maroc13This month we feature the history and take a look at the enchanting Moroccan Riad which is a traditional house or palace with an interior garden.

The word Riad originally comes from the Arabic word ‘ryad’ for garden and the design of these courtyard dwellings in the coastal regions of Morocco were an adaption of the Roman “Villa”. The riads focused on the interior space which allowed for family privacy and protection from the weather in Morocco.  Steeped in rich history these dwellings had belonged to the powerful families of Morocco and the best craftsmen came from all over the Mediterranean to build and design them.

Once you step through the heavy entrance gate you enter a world of emotion that protects the realm of Riads and they represent a real essence of paradise.  They are arranged in such a way that everybody might find their own private, peaceful spot either in a lounge or on a terrace.

The interior façades and walls are usually beautifully decorated, in contrast to the rather plain exterior ones.  The outside walls give nothing away and hide the extraordinary decorative splendor that lies on the other side.   In order to protect the intimacy of the Riad, the entrance itself is a winding corridor.   The courtyard ‘wast ed-dar’ is always square or rectangular and there is often a central fountain which is surrounded by a geometrical garden.   The abundance of aromatic plants and trees such as orange, lemon, mandarin or palm bring a welcome leafy shade during the summer.  The other feature of the Riad is the immense thickness of the walls, which enables the ground floor bedrooms to stay cool in the hot summer months.

Historically, the garden or courtyard was the only way in which to move from one room to another and was the center of the domestic way of life.   Most commonly the riad is on one level and occasionally two floors, sometimes with or without a gallery and a ‘douiria’, a separate private apartment.

The style of these riads has changed over the years, but the basic form is still used in designs today.   Recently, there has been a surge in interest in these beautiful properties after a wave of renovation in towns such as Marrakech, Essaouira and Tangier. Successful renovations have transformed these ancient riads into exquisite private residences and are highly sought after.   These enticing and unique properties are for all tastes and above all no two Riads are identical.

A particularly fine example of a traditional Riad is for sale through HOMEHUNTS near Jemaa El Fana square in Marrakech.   This stunning property has been tastefully and authentically renovated and offers luxurious décor and features and is currently run as a very successful guest house.


Comprising of well-proportioned rooms, the Riad has on the ground floor    two suites, a lounge with fireplace, a lovely patio with trees, a pond and a kitchen.   On the first floor there are three suites and finally, on the top floor, a large terrace with lounge area, mini-bar and the last bedroom. 
Ideally situated, this excellent investment property is to be sold as a fully operational guest house and includes all furniture.

For more information on this property and other Moroccan Riads and villas please contact