Monthly Archives: April 2015

Riad 72 Marrakech

Where to stay in Marrakech: Riad 72

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If you are planning a short break to Marrakech I recommend staying in a Riad in the Medina rather than a large hotel in a newer part of town.  It’s the best way to soak up the atmosphere, get a sense of the history and the architecture and a glimpse of local life.

 

I’ve stayed in a few Riads in Marrakech over the years and Riad 72 surpasses them all.  From the moment you arrive you leave the hassles of life behind.  You are greeted by the wonderful Stephania, the general manager, and her staff who give you orange water and towels to freshen up and a welcoming Moroccan mint tea and pastries.  Stephania and her team have thought of everything to make your stay enjoyable.  If it’s your first time in the city they can advise you on where to go and can arrange trips outside the city into the Atlas mountains, to the coast etc.  They will also provide you with a mobile phone in case you get lost or have any problems during your stay.  The Riad is situated within the Bab Doukkala neighborhood, part of the Medina, so it is within easy walking distance to the souks and Gueliz but far enough away to ensure some peace and tranquillity.

 

The Riad itself is over one hundred years old and has been tastefully and elegantly restored.  The owner , Giovanna, is an Italian photographer with a keen eye for interiors.  The decor is pared back but sophisticated giving the architecture, the intricately carved wooden lattice screens, the carved wooden ceilings and the ornate plaster work centre stage.  There are seven bedrooms and each one has been beautifully decorated with textiles, lights and carved furnishings.

 

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As well as serving a wonderful breakfast of pastries, yoghurt and honey  the Riad has its own restaurant, La Table du Riad, and the food, a contemporary twist on traditional Moroccan cuisine, is delicious.  There are lots of great restaurants in Marrakech but if you have spent a long day outside the city sightseeing, or in my case sourcing, it is nice to be able to return to your Riad and relax watching the sunset from the rooftop terrace with a glass of wine before dinner.

 

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Finally I have to mention the wonderful in-house spa.  The Riad has a traditional hammam, like a steam room, and after a day in the hustle and bustle and heat of the souks there is nothing more relaxing than having a traditional hammam treatment (more about that in a later post) followed by a full body massage.

Photography: Riad 72 and top and bottom Maud interiors

More information is available on the Riad’s website.

 

Baking bread in the Medina

 

Communal Bread Ovens in the Medina, Marrakech

 

Moroccan bread or Khobz, is an important part of the country’s cuisine.  It’s a flatbread, made with white or wholewheat flour with a thick crust and it’s served at every meal.   It is used like a utensil to scoop food and  to soak up the delicious tajine sauces.  Not all families within the Marrakech Medina (and other cities in Morocco) have ovens so if you wander through the streets in the morning you may see women, or sometimes children, carrying metal trays of dough, biscuits or tajines to the communal bread oven.   Every district or neighbourhood has a communal bread oven, a hammam (one male and one female) often alongside the oven to share the heat source, and a mosque. The locals drop off the dough with the baker and for a few dirhams he bakes their bread or biscuits or tajines.

 

I like to stay in the Medina when I am visiting Marrakech so that I can explore the narrow streets and get a glimpse of local life.  These shots are from the communal bread oven near Riad 72 (more about this wonderful Riad in a later post) in Bab Doukkala in the Medina.

 

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Wajid, the baker, with Khobz dough ready for baking.

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Making room for more bread.

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 Flatbread cooling on the tiles and on the racks waiting for collection.  Typical Moroccan biscuits ready for collection far right.

 

Traditionally Moroccans have used exotic, brightly coloured, lidded baskets called tbiqa to store the bread.  These hand-woven baskets are made from palm leaf, which is covered in wool in a variety of colour combinations and patterns.  You can see our selection of these quirky  baskets here.

 

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 Moroccan bread baskets