With Berber influences, jazz-age themes, or classic Moroccan elegance, these seven cool riads and hotels are stylish bases for exploring Marrakech
Funky medina: Marrakech’s new arts scene
Mike and Lucie Wood’s seven-room Riad Star recalls the city’s golden age. Josephine Baker lived here in the early 1940s, at the invitation of the pasha of Marrakech, Thami El Glaoui. Artfully restored rooms reflect the spirit of the jazz age, and include some unique touches, such as costumes salvaged from film sales that guests are encouraged to pillage, and black-and-white footage projected onto the walls above the courtyard plunge pool.
• 020-7193 7357, riadstar.com, doubles from £140
Brothers Richard and Daniel Bee turned their spacious, light-filled riad into the kind of place they longed to stay in themselves. The laid-back vibe and soothing, white on dove-grey palette are brightened with splashes of colour, such as the deep-pile scarlet Beni Ouarain carpets in the courtyard. A Berber tent on the roof adds to the chilled factor.
• 07973 115 471, riadtizwa.com, doubles from £60, B&B
The brainchild of arts benefactors Houria Afoufou and Redha Moali, the Fellah Hotel is on a farm, about 20 minutes from the centre of Marrakech. Locals from the village next door still tend the land, and make use of an impressive on-site library, but the riad’s primary function is as an artist’s residency – guests can look in on what they are up to, in between plenty of downtime by a vast, jade-green swimming pool.
• +212 525 06 50 00, fellah-hotel.com, doubles from £130
Giovanna Cinel was a fashion photographer before moving to Marrakech to follow her dream as a hotelier. Her riad has just four rooms, and the decor is a pastiche of Moroccan and European vintage finds, mixed with her unique sense of style, ranging from colourful tribal textiles and quirky objets d’art to a navy-tiled plunge pool surrounded by lime-green easy chairs.
• +212 524 38 76 29, riaddue.com, doubles from €135, B&B
Owned by Belgian textile designer Valérie Barkowski, this elegant 17th-century town house, located deep in the medina, is a peaceful showcase for her craft. An elephant-grey palette shows off the muted tones of her elegantly embroidered bed linens, bathrobes and soft furnishings, which marry perfectly with Barkowski’s personal collection of artworks and antiques.
• darkawa.net, doubles from £75
Due to open again in time for Christmas, after a renovation, this expanded property now incorporates a rooftop plunge pool and an annexe restaurant that recalls the architecture of Fez. French aristocrat Leonard Degoy’s highly personal design collection comes from the family home in Toulouse, giving the riad a deliciously Gallic charm.
• +212 661 98 97 82, www.riadtarabel.com, doubles from €170, B&B
Stephen Skinner’s first hotel (the second is the Kasbah Bab Ourika in the Atlas mountains) is a delightfully eccentric place. He’s an avid collector and explorer of the city’s flea markets, particularly the Sunday morning one at Bab el Khemis, and this rambling riad combines authentic Moroccan design with covetable curios.
• +212 524 389 797, riyadedward.com, doubles from €60, B&B
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