“A luxurious hideaway with fantastic restaurant in the heart of the medina - lives up to the definition of riad as 'a little drop of paradise'”
The 6 decadent bedrooms sit on the first floor, and most face in to the central courtyard, in typical riad style. Decor-wise, they are very similar: curved tadelakt walls, terracotta floors, old Moroccan Bejmat tiles, sumptuous velvet cushions and voile curtains, beaded hangers, silk-chiffon artwork. Colour schemes are autumnal (conker-brown, pumpkin, sienna, amber), beds are handcrafted by the King's official bedmaker and the Egyptian cotton sheets are magnificent. Ensuite bathrooms are proper wet rooms with vast walk-in showers and deep baths, and are generously stocked with local organic toiletries and quirky rubber ducks.
Honeymooners may want to treat themselves to the large Master Suite with its a high ceiling and enormous bed, a silk-wrapped chandelier illuminates the space and a polished plaster fireplace is surrounded by velvet banquette.
The Double Rooms feel cosier: Rooms 2, 4 and 5 have a bath and shower (they may be able to hold an extra bed on request), while Room 6 has a shower only, and no room for extra guests. Deluxe Room (#3) has a window seat with views over the courtyard, it is also brighter than the Double Rooms which frequently makes it more popular; it can fit an additional extra bed, too. All have A/C, minibars, safes and professional hairdryers (straighteners to borrow). Lighting is ambiant: at turndown, the beds are lit from below and sprinkled with rose petals. Gadget junkies will love the mobile phone loaded with useful numbers and a little bit of credit, the pre-loaded iPod (music and videos of local restaurants), and the chill-out music that plays throughout the riad. The controls for the music system are near the door.
Dinner in the fabulous gastro mk restaurant is presented as a 5-course tasting menu, see Rates. The Moroccan-French fusions are one of the hotel's great assets: unique and tasty, but totally unpretentious. Examples include stuffed courgette with herb gnocchi, fillet of beef tagine with prune puree, minted pineapple lassi with verveine foam and banana bavarois. Dinner starts at 8pm and guests are invited for drinks and canapés on the roof terrace from 7pm, which lends a social atmosphere to the evenings. They limit external guests to just 10 people per night (booking one month ahead) meaning that guests take priority but there is always a buzzy vibe. There's also a private dining room for that special occasion.
Lunch (by request and for residents only) is usually taken on the roof terrace under the welcome shade of a sun umbrella. Dishes could include home-smoked salmon, barbecued skewers, spiced vegetable salad, pan-fried red mullet, and mint panna cotta. For ultimate flexibility there is also a 24-hour snack menu including club sandwiches, croque monsieurs, and salads.
A complimentary afternoon tea is also served daily at the riad - freshly made cake and mint tea (aka 'Moroccan whisky', incredibly sweet but a good reviver after a morning in the market). With a day's notice a full English afternoon tea can be arranged - 3 tiers of cucumber sandwiches, cakes, scones with jam and Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea - see Rates.
Drinks are available throughout the day; each room has a minibar with soft drinks, and beer, wine, champagne and 'honesty' bottles of spirits (gin, whisky, rum etc) are available. Just ask.
Early morning coffee is left outside your door before 7am in a tasselled thermos flask. Breakfast is then served when you want it, and can be taken on the roof (a little chilly until the sun has had time to warm the city) or in the ground-floor restaurant. They alternate between Moroccan and French days. Moroccan days include the msimmen homemade pancakes and Moroccan breads. French days have fabulous baguettes, pains aux chocolat and pastries. Both days have homemade yoghurts, fresh eggs, just-squeezed orange juice, and fruit salad using seasonal local fruits.
If you want a change of scene, there are plenty of great restaurants nearby such as Le Tobsil, a riad-restaurant. Hanane can make recommendations, arrange tables and transport if required.
Over 12's are welcome at any time, and if the whole riad is rented younger children are too, although in that instance parents will need to bring travel cots for babies.
Master Suite (#1), Deluxe Room (#3) and Standard Room (#6) can hold an additional single bed so would suit a younger child sharing with parents, and Double Room (#5) is a twin room (not interconnecting).
Babysitting available by arrangement
The plunge pool is not protected so it could be difficult with toddlers.