Facing the north side of the Cathedral, and going almost unnoticed, there is a small passage that leads to the Powder Tower or Mihulka, built in the late 15th Century as part of the of the castle´s defenses. Later it became the workshop of the canyons bell-founder, Thomas Jaros, head of the cathedral bells. The alchemists who worked for Rudolf II also worked here. Today it houses an exhibition on the military history of the castle, and military police uniforms. The interior is something you may want to skip if you have no particular interest in military paraphernalia. Honestly, I went because it was included in the Prague Card and was a good deal.
The Central Palace Hotel is next to the Jemaa el Fna square in Marrakesh in the Riad Zitoun district. It is a bit older, dating from before when riads were in fashion, and therefore, has more charm. It is less commercial than some new riads. Less luxurious too, but the prices are in line with that. There is a nice patio with greenery all around where you can have your meals. The reception offers services such as book tours, money exchange, and hamam and massage recommendations ... also laundry service. The regular rooms cost 15 euros per night, with a shared bathroom. If you want a private bathroom it is 20 or 25 euros per night. There is a nicer suite, 40 euros. Breakfast costs 25 dirhams per day.
The Afriquia hotel is one of the most famous of the cheap hotels located near the Bab Agnaou. Five minutes from the Jemaa el Fna square, and also near the bus stops, it has the perfect location if it's your first time in Marrakech. While it doesn't have the same charm of the riads, it's an old house with beautiful tiles and a lovely terrace. Prices are low, about 25 euros for a double room with a shower, but without breakfast included. During the offseason, they make additional discounts. The rooms are simple, clean, and it's a cool place. It may be a bit noisy considering its proximity to the square.
This is probably one of the best hotels in Marrakech, offering all you could need for a great holiday: a nice, quiet environment, spacious rooms, and friendly service. The hotel boasts 250 air-conditioned rooms, several restaurants (gourmet, a la carte, traditional Moroccan, snacks), a hydrotherapy centre with sauna, massages, and more, a majestic pool, tennis court, and gym. There are free shuttle buses, and the hotel is thirty minutes from the Jemaa El Fna. Despite having read some negative reviews online, I have to say that this is undoubtedly the best hotel I know in Marrakech.
The Riad Monceau is a small luxury hotel located at the bottom of the Riad Zitoun neighborhood. It is a very charming place, organized around a central courtyard with a swimming pool. The fine Moorish style of architecture makes it an ideal spot to spend your honeymoon. The building was renovated in 2002, with perfect details. A double room costs 155 euros a night, the superior suites 185 and 255. You can rent the whole riad if you're travelling in a large group of family and friends. They will come to get you at the airport, which is a great service, as there are plenty of illegal taxi touts jostling for business there.
Riad Bayti is a very affordable option if you want to enjoy a traditional riad experience in the Marrakech Medina. It's located in the middle of the spice souk so you're greeted by an explosion of sights, sounds, and scents...seriously, sensory overload! But, when you enter you find a beautiful old mansion with a peaceful interior courtyard and fountain. The riad has a lovely rooftop terrace for breakfast that has nice views of the medina. The owner of the riad Bayti is a very nice Chilean named Diego who recommended a very good restaurant for dinner: Le Tobsil.
This small hotel is on the Fhal Zefriti Street, 3 minutes walk from the square. It's not the most touristy part of town - a shopping area that's not very residential. The street links the Jemaa el Fna square with the Koutoubia Mosque. You can see the Koutoubia from some rooms. It is a clean, cheap place where you have to share the shower between several rooms. Rooms cost between 5 and 10 euros per person, depending on the season. The luxurious Jardines de la Koutoubia are next door. For other cheap small hotels, look in Kedim Zitoun district, south of the square.
The Jardins of Koutoubia can be found in Ksour neighbourhood, where the most luxurious hotels are concentrated. The gardens are next to the Koutoubia Mosque, five minutes walk from the Jemaa el Fna. The rooms have modern furnishings, and you can normally expect to pay at least 200 euros a night to stay here, but you can get cheaper packages if you stay at least three days. The rooms have a minimalist style, which contrasts with the traditional riads, but they retain some Arab details, like the doors, and an amazing bathroom. The royal suite costs more than 1,200 euros per night. The grounds of the hotel have a magnificent pool.
Hotel CTM is a great hotel in the Jemaa el Fna, a favourite spot for tourists on a budget. The location is great, but the rooms can be quite noisy. Don't forget that the square fills up every night with food stalls, snake charmers, dancing, and music - so this isn't a quiet place to sleep. But the hotel has many advantages, including fantastic views from the terrace. The rooms cost between 25 and 40 euros - you can do better for this price; you're paying for the view. There's a small cafe downstairs.
The Hotel de la Paix is located across the street from Bab Agnaou, where you will find a lot of cheap hotels. They charge 20 euros for a double room. Some of the rooms do not have private bathrooms and are even cheaper. On the terrace you can see the medina, with a view of the Koutoubia minaret and Jemaa el Fna. The square is a two minute walk away, and at night you may have some noise. It's a clean place, where you find backpackers returning from the desert or the coast, and you can exchange travel tips. The hotel organizes trips of two or three days into the interior of the country.
Another small hotel south of the Jemaa el Fna Plaza, cheap and good for the price. It does not have a website so you can not book online, but there are so many hotels around that travelers will not spend much time looking for alternative accommodations if the rooms are full. It costs around 20 euros per night for a double room, simple, and no breakfast.
To reach Riad Belleville, you have to take Riad Zitoune Lakdim street. It is an old city palace that has been converted into a charming home with fruit trees. The decor is simple and traditional. A single room costs 25 euros, a double 30 euros, and a triple 40 euros. Breakfast is included, and you can eat it on the terrace overlooking the medina. The owners are friendly. It's a bit bigger than most riads, but it's not noisy or crowded.
It's easy to get confused - Zinoun Riad is in the district of Riad Zitoun! It is at the bottom of a small quiet street, but quite well signposted so you can get there from the Jemaa El Fna square without difficulty. It's a charming, French-organised business arranged around a central courtyard, where you can eat your meals. If you ask for it in the morning, then you'll come home in the evening to a delicious, traditional dinner. There are three standard rooms with private bathroms, tastefully furnished. The bathrooms have nice tiles. Then there are suites - a total of only 8 rooms, good value for the service they give, and very well located for exploring the medina.
The baraka of Marrakech riad is in the south of the city, next to the old Jewish quarter of Mellah. It is a good location, a 10-minute walk from the Jemaa el Fna square. It is an old renovated riad, a very quiet place with only 5 rooms. All the rooms have a private bathroom, and are arranged around a central courtyard where you can have breakfast. Riad staff can also prepare dinner if desired. The decor is beautifully coloured in the Moroccan style. It's a good place for honeymoons and romantic holidays. For a double room, the prices vary between 70 and 100 euros per night, depending on season. You can rent the whole riad with friends.
It is very close to the Jemaa el Fna Plaza, the center of life in Marrakesh, located in an eighteenth century building. It has five en suite rooms in the Moroccan style. Each room has its own name: Secret of the Desert, Rose Water ... It also has a courtyard with a fountain, a dining room, and a terrace with hammocks. The staff are lovely. Along with this I believe it was updated just a few months ago.
After searching a lot of places to stay in Marrakech, we decided on Riad Johenna for the low price and its location right next to the Jemaa el Fnaa. We were a big group so we decided to rent out the riad completely, a good idea as we could have private drinks in our pajamas on the rooftop terrace! The owners are very nice and they picked us up from the airport in their van for a small fee. That was a nice touch as it's really easy to get lost in the medina at night! The owner is a Moroccan-German girl who speaks English perfectly and she was very helpful with giving us tips about Moroccan culture and customs. She also offered to organize some day trips but we were there for only a couple of days so we didn't have time.
A big mistake that many people make when visiting Morocco is staying in a large modern hotel outside of the medina. The better choice is staying at one of the riads that you find scattered about the medinas of Marrakech, Fez, Tangier, and other Moroccan cities. I myself stayed at the Riad Tzarra in the heart of the Marrakech Medina. It's easy to get lost in the medina and it's difficult to find the riad at first, but that's part of the charm of Marrakech! From the riad it only takes 5 minutes to walk to the famous Jaama El Fnaa. It's a very elegant and tastefully decorated riad with 4 rooms (called Africa, Tibet, Persia and the Colonial suite) that are all painted and decorated in different styles. Of the things I liked most was the warm welcoming service and the breakfasts served next to the pool in the courtyard.
Riad Number 10 is a traditional riad with exquisite Moroccan decor located only a 10 minutes' walk from the famous Jemaa el Fnaa. The price depends on the size of the rooms and decor (whether you want a fireplace, an exterior room, or one that leads directly to the rooftop). The interior rooms are cute and more pleasant in the summer because they stay cooler. Our room, for example, didn't have air conditioning but we didn't need it. Breakfasts are included in the price of the room and are served on the terrace with beautiful views of the city. There is an airport shuttle, but we preferred the bus as it's more authentic and a lot cheaper (only 30 cents!) If you're going to the airport at night, however, the shuttle might be a good option if only to save you the hassle or haggling with the taxi drivers. The owner is a French ex-pat who has lived in Morocco for fifteen years and he made a very good impression on us. Oh, and there's a puppy which wanders around the riad in case you're allergic to dogs.
We had a dream stay at Palais Mehdi. The Palais Mehdi is a hotel with berber-style tent suites located in the Palmerie, a true oasis of peace and quiet far from the bustle and chaos of the medina. The tents themselves are stunning. We chose the Royal tent which measured 12 meters by 6 meters, not including the bathroom. The gourmet restaurant is very good but a bit expensive, however the service was stellar and they offered to serve our meals anywhere on the premises. It's like something out of a thousand and one nights. Highly recommended.
Morocco is an incredible country but you need to really live it and experience it to fully understand its charms. There's no better place to experience Marrakech than by staying in a charming old riad like La Sultana Marrakech in the heart of the Medina :).