Staying in a riad in the old medina of Marrakech is a matchless experience, but it is not for everyone. The 'riad' literally means garden, but it is applied to townhouses built around a central courtyard. Every Riad typically has some plants in four planting beds and a central fountain. Otherwise, it is called a Dar or house.
Individuals typically own these Riads, sometimes the owner is the manager, and sometimes there is a manager who can be a local Moroccan or European/foreign.
Generally, the more you spend money, the better the quality/location of the Riad. Rule of thumbs is that 10minutes walk from Jeeema el Fna is the maximum, so often, guest houses will advertise they are 10 mins walk when they are not. And of course '10mins walk' doesn't guarantee the quality of accommodation or service. Also, there is more likelihood of being located in a very touristy area if you are '10mins walk', and the experience is going to be less authentic morocco.
By the nature of their construction, riads are very intimate spaces and can be difficult o adjust to. The courtyard layout accentuates noise.
Be aware that many riads do not accept credit cards. Often a riad is booked on a website, but only a small deposit is paid - some or all of the balance must be paid on arrival. This may have to be cash, and may require a trip to the ATM. Also, being forced to pay the bulk of your accommodation costs in money may cause cash flow issues, especially on arrival. One solution is to take enough cash/cheques to cover your accommodation expenses. (As most riads publish their prices in euros, you could consider taking euros. Currently, taking Dirhams is not an option a the currency is closed and cannot be obtained outside of the country).
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