By today’s definition, a Riad is a traditional Moroccan guesthouse built around a central garden or courtyard – or, in the case of Le Riad Yasmine, a swimming pool. I was able to visit Marrakesh in a bygone era when international travel was possible (January 2020) and I spent two nights at Riad Yasmine to discover whether there was more to the property than just ‘THAT pool’.
- 4-star property.
- £ (prices starting from approximately 90GBP per night)
- 8 rooms.
- Children welcome.
- Ground floor rooms provide greater accessibility for those with disabilities.
You can book a stay at Riad Yasmine here.
Riad Yasmine can be found in the ‘Medina’ – the old quarter of Marrakesh enclosed by 19 kilometres of walls dating back to 1122. Tourists are drawn to the Medina to experience the unfamiliar sights, smells and sounds that can be found whilst weaving through the Medina’s maze of streets and souks (markets). Apparently, locals can walk from the Riad to the Jemaa el-Fna, the city’s main market place, in approximately 15 minutes*. Riad Yasmine is therefore right in the heart of the madness of this vibrant area and provides the perfect base for exploring the historic city centre.
*I challenge any tourist to try and attempt such a feat within this time allocation!
Style, Design and Atmosphere
One of the best things about staying at Riad Yasmine was the service – warm, welcoming and friendly, we felt at home immediately when greeted with a lovely pot of mint tea and biscuits. The hosts were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable in prompting us to download an offline app providing a map of the Medina, along with recommending the best places to eat, shop or go for a hammam within the city walls.
Riad Yasmine does look fairly ordinary from the outside, but the inside couldn’t be any further from ordinary. The central swimming pool and surrounding area is a truly stunning, eclectic mismatch of patterns, plants and materials all linked together through the common colour of emerald green. I loved the number of cactuses in this shared area, serving as a reminder of the proximity to the Sahara Desert. The property is also home to a couple of cute cats, often found sleeping near the pool, but this is something to note in case of allergy.
Lounging poolside is a peaceful affair at this property, as you can largely hear nothing but the occasional birdsong or call to prayer. That and the sound of the camera clicks, of course, as you’re never further than about 5 metres from an Instagram influencer at Riad Yasmine.
Riad Yasmine has eight different rooms (along a sliding price scale) and each one is completely unique. We stayed in the ground floor Mhamid Room, the cheapest room option that the Riad has to offer. This room was quite minimalist, a contrast to the busy pool area, but still tastefully decorated with whitewashed walls and a wall hanging tapestry.
The bed was wonderfully comfortable – as is critical for a pair of weary travellers – but, other than this, I did not feel inclined to spend too much time in the room, as it was slightly dingy. The bedroom itself was quite spacious, but the mustard-coloured bathroom was definitely on the small size and only offered a shower, without a bath.
From the living room to the rooftop terrace, Riad Yasmine’s main facilities all serve the purpose of aiding relaxation. The terrace is a little haven upon which you can unwind in the sun, while soaking up the panoramic views across the city and over to the Atlas mountains.
Though it may be a stretch to call it a ‘swimming’ pool, this feature is definitely the magnetic force driving custom to Riad Yasmine – taking a dip in the pool after a day on your feet exploring the city is just wonderful. Towels and straw hats are available to use free of charge.
Food and Drink
Breakfast is included in all room rates and it is possible to book lunch or dinner at Riad Yasmine too.
For breakfast, the set menu comprised the usual morning staples of fruit and juice, alongside a number of traditional Moroccan delicacies such as mint yoghurt, mint tea and a selection of different spreads and breads, including Baghrir (a hybrid of a pancake and a crumpet). While visually the food looked appealing, it didn’t suit my personal taste. I would have liked to have seen a greater selection of food options, rather than just a set menu, and some hot dishes would have been welcomed too.
My Overall Verdict:
Riad Yasmine is a lovely little base to explore the Medina for a couple of nights, as it is perfectly located and undoubtedly beautiful. The exceptional service certainly took me by surprise, but the property does have limited amenities and it is impossible to have a proper swim in the pool. Therefore, those seeking more facilities are better suited staying outside of the Medina at a larger hotel. I would probably invest in a more expensive room if I was to return to this Riad and so, in terms of value for money, there are definitely some cheaper Riads that can be found in the Medina, but not many are quite as stunning as Riad Yasmine.
If you’re wondering about what you can get up to while staying in Marrakesh, check out my top 10 things to do in the city here.