I’ve just returned from spending an amazing four nights at the beautiful Riad Aya and waking up in rainy London I miss it already. It was a group trip to celebrate my 30th birthday so there were 14 of us, and we hired out the whole place. I know other reviewers have said that it gets noisy with different groups staying up at different times – I have to admit, we kept each other up a bit chatting and drinking into the early hours. Even the smallest cough travels up the open lobby area and around the two floors, but to be honest, this is riad life, and if you can’t beat em, you should probably consider joining them! I couldn’t have wished for a nicer place to spend my birthday. The staff were all incredible and Carole went out of her way to help us book restaurants and taxis when we needed them.
On the first night they made us dinner, which was gorgeous (we took all our own alcohol to make it cheaper) and breakfast was excellent every morning with pancakes, ample bread rolls and let’s not forget the Laughing Cow cheese triangles! The night before my birthday we requested eggs for breakfast, which they served us happily the next morning. Maria and Carole were even nice enough to get me a present of two gorgeous candles – such a sweet touch and totally unexpected! We spent a lot of our time lounging about on the roof terrace, although the plunge pool was freezing and definitely only for the brave. It made a really great base for meeting up, as we felt so welcome and comfortable there that we were happy to spend hours on end reading and chatting while waiting for the others to do their own thing, either getting ready for dinner somewhere else, or out seeing the sights. Plenty of photo opportunities thanks to the pretty plants, banisters and view over the rooftops for sunset.
The riad is a bit hidden away, like the others say, at the end of two tiny alleyways filled with kids and cats, but it only adds to the adventure and the look on people’s faces when they walk in and find the hidden paradise behind the big wooden door is priceless. At night, the staff light candles all over the courtyard and it looks like a fairyland! The souks are only a short walk away and easy to get lost in, but just remember a few landmarks along your way and ask a local to point you towards Dar el Bacha.
All the rooms at the riad are gorgeous – I chose “the penthouse” on the roof terrace but there was no squabbling as each is as nice as the others. There’s full A/C in each room, and plenty of hot water to go around. Tip: make sure you take earplugs. The call-to-prayer will wake you up between 4 and 5am every morning otherwise, and so will the chatter of your happy housemates!
I would definitely stay here again if I found myself back in Marrakech.