Are you wondering where to stay in Marrakech? Each neighborhood in Marrakech has its own unique feel and vibe, its downsides and advantages. Check out this guide for the main areas to stay in Marrakech and find out their pros and cons.
Conjuring images of exotically bejeweled belly dancers and the vast expanses of the Saharan desert, the north African country of Morocco is a land of varied landscape and a melting pot of cultures from around the world.
At its center is the ever-popular destination, Marrakech, a vibrant city that exudes a mystical ambiance and beckons world travelers to venture down the winding paths of its centuries-old medina.
Visitors to the city will find themselves inundated with choices in every regard: world-class museums, decadent dining, and indulgent day spas that incorporate the techniques of the country’s ancient hammams where men and women would go their separate ways to enjoy the everyday luxury of steamy baths and body scrubs.
Where to Stay in Marrakech: Best areas to stay in Marrakech
While the most recognizable part of the city is the ancient walled medina — a UNESCO world heritage site, and a must-see attraction for any visitor — there is much more to the city expanding past these walls.
Luxurious riads abound in all of the best areas to stay in Marrakech, while over-the-top accommodations can also be found in select neighborhoods.
The ancient Medina is arguably one of the best places to stay in Marrakech, shrouded behind over 20 kilometers of brick, reaching 9 meters high, once intended to protect those living within.
It is the heart of the city, and its vibrant energy attracts visitors hoping to experience the fervent vitality that defines this neighborhood. Many of the city’s top attractions can be found within the Medina, including:
- the Bahia Palace, where whimsical architecture and brightly colored motifs are an Instagram dream;
- the Djemaa El Fna, the city’s central square where snake charmers and henna artists are only a few of the colorful characters who populate the space;
- and the Marrakech Museum, where visitors will find art, books, jewelry, and more, crafted by a wide range of cultures who have called the city home throughout the centuries.
The Medina is also home to the various souks, or markets, where visitors can haggle with shopkeepers for a handwoven rug or a pair of decorative moccasins before perusing the colorful mounds of spices and teas laid out for shoppers to inspect.
While meandering the markets, visitors will find part of the fun of exploring the city is simply wandering the winding streets and finding a charming cafe that sits above the streets and offers incredible views of the Koutoubia Mosque.
Transportation to and from the most popular attractions can typically be done on foot when staying in the Medina, while taxis may be a necessity to access attractions outside the city walls.
Fortunately, the staff at many riads can help guests arrange airport transfers and other transportation for a small fee.
Travelers who stay within the Medina will be spoilt for choice of accommodations: locally operated riads line the streets, while spacious apartments and villas are also available to rent.
Many of the best riads — those with the highest quality service, most desirable amenities, and best location — tend to fill up quickly because this type of accommodation tends to have fewer rooms than traditional hotels. It is best to book early, especially if budget is a concern.
For the absolute best deals, travelers can find a handful of hostels in the Medina, trading off private rooms and toilets for exceptional deals. While a few accommodations advertise themselves as hotels, they are more similar to a bed and breakfast or riad since they are located within a UNESCO world heritage site.
Most accommodations within the Medina are reasonably priced, but there are several high-end riads that carry heftier price tags that reflect the upscale services and amenities available.
The Kasbah is technically a sub-neighborhood of the Medina, located near the south gate that was specifically designated as the royal kasbah entrance.
Because it is a part of the larger Medina, the neighborhood benefits from many of the same charms and advantages as the Medina; however, accommodations are more limited within the smaller space.
One attraction, in particular, that is located directly in the Kasbah district of the Medina is the Saadian Tombs, a beautifully ornate relic of the Saadian dynasty made of Italian Carrara marble and solid gold. The tombs were all but forgotten until being rediscovered in 1917, and have since been carefully restored.
After a day of sightseeing, many individuals retreat to their riads for an on-site dinner. In the Kasbah neighborhood, there are also a handful of stand-alone restaurants, giving those staying in the neighborhood even more choices.
Much like the larger Medina, it is possible to walk to most attractions from the Kasbah, making this neighborhood one of the best places to stay in Marrakech in terms of location.
There are two major public transport stops, with several bus lines running through them, making it easy for those staying in the area to move about when they tire of walking. Riads are the primary accommodation in this area, and most are clustered around the Saadian Tombs.
Prices are average for Marrakech, with few boasting neither over-the-top-luxury nor super budget prices. Accommodation in this neighborhood is enjoyable, and the riads tend to be, for the most part, highly rated for location, service, and comfort.
Travelers with an interest in history will want to visit the Mellah neighborhood of Marrakech, and many who visit will find it a charming option when considering where to stay in Marrakech.
The Mellah is the city’s old Jewish district, and it serves as an excellent reminder of the ever-changing cultural melding that has defined the city’s past. Synagogues and shrines are a stark contrast to the dominant Islamic architecture and decorative arts outside of this neighborhood, and the old wooden buildings located here add to the historic atmosphere.
Visitors can stop by the Jewish cemetery while in the neighborhood, or explore the souks, of which the spice markets are particularly notable.
One of the most beautiful museums in the district is the Heritage Museum, a carefully restored 17th-century riad showcasing a family’s collection of relics, including tribal Jewelry, Andalusian embroidery, and Jewish artifacts.
After visiting the display halls, guests can retreat to the rooftop terrace for incredible views of the nearby Jemaa El Fna square.
The old Jewish quarter is set just southeast of the medina, and accommodation options are plentiful. Proximity to the medina means it is very possible to get around on foot when staying in the Mellah district; additionally, public transport stops are fairly frequent, especially on the outskirts of the neighborhood.
When deciding between areas to stay in Marrakech, Mellah makes for a well-rounded choice:
- the neighborhood features plentiful riads from which to choose, many of which boast some luxurious amenities including hammams, dining, and pools;
- the location is convenient to the medina, as well as close to various other attractions;
- and the prices are appropriate for the level of comfort.
Read also: Best things to see and do in Marrakech
Attracting a primarily young and stylish crowd, the Hivernage neighborhood offers spectacular decadence and upscale bars and restaurants nestled among some of the most expensive accommodations in Marrakech.
The city’s first casino brought this neighborhood to life, and it has since become a high-end oasis reaching to the edges of the Agdal district.
Hivernage is accented by abundant green spaces including Park Lalla Hasna and Cyber Park; during the day, it appears like a lush green suburb, but at night, the neighborhood comes alive thanks to the high concentration of nightclubs and luxury hotels, often filled with visitors willing to splurge on their travels.
Instagram-worthy restaurants in this area boast stunning interiors and international menus, with plenty of traditional Moroccan offerings also available. Proximity to the city center makes this neighborhood a top choice for luxury travelers.
Affordable accommodation is available in the Hivernage neighborhood, but the true appeal of the district is its expensive elegance; this is the place to stay for an over-the-top Marrakech vacation.
It’s important to remember, however, that while this neighborhood has a reputation for luxurious accommodations, high-end luxury in Marrakech is often much more affordable than elsewhere in the world. Travelers will get more bang for their buck when splurging in the Red City.
While one of the world’s top (and most expensive) hotels is located in Hivernage, there are numerous riads and hotels in this neighborhood that would be seen as a bargain elsewhere in the world, considering the high-end amenities.
From on-site spas to relaxing pools, Hivernage is the neighborhood where visitors go to treat themselves.
The young and hip neighborhood of Gueliz is a stark contrast from the traditional mystique of Marrakech’s ancient medina, and it is often referred to as the European quarter. Radiating from the central plaza, the neighborhood is anchored by the Parc El Harti and is a hotspot for upscale dining restaurants and cafes.
Unlike the markets in the historic city center, shops in the Gueliz district are more upscale, and the shop owners do not encourage haggling to get the best price.
Art galleries dot the landscape, and the MACMA Museum of Marrakech features works by historic and contemporary Moroccan artists alongside other cultural exhibits.
The most notable feature of this neighborhood is the relative abundance of bars and nightclubs; with a majority Islamic population in Marrakech, bars and other venues serving alcohol can be sparse, but the Gueliz district is a hot spot for live music and creative cocktails.
This is one of the best places to stay in Marrakech for travelers hoping to get a glimpse into the nightlife of this vibrant city without splurging in Hivernage.
Hotels and apartment-style accommodations are among the most common lodging found in the Gueliz district, and room rates are, for the most part, very affordable. Some of the hotels feature spas that are much more budget-friendly than some of the more famous and photographed hammams at the city’s luxury hotels.
There are also several riads located throughout this neighborhood, and the converted homes are ideal for guests who want a more personal experience.
Compared to other neighborhoods, there is an abundance of public transportation options, which also make it easy to travel from top attractions back to accommodations in Gueliz.
It’s possible to experience the best of Morocco’s adventure activities without ever truly leaving the Red City. Palmeraie is the neighborhood that makes it possible to ride dirt bikes and camels without traveling hours into the desert on a guided tour.
A picturesque plot of palm trees appearing somewhat like a desert mirage defines this neighborhood that is known for exquisite hotels and upscale eateries.
Individuals deciding where to stay in Marrakech might find this area desirable for its wide array of activities, its quiet location outside of the city, and its availability of nightlife venues.
In addition to riding camels and quad bikes through the sand, travelers staying in Palmeraie can also enjoy the area’s golf course for a relaxing day away from the bustling city.
Set further out than other neighborhoods, transportation is an important consideration when staying in Palmeraie. Renting a car can be risky in the busy streets of Marrakech, but taxis and rideshare services can make staying in this neighborhood more accessible.
It is also possible to check with the hotel or riad whether shuttle service is available to and from the airport for those arriving via the Marrakech Menara Airport.
Accommodations lining the Jardins de la Palmeraie can be expensive, especially considering room rates even within the city can be well under $100 per night. These properties tend to exude luxury and offer large swimming pools and other upscale amenities.
Apartment rentals in this neighborhood are also expensive, boasting many of the same amenities as the luxury hotels. Properties located farther from the palms tend to be less expensive, but in general, the area is intended for travelers willing to spend more for a more indulgent stay.
Situated south of the city center, the Agdal neighborhood is a comparatively new suburb that includes areas just outside the Medina walls stretching as far out as 20 minutes’ drive from the city center.
Deciding where to stay in Marrakech within the Agdal neighborhood can be difficult due to the vast number of accommodation options in this district.
The primary type of lodging is independently owned riads, common throughout most neighborhoods, many of which include breakfast in the cost of the room rate.
Some of these riads also offer a small pool or hot tub, perfect for retreating to after a long day of sightseeing. Mixed in with the riads, travelers can find a handful of hostels in this neighborhood, but prices at riads are very reasonable and often a better value.
Several hotels and villas are also available in Agdal, with the best public transportation options located closest to the Medina.
The Agdal is one of the best areas to stay in Marrakech for visitors who wish to be close to the city center without being too close to the noise that comes with bustling markets filled to the brim with people. It’s also a great place for budget travelers.
Cafes and restaurants are plentiful in Agdal, although many riads have on-site restaurants, and many dining options in this area reflect that.
Jardins de l’Agdal is a large botanical garden located south of the Royal Palace, and it is easy to access when staying in Agdal.
Because the neighborhood is rather expansive and varied, visitors who prefer being close to the action will find accommodations as easily as those looking for a quieter stay.