silvia
Silvia Pisci
Ryad Dyor
1 Driba Jdida, Sidi Ben Slimane, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
26th February 2016

I checked in at Ryad Dyor after two weeks staying at Marrakech most spectacular hotels (Palais Namaskar, La Sultana, Four Seasons and more…), so I walked in knowing that my expectations were unrealistically high. No, it makes no sense to compare Ryad Dyor to a five-star luxury hotel. There’s nothing pretentious here, but sometimes (and this was the time) all you need is a tasteful environment and personal, genuine service to lay back and forget about all the rest. Isn’t this “luxury” too?

Location
In the Medina, some 7-10 minutes’ walk from Jaama El Fna square.
I bet even a local guide would get lost trying to find the riad without having been there before, so it’s important to inform them about your arrival times: they will coordinate one of their friendly staff to come and pick you up at the nearby taxi station. From there, it’s a 5-minute walk through the maze of the Medina.
Upon arrival you are provided with a local map along with very useful instructions and tips, so you shouldn’t get lost again (…shouldn't...). In any event, I would not suggest a single lady to walk back to the riad alone at night.

The airport is very close – an easy 15 minutes’ drive (it was a complimentary service, so I only left a nice tip to the driver).
Who stays?
I know the riad was running full occupancy, but the only other guests I saw were a group of friends (2 couples in their 40s I would say) from Northern Europe (probably Denmark, but I can't swear that they were).

Ryad Dyor is a great address for stylish young couples looking for a peaceful nest amidst the chaotic streets of the Medina. Art and design lovers would certainly feel at home here and appreciate Jacques' recommendations on local art exhibitions, restaurants and great hidden spots of Marrakech.
Style and Character
It doesn’t take much to understand that there’s an expert and very tasteful eye behind Ryad Dyor’s style and character. In fact, the Dutch owners are interior and fashion designers, who converted the original building into the little gem it is today. The atmosphere is VERY intimate, so this is not the right place if you want to socialize and be seen – while it’s perfect if you’re looking for a meditative place to enjoy with good books, classical music and pleasant talks with Jacques (the director, also Dutch).
Service
Don’t expect a full staff of butlers and maids running around 24/7. Service is masterly managed by Jacques, who’s always there to welcome guest and direct the operations so that everything runs smoothly. In a city like Marrakech, where the average quality of service at luxury hotels is known to be quite poor, a nice and capable manager can play a huge role in determining the enjoyment of the guests’ experience. This is particularly true at Ryad Dyor.

I had a very early check-out, and I was very pleased by the rich breakfast they set up for me only at 6.30 am. A young porter (smiley and nice, but he couldn’t speak English and I certainly couldn’t speak French at 7am after just one coffee!) then took my luggage and escorted me again to the taxi station, where a complimentary transfer to the airport had been arranged.
Rooms and Suites
7 rooms are arranged on two floors around two small courtyards. I stayed in a Deluxe Room, which wasn’t very spacious but felt cosy and tastefully decorated - contemporary furniture perfectly adapted to the traditional architecture; no frills, but great attention to detail.

I checked other rooms as well: each has a distinctive feel and specific features, so I would suggest to check carefully before making a booking.

The main flaw was the very small bathroom with no bathtub (which I consider a must when in Marrakech!). My top recommendation is the Arab Suite - very spacious, it features a tub, fireplace and a small lovely veranda. It can accommodate up to three people.
Food and Drink
I would have loved to try the restaurant (traditional Moroccan kitchen), but it’s only open upon request, and you need to reserve by 6pm. There’s not a proper dining room with tables: food can be served in the courtyard, on the rooftop terrace or in the privacy of your room.

Again, the atmosphere is VERY intimate – perfect for a romantic tète-à-tète under the stars, or for a lazy solitary evening in company of a good book (that would have been my plan…).

My breakfast was quite rich considering that I only hoped for some coffee and a little something before heading to the airport… Local bread and pastries, juices, muesli, yogurt: everything was fresh and tasty. Nothing to write home about, but absolutely no complaints either (which means a lot for a picky breakfast person like me).
Features, Wellness, and Amenities
All facilities and common areas are very small, this is something to keep in mind. Once this is clear, you can enjoy the plunge pool, the hammam, and the rooftop terrace for what they can offer: little space, great intimacy.

I would not recommend Ryad Dyor to families with small kids.
Perceived Value
The value for money is indeed very good at Ryad Dyor, especially when it comes to the higher room categories (e.g. Arab Suite starting at EUR 250 in low season, including breakfast, and it can accommodate 3 adults). You can get a Deluxe Room for some 150 Euro only, but the upgrade to a more spacious room with a bathtub is totally worth it.
Verdict
With some reservations (no all-day dining, very small common areas, no bathtubs in all rooms), Ryad Dyor is definitely a place I would recommend to travellers who don’t have the budget for Marrakech’s top hotels hotels and riads (see my review about El Fenn).
Most importantly, good taste here goes hand in hand with intimacy and highly personalised service: you feel in safe hands with Jacques and his small staff, to a level I hardly found anywhere else in the city.