What it's like to stay at the 'best hostel in Africa,' which looks more like a boutique hotel with a pool and a roof terrace
- The Rodamón Riad in Marrakech, Morocco looks and feels more like a boutique hotel than a hostel.
- Recently voted the best hostel in Africa by Hostelworld's HOSCAR awards, it has an outdoor pool, a roof terrace, and is beautifully decorated.
- Prices start at $20.79 (R310) per night for a mixed 8-bed dorm, but the riad also offers private rooms from $126.85 (R2,000) per night.
- Here's what it's like to stay there.
- For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.
It's not just awards season for the entertainment industries - the world of travel has it's own sprinkling of glamour and prestige.
The winners of the 17th annual "HOSCARS" (Hostelworld Customer Annual Ratings) were announced by Hostelworld in January, crediting the crème de la crème of hip hostels across 250 categories based over a million reviews from guests over the previous year.
For a hostel to be "HOSCAR-worthy" it's measured against criteria including overall customer experience, security, value for money, location, atmosphere, staff, cleanliness, and facilities.
Award groups range from "Best for solo female travelers" to "Best for career breakers (aged 31+)," as well as the top hostels in 170 countries and six continents.
The aesthetically-pleasing Rodamón Riad in Marrakech, Morocco was voted the best hostel in Africa, and with design touches that radiate boutique hotel rather than budget digs, it's not hard to see why.
Starting from around $20.79 (308.37) per night in the mixed dormitory, this hostel is a treasure for travellers wanting a bargain.
In a review of the riad, one guest said: "Best hostel I ever stayed at. Honestly recommend this to everyone visiting Marrakech."
Here's what it's like inside.
The riad is just 10 minutes away from Marrakech's teeming Jamaâ El Fna Square. However, in contrast to the chaotic bustle of the medina, this hostel is a peaceful oasis.
Morocco is well known for exquisite interiors, and Rodamón Riad's covetable tiles continue waving the flag for beautiful decor. You'll find yourself fantasising about building a dream house where every room will be floor-to-ceiling ceramic.
Spread over a couple of floors, the traditional set-up of a riad faces inward and is centered around an interior courtyard with a fountain.
The bubbling fountain in the Rodamón Riad is a hub for guests to escape to after touring the busy city.
Riads were once the homes of rich merchants and courtiers, but now the building style is synonymous with a hotel or guesthouse.
The light and airy colours, which are a contrast from the city outside, carry on through to the hostel dormitories. Bunks are a hostel norm, but each of these beds feature a couple of comforts to make sharing a sleeping space that little bit easier.
There's a cut away private shelf inside each bunk with your own personal plug point (diffusing any passive aggressive turf-wars over a socket) as well as a reading light.
Each occupant has access to a slice of privacy from the bunk's curtains, and can store away possessions under the bed. A mixed 8-bed dorm starts at $20.79 (R308.37) per bed, per night.
For a lot of travelers on a budget, where they stay doesn't have to be fancy, just comfortable and clean. This bodes well for the Rodamón Riad, as its highest criteria score (9.8 out of a maximum 10) is for cleanliness.
One visitor said: "Cleanliness is top of mind here and it shows ... The rooms are pristine with individual privacy partitions that keep each bunk dark so you can sleep in as well as individual lights, cubby, and plug next to each bed. The decor is simple and elegant, the space is enormous and feels nicer than a hotel."
The calming aesthetic of the riad lends itself to the crisp white bedding guests sleep on, too.
If you don't fancy sharing your space, the Rodamón Riad offers private rooms. Again, the style is fresh, bright, and could easily be confused for a five-star hotel. At roughly $126.85 (R1881.50) per night, it's a snip of luxury if you're traveling on a budget.
The en-suite bathrooms are far from the stuff of hostel horrors, and reinforce the boutique hotel vibes.
They can even accommodate twin beds if you're wanting some distance from your traveling partner.
The seating area in the private hostel room is a perk even for a hotel. "Perfect blend between hostel and hotel vibe," one reviewer said. "The aesthetic and decor is just beautiful. Definitely stay here in Marrakesh."
Guests can recover from a hot day of sightseeing by plunging into the small but inviting outdoor splash pool. Although food and drinks are not included, there is a bar and cafe kitchen on site if you're keen to eat closer to home.
The Rodamón Riad is the hostel that keeps on giving with a roof terrace and more seating areas to relax in. As one guest commented: "The breakfast was good, the room was spotless, and the rooftop terrace was awesome. This Riad feels more like a hotel than a hostel. It's very quiet and is a wonderful escape right in the heart of the chaos of the Marrakech Médina."
Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.
Also from Business Insider South Africa:
- Gwede Mantashe is punting an Eskom plan that would see the government sell everything except high-voltage transmission lines
- I spent a day working at WeWork Johannesburg - where R3,000 a month will buy you a desk, unlimited coffee and beer, and breakfasts on Monday
- Acsa can't make up its own black empowerment rules for car-rental companies, the Supreme Court says
- South Africa's slow internet: First broken cables could be fixed two days ahead of schedule
- You’ll soon be able to invest, timeshare-style, in a fleet of Uber cars or in buildings in South Africa