CHECK IT OUT L’HO­TEL MAR­RAKECH

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - NEWS -

With just five suites set around a beau­ti­ful court­yard gar­den and swim­ming pool, Bri­tish de­signer Jasper Conran’s 19th-cen­tury riad in the heart of Mar­rakech’s med­ina has quickly be­come the hottest ticket in Morocco’s fa­bled pink city.

Si­t­u­ated near the bustling souk, this exquisitely re­stored mini-ho­tel ef­fort­lessly chan­nels the elegance of the golden age of travel, dec­o­rated with thought­fully cho­sen an­tiques, tex­tiles and art from the de­signer’s pri­vate col­lec­tion.

The un­clut­tered, re­laxed suites fea­ture four­posters swathed in sheer, voile cur­tains, cov­etable col­lecta­bles and rugs, con­trasted with sim­ple white­washed walls and high zouak (painted tim­ber) ceil­ings.

The tra­di­tional tade­lakt (lime plas­ter) bath­rooms are cool and ex­otic, and three come with the bonus of large tubs.

L’Ho­tel’s rooms can be rented in­di­vid­u­ally or the riad hired as a whole, mak­ing it the per­fect pri­vate villa for a fam­ily or group of friends.

All the five-star trim­mings are here, too, in­clud­ing room ser­vice and evening turn­down ser­vice and gratis Wi-Fi.

The court­yard gar­den is densely planted with roses, jas­mine and hon­ey­suckle around a cen­tral foun­tain and a 10m win­ter-heated pool, one of the very few in the med­ina. Set about with sun loungers, the roof ter­race of­fers won­der­ful views of the At­las Moun­tains and city sky­line.

Son of Bri­tish de­sign leg­end Sir Ter­ence Conran, Jasper brings his wide ex­pe­ri­ence in fashion, in­te­ri­ors and even theatre cos­tume and set de­sign to bear on this de­light­ful project.

DON’T MISS: A visit to a ham­mam in the med­ina; costs range from a cou­ple of dol­lars to more than $100. For bath­house novices, Conran rec­om­mends Les Bains de Mar­rakech near the Saa­dien Tombs.

DIN­ING IN: Ex­pect lo­cal fare us­ing sea­sonal pro­duce de­liv­ered to the kitchen daily. There’s plenty of flex­i­bil­ity at meal­times; guests can choose to dine on their pri­vate bal­cony, on the roof ter­race un­der the cur­tained per­gola (this is the per­fect spot for sun­set drinks) or take their evening meal in the din­ing room open­ing on to the court­yard gar­den; on cooler nights the cur­tains are drawn and the fire lit. Menus fea­ture a se­lec­tion of tagines, Moroc­can sal­ads, soups and sim­ple desserts such as figs with syrup or or­ange with cin­na­mon.

DIN­ING OUT: If you’re after din­ner in the nearby square, Conran rec­om­mends stall num­bers 47 and 98; try the fish and chips, of­fal stew and hi­bis­cus tea. After ex­plor­ing the souk, drop by the fa­mous Cafe des Epices in the heart of the med­ina for mint tea.

ASK THE CONCIERGE: Check out Yves Saint Lau­rent’s Mar­jorelle Gar­den (there’s an Is­lamic art mu­seum on-site) or have af­ter­noon tea at the his­toric La Mamou­nia ho­tel be­fore ex­plor­ing the 18th-cen­tury gar­dens.

CHECK­ING IN: Rooms from €293.25 ($418) low sea­son. Or rent the en­tire riad from €1776.50 a night. More: l-hotel­mar­rakech.com.

ALSO TRY: La Fier­mon­tina, Lecce, Puglia; The Penin­sula House, Sa­mana, Do­mini­can Repub­lic.

CHRIS­TINE McCABE

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