Hotel Review: Riad Joya, Marrakech in Morocco
While some hotels sprawl ostentatiously across busy, touristy strips, others are far more unassuming. In the heart of Marrakech’s busy souks, concealed down a winding, narrow lane – tucked away like hidden treasure – you’ll find the boutique hotel Riad Joya. Merging chic Italian style with colourful Moroccan glamour, how does this elegant hotel measure up?
Riad Joya enjoys one of the most coveted locations in the city. Perched in the centre of the maze-like Medina, it’s just a short walk to many of Marrakech’s main attractions, including the lively markets and bustling Djemaa el Fna Square, the beating heart of the ‘Red City’. Happily, though, Riad Joya itself is located in the residential Mouassin Quarter, and its quiet serenity is the perfect respite to the city’s pleasurable chaos; returning to this tranquil hotel after a busy day haggling is like coming back to your own blissful retreat.
Style & Character
Riad Joya’s unique style differentiates it from most of Marrakech’s high-end hotels. In a city where lavish luxury is the order of the day, things are very different here. Designed in 2010 by Italian Umberto Maria Branchini, the opulence whispers rather than shouts, and a gentle stillness pervades the entire building. The neutral colour scheme is brightened by flashes of gold from glittering lanterns and warm, rich, plum-coloured fabrics.
Being a riad (a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard), one of the main points of interest is the inner courtyard, where soft cream and sand walls are offset by vivid red flowers and a grand fountain centrepiece. Adjacent to the courtyard is a cosy salon with pale wood tables and benches adorned with plump, jewel-coloured cushion. Without a hint of ostentation or pomp, this is a hotel for people who appreciate the finer things in life: it’s sleek, contemporary, stylish and subtle.
Hotel rooms in Marrakech typically aren’t too big (space is hard to find in the medina), but Riad Joya once again stands out in this respect. Its seven suites are as spacious as they are stylish… and if this wasn’t already clear, Riad Joya takes its style credential very seriously. Each suite has its own individual design taking inspiration from Morocco’s diverse history: you can stay in the gold-accented Ottoman suite, the sapphire-hued Tuareg suite, or the Grecian inspired Naos suite, with its elegant, fluttering white curtains.
Though their style and decor vary, all rooms have sitting areas, huge bathrooms with cavern-like showers, and separate dressing areas. In spite of their historical influence, there’s a very modern aesthetic throughout, and the overall look is so polished and refined that when you recline on the (enormous) beds, it’s hard not to feel like you’re in your very own photoshoot.
Service & facilities
Riad Joya is a small boutique hotel, so you won’t find hi-tech gyms or enormous swimming pools here – but if you’re looking for some gorgeous spots to kick back, you’re in luck. The panoramic roof terrace is the perfect place to begin your evening; studded with orange trees and high above the hustle and bustle, this is where to come for a glass of local wine as the sun begins to set. If you fancy catching some rays, the comfy seating is ideal for lounging on during the day, too.
Downstairs there’s a traditional hammam where you can get your scrub on; be sure to try the revitalising black-soap treatment, then wind down even further with an indulgent massage. A delicious complimentary breakfast is served every morning in the dining room, featuring Moroccan pancakes, fresh coffee, and plenty of sweet, ripe fruit brought to you by smiling servers. The friendly staff are impeccable and can’t do enough to help – and with twice-daily housekeeping and turn-down service, your suites never look less than pristine.
Your own private retreat in the heart of the medina, Riad Joya merges chic, luxurious design with peaceful ambiance and unrivalled service.
Address: 22 Derb El Hammam, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Phone: +212 5243-91624