Back to Global Conversations 1.7: Meryanne Loum-Martin, Hotelier and entrepreneur

From the garden of her Morocco hotel Jnane Tamsna, entrepreneur and author Meryanne Loum-Martin talks with Melissa Biggs Bradley about growing up as a diplomat’s daughter, how she kicked off the riad-hotel craze in Marrakech and her latest projects: the cultural collective, AFreeCulture, which showcases the African diaspora in literature, cinema and entrepreneurship and a book, Inside Morocco.

Episode Guide

Melissa speaks with her old friend Meryanne Loum-Martin, who is Marrakech’s only black hotelier. They first met in the 1990s. Soon after, Meryanne had turned a riad into such a chic cafe and concept shop that it ignited the city’s craze for Riad transformations. Having trained as a lawyer in France, Meryanne was an accidental hotelier. But she went on to create a beautiful villa-style retreat in the city’s palm oasis called Jnane Tamsna, which she still runs today. Meryanne designed the hotel, as well as its gorgeous boutique and all of the products within the boutique, which are made by local artisans and the nine-acre garden created by her husband: ethnobotanist and cultural anthropologist, Gary Martin.

The hotel and the garden have served as the backdrop for many exquisite candlelit dinners on Indagare insider journeys to Marrakech. But whenever Melissa travels to Marrakech, she makes it a point to spend time with Meryanne, who is a woman of a thousand interests and stories, and who is always pursuing new projects. In this episode, they speak about her international childhood, how it shaped her and how she landed in Marrakech, and why she’s never really left, as well as about her upcoming design book and her newly launched cultural, collective and community, AFRƎEculture, which is a nonprofit supporting literary and film events and celebrating the African diaspora.

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