“Modern design meets Moroccan flair: a chic riad with lamplit courtyards, roof terrace and cool, understated décor (7 rooms)”
Each of the rooms and suites has been cleverly renovated so that European comforts - crisp sheets, flawless plumbing - sit beautifully alongside original architectural details like hand-painted ceilings, latticed windows and keyhole-arched doorways. On top of that you get genuine design panache, ranging from gleaming brass door details to Starck chairs and beautifully sculpted stone basins. The owners have sourced furniture from Bali and Italy as well as North Africa, and you can tell that real care has been taken.
We were lucky enough to stay in the Arab Suite. Glass doors open onto a skylit hall where a blue sofabed is strewn with cushions, and a brown leather desk artfully holds an Aladdin’s lamp and trinkets. An archway leads into the sand coloured tadelakt bathroom, with power shower, toilet, twin basins and enormous bathtub (the Arab and Basha Suites are the only rooms with bath and shower). A tall, pale blue wooden door slides sideways to hide the wardrobe space (clever!) and reveal the bedroom. Windows with dark wood lattice shutters overlook a private balcony and the courtyard below.The tadelakt fireplace and sheepskin rug on the bed are as welcome in winter as the air-conditioning is in summer. But the trump card of this suite is the private roof terrace, with sun loungers and trailing roses.
The other rooms are no less stylish or unique, though they may lack the outside space. Expect wood- or iron-latticed windows over the court, carved wooden chairs, antique photographs and modern artwork, ornate copper lanterns and sleek designer lamps. Bedspreads and chaises are covered in local textiles; tadelakt bathrooms offer bath salts from decorative bottles.
The Ennafora and Menzeh Suites have tadelakt fireplaces - though the Ennafora Suite’s ground floor location makes it less private. The double-bedded Basha Suite has a stunning 300-year-old hand-painted ceiling, and can link with the double-bedded Berber Deluxe Room, via a shared lounge, to make a fantastic family apartment. The Mesrya Junior Suite makes up for its compact size with a pretty little veranda. While the Sabba Junior and Arab Suites have additional sofabeds and the former has a split-level sitting area.
All rooms except the Ennafora Suite and Berber Deluxe Room have air-conditioning.
With advance warning, lunch and dinner can be served by the pool, in your room, or in the courtyard, sitting around low wooden tables on leather pouffes. Or you can dine on the roof, where rattan parasols shelter small metal tables from the sun; there's a small kitchen up there, and a sofa'd b’hou (loggia) for reclining with a mint tea afterwards. A poolside lunch might be a salad caprese or nicoise, or a Moroccan salad of aubergine and tomato served with freshly baked bread. Dinner could be harira (a Berber soup), a lamb pastilla or a chicken tagine served with almonds and lemons. As usual in Morocco, there is no alcohol served in the hotel.
Breakfast, also served on the roof or in the courtyard, consists of fresh fruit, yoghurt, honey, croissants, pancakes, bread, coffee or tea, and fresh orange juice. Room service can be arranged but is not 24 hours.
For those suffering couscous overdose, the manager recommended a good colonial French restaurant, Grand Café de la Poste, in the modern quarter of Guéliz, though it’s less atmospheric than medina restaurants. His advice to visit the bar at Le Comptoir, also in Gueliz, for chic cocktails and fabulous entertainment. Another tagine-free option is Foundouk, a smartly refurbed caravanserai in the Mokef quarter, where trendy French media types enjoy nouvelle Franco-Moroccan cuisine such as magret de canard with caramelised peaches.
Children are welcome but the riad probably isn't that suitable for small ones and toddlers, as the pool has no guard rail or attendants. Cots and extra beds can be provided on request in most rooms.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting is available by arrangement.