“There’s something really magical about this place,” Emma told me after we were ushered in the doors at Zamzam Riad.
Every riad has a story but only a few stories come to life. There are also many myths that exist – more than a few are laughable at just how outrageous they are. In a city full of homes that have existed for hundreds of years there is of course plenty of energy surrounding the spaces. I don’t want to give away the whole story of this riad because then it will ruin the surprise! All I can say is when you travel to Marrakech you’ll be met by magic – and a little mayhem!
Riad Zamzam is in a part of the medina that I’ve spent very little time, an area near Bab Taghazout. I was scratching my head as we found our way. I honestly hadn’t even realized there were riads in this area but I was wrong! There has been investments made in this neighborhood and lots of refurbishment happening but you certainly will get a feel for a very traditional Moroccan neighborhood away from a lot of tourists. It buttresses the Sidi Bel Abbas Mosque and Cemetery which normally would make me really nervous, but added a really peaceful charm to the riad. Seriously.
We had a tour of the entire riad as we lucked out and had the place to ourselves! Each room is uniquely designed and no detail is too small. I am completely in love with the mix of art deco/art nouveau and traditional Moroccan/African design. The best of two things together!
Of course this riad is gorgeous but what sets it apart for me is the food. Specifically the fact that not only do they understand dietary needs (like MarocBaba’s celiac disease) they will cater to it. Instead of getting the standard “cornflakes and yogurt” for breakfast or salads for dinner they know how to make the right swaps to create the same food everyone else is eating – or pretty close – while it still being safe.
If you have food restrictions or travel with someone who does you know how hard it can be. I haven’t seen MarocBaba quite as happy as he was, to have an entire bstila to himself that was safe for him to eat. This was just the starter and it was followed by a tajine I have never eaten – which trust me takes some work. It was made with oranges instead of lemons and I still have dreams about it. I am not easily won over by Moroccan food, especially as many menus tend to just be repeats however the food at Zamzam is incredible and you should consider staying for that reason alone. (Though if you do opt to stay elsewhere there’s a chance you can still try some of their food if you join our gourmet food tour).
If you’d rather get out of the city they also have a desert and beach camp, depending on the time of year. Camp Adounia is held in the Sahara from October to June and on the beach in Oulidia from April to October. Both provide the same amazing service, food and experiences you’ll find at the riad just with a completely different environment and activities. You can combine a stay in the riad with a stay on the beach or in the desert as well. I know my kids are itching to visit the beach camp!
After a good nights rest we woke up and were treated to a hammam for me and a massage for each of us. It was the perfect combination of all things wonderful; great food, good company, relaxation and a beautiful environment. The components that make a truly memorable stay.
If you’re looking for a riad that is really central to the main square this might not be the best option. It’s a good twenty minute walk. But, if you want a beautiful place to stay with outstanding hospitality and some of the best food I’ve had in a riad, check this out. We loved it!