It’s not uncommon for an apartment on one side of the world to look indistinguishable from one on the other—it’s just a symptom of the shrinking world we live in today. But while we’ve seen nearly identical Airbnb rentals from Paris and Tokyo to Nashville and Playa del Carmen, we’ve found one city whose offerings consistently have an unmistakable sense of place: Marrakech, Morocco. You’ll also find some slightly different rules in this country: Moroccan couples aren’t allowed to stay in the same room without proof of a marriage certificate. As long as you’re legal (or from anywhere else), you can find some pretty spectacular rentals for under $200/night. Here are 10 of our favorites.
1. Christel’s four-bedroom rental 2. Anne’s riad 3. 17th century riad 4. Rachid’s apartment 5. Douiria’s riad 6. Reb’s single room rental 7. Geraldine’s massive riad 8. Dar Ahwach rental 9. Riad Ethnique 10. Riad La Casa Del Sol
Paste’s Airbnb columnist
Erica Jackson Curran
is a former alt-weekly editor turned moonlight freelancer based in Richmond, Virginia.
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Christel's four-bedroom rental is an example of a riad, a traditional Moroccan house built around a patio with a pool. Situated at the end of a quiet alley in the Médina (old town), the spacious spot accommodates up to eight guests, with private bathrooms in each bedroom. It's air conditioned, and there's also a fully equipped kitchen, Wi-Fi, a roof terrace, and house staff. It's a 15-minute walk from Djemaa el-Fna, the city's main square where you'll find everything from hawkers to snake charmers.
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Anne's riad in safe and central Sidi Mimoun has three bedrooms, plus a sofa bed in the main living area. The rental comes with a housekeeper (and daily cleaning), breakfast (with additional meals available for an extra fee), and a driver-for-hire. The air-conditioned house has TV, Wi-Fi, a telephone, a washing machine, and maps and books to help you navigate the area. Past guests love little details like fresh flowers in every room and the housekeeper's tasty tagine.
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Francois' 17th century riad is in one of the oldest parts of the Médina. He says it belonged to the king's court jester—and that's not hard to believe, given the lavish accommodations. There are four bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, all arranged around a peaceful courtyard filled with palm and citrus trees. There are also two roof terraces with sun loungers and views of the Atlas Mountains and the Koutoubia mosque. Francois says the best thing about the house is Manar, the attentive housekeeper who makes breakfast and keeps the place tidy. She can also make traditional Moroccan meals at a cost of 5 euros/person.
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Ideal for couples, Rachid's apartment is in the heart of the Médina. It has one bedroom, a bathroom, and a living room, plus access to a terrace with a view of the old town. Guests are greeted with mint tea, plus advice on navigating the area. It's close to the souks and the Ben Youssed Madrasa, an Islamic college. This spot's a bargain at only $38/night.
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With breathtaking details from its sunny pool to the beautifully tiled bathrooms and characteristic bedrooms (all three of them), Douiria's riad offers a luxurious experience 30 seconds from Dar el-Bacha, a central and very popular hammam surrounded by shops. Past guests rave about housekeeper Naima, whose home-cooked meals are reportedly worth staying in for.
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If you don't mind sharing common areas, Reb's single room rental is a decent value at around $83/night. The riad has a lush courtyard and a peaceful terrace as well as restaurant service. There's an African art gallery in the house, and massages, excursions, and car rentals are available on request. The room currently has 370 glowing reviews, with props given to the staff, the ambience, and the super-central location.
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With room for 12 guests, Geraldine's massive riad is surprisingly affordable at around $150/night. The completely renovated house has a large furnished patio with a pool (covered in the winter), a rooftop terrace with plenty of space for lounging, and beautifully furnished bedrooms. Housekeeper Merieme prepares Moroccan crepes and orange juice every morning, and the hosts' official driver Nouredine is available to pick up guests at the airport. You'll be sharing the space with cats Kikou and Kouki.
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Rates for the Dar Ahwach rental vary based on whether you just want to rent the suite or the two additional bedrooms. It's in the historic Dar el-Bacha area, and it includes a welcome at the airport and housekeeper, plus the option of provided meals, babysitting, and excursions with a private driver. "By living in Dar Ahwach in the traditional and typical housing environment of the Médina, you penetrate into the heart of the Moroccan ancestral culture," Superhost Francoise says.
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The four-bedroom Riad Ethnique averages less than $100/night and includes breakfast and cleaning. More than 100 years old, the completely renovated space has a full kitchen, a sitting area with water spray for hot days, and private bathrooms in each bedroom. It's in the Bab Taghzoute area, just a quick walk away from the souks, Djemaa el-Fna, and the governor's palace.
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Hassan's colorful Riad La Casa Del Sol has six bedrooms that can be rented out individually and shared common spaces. It's in a high-end area of the Médina about 250 meters from Djamaa el-Fna. Housekeeper Latifa will prepare Moroccan specialties for guests, and airport transfers are provided for stays longer than five days. Past guests describe the experience as similar to a clean and friendly hostel.