Review: Anayela (Riad), A Member of Design Hotels, Marrakech, Morocco


There is nothing more spectacular in Morocco than staying in a traditional riad guest house. When we searched far and wide, we ended up discovering the Anayela Riad. The Anayela Riad is a Member of Design Hotels which is affiated with the Marriot Bonvoy Hotel group. We would end up staying here three nights, which allowed us to earn elite qualifying nights and Marriott Bonvoy points on our stay. If you’re interested in staying here, make sure you book quickly as the property only has 5 rooms. We had an excellent and authentic stay. Read on to see how we experienced our stay.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Iceland, the United Kingdom and Morocco. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: The Anayela (Riad), a Member of Design Hotels, Marrakech, Morocco

“Staying in a Riad is a must when visiting Morocco. The Anayela is a terrific choice with an intimate five room property that is reasonably close to Djemna el Fnaa ”


I ended up picking this property as we wanted to have an authentic riad experience while we were in Morocco. A Moroccan Riad is a traditional house with an interior pool or garden. I’d often seen on travel websites that a riad stay is an experience not to be missed so we were keen to give it a try, over a typical conventional resort property. The Anayela is a 5 room property and includes return car transfers in the room rate. It only has 5 rooms so if you have your eyes set on this property, make sure you book quickly.

Arriving to the Anayela:

After arriving off of Iberia Business Class Madrid – Marrakech, we met our driver immediately outside the arrivals area. We transferred our bags to the hotel car which was a Toyota Prado Land Cruiser. After the welcomes, we started off on a 20 minute drive to the Anayela.

Departing the Aeroport Marrakech Menara
On the Road to the Anayela Riad
Passing the Walls of Marrakech

The Anayela is located inside the walled city of Marrakech. The walled city of Marrakech is about 19 km surrounding the city of Marrakech. The Anayela Riad is located on north side of the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square. As a result, we had to drive around the walled city for about 20 minutes in order to get to the riad.

The drive itself was civilized “African”, as we skirted transportation hubs, markets and bus stations on well paved roads amongst reasonably well mannered drivers. Our drive was accented with spotting a lot of colored abbeya’s on our drive in. Our driver commented that Moroccans often had been influenced by Africa, Europe and the Middle East and the values and clothing were consequently quite contemporary.

As we entered the walled city area of Marrakech, the streets got quite narrow and single laned. We ended up parking the truck where, in a first for me, our bags were loaded on to a waiting donkey kart and transported the rest of the way for us. We ended up walking the last 400 meters in towards the hotel on foot.

Entering the Walled City of Marrakech
A First for Me: Loading Up Our Donkey Valet
Walking Into Anayela Riad

It was certainly a first for me with the valet services and it certainly brought a great smile to my face.


Arriving to The Anayela Riad:

We arrived to a completely unmarked and unsigned property. We were given an organic milk and some welcome dates in a small tagine while they processed the check in in a seated area around the pool. We were also fitted up for some slippers that were worn throughout the property.

As with other Design Hotel Properties, there isn’t any official Marriott Bonvoy elite recognition. This means that you are less likely to get a complimentary upgrade or a free elite breakfast.

Checking Into the Anayela Riad

After the check in formalities, our host, gave us a personal tour of the riad, including the roof top deck.

Carpets on the Roof Top Deck
A Roof Top Deck and Lounging Area
The Roof Top Included Some Shady Spots to Help Navigate the Heat

The views from the roof top were over the tops of similarly sized buildings. Although I wouldn’t call it an aspirational view, it did have some unique qualities to it that can only be attributed to a traditional riad stay.

Roof Top Views from the Anayela
Views of the Neighbouring Park

The Room: A Suite

After the riad tour, we were then shown to our suite on the second floor, which was very nicely appointed. The Anayela offers one suite in the entire riad complex.

The doors to our suite were intricately decorated and refurbished. It made a great first impression on the arrival to our room.

Arriving to an Ornate Suite Door

The suite concept is a bit of a mirage here, it was more of a larger room instead the traditional definition of a room with a detached sitting area. Despite this, the suite does offer more space and we appreciated the extra room.

An Anayela Suite: The Bedroom Area

There is no television in the room, which was actually a welcomed feature. We didn’t miss the television during our stay, as there is so much to do in Marrakech without worrying about what television you’re missing.

The Bathroom Area

The sleeping area was on an elevated platform. Although it was compact, it was comfortable. The walls contained decorative Arabic scripture, which was a neat design feature.

The Anayela King Size Bed
The Suite Walls were Covered with Arabic Scripture

The couch area was small. The coffee table contained some snacks, which was a nice amenity to have in the room.

The In Room Couch
Small Snacks Were Available in the Room

The bathroom bathing area was large, although the sink area was disproportionately tiny.

The Bathing Area of the Anayela Suite
The Room Featured a Large Stone Tub
Elegant Arches Marked the Bathroom
Looking into the Sink Vanity Area

Getting to the outside areas immediately outside our room, there was a nice view of the riad courtyard from the terrace from just outside our room.

A View of the Riad Courtyard from the Second Level

Whereas the areas around the courtyard pool were comforting and designed to relax travellers.

Relaxing Zones Overlooking the Riad Pool

Food and Beverage:

Throughout our stay, the hotel provided breakfast. This a feature of being included with the rate and a city that had mostly European travellers that routinely expect breakfast. It was not included as a result of our hotel tier status with the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Breakfast each day was by the courtyard pool, and contained some pretty tasty granola, croissants, dates, and other local delicacies.

A Breakfast Setting at the Anayela Riad

Private Dining at the Anayela Riad:

The riad does offer a dinner service if reserved in advance. The riad was able to put on a special private dinner for us. We booked the day of in advance and a freshly prepared meal for just us two. Dinner tonight was in the riad courtyard as it was a bit windy on the roof top deck.

A Place Setting for Two

We had a reasonably nice tasting Moroccan wine to enjoy along with dinner, along with an actual fresh green salad. A green salad after all the African dust and noise was to die for. I really enjoyed it.

Sampling Moroccan Sauvingon Blanc Wine
A Fresh Green Salad

The main was chicken tagine with local vegetables, chickpeas, carrots and local spices.

Chicken Tagine with Local Vegetables, Chickpeas, Carrots and Local Spices.

We enjoyed a flan styled dessert. We were stuffed at the end of this one!! Super tasty.

A Flan Dessert

The Anayela Riad at Night:

One of the more unique experiences was returning to the riad at night after a day of sightseeing. The Anayela was decorated in a beautiful lighting that lit the walls and the courtyard pool.

Beautiful Lighting Around the Courtyard at Night
Picturesque Reflecting Pools

The Anayela riad courtyard is certainly a beautifully lit experience that is a very memorable travel experience

The Bottom Line: The Anayela Riad

In general, it was a very nice and welcoming stay. The property is peaceful and quiet while being set in a really magical surrounding. Notwithstanding the setting, it’s always unique to stay at a property with only five rooms. If you’re interested in getting in here, make sure you book well in advance.

If you have stayed at a riad in Marrakech, did you enjoy the experience?

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