The modest door of Riad Joya pushes open and my feet glide across the cool marble floor to the open-air courtyard.
Smooth tan walls are flanked by travertine columns that beckon up to a clear night sky flooded by the brilliance of a sea of stars. For a moment, the only sound that fills this dreamy Moroccan evening is that of the ruby red rose petals in the central fountain splashing in the water.
A Warm Welcome at Riad Joya
In a soft, welcoming voice, Khalid, the head butler who graciously escorted my travel companion Emily and I from a square in Marrakech to the property, motions us to follow him to the sitting room.
We rest by the fireplace on burgundy cushions, feasting on pastries from a four-tiered tray and traditional mint tea.
Though Emily and I had both channeled our inner princess Jasmine with our outfit choices of flowy skirts and tops, surrounded by the gracious staff in such an elegant setting, we probably would have felt royal even wearing paper bags.
Riad Joya Boutique Hotel
Riad Joya is a luxurious seven suites boutique hotel located in the heart of the medina of Marrakech.
As Emily and I quickly learned, location is everything in the maze-like stone streets of the medina. The ancient part of the city is indeed a labyrinth, and if your accommodation does not have an easy to find and central location, you will have to take a taxi to reach anywhere without a guide.
The spacious suites each have a unique custom design by Umberto Branchini Maria, an Italian designer.
“The architectural elements represent the eclecticism of the journey between East and West offering a colonial taste blended with the Arabic Mood,” said Sophie, one of the owners.
Though we did not spend the night at Riad Joya, we got the opportunity to see a room, and let me tell you, just being in the room made me want to book my next visit to Marrakech at that very moment. It gets even better – each room comes with a personal butler to meet all your needs.
There is also a spa area on site with a traditional Moroccan hammam and treatment room for massages.
Yea, I need to figure out when I can get back to Marrakech ASAP.
Marrakech Fine Dining at Riad Joya
“At Riad Joya everybody strives to take luxury to the next level by providing a unique environment with unmatched privileges,” added Sophie.
This was most certainly true with the meal we had at Epicurean, the restaurant at Riad Joya.
The restaurant is intimate and softly lit. Moroccan lamps throw scattered shadows on the walls and alcoves house dim lights. It’s elegant yet comfortable; tables adorned with flowers and seats lined with pillow cushions.
After being served fresh Moroccan bread and red wine, we were presented with 12 salads.
A word about Moroccan salads: none of that boring lettuce stuff will roll in Morocco. Instead, the salads here consist of fresh vegetables, or mixtures of vegetables with seasoning.
Green beans, potatoes, carrots, okra, squash and more all awaited us. I’ve never enjoyed my vegetables this much!
For our main course we had lamb tagine with prunes and almonds. Tagine is a style of cooking typical in Morocco that makes use of a clay pot. The flavors were extremely rich.
And for dessert – caramelized pear.
After dinner Khalid walked us up to the rooftop for more uninterrupted views of the stars.
I gazed up at the night sky and wished never to leave.
Note: I received a complimentary meal for two from Riad Joya. All thoughts and opinions are own.