The Koutoubia Mosque or Kutubiyya Mosque at night in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Article may contain sponsored links

Morocco's Enchanting Journey: Riads, Desert Camps, and Memories to Last a Lifetime

One of the most talked about destinations on over-50s and solo traveller forums, Morocco is a great spot for older travellers with the time to indulge its many magical medinas, stunning coastal resorts and endless cups of mint tea.

Naomi Chadderton
Naomi Chadderton
An experienced editor and journalist specialising in news and lifestyle.

How many trips are on your list for this year? Well, if it isn't on there already, let us let you in on a hot tip – one should definitely be Morocco. Home to an eclectic array of riads and desert camps that will immerse you directly into the heart of its culture, here's exactly where to stay and what to experience while you’re there.

Ravishing Riads

Izza, Marrakech

One of the most exciting design-forward riads in Marrakech, Izza opened its doors at the end of 2023 to rave reviews. In the making for over eight years and designed as an ode to interior designer Bill Willis (the man behind Yves Saint Laurent’s Marrakech home), despite comprising seven interconnecting riads, three pools, three tranquil courtyards, an intimate roof terrace and 14 individually designed rooms, the riad still evokes a sense of home.

Perhaps most impressively, its walls also come dotted with 300 framed artworks worth over £5 million, earning its reputation as a ‘Museum in the Medina’.

Riad La Maison, Marrakech

Escape the hustle and bustle of the medina at Riad La Maison, where host Nicole has spent more than 20 years honing the interiors of this stylish bolthole. Think restored flea market furniture, Berber rugs, flagstone floors and pretty lanterns, it truly is a site for sore eyes. An in-house chef is on hand to serve up breakfast and home-cooked dinners, while there’s also a refreshing pool, living & dining room, open kitchen and balcony. Visit during summer and Nicole can even set up a bed on the terrace under the stars.

Enjoy a drink at Izza in Marrakech.


The relaxing pool at Riad La Maison.


Riad BE, Marrakech

Nestled inside Marrakech’s historical centre, just five minutes to Bab Doukkala quarter and within the medina, this charming riad is perhaps one of the prettiest in the city. While we love it for its eclectic mix of colour and pattern, Riad BE gets top marks for its array of amenities – hosts Mohammed and Nicole have installed the first professional yoga studio in the medina, while you can also get involved in cookery courses, chill out in the on-site hammam or speak to its travel designer to work out excursions further afield. There’s also a garden with a shared pool for cooling off on hot days while, at the end of a long day, join fellow guests on the roof terrace for chats, shisha and plenty of mint tea.

Riad Goloboy, Marrakech

Yves Saint Laurent once said that Marrakech taught him colour, and that doesn’t just apply to its bustling souks, but also to the city’s ornate riads. Case in point? From an eye-popping courtyard bathed in Majorelle blue to bedrooms painted in vibrant purples, greens and grey tones, Riad Goloboy is an explosion of colour. Home to eight bedrooms with AC and bathrobes, you’ll find it in the heart of Sidi Mimoun, the neighbourhood that's also home to the famed hotel La Mamounia.

One of the beautiful rooms leading out onto the Riad BE gardens.


A luxury room at Riad Globoy.


La Maison Blanche, Tangier

As Morocco’s fifth-largest city, it’s easy for Tangier to fly under the radar, but it would be remiss to leave it off your Morocco itinerary. Our favourite riad has to be the lovingly-restored La Maison Blanche which, dating back to the 14th century, is within easy walking distance to all the city’s sights. Inside you’ll find nine individually designed and decorated guest rooms, an intimate ground floor patio with fountain and two cosy seating areas (a mezzanine sitting room and an extravagant snug).

Le Fort de Mogador, Essaouira

If you’re stopping off at the vibrant port and resort town of Essaouira during your travels, be sure to check in at Le Fort de Mogador. A traditional and historic house which represents the authentic charm of the Moroccan home, its biggest selling point has to be the sublime central garden with palm trees and bougainvillaea that makes for the perfect space to relax and reflect.

Watch the sun go down at La Maison Blanche in Tangiers.


Bourgainvillea creeps around a doorway at Le Fort de Mogador.


Desert Digs

Few experiences can beat an overnight camp stay in the Sahara Desert, and these remote camps take this to a level of luxury unexpected in such secluded surroundings.

Azalai Desert Camp

Hidden in the dunes of the Sahara Desert around three hours from Zagora, you’ll feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the luxury Azalai Desert Camp. Think rustic timber furniture, rattan and rugs, there are porters to help carry your luggage, and you’ll even get your very own private butler. As for activities, expect a three-hole golf course in the dunes, camel rides, boules and chess.

Caravan by Habitas Agafay

The perfect place to disconnect from the world and connect with others, Caravan by Habitas Agafay is just a 45-minute transfer from Marrakech, yet the location couldn’t be more peaceful. Whether you choose to simply relax by the pool or prefer an active escape with camel-riding, electric bike tours and guided visits to the nearby Atlas Mountains, there’s something to suit every type of traveller alongside restaurants, an outdoor yoga dome and treatment rooms for massages. Don’t mind if we do.

Erg Chigaga Luxury Camp

Set in another-worldly landscape between soaring red dunes, Erg Chigaga Luxury Camp is anything but basic. Home to 13 Berber tents, each with a WC, fluffy towels and a comfy bed with a down duvet, this camp is smaller and more intimate than others on our list, making it a great shout for those after a quiet stay.

Umnya Dune Camp

In the south of Morocco, where the Sahara begins, Umnya Dune Camp offers white tents pavilions separated by dunes for privacy, each with its own private terrace. When you’re not admiring the jaw-dropping views, be sure to try your hand at the likes of guided desert hikes, camel rides, stargazing, bespoke picnics, dune bashing and more – why not take the grandkids along for the ride too?

Enjoy lunch in the deserts of Morocco.


Night-time in the Azalai Desert Camp.


Things to Do in Morocco

Ride an Arabian horse

While camels may be the country’s transport of choice, Arabian horses with their kohl-darkened eyes are the stuff of Moroccan legend. For a unique experience that will let you get up close and personal with these beauties, head out on a trail ride across the Atlas Mountains where you’ll pass Berber villages, or gallop down the smooth white beaches and rugged coastline of Essaouira. African Horse Safaris has a number of different trips to choose from depending on your preferences and experience levels.

Visit Aït Benhaddou

An incredible fortified city (and UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987) located between Marrakech and the Sahara Desert made entirely of earthen clay, Aït Benhaddou is a sight to behold. While most locals moved away to more modern nearby villages, there are still four families living inside the ancient city meaning it’s open all hours – visit independently via a rental car or check out GetYourGuide for a guided day or multi-day tour. You won’t be disappointed.

Fortified city Aït Benhaddou in the Moroccan sunshine.


An Arabian horse rears on the beach in Morocco


Climb Mount Toubkal

If you still consider yourself a bit of an adventurer, you can’t visit Morocco without summiting Mount Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa. Much Better Adventures offers a three-night trip, but keep in mind you’ll need to be fit and capable of hiking for up to 10 hours a day up paths of moderate difficulty. If you can manage it, it’s worth it for the sunrise views alone.

Visit a Hammam

For those who prefer to spend their holidays with a side of pampering, visiting Morocco is the perfect opportunity to go to a traditional Hammam – a steam bath where you can relax and get a traditional skin exfoliation. While most neighbourhoods have their own public baths, we suggest heading to a luxury hotel for a real five-star wellness experience – the one at Royal Mansour is perhaps the finest in all Marrakech.

Mount Toubkal in Morocco


Enjoy the ambience of a traditional Moroccan hammam