Riad Monceau by L Antoine (27542)

Whether you are looking for an exotic place to stay on vacation that's different from the usual Moroccan resorts, or wish to invest in Morocco property, a Moroccan villa - known as a riad can prove to be a hidden gem, offering a taste of the real Morocco. Often hidden behind anonymous-looking doors in the medina - the old town - of Moroccan cities, 'riad' translates from Arabic to mean 'garden' - and once through the door, a stunning courtyard, and an oasis of calm and tranquility is what you can expect inside a luxury riad.

Depending on the size of the Moroccan villa itself, the courtyard may be anything from just a few meters square, to enough space to house a swimming pool. Rooms in riads are arranged around the edge of this courtyard, and riads are usually two or three stories high. The Moroccan cities most noted for luxury riads are Marrakech and Fez, and, although they can also be found elsewhere, here is where you will find the best examples.

In a typical Moroccan villa, you will always find two things - plants and water. Usually, this will be a selection of potted fruit or palm trees, and either a small Moroccan tile plunge pool, or a beautiful Moroccan mosaic tile water feature. The reasoning is twofold: Firstly, because to Moroccans, their property represents one's paradise on earth - and as such, is designed to reflect paradise, with an abundance of tranquility, free-flowing water and delicious Moroccan food upon which to feast. The secondary reason for such beautiful Moroccan home design is because in the olden times, women were expected to stay home, only venturing outside the home with their husbands, so a courtyard enabled them to enjoy the outside and fresh air in absolute privacy, hidden from prying eyes.

Expect to find a door in the riad that leads to the roof terrace – this is where today, the washing is done, women meet to gossip over the rooftops, and where people go to cool off, when indoors is just too hot. Be sure to take a look and enjoy the often-stunning views from the roof of a Moroccan villa to see another side of the real Morocco.

Moroccan home design:

Moroccan luxury riads and Moroccan decor are a popular influence in interior home design. Courtyard walls are often finished with tadelakt, a beautiful polished plaster that is extremely water-tight and weather resistant. Another feature is the beautiful carved plasterwork, which covers everything from wall arches to pendant roses. And, of course, the beautiful geometric Moorish mosaic tiles, called zellige, which decorate everything from fountains to tile tables and Moroccan bedroom furniture. Heavy, carved wooden doors are also a feature.

Whether it's a home to own, or a holiday visit, choosing a luxury riad over a hotel, or a more typical Moroccan resort apartment or Moroccan villa will give you a taste of the real Morocco, an insight into the fabulous Moroccan home design and a slice of life in this beautiful country.

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