CHECK IT OUT L’HOTEL MARRAKECH
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.