Moroccan Riads – One Thousand & One Nights Architecture

Feel the Arabian Nights while getting inspired in a Moroccan Riad.

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to Moroccan Riads. Tourists who visited Morocco may say that a Riad is a hotel. However, the word “Riad” means “Garden” in Arabic. Although it is now closely related to tourist accommodations, it refers to a traditional Moroccan house with an interior patio around which the different rooms are organised.

Riad initially used to be open spaces, often full of plants and a fountain in the centre, symbolising the Muslim “Paradise”. Over the centuries, and especially in smaller houses, these central spaces began to be closed with a glass roof that prevented the house from being out in the open. This substantially modified its interior appearance, turning that patio into one more room in the house, now without so many plants or fountains, with furniture and full of rich materials such as tiles, painted wood or coloured glass.

Moroccan Riads are secret palaces in old medinas

The different medinas of Morocco are full of houses that might seem small and old from outside, but once you enter, you get surprised and become speechless. Most of the Riads tend to be spacious, with central courtyards and a pool, surrounded by lounges and rooms on the upper floor. Nowadays, some people acquire Riads to convert them into luxury and charming hotels to offer Moroccan experiences to their tourists. If you stay in a Riad, have in mind that you will find a traditional house in shape, decoration, architecture and every single spot in it is handbuilt respecting the artisan way.

While staying in one of these Riads, you will probably notice different architectures from different nationalities, especially Europe, Middle East and North America, visiting to get some guidlines for their clients to built their Riads in their home country.

If you are looking for inspiration to build you new house, visiting Morocco will enrich your imagination.

Elissa Mercier is a Canadien real estate agent currently working with one of Dubai's most popular real estate developers. Elissa started working in the property industry at an early age, since her parent owned a small real estate agency in Canada. Elissa is here to share all the ideas and information you need about buying your new property anywhere in the world, and share all her knowledge about architecture and property development.