“Africa touched my heart”. Hotel review: RIAD UP in Marrakech

I travelled to Marrakech the very first time eight years ago and immediately fell in love with the wonders of this city. Already back then there were lots of beautiful places to stay in the medina and as a boutique and design hotel lover I followed the scene since then. Social media gained its power and influence more and more in the recent years and thanks to Instagram I came across this charming riad, Riad Up. Every single picture I saw showed and vibrated with so much love and little details one could only wish to stay there. Dreams come true and I had the possibility to spend there three nights during my last trip end of last year.

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Riad Up is the magical result of Elsa’s deep affection for Marrakech. Originally born on Mallorca she started traveling through Africa when she moved to Paris being 19 years old. She says, that Africa simply touched her heart. The first golf war and the birth of her daughter made it difficult to continue to travel on the continent so she stayed in Paris for seven full years without coming back once. During this time she worked in the hospitality area, which turned out to be the groundwork for her own hotel in future. The always bad weather and grey sky in Paris made her pack her and her child’s suitcase, ready for a road trip direction Morocco, where the sun shines pretty much every day. Final destination: Marrakech. Elsa first established her designer bag business while already looking for the perfect location for her little hotel. As we all know, the right things happen at the right time and when you look for a real estate object it’s always the other way round: the object finds you. So the house chose her. After 2,5 years of construction work she proudly opened the doors and welcomed her first guests end of 2006. Today she lives in a house nearby but you can find her every day in the riad chatting with her guests and controlling the daily business along with her staff of five who deliver a personal and friendly service.

Riad Up is located literally just five minutes’ walk southeast of the main Djemaa el-Fna square, down a quiet derb in the bustling Kennaria neighbourhood. Nearby you’ll find the Dar Si Said Museum, the Bahia and Badii Palaces, the Kasbah and a good selection of restaurants.

The house is organised in two wings, which ensures that bedrooms are private and quiet. Of the six rooms there are three doubles, two junior suites and one large suite, the Douiria. In all of them the décor is simple, minimal and contemporary, favouring the same earthy tones and warm textures as the rest of the house. Beds sit on raised platforms and are dressed in thick woollen, Berber blankets in cream and chocolate, while thick-pile rugs tickle your toes underfoot. The terrace offers a dazzling view of the medina and is the most favored part of the house; especially guests who like to dine in the open or just enjoy a drink while they sunbathe. Breakfast on the terrace is a parade of wholesome goodies, from mountain honey and Moroccan pancakes to homemade yogurt and chilled fruit. During the colder months you can eat by the fireplace in the super cozy and comfortable living room.

Double rooms from €80 in low season; and from €90 in high season. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi. Make sure to book in advance as Elsa’s Riad Up is very famous with Marrakech – lovers and tourists.

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