Riad Sakkan is a sultry, smouldering boutique hidey-hole tucked away in the Mouassine district of Marrakech’s famous medina. Traditional elements – heavy carved wooden doors and shutters, remarkable tilework – are brought up to date in striking juxtaposition with the highly individual, modern stylings that you find around each corner. The riad centres around two soothing courtyard gardens, one with a heated pool bordered with chequerboard tile and overlooked by skyward-climbing greenery, the other with a babbling fountain and potted palm and banana trees. The rooftop houses the restaurant and bar, serving up magnificent city views over the medina’s many highlights, including the minaret of the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque.
There are 12 rooms, including two suites. Each has been individually reimagined to tell its own visual story – whether that’s with dramatic colour palettes or unique artistic pieces that make the space pop.
While checking in is an ultra-flexible affair and you’re generally welcome to arrive around the clock (simply talk to the concierge in advance), check-out is no later than 11am.
Double rooms from £161.38 (€180), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.00 per person per night on check-out and an additional service charge of 5% per person per night on check-out.
Rates include a locally sourced continental breakfast with healthy intentions. From 8 to 11.30 am, try home-baked multigrain breads, honey, cheeses, yoghurt and fruit. You can also opt for eggs however you like ‘em, Nespresso coffee, tea and juice.
At the hotel
Free WiFi, concierge service, including hotel transfers, laundry service. In rooms: water and fruit, daily home-made cake and cookies at teatime, free bottled water, free WiFi, air conditioning, in-room safe, bathrobes, hairdryer, Botanika bath products.
Our favourite rooms
For maximum drama, check into the standout black Junior Suite, a sparsely adorned sanctuary with dark, moody walls and a gleaming copper in-room tub tucked behind a trellis screen. It’s definitely the most unusual room in the riad, but take the full suite upgrade if you need more space to spread out.
The open-air heated pool sits at the core of the riad in the larger courtyard. This is one of the most enticing spots on the premises, surrounded by vegetation and climbing plants scaling the lofty walls. Swimming hours are 7am to 9pm.
The hotel partners with a local hammam and spa to cater for guests’ R&R needs. There’s no gym on site, but guests can use the rooftop area for yoga practice with the best view in town.
A bottomless tote to stuff full of souk spoils and your best poker face for closing each deal.
Because of the layout of the riad, the hotel is not suitable for wheelchair users
The standard efficient towel-use approach applies here to sidestep wasteful over-washing, bottled drinks all come in recyclable glass and the hotel makes good use of solar power. All suppliers for the hotel are local, and the kitchen picks fresh organic veg and avoids industrially farmed meat in its menus.
The best vantage point is an open-air balcony table with views across the palm-studded rooftop and down over the gorgeous arches and tilework of the courtyard below.
Understated elegance, with a flash of vintage scarf.
The Rooftop is an elegant, elevated space combining the hotel restaurant, bar and lounge. The open-air terrace offers views over the medina and has a fountain and fireplace, by which you’re welcome to lounge all day long. Food is served up here for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, which you can enjoy outdoors among the springy palm fronds or within, where a welcoming modern Moroccan interior awaits, featuring bold stripes and super-soft lighting. Watch your meal come into being in the open kitchen, where Chef Kenza presides over a menu of modern Moroccan cuisine and European-inspired bistrot dishes. For us, top pick is the beef tagine with candied apricots and honey.
Part of the restaurant, the bar serves snacks including delicious briouates, pastry parcels stuffed with tempting sweet or savoury fillings. The signature drink is the ultra-refreshing Hibiscus Fizz, a mix of hibiscus, egg white, cane sugar, strawberry and soda. Nothing beats a rooftop seat here with a view of the lowering sun and the Atlas Mountains while listening to the call to evening prayers.
Brunch is served from 10am to 12.30pm, lunch from 1 to 4pm, afternoon tea from 4 to 6 pm and dinner from 8 to 10pm. The bar closes at 11pm.
You can order in-room meals from the restaurant menu between 8am and 2pm (and other times upon request).
Riad Sakkan is in the Mouassine district of the meandering ochre marvel of Marrakech medina.
Marrakech Menara airport is 20 minutes away by car. You can pre-book a hotel transfer for 20 euros a person.
Marrakech Central station is three kilometres away. Hotel transfers are available for 15 euros a person.
The private car park is located 350 metres from the hotel and costs 20 euros per day (to be arranged in advance).
Worth getting out of bed for
Don’t miss Le Jardin Secret, a riad museum and garden, formerly the private domain of several key political figures, that’s now open to the public. Also worth a mooch is the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech, a museum celebrating the life and work of the lauded French designer, with a gift shop full of fashiony souvenirs. Call in for a wake-up call at the enlivening Bacha Coffee emporium, where the shelves are stacked to the ceiling with beans and all the coffee-making accoutrements you never knew you needed for your morning cup.
Dine in the open air at the rooftop Terrasse des Epices with a view of the Koutoubia Mosque and the Atlas Mountains. The menu blends Mediterranean and Moroccan influences for an appetising lunch in the sun or dinner beneath the stars. The glorious riad garden setting of Le Jardin is enough of a sell for a visit, but the menu of market-fresh dishes, including tantalising briouates, grills and tagines, will bring you back again. For a fine vegetarian feed, reserve your table at La Famille and sample the daily-changing menu at a table set among fragrant lemon trees.
Cocktails, dancers, music – Comptoir Darna is a favourite party spot for good reason. Great for a meal, a romantic drink, or a bigger celebration.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this high-walled hideaway in the Marrakech medina and unpacked their leather babouches and rainbow-paned lanterns, a full account of their relaxing riad stay will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Riad Sakkan in Marrakech…
Enter this seemingly traditional Moroccan riad through its robust, richly decorated wooden door to be welcomed by gentle music and a feeling of artful zen. There’s a real sense of leaving behind the frenetic medina walkways, with the sounds of beeping scooters and rolling hand carts dissolving, as you arrive into this calm shelter-like space. The high walls, lush plants and gentle arches harbouring appealing nooks provide intimacy, but with a progressive edge courtesy of the arresting modern photography. First stop might be a day bed atop the grand monochrome tiles framing the open-air pool. Or maybe the rooftop terrace with its fireplace and far-reaching views. Or perhaps you’ll find yourself quietly drinking in your one-of-a-kind private quarters; each room presents a different design perspective, with custom decor that guarantees your stay won’t be a carbon copy of your neighbour’s.