About Riad Yasmine, Marrakech
Whether you’ll be in Morocco for mere days or much longer, you’ll most definitely make a visit to iconic Marrakech. What better place to stay than somewhere traditional in the heart of the medina to fully immerse yourself in the energy – the pulse – of Morocco. If you’re dreaming of staying in a trendy boutique hotel in an exotic destination, look no farther than Le Riad Yasmine in the heart of Marrakech. The interior design, attention to detail, and friendly, attentive staff are what make this riad stand out above the rest (that, and the fact that it’s become an Instagram sensation). Morocco has long been a destination where cultures coalesce and aesthetics from around the world blend to create an eclectic and bold style. Le Riad Yasmine is no exception.
What is a Riad?
The word riad refers to traditional Moroccan homes, or mansions, that belonged to the wealthiest of citizens. They were typically two or more stories with a central garden and fountain in a center courtyard. Many riads have been revitalized and transformed into hotels and guesthouses, and in Le Riad Yasmine’s case, it is owned by the lovely French couple, Gabriel and Alice. They have made this riad spectacularly trendy while remaining quintessential Moroccan.
Exteriors can be deceiving. When you arrive on the street, the entrance to Le Riad Yasmine is understated and easily missed, with the exception of a small sign. Once you pass through the modest entrance, a long tiled hallway with elegant curtains, rugs, and cushioned seating areas greets you. You’ll find the front desk casually situated in the corner and perhaps the owners, Alice or Gabriel, will welcome you. You’ll also likely be greeted by the resident cat, Bowie, who is a pleasure seeker to the max.
Upon my arrival, I was offered tea and cookies by the pool, which I accepted gratefully. If you’ve visited Morocco, you know what a big deal tea is, and you kind of adopt it as a custom yourself while you’re there. The center courtyard and pool at Le Riad Yasmine are instantly recognizable from popular Instagram travel accounts, and the photos don’t lie, it is truly stunning. With leafy vegetation, bold colored tiles, and day beds with sun hats, the courtyard is bright, dreamy and romantic. Riad pools are typically smaller than the hotel pools you may be used to, but with only 7 rooms, you really don’t need a massive pool area. Getting the photos I needed was a bit tricky though since I didn’t want anyone in the background. Needless to say, amateur photo shoots (including my own) are taking place throughout the day from the few guests staying there. But it’s not impossible to get your solo time at some point.
There are 7 rooms of varying size and design, but even the most affordable room is perfection. The rooms ooze classy boho chic, with attention to every little detail, as if they were the spread of an interior design magazine. Tiled showers and sinks, comfortable beds, warm and cozy lighting, and french doors that open to the stunning pool that has become an Instagram phenom itself.
To get away from the buzz of Marrakech, you can either luxuriate in the oasis of the pool or feel like you’re away from it all on the rooftop terrace. The rooftop has sweeping views of the Marrakech rooftops and provides an unparalleled spot for sunset. This is also where you will enjoy your assorted and beautifully presented breakfast in the mornings.
Speaking of food, you can reserve to have lunch or dinner at the riad. Prepared by their fabulous in-house chef, you can (and should) enjoy at least one traditional Moroccan meal here. Maybe by this point you’re already sick of chicken tajine. I understand. I’ve been there. But sitting poolside for dinner was lovely and should be taken advantage of at least once. Each dish served was delectable and the entire staff is so accommodating and attentive.
Around Riad Yasmine
Although Marrakech seems large, the medina is a compact maze of meandering alleyways and although getting lost is easy, it’s relatively quick to walk practically anywhere. The beautiful and popular Ben Youssef Madrasa is a short, approximately 5 minute walk from the riad through some beautiful streets. You may encounter locals trying to tell you that the mosque is closed or you are going the wrong way. Know where you are going, and just keep walking until you are safely in the entrance of the mosque where you pay a small entrance fee. The Marrakech Museum is also similar walking distance, as well as the Museum of Living Art. A walk to the iconic square and marketplace, Jemaa el-Fna, will take you roughly 10 minutes (perhaps a little more depending on how susceptible you are to the allure of the colorful feast of goods that the labyrinth of stalls presents). To read more about how to survive the onslaught of sensory overload in Marrakech, click HERE.
You cannot – I repeat, CANNOT – miss getting a traditional hammam. Ok, if you have incredibly sensitive skin, you actually probably should miss the hammam. But for everyone else, DO IT! Read all about WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A HAMMAM and HOW TO SURVIVE MARRAKECH. The hammam spa I recommend, which is blissfully close to Riad Yasmine, is called Farnatchi Spa. On a scale of modest to luxurious, this one is somewhere in the middle and slightly towards the latter. The whole place is beautiful and clean, the hammam itself is very well done, and my massage was great. There are some very cheap and very expensive hammams in Marrakech and this one was somewhere in the middle. I highly suggest downloading a Google offline map of Marrakech so you can easily direct yourself and get yourself back to your riad when you get turned around.
The medina of Marrakech boasts heaps of great restaurants. There are plenty in the main square, although a bit more touristy. Extremely close to the riad is an Italian/Moroccan restaurant called I Limoni, which has a stunning outdoor dining area and great reviews. Another spot with great reviews is La Ferme. Believe it or not, also nearby is an awesome Indonesian restaurant called Exotic Bali with fantastic reviews. If you’ve had enough Tajine and bread, this would be a welcome alternative. For traditional Moroccan food from a highly reviewed rooftop restaurant, head to Atay Cafe. I also happened upon a cute and colorful restaurant right by the Farnatchi Spa called Dar Tazi. I’d been dying for fresh fruit and something “desserty” for two weeks by then, and I was beyond stoked to find just that on the menu.
So much fun to be had in Marrakech. Go there and do all the things. Stay at Le Riad Yasmine and go to a hammam. Have an adventure and eat some awesome food. Let yourself get harassed by the shopkeepers in the bustling souks and for god’s sake, by my some shit.