go over a map” with her in the courtyard before your head off on your first day — she gives you tons of great insider tips!
—The riad provides a local phone you can use to navigate with Google maps or call the riad if you get lost. We have Google maps on our phones, but it was burning a lot of our battery, so this was such a treat!
—When you come back to your room at any point in the day, you’re treated with a “slushie of the day”! Most places in Morocco don’t serve anything with ice, so when we first got this at Riad Dar Anika, we were so pleasantly surprised. They are delicious and we loved the mint flavor best.
—Going off the ice commentary, Riad Dar Anika has a very strong water filtration system so it’s safe to brush your teeth, have their slushy drinks, open your mouth in the shower, etc.
—Breakfast is an intense spread that starts with soup (different than we are used to, but delightfully good), warm bread and yogurt. Then they bring eggs any way you like them, traditional Moroccan pancakes, jams, and finally – fruit. I was really worried, because we woulds struggle to eat it all, but the leftover food gets sent home with the staff for their families. None of it goes to waste!
If you’re looking for a riad in Marrakech that is clean, friendly and in the perfect location, Riad Dar Anika is for you!