(The next post in our Travel Month series. Read the others here.). Guys, it’s hot today. Like really hot. Having just checked my thermostat, my balmy working conditions of 29 degrees inside my living room is preventing me slightly from coming up with coherent sentences. And words. Words are hard. Hilariously, London right now is about 8 degrees warmer than it was when we visited the Riad Kniza in Marrakech back in May, and with considerably more sunshine than we experienced in the typically-scorching country. Call us (un)lucky that we missed the heat. But consider us very lucky that we stumbled upon the beautiful, charming Riad Kniza* for our stay in Marrakech’s Medina.
After leaving the serene Hotel Capaldi (want to know what that was like? read the full review here), we were a bit worried about suddenly encountering the mad throng that is Marrakech’s city streets. We arrived at Bab Doukkala — one of the gates entering Marrakech’s Medina — and luckily for us, our transfer driver walked us straight to the Riad, because I don’t think we were even quite prepared for that 3-minute walk. It is bustling. Like motorbikes screeching past, animal carcases littered about, people everywhere kind of in-your-face bustling. After we settled in over a few days, we learned that the area surrounding Riad Kniza actually is the most intense part of the whole medina.
However, once you weave your way down the alley off the main road and bang on the heavy-set wood door, everything changes. Calm emerges. Serenity greets you like a welcome friend. And by ‘serenity,’ I mean the most welcoming hotel receptionists you’ll ever meet. They rushed us inside for a soothing mint tea and traditional Moroccan biscuits before getting down to business. This is the kind of hospitability I have now come to learn (and love) about Morocco.
We were told we were upgraded for our stay, which was a welcome surprise after the Capaldi. Like many riads, the rooms themselves are quite dark. But what they lack in sunshine, they make up for in spades with rich ambience.
Left: Stag has no clue I took this photo. Right: Hey gurl hey.
Red velvets, colourful mosaics, golden cushions and detailed decorations were a plenty in our two-story suite. Our room captured best that rich Moroccan decor I had expected to see during our stay. The downstairs included a lounge room and separate toilet, and upstairs was our bedroom and bathroom, complete with high rainfall shower. It was more space than we could have asked for, but exactly what we needed during this relaxing holiday.
We quickly dropped our stuff off and left to explore the rest of the Riad Kniza. Little details — such as the bubbling central fountain, numerous cushion-filled lounge rooms, and hidden seat nooks — were what made the Riad so spectacular.
The pool — while serene and calming — lacked some of the splendour you often see in pictures of Riad pools. Having so many hallways off of it, It felt more like an ‘in-between’ space rather than a destination, which may explain why Stag and I barely spent any time by the pool. (Stag will probably read this and say, “What are you talking about?! I loved the pool!” I’m the Negative Nancy of the relationship).
However, while I may not have had an instant click with the pool area, the rooftop lounge was another story. With not one but two areas to lounge, dine, and soak up the sun, the rooftop was by far the best part of the Riad Kniza. Plants and flowers were placed pretty much everywhere, which of course I loved; and the views of minarets and the Medina below were unparalleled.
My favourite part about our stay at Riad Kniza? The fact that you could have breakfast and/or a round of mint tea pretty much anywhere. We had our breakfast (while good, nowhere near the delightful deliciousness we experienced at Hotel Capaldi) two mornings in our room and one morning on the rooftop. And on one particularly cloudy day, we decided to spend a few hours whiling away the time reading on the roof with a Moroccan tea — which to our surprise arrived again with an array of traditional Moroccan biscuits.
Would we stay there again? Probably not, mostly because I am now thirsting to try every Riad in Marrakech if I can. Also, Riad Kniza does not come cheap; we could only afford this place because it was on a Secret Escapes deal. However, importantly, would we recommend others to come here? Absolutely, without a doubt!
*Riad Kniza is, well, expensive. We managed to get it half price on a Secret Escapes deal. If you want to stay at the Riad but it’s a bit out of your budget, make sure to sign up to things like SecretEscapes, TravelZoo and other travel discount websites, as you may get lucky and find a deal!
Riad Kniza Marrakech
34 Derb l’Hotel
Bab Doukala, Marrakech