Photo courtesy of Riad Kniza
Haj Mohamed has made his name both as one of Marrakech’s top antique dealers and, for over three decades, one of its top tour guides, with clients ranging from U.S. presidents to celebrities like Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt. Both of his passions come together at his 11-room hotel, which he crafted with teams of skilled artisans and furnished himself. Set in an 18th-century riad, it features a traditional central courtyard and pool as well as warm, intimate guestrooms, complete with rich textiles, carved wooden doors, and cushy, low-slung seating. The same welcoming aesthetic can be found in the hotel’s common spaces, which include a small plunge pool, various pillow-laden lounges, a rooftop terrace, and a courtyard where guests can enjoy live music. Riad Kniza is also known for its gourmet Moroccan restaurant, which features just nine tables and requires reservations at least one day in advance, as the chef purchases ingredients fresh from the markets each morning.
By Sandra Ramani, AFAR Contributor
Riad Kniza is a restored 18th-century riad—a traditional Moroccan house built around an open courtyard—in the Marrakesh old medina. A charming boutique hotel with only 11 rooms, it’s also home to one of the best restaurants in Marrakesh. It does take some planning to eat there, especially if you aren’t a guest: There are only nine tables, and you need to place your order at least one day in advance, so the chef can sniff out the freshest of the fresh ingredients for you at the morning markets. The food is traditional Moroccan, including dishes such as tagine, couscous, and pastilla, and the multi-course tasting menu is delightful. Luckily, the surroundings match the quality of the food, with the choice of dining inside in opulence or outside on the romantic roof terrace, with views over the city. And, if you want to take your dishes home with you, Riad Kniza also offers cooking classes.
By AFAR Traveler, AFAR Contributor
Riad Kniza, Marrakech, Morocco
From the first pouring of mint tea, to roses floating in the fountain, to the perfumed sheets, every detail at Riad Kniza was...sensuous and romantic as all get out! In the heart of the medina is this tranquil 18th-century haven. It's brimming with handmade antiques. The Yakout suite was like a palace in itself: a tiled fireplace, a carved ceiling and lanterns. We met the antiques dealer Haj Mohamed at the hamam. There's no menu. The staff asks what you're in the mood to eat. Each meal is prepared with fresh ingredients from the market, so order a couple hours in advance! We dined on tagines and kebabs on the roof terrace. Best table in town! Views of the moon over the Atlas Mountains and echoes of the call to prayer from the Koutoubia Mosque. Cue the tunes: www.riadkniza.com/gnawa-music.php 34 Derb l'Hotel, Bab Doukala 212/(0) 52-437-942
By Jack Barr, AFAR Local Expert
Tea Ceremony: Moroccan Mint Tea
Fresh spearmint leaves, dried tea leaves, sugar and boiling water are prepared in a silver pot and ceremoniously poured into delicate, ornate glasses. The pouring is done the traditional way, from a height of twelve or so inches. The tea is fragrant and sweet. In the heart of the Medina, behind the ancient riad walls, tea time is regal and refreshing.
By Jack Barr, AFAR Local Expert
The first night in Marrakech, we were lucky enough to get back to the riad in time to catch the sunset and the calls to prayer from the scenic vantage of the roof. After cocktails, a remarkable cous cous dinner and getting to know each other (I was on a photography course trip) I carefully made my way down the winding tiled stairs to the bathroom, turned on the light and was greeted by the beautiful pattern streaming from the cutout wall sconce. I was to see this type of stunning, unlikely art in several places in the city over the course of my stay.
Dining by candle-light
There’s plenty of fun to be had eating Marrakesh’s street food, but sometimes the heart and the stomach craves something a little more cosy. Most good riads offer home-cooked dinners for those nights when you want to stay in and eat in your private salon. In fact, many of the best riads double-up as intimate restaurants and are particularly known for their imaginative approaches to modern Moroccan cuisine. Splurge on that special dinner for two at places like Riad Kniza, Maison Arabe, Pepe Nero and Dar Fenn – the latter is also a delightful place for pre-dinner cocktails.
By Paul Clammer
View from the roof of the Hotel Kniza, Marrakesh
An absolutely lovely hotel, in all ways, Riad Kniza was gracious, beautifully restored, and tempting to never leave! The small hamman is a gem! Have them order you some of their special black soap to take home. (Much better than the offerings in the medina.) The roof is the spot for relaxing and breakfast. The high Atlas are visible on a clear day, as well as the rooftop satellite dishes. It's in the heart of the medina, so you can get lost immediately when you exit the door.
The doors to our room, Riad Kniza.
Doors. Doors are so important in Morocco. These magnificent doors opened to our sitting area and bedroom. Splendid. Everything about the Riad Kniza was wonderful, the small intimate hammam, the pool, the food, the room, the gracious hosts and the roof top breakfasts and views. Highly recommended.
34 Derb l'Hotel Bab Doukala، مراكش 40000, Morocco
Sun - Sat 9am - 5pm