1001 nights in Riad Houdou

Didier and Eric had a perfect idea of what they were looking for: an authentic riad in Marrakech, close to traders and artisans. 

It became quite a search for the ideal property. Many locations they had visited until suddenly they stood in front of a brown wooden door in a metre-high closed wall. But when it opened, they were both immediately overjoyed. This was what they had been looking for. Even though the building was in disrepair and the courtyard garden was full of fallen and rotten citrus fruits. Their decision became a fait accompli when they quit their regular jobs as journalists and jeweller. They left their lavish flat in the heart of Paris, informed their friends of their decision and set to work in their Arab nest, their big dream. Plans were made and the renovation could start. More than six months took the renovation, a bit longer than they had estimated. 


When you enter the riad as a guest, your mouth falls open in amazement. So special that such an oasis of peace and greenery is hidden behind the closed façade. Upon entering, you are warmly welcomed with mint tea and local sweets. Comfortable lounge chairs sit under ancient citrus trees. There are six themed rooms, named and decorated with a symbolic Moroccan object. All rooms are different in colour, size and decoration. One room has a wall full of teapots ‘Thélères’, yet another room wall then hangs full of ‘Tajines’. The higher up, the closer you get to the roof terrace. There you can enjoy the view over the entire city; some minarets, but especially the impressive Atlas Mountains with their white snow-capped peaks.


The walls are limed in a sunny terracotta colour and the purple accents create a soothing feeling. There are several terraces connected on different levels. There are square tables whose tops are topped with purple-tinted Moroccan tiles. The black wrought-iron chairs with purple cushions match them perfectly. A few steps up, there are wider chairs. Didier explains that these were handmade by an ironworker, inspired by the famous Bertoia chairs.

A few more steps up, loungers stand invitingly side by side with dark purple lounging cushions. The shadow play of wrought-iron doors and exotic plants in pots, add to the mercury. Having breakfast at this spot with the rising sun or dining in the evening with the cosy mood lighting is an unforgettable experience. More than the necessary attention has been paid to every detail here. 


Didier and Eric have their own enclosed, private living area with private terrace in the riad. Indeed, it is their great asset to live in close proximity to their guests. This allows them to be ready day and night to pamper everyone, arrange excursions, provide transport. There is no shortage of tips, great addresses and warnings. They know the city inside out by now and are only too happy to share their experiences with guests. The meaning of Houdou? Serenity.