Riad Hikaya Marrakesh

Riad Hikaya…Balm of Beauty in Marrakesh

Last updated April 24, 2023

Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. ― Rumi

It is very, very difficult to feel sad for long in Morocco because you can never be alone in Morocco. You are surrounded by beauty…It really is a place, I think, that nourishes the soul.–John Pittaway

A picture from Persian poetry, gorgeous girls in red swung open a heavy, studded door. They beckoned me over a threshold for refuge from the dust, glare, and chaos of the Kasbah. Immediately taking my overnight bag, their attention turned to relieving me of the burden my face and body still carried.

“Welcome. Please sit. Would you like some tea?”

Like Dorothy, swept into a black-and-white Kansas cyclone, then dropped into Technicolor Oz, I had been disoriented by a painful situation but, upon landing in a dream,  became distracted from it by beauty. The terra cotta maze of the medina had morphed into a sanctuary of ruby, aqua, green, and gold.

Riad Hikaya
Riad Hikaya Marrakesh


Riad Hikaya
Riad Hikaya



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Southern Girl Gone Global Cindy McCain at Riad Hikaya



Cindy McCain at Riad Hikaya Marrakech

Travel writer Cindy McCain at Riad Hikaya Marrakesh

I had read that everything I saw on walls and floors, sat on, sat under had been designed by Jane and John Pittaway, English owners of Riad Hikaya, and handcrafted by Marrakshi artisans. I spoke with John that afternoon who studied Arabic at University and also speaks French, Spanish, and the local Moroccan dialect, Darija. Though he has lived in many parts of the Middle East including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates before moving to Marrakech, we discussed what makes this place unique…the creativity which brims here…. the tension of chaos and tranquility…the balm of beauty that banishes bad.

By dinner on the rooftop under a full moon, I was fully settled in the Rahma suite (Arabic word for compassion) — able to breathe; to let go; to accept, see and savor the gifts of kindness and peace around me.  Not only had the girls turned back my bed, sprinkling rose petals on the duvet and in the tub…not only had Fadoua fed me fresh Tabouleh, the best Lamb CousCous I’ve had, and Celebration Orange and Chocolate Cake which, trust me, is reason alone to celebrate…but Sana, at my request, stopped serving and sat down for a chat over dessert.

The next morning the moon was gone.  The sun met me on the rooftop instead.  After breakfast and a read in the jacuzzi,  I told the girls bye. I left again grateful for the kindness of strangers-now-friends.  I remembered John’s words about a 2-year planned renovation that took five years instead.  So true of life in many ways: “Anything is possible…It was an interesting journey..a way of learning.”

Suite at Riad Hikaya Marrakech
(from the website) Rahma, (Arabic for compassion), is situated on the first floor of the riad overlooking the smaller, mirrored courtyard.The traditional bed, fashioned from tadelakt and zelij, is framed by a hand-carved ‘muqarbas’, or bedhead, with an ornate zowwaq finish. Cactus silk curtains line the tadelakt walls and frame the artisanal, wooden shutters. Hand-painted plaster motifs, soft kelim armchairs and vintage Berber carpets complete the luxurious feel.


Cindy McCain Southern Girl Gone Global at Riad Hikaya
A stay at Riad Hikaya is a dream experience.


Cindy McCain at Riad Hikaya Marrakesh
Like everything else at Riad Hikaya, the robes are custom-designed and made locally in Marrakesh.


Riad Hikaya Spa


Riad Hikaya custom bathroom
Hand painted tadelakt bath and a monsoon shower crafted from zelij and maillechort, a metal favoured by Marrakshi artisans which in English is known as nickel silver


Riad Hikaya gold sink with rose petals in bathroom
Rose petals in the sink and tub create an even more luxurious bath.


Rose petals on bed at Riad Hikaya
Rose petals on the bed make guests feel special.

Couscous at Riad Hikaya Marrakech
Couscous at Riad Hikaya is delicious.


Sana at Riad Hikaya
Sana was a superior server.


Riad Hikay Rooftop
Lighting, cacti garden, olive trees — perfect evening on rooftop under a full moon.


Chocolate and orange desert at Riad Hikaya
This delectable dessert… no words.


Riad Hikaya
Pool by night


Rose bath at Riad Hikaya
Roses fill the tub at Riad Hikaya

Silver shower and bath products at Riad Hikaya

Bedtime read by Firoozeh Dumas at Riad Hikaya marrakesh
Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of a Global Citizen by Firoozeh Dumas was a fun bedtime read.

Bedtime at Riad Hikaya

Coffee service on a silver tray at Riad Hikaya
Coffee in bed


Upstairs terrace at Riad Hikaya
Outside my room


Fresh roses daily at Riad Hikaya
Fresh roses are arranged daily at Riad Hikaya

Cactus on rooftop Riad Hikaya

Breakfast at Riad Hikaya
Fresh fruit, pastries, and juice


omelet at Riad Hikaya
A southern girl’s treat in Morocco — a huge breakfast omelet


whirlpool Riad Hikaya
A rooftop read in the whirlpool at Riad Hikaya

Riad Hikaya

A thing of beauty is a joy forever;

Its loveliness increases…it still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.–John A “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” —Keats

What a difference a day makes.  Thanks to Riad Hikaya for the stay.  As always, the opinions here are my own.

Cindy McCain

I'm Cindy McCain, Southern Girl Gone Global, who flew from my empty nest to write/teach for three years in Marrakesh, Morocco and the Caribbean. Now back in Nashville, I'm sharing tales, tips, and takeaways from exploring 27 countries and finding treasures in my backyard. My blog offers itineraries, travel/hospitality reviews, and inspiration for letting go of fear, holding onto faith, and finding freedom in roots and wings. Featured in Yahoo!, US News and World Report, Expedia, Orbitz, StyleBlueprint, SheKnows.com. Named a Top 35 Baby Boomer Blogs 2020-2023 and a Top 50 Travel Blog of 2016.

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