Douar Abiad, Palmeraie, Marrakesh
Nearly every inch exudes a sense of style and health: An organic garden produces vegetables for the ever-changing menu, the villas feature pan-African design with Moroccan rugs and Senegalese art, and the architecture lends itself to the most relaxed setting to sit back and sip tea.
41 Derb Sidi Lahcen ou Ali, Bab Doukkala
The first hotel from designer Jasper Conran (son of design luminary Sir Terence Conran, and maker of several famous Princess Diana suits), this 19th-century renovated riad is smack dab in the middle of the medina, just a few blocks from Jemaa el-Fnaa.
La Sultana Oualidia
Parc à Huîtres, Oualidia
An intimate, beach-y counterpart to La Sultana's original Marrakech property, La Sultana Oualidia is located within shouting distance of prime bird-watching spots, oyster beds (which supply the sunken dining room with some of the freshest seafood around), and the neighboring lagoon’s flamingo population. The twelve secluded living quarters—request a junior suite to accommodate extra beds if traveling with children—are designed with traditional Moroccan elements in mind (plaster walls, mosaic tiles, and gauze-draped canopy beds), plus, each comes with its own salt-water hot tub and flora-rich terrace. During the day, book a guided fishing trip, roam the property’s breathtaking gardens, or take a surfing lesson—but not before exploring the castle-like hotel’s majestic facilities, including an infinity pool and a private beach peppered with grass-roofed cabanas. Head to the on-site spa for a dip in the heated pool and an indulgent massage in one of the stone treatment rooms.
Angle bd Mansour Eddahbi, Rue Mohamed El Beqal, Guéliz
This hotel is hip and sleek with a color palate limited to black and white. A boutique hotel, it has only 45 rooms and they are most definitely a great deal for Marrakesh. Le Bab is located in Guéliz, which has a distinctly modern feel as opposed to the Medina which is more traditional. I like that you can rent bicycles and Segways from the hotel to explore the city your way.
Derb Moullay Abdullah Ben Hezzian, Bab el Ksour, Medina
Owned by Richard Branson's sister, Vanessa, El Fenn is a bright spot in a city that's already wildly colorful. Years ago, Vanessa and partner William Howell were walking through Marakkech looking for a home to buy when they came across a once stately riad that was desperately in need of a resuscitation. The pair restored it to its former glory, and transformed it into a gorgeously appointed, 28-room hotel. While it's within striking distance of most of Morocco's biggest hits (see our Marrakech guide, here), Branson and Howell round out the stay with a trove of other experiences. You can shop the markets with the chef and cook in the hotel's kitchens, take a bellydancing class, or camel ride in the Ourika valley. Historically, they've held writer's retreats and photography workshops, too.
Route De Ouarzazate, Km 12, Palmeraie
Like every resort under the Aman umbrella, Amanjena is known for spectacular lodgings, service, gardens, and pavilions (that’s right, not rooms—pavilions, each with their own private courtyard). It’s a splurge, but worth the trip just to visit the lush grounds (where there are date palms and olive trees around every corner), maybe for dinner or for a tea in the late afternoon. The property itself is a little outside the center city, so it's a great home base if you're hoping to explore both the medina and the Atlas mountains—the concierge can arrange for guided hikes of Jbel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, or for fresh mint tea with families in the nearby Berber villages. That said, with a gym, tennis courts, and a full-service hammam on-site, you may not want to leave the grounds at all.
Avenue Bab Jdid, Medina
I stayed at the revamped historic La Mamounia Hotel, located in the heart of the imperial city. The Jacques Garcia designed interiors are splendid to say the least, and the hotel’s gardens are out of this world, almost from a fairy tale. The hotel has four restaurants supplying cuisine from around the world—L’Italien, Le Francais, Le Marocain, and Le Pavillion de la Piscine—and five bars to choose from—Le Bar Marocain, Le Bar Italien, Le Bar Churchill, Le Bar de la Piscine, and Le Menzeh “Glacier & Patissier.” The food and drinks here are elegant and delicious, and with all the choices, it’s easy to stay in the hotel for an entire weekend of relaxation. Speaking of which, I couldn’t resist a daily Hammam treatment at the hotel’s spa. Get this: 15 minutes in a steam room, a full-body lather in Black Soap, an exfoliating rub down, a Ghassoul (Moroccan clay) body masque, and then a warm shower... Ridiculously lavish!
Rue Abou Abbas El Sebti, 40 000 Marrakech, Morocco
This crown jewel of Moroccan hospitality is home to 53 separate riads, each with their own courtyard and fountain. Every room, spa, and common space is dripping in elegant Moroccan décor, including intricate tiles, colorful silks, and traditional chandeliers and lanterns. What’s more, the palace has more than 500 staff members, offering service that’s literally fit for royalty. The entire medina is a labyrinth of soothing water sounds (from the aforementioned fountains) and lovely scents that waft up from the well-tended garden, which spreads out over every inch of unclaimed space—it’s especially magical at night, when the winding paths are lit up with candles. When you’re not out exploring the city, book one of the couples’ treatments in the jaw-dropping spa.
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