The most romantic riads in Marrakech
Sandstone skylines, kaleidoscopic bazaars and billowing rolls of fabric: Marrakech is a city unlike any other
Sandstone skylines, kaleidoscopic bazaars and billowing rolls of fabric: Marrakech is a city unlike any other… For a glamorously serene hideaway in the midst of the medina, travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have chosen five of their most romantic riads: from designer Jasper Conran’s love-letter-of-a-stay L’Hôtel Marrakech to the French-accented Dar Seven and poetic Almaha Marrakech. So, grab your beloved and bag the best room in the riad…
This riad’s unique look was inspired by Baudelaire’s poem L’Invitation au Voyage. On arrival, you come to an unassuming doorway, which – in typical Marrakchi fashion – gives not a hint of the resplendent Charles Kaisin-designed interiors within. The most striking piece: a padded-silk, pixellated mural of main square Djemaa el Fna. On entering, ornate lanterns light your way to a courtyard with a reflecting pool, tendrils of white bougainvillaea adorn the sun-soaked terrace, and elegant rooms are scented with orange blossom. Traditional, locally-sourced Moroccan dishes are served in the candlelit library and guests can indulge in soothing treatments in Almaha’s spa; altogether it evokes the refrain from Baudelaire’s poem: ‘There, all is beauty and symmetry… Pleasure and calm and luxury.’
Every detail of Riad Farnatchi has been considered with guests’ comfort in mind: comfortable seats in shaded courtyards and loungers amid the roof garden, where cups of mint tea are served; suites with characterful extras (a decorative fountain, sun terrace or balcony…); the go-the-extra-mile team of staff. It’s one of Marrakech’s most refined takes on the private-courtyard-toting hideaway, courtesy of noted hotelier Jonathan Wix. It’s a place for pampering and proposing, with a black-and-white polished-marble hammam central to its renowned spa, and soft handmade beds in rooms. For a sunken bath big enough for two, choose one of the lavish Senior Suites.
L’Hôtel Marrakech – owned and styled by famed Brit designer Jasper Conran – is an elegantly composed love-letter of a stay. Each of the five suites are adorned with white four-posters, pieces from Conran’s own collection and carefully curated antiques. Two have their own balcony, with curtains to pull across for privacy. There’s a pair of flower-draped roof terraces and orange-blossom and jasmine-perfumed gardens in the courtyard. It’s rare for a riad in the Medina to have a lap pool, so the 10-metre one here is a welcome surprise, hidden amid luxuriant trees and flowering plants. There’s no noise from the Medina to stir you from your slumber, and with plenty of hidden corners and in-suite dining on request, some alone time is assured in this intimate stay…
Tranquil and oh-so chic, Dar Seven feels like a home fit for royalty; indeed, it’s owned by one Principessa Letizia Ruspoli (who also runs Rome’s equally regal Residenza Napoleone). Rooms are dressed with restful hues, statement beds and classic Marrakchi touches (decorative pots, mother-of-pearl marquetry, large tadelakt bathrooms). On entering through the riad’s huge antique doors, you’ll find yourself in a peaceful open-air courtyard dotted with pots of olive trees, a space straight from a glamorous interiors shoot. Staff give guests their undivided attention, but there’s no need to stand on ceremony: this stay is every inch a warm and welcoming home.
Tucked away at the end of a gated alleyway in the Jewish quarter of the Medina, Dar One has a contemporary, minimalist look, with Starck-style bathroom fixtures, sleek leather furnishings and boldly striped textiles à la Missoni. Elegant, quiet, cosmopolitan and eminently affordable: this is one of Marrakech’s best-kept secrets. It’s well-connected, too: just around the corner there’s the Bahia Palace, Royal Palace and the Kasbah to visit, and a walk of mere minutes will get you to the Koutoubia mosque and Djemaa el Fna. Lovebirds can get cosy on the roof terrace’s double day-bed or in front of the lounge’s fireplace with a glass of local wine – and the romantic-at-heart owner ensures there’s a vase of fresh red roses in your room each day.
Alongside a stay at a pulse-quickening pad, when you book with Mr & Mrs Smith, you’ll enjoy a best-price guarantee and a Smith Extra on arrival at every hotel. To book, call toll free at 800 905 326 or visit mrandmrssmith.com.