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Riads vs Hotels: Which one is best?

Riads vs Hotels: Which one is best?

When traveling to Morocco you will encounter countless new experiences.  Culture, food, excursions, history and even accommodations can and will probably be very different from daily life in the West.  One of the choices you will want to make when deciding on traveling to Morocco is whether you will stay in hotels or in riads.  Before you can make a decision, it is important that you know the difference between the two!  So let’s take a look at the difference between these two types of accommodations so you can make the best choice for you and your travel companions.

Hotels

Hotels will be similar to what you would see in the United States, Europe, and Australia.  Many large chains also take residence in Morocco as they do around the world.  The benefits of hotels are that they are generally consistent.  There is a standard that is implemented around the globe to ensure that a hotel meets the expectations of the larger company. 

Hotels vary from smaller boutique-like hotels to sprawling resorts outside the city limits – and everything in between.  Rooms will often be standardized meaning that while you will get a consistent experience, some people find the experience to offer less of a cultural experience.  Depending on the star level of the hotel, it will likely outfitted with one or more swimming pools.

Food

Meals at hotels can range from being a luxurious, sit down meal with a customized menu to a large buffet spread with countless options. If you are a “foodie”, we often recommend considering a stay at a riad because the food tends to be a significant focus of the experience during your stay.

Hotel Accessibility

Hotels are generally thought to be more accessible than their riad counterparts.  Whereas this is definitely not always true, we do find that hotels do generally provide more accessibility options.  Due to the fact that they often are outside the medina walls, have more room options and are often held to international standards, hotels can be an excellent choice for those needing the utmost accessibility

Riads

Riads are essentially the Moroccan version of a guesthouse. Historically, these are houses that were, generally, once occupied by wealthy families in the thriving walled cities of Morocco.  Now, many of these luxurious guesthouses have been remodeled and adapted to provide a culturally rich experience for their guests.

Often these historical properties look down on a large open-air courtyard with beautiful greenery.  Rooms, typically, are individually designed and have their own unique features.  Pools and spas are often available at the middle to higher end properties, while the more budget riads will be without.

Location is another vital piece of the decision making process.  Riads, generally, boast excellent locations as they are often within the walls of the city.

Service and hospitality are also an important component to riads.  Often treated like their home, they have smaller staffs, a higher level of consistency in the service and tend to be more personalized.

What riads may lack in the consistency found in hotels, they make up for in hospitality, service and location.

Food

Foodies, get your forks (or hands if you really want the cultural experience!) ready for a culinary delight! Meals at these guesthouses are consistently a highlight for those visiting a riad – even if you don’t decide to stay there.  Often cooked fresh with ingredients purchased at the local market that morning, this is one of the places that really shines in a riad.  Eating at a riad becomes less about eating good food and more about experiencing the taste, flavors and culture of Morocco.

Riad Accessibility

Whereas hotels generally have more options, more rooms and overall increased accessibility, there are exceptions.  There are some incredible riads with excellent accessibility and some with adapted accessibility.  With a bit of an adventureous spirit, these cultural gems are within your reach.

What should you choose?

The decision becomes pretty multi-faceted doesn’t it?  Riads provide culture and experience.  Hotels offer consistency and ease.  Both promise to make your travels comfortable and inviting.

Ultimately, it comes down to what components are most important to you, the traveler.  Some important questions to ask might be:

What kind of experience are you looking for while traveling in Morocco?

What accessibility needs do I have when staying at a hotel or riad?

What accommodation amenities are most important to me when traveling?

Whatever you decide, a trip to Morocco will be full of experiences and memories that you will remember for a lifetime.  Maybe the decision is not one accommodation type over the other but rather a mixture of both.  Either way, we’d be happy to dialogue, dream, and create something spectacular with you.  The more we explore and encounter the beauty of Morocco, the more we fall in love with this place.   Come discover accessible Morocco with us!

Can someone in a wheelchair travel to Morocco?

Can someone in a wheelchair travel to Morocco?

Can a wheelchair user visit Morocco? In 2011, we asked the same question and a vision was born – accessible Morocco.  Accessible Morocco.  Let’s be honest – a vision is one thing but was – and is – it actually possible?  How can someone in a wheelchair navigate a city that was founded 1,200 years ago?  While it is a beautiful country – are all the hotels or guesthouses going to be full of inaccessible stairs? How can a wheelchair user take part in something that is quintessential Morocco like ride a camel? Are we reaching for the stars here?

Questions swirled and, frankly, more questions than answers.  Seven years later and we have the answers to many of those questions.  Seven years later, we are still researching some of those questions, too.

But the main question is this: Can a wheelchair user travel to Morocco?

The answer is a resounding yes!

After many successful multi-day tours, accessible equipment rentals, shore excursions, day trips, and airport transfers we proudly and emphatically say “yes – Morocco is accessible to travelers in wheelchairs, travelers with limited mobility and travelers with visual impairments”!  We have had the privilege of working with many people with disabilities – of all levels – and their families to create unforgettable memories.  

Here at Morocco Accessible Travel Consultants we focus on three areas of accessibility in order to create opportunities in this majestic country.  

Accommodations

Depending on where you want to go, we can book you in riads (traditional Moroccan guesthouses) that have been adapted.  It is an excellent way to encounter the local culture while maintaining accessibility.  We will work together with you to see if the level of accessibility in these riads are appropriate and possible for you. 

If hotels are your preference, we have search far and wide to find accessible hotels in every city that we visit.  Often they offer an increased level of accessibility for those that need it.  Not all hotels are accessible in Morocco – in fact many are not – but we have traveled extensively in order to assess, catalog and organize the hotels that will work specifically for your needs.  We know the exact door widths, grab bar heights and properties that have shower seats of every hotel we book with to ensure that there are no surprises during your trip to Morocco. 

We have also partnered with a local Sahara Desert property that has made creative solutions to adapt their deluxe tents for our clients.  What once was impossible, now is possible – a night under the Sahara Desert stars!

Transportation

We have partnered with several companies and drivers around Morocco in order to provide excellent accessible transport options.  We have two main transportation types.

Fully Accessible Transport

Fully accessible transport gives the utmost accessibility.  It provides the ability for power wheelchair users (or manual wheelchair users if desired) to be secured with the QStraint System for increased security and accessibility.  Fully accessible vehicles are generally larger vehicles which is a great solution to accommodate our bigger traveling groups of four or more. 

 

Mercedes Vito Transport

The Mercedes Vito is an excellent choice for those who can transfer to a seat from their wheelchair. We use a Roll-a-Ramp as a solution to provide accessibility while maintaining a smaller vehicle for a more intimate, close experience with your fellow travelers.  

So whether you need full accessible transport or adapted transport, there is a solution for you. Every traveler with a disability fills out a mobility form that helps us to partner with you to understand and guide you to the right transport option for your time in Morocco. 

Excursions

Hotels and transport are the basics of any accessible travel opportunity.  Without them, travel becomes very difficult – often times impossible.  The final area that we focus on to take any trip to Morocco from good to EPIC are your excursions.  

People define “epic” differently so we have a wide array of opportunities available to you.  So if your “epic” is rolling through a 1,200 year old city – we have an adapted route for that.  If your “epic” is relaxing on a beach – we have beach wheelchairs for that.  If your “epic” is a trekking and exploring an ancient fortified city – we have a Joelette Trekking Wheelchair (see below) for that!  

If you dream it in Morocco, we can probably find a solution for it!  The reality is that we want you to see what you want to see and experience what you want to experience.  We are passionate about partnering with our clients to create unforgettable experiences – whether those experiences are adventurous or creating space to unwind.  

Equipment Rental

From wheelchairs and shower chairs to beach wheelchairs for ultimate relaxation, equipment rentals can be arranged that provide not only accessibility but also comfort for your time in Morocco.  Sometimes traveling with your own power wheelchair is cumbersome and worrisome. Sometimes walking is possible but you need a manual wheelchair for times when you get tired.  Sometimes a shower chair makes morning routines exponentially easier.

Whatever it is, there is probably a mobility equipment solution for you.  Equipment rentals are an excellent way to ensure that you maintain accessibility to get the most out of your trip to Morocco.  

 

Is Morocco Accessible? 

From accessible accommodations to adapted transport and mobility equipment rental – Morocco is accessible.  Will everything you encounter be ADA or EAA compliant? No – but we are working to that end. Every hotel that you will stay in has been personally verified by our accessibility experts to ensure that you have the best information available to meet your needs.

We know just as much as the next person that the word “accessibility” can mean a slew of different things, so in the coming week stay tuned because we will be unveiling our new accessibility categories that will help you understand how we assess our tours, accommodations, transport and excursions.

Check out some of the images below to see some of the accessibility features you may encounter in Morocco.

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