Exterior of Dar Ahlam in Morocco
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Dar Ahlam

Dar Ahlam is an incredibly special, 14-room restored Kasbah in the remote desert oasis of Skoura, a five-hour drive from Marrakech.
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burnt orange castle with arched windows and a dome
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Kasbah Tamadot

Sir Richard Branson fell in love with Kasbah Tamadot in the Atlas Mountains and transformed it into a luxurious boutique hotel with tented suites and a spa.

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living room with orange crushed velvet couches and paintings on the walls
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La Mamounia

At La Mamounia in Marrakech, every detail has been considered, to provide a full service experience with history and classic glamor.

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rectangular pool lined with lounge chairs with a covered area at the end
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Le Royal Mansour

Le Royal Mansour is the King of Morocco’s personal passion project and the most expensive and extravagant hotel in Marrakech. The hotel’s sprawling riads are the perfect enclave for those seeking the ultimate in privacy and pampering.

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Pool side Pathway at Amanjena, Marrakech, Morocco

Amanjena

Designed by Ed Tuttle, the master of refinement behind many Aman resorts, Amanjena has utterly stunning architecture. The vast rooms, which are set around twelve and a half acres, epitomize grand minimalism. If the palm trees seem to line up just right—even heightwise—with the building columns, and all the pillows are at exactly the same angle, it is not by accident: Aman founder Adrian Zecha focused obsessively on getting all the details right. Your suitcase is unpacked for you, cold washcloths magically appear just when desired, rose petals float about the many pools, and sunbathers are served sorbet at teatime.

The property is centered on a huge square reflecting pool lined by palms and ferns. At night, amid the sparkle of dozens of perfectly placed lanterns and crackling bonfires, it is simply magical. There are two restaurants, two wonderful hammams, and two golf courses nearby. The staff is able to arrange for guides (accompanied by drivers and air-conditioned cars) to take you through the souk or hiking in the mountains.

The resort has such peace, beauty and harmony that it feels almost spiritual. The staff is flawless and intuitive (they started preparing my cappuccino as they saw me approaching breakfast). The twenty-minute drive from the medina means you spend a lot of time in cars going back and forth, which can be spent getting to know some of the staff members, and can be a nice element of the trip rather than an annoyance.

Two complaints: the music and lighting systems were extremely complicated with no in-room instructions, and the interiors can feel a little cold and minimalist for such a decorative culture.

Good to Know: Two-bedroom maisons have a large living room with a fireplace, one bedroom upstairs and another downstairs. The advantage of the upstairs bedroom is a huge bathroom with a bath; the disadvantage is that because it has interior windows that face the courtyard-like living room, it is not especially private. While less exposed, the downstairs bedroom has the disadvantage of having only a shower, no bath. That configuration is best for families, who would also like the private pool.

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Bab Hotel

Marrakech has its own version of a hip urban hotel. Imagine the Moroccan version of the Delano in Miami or the Standard in New York and you may just conjure the Bab. Just around the corner from the trendy boutiques that line Rue de la Liberté in the Gueliz area, Bab Hotel was completely redesigned by its French owners (who also own Grand Café de la Poste and Bo & Zin). There’s a small pool tucked behind the check-in desk and the lobby bar, which has massive couches, funky ottomans made of recycled plastic and deep white banquettes that invite lounging.

A revolving exhibit of local artists’ work and photography from the owner’s collection add to the groovy gallery atmosphere as do the Fadila el Gadi boutique and library areas which also display modern Moroccan style in the form of fashion and books. All of the 45 guestrooms and suites, which are designed to feel like lofts, have small terraces and are decorated with a black-and-white palette that complements the black-and-white photos on the walls. Among the hotel services are Segway rentals and golf outings in the Palmeraie. The hotel’s hippest feature, though, is the Skybab rooftop lounge, where the city’s young and attractive gather after sunset for mojitos and DJ mixes.

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Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay

Paying homage to the region’s Andalusian-Moorish legacy and Moroccan heritage, Tamouda Bay features white-washed exteriors that lead to opulent interiors embellished with arched doorways and Moroccan touches. And while the property is not on most first-time Morocco visitors’ itineraries, it can appeal to those in search of a resort with plenty of amenities.

The vast property hosts 92 pool villas done in a classic regional style. Each villa has a living room, separate bedroom, large bathroom and courtyards with plenty of room to relax. (Unfortunately, because the resort sits on flat ground, there are no sea views.) The beautifully and well-designed main building is home to three of the property’s four restaurants, including those serving Thai and Moroccan cuisine as well as bar-style plates. There is an excellent spa facility and workout center as well as a fantastic kids club.

An important caveat to note is that the property seems to cater mostly to Moroccan and French guests. While the gentleness and kindness of the eager staff is well received, visitors who do not speak French or Arabic may have trouble communicating.

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Four Seasons Marrakech

Located on forty acres near the conference center of Marrakech, the Four Seasons Marrakech opened in 2011 as one of the first of many international luxury hotel brands to stake a claim in the “red city.” Its grey facades amidst the sea of surrounding ochre buildings is the first signal that this is a different kind of property. While most of the top addresses in town make the most of the abundant craftsmanship available with displays of dark wood marquetry, hand-tooled leather, glazed walls, mosaics and latticework, the aesthetic here is decidedly spare and minimalist. In place of the dimly lit, opulent interiors favored by iconic competitors like Mamounia, you will find light-filled public spaces and suites.

The 139 rooms are spread between the main building which overlooks the central pools and theriads surrounding them. There is one family-friendly pool near the kids’ club and another that is reserved for adults in search of a quiet zone. For families, the property provides a reliable Four Seasons Kids Club to keep the little ones entertained while the adults can enjoy the spa which puts a focus on traditional Moroccan hammam techniques.

Travelers who are looking for a North American resort experience with great service and a fantastic kids’ program will be pleased with the Four Seasons, which offers a coddling introduction to Marrakech. It may not deliver the most quintessential Moroccan experience but it does deliver Four Seasons reliability. Indagare Tip: You are not within walking distance to the center of town so you will need taxis for forays to the best shops, restaurants and sights.

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Dinning Table at Hotel Sahrai, Fez, Morocco

Hotel Sahrai

Set in a brand new building constructed in 2014, this 50-room hotel is part of the new growth in Fes, one of the Moroccan cities that the king has targeted specifically for renovation and restoration. Created by the owners of the Riad Fes, the Hotel Sahrai offers a contemporary retreat outside of the bustling walls of the medina. The property is light and airy with large glass windows and open spaces for the lobby, back terrace and pool area. Paris-based interior designer Christophe Pillet styled the property to be an homage to the traditional Moroccan aesthetics with hand-painted Fassi ceramics and hand-carved plaster walls—all with a modern-minimalist twist.

The two restaurants, Relais de Paris and Amarez, offer Continental and Moroccan menus, and attract a buzzy mixture of guests and local expats. The Givenchy spa, the first of its kind in North Africa, is a serene space with dark stone and mashrabiya panels and offers an extensive menu of traditional Moroccan and Western treatments. The outdoor Arcades bar runs the length of the property with seating nooks that are ideal for relaxing with a drink before dinner.

Room with leather furniture and boos with a dog lying down.

Jnane Tamsna

Jnane Tamsna is the creation of one of North Africa’s most stylish women, Meryanne Loum-Martin, and is popular with fashion designers & celebrities.
Lounge at  Kasbah Bab Ourika, Morocco

Kasbah Bab Ourika

The eco-minded Kasbah Bab Ourika has a wonderful sense of place and is a less opulent (and pricey) option to Kasbah Tamadot.
Exterior View - Ksar Char-Bagh, Marrakech, Morocco

Ksar Char-Bagh

This decadent palace, on four acres of Persian gardens, comes complete with courtyards, rosebushes and fountains. The French owner studied Arabic culture, and although the building is new, it has been made to convincingly appear centuries old with such details as wooden beamed ceilings and stone fireplaces. The twelve suites are grand and calm, with Moorish-style baths and small roof terraces. Guests are ferried around in a brilliantly incongruous black London taxi, and when the weather heats up, you can dine in the shallow end of the swimming pool with your feet submerged. The chef trained with Joël Robuchon, and his dishes are outstanding; they helped earn the property Relais and Chateaux status. The enormous hammam is the best in town, and even if you are not staying here, you should pop over for lunch and a steam (book ahead) as well as a browse in the beautifully curated gift shop.

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L'Hotel Marrakech

Opened in 2017, L'Hotel Marrakech is a five-suite riad that is a chic and intimate oasis tucked away in a quiet section of the bustling Medina.  
Pool at La Maison Arabe, Marrakech, Morocco

La Maison Arabe

A favorite of such locals as jewelry designer Gogo Ferguson, this beautiful small hotel in the medina also has an annex just outside the city for poolside lounging, so guests have the best of both worlds. The medina maisonhas housed one of the top Moroccan restaurants since the 1940s (it was originally opened by two European women who created the first Moroccan restaurant in the medina near the Bab Doukkala Mosque). Over the years, a number of guest rooms were added (including five in 2021), as well as a small pool and a wonderful second restaurant, Les Trois Saveurs. Like all riad hotels, the 37 rooms are on the small side but many of them come with fireplaces, pool views and balconies (note that the four standard rooms do not have baths). Overall, the in-room décor is more sleek than that of the main Arab-Andalusian public spaces. Traditional crafts such as carved plasterwork, tadelaktwall painting and cedar ceilings are used in a refreshing contemporary way.

Other notable charms of the hotel: a gorgeous hammam and a very well regarded cooking school. Many of the ingredients come from the kitchen garden and the teacher is a famous dada, or traditional Moroccan chef.

One of the great pluses of La Maison Arabe is that it offers a town-and-country experience for its guests thanks to its garden-framed annex just outside the city. This outpost has a large pool area surrounded by gardens, so guests can stay in the medina but escape daily to the more relaxed outskirts. The pool feels like a secret walled garden, and hotel guests can enjoy lunch or dinner there under a fig tree or in a caidale tent.

Suite at La Sultana Oualidia, Morocco

La Sultana Oualidia

Three-and-a-half hours northwest towards the coast from Marrakech, cliffs dramatically meets sea. Here, located near the first royal beach of Morocco, where Mohammad V’s dilapidated and unfinished royal palace still stands, is a boutique oasis. La Sultana Oualidia sits within the fragile ecosystem of a lagoon next to the Atlantic Ocean, offering a seaside retreat for incredible bird watching, beach activities and relaxing by the pool.

With an emphasis on self-sufficiency and minimal impact on the surrounding environment, the hotel takes advantage of local vegetation and natural materials wherever possible, and implements innovative technology in the kitchen, gardens and ionized infinity edge pool.

Around the property, guests can enjoy boating, fishing, surfing, ATV-riding, cooking classes and hiking. Those looking for cultural escapes can travel to the nearby cities of Safi and El Jedida, a former Portuguese port, both of which are about an hour away. The main emphasis of the property, however, is relaxation and rejuvenation by the indoor and outdoor pools and beach, in the spa and throughout the gardens. The heart of the property is the spa area with its indoor pool and vaulted ceilings, and guests can while away hours in the treatment rooms, aromatherapy area and fitness center.

Each of the twelve rooms and suites offer their own private terraces (with flowering plants and a salt-water Jacuzzi) and modern amenities such as air conditioning and TVs, while retaining the quaint décor of a seaside cottage. Each room is named after traditional Moorish and Middle Eastern boats, and make use of natural elements throughout: light marble floors, oleander branches for the ceilings and traditional Moroccan lime plaster finishes on the walls.

Oualidia is famous in Morocco for its seafood, and the property has its own oyster beds that it farms. Fishermen bring their daily catch of lobsters, crayfish, spider crabs and sea urchins to the property’s underground tanks each morning. Guests may then choose their lunch or dinner to enjoy either in the dining room, on the outdoor beach terrace or on a private beach picnic across the lagoon.

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Exterior View -  Mandarin Oriental Marrakech, Marrakech, Morocco

Mandarin Oriental Marrakech

The Mandarin Oriental Marrakech is an oasis, offering top-notch luxury with Moroccan influence and located 20 minutes outside the medina.

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desert garden with stone arched walls

Olinto

A tranquil and private oasis just an hour south of Marrakech in the high Atlas Mountains, Olinto is a passion project.

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Palais Amani

A slightly hipper, more modern take on the restored riad hotel with a gorgeous courtyard garden and lovely small spa.
Terrace at Palais Namaskar, Marrakech, Morocco

Palais Namaskar

Palais Namaskar is a sprawling resort in Marrakech ideal for couples looking for an indulgent hideaway. Read Indagare's review.
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Palais Ronsard

Though located just 20 minutes outside the bustling center of Marrakech, the Palais Ronsard is like traveling back in time to a French-colonial manor house.

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Peacock Pavilions

A stylish designer hideaway outside of Marrakech
hotel room with wooden ceiling, green painted walls, terra cotta floor and a bed facing stained glass french doorway. there is a yellow chair and matching yellow lampshades on two lamps above bed

Riad El Fenn

Richard Branson’s sister’s hip riad in the medina brings a cheeky-yet-cozy option to the heart of Marrakech.
Library at Riad Farnatchi, Marrakech, Morocco - courtesy Riad Farnatchi

Riad Farnatchi

This ravishing riad, right in the center of the medina, is the brainchild of British hotelier Johnathan Wix, who spent two years transforming what had been his vacation home into a nine-suite mini hotel with an authentic atmosphere. He personally hammered the pictures on the walls, imported Philippe Starck bathroom fittings and down pillows, and commissioned locally made furniture. The result is a crisp and comfortable setting, with lovely big bedrooms, a hammam and massage room, and the added benefit of twenty-four-hour room service—a rare occurrence in a riad. Breakfast is served on the roof terrace, the pool is a cold refresher of the best sort, and the house melon juice is sweet nectar.

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Riad Fes

Within the historic medina, this boutique Relais and Chateux property offers guest an authentic yet luxurious riad experience.

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Lobby at Riad Meriem, Marrakech, Morocco

Riad Meriem

New Yorker Thomas Hays is just one amongst a new breed of style-obsessed global nomads who has decided that a well-lived life must include a home in Marrakech. Thankfully, the major antiques collector has decided to share his five-bedroomriad with other visitors so now you can check into his private home and live among his treasures. The former banker turned hotelier spent years working with craftsmen to create this supremely comfortable retreat.

The magic is in the mix of Moroccan traditions with modern flair: the walls were prepared in the centuries-old process of tadelakt, but in a purple color tone; the customary courtyards that are now overgrown with bougainvillea; antiques carpets are juxtaposed with modern abstract paintings. Hays’ photograph collection mixes with textiles from western Africa and objects that he picked up on his many travels to Asia.

The atmosphere is quirky in the most refined way and if the service feels more like that of a private home, it’s because that is how Hays and his wife like it. Two wonderful couples, one English and one Moroccan, cater to guests needs, so you will never rest long by the courtyard pool, without someone delivering a cool drink. Among the amenities that can be arranged: a private chef, belly dancers and hammam treatments.

Interiors at Riad Tarabel, Marrakech, Morocco

Riad Tarabel

A true labor of love, the house was bought by Leonard Degoy, who had spent holidays in Marrakech for fifteen years before deciding to buy a riad. He hired the architect Romain Michel Menière to transform it into his ideal fantasy retreat. While maintaining the original Arabic layout and proportions, Menière and Degoy have brought a Provencal elegance to the property. (Tarabel is the name of his family chateaux in the south of France and many of the antiques and paintings came from the region.)

Dainty iron garden furniture sits in an alcove off of the central courtyard where orange trees scent the air. In another corner sits a vintage rattan chaise shaded by a giant umbrella and next to it rests an antique birdcage. Regional decorative details like latticework and tadelakt walls have been subdued by a neutral palette of beiges and grays. There are many colonial influences but the overall atmosphere is that this is a private home, with only ten rooms and suites. It is the kind of place that plugged-in artists, photographers and designers retreat to and then pass along as a favorite address to their friends.

There are lovely salon rooms, which are perfect for drinks or curling up with a book, a tiny hammam, a small pool and a rooftop terrace where meals can be served. (There’s a housekeeper and cook who look after guests.). A spa is in the works for December 2017. I hope that it keeps its highly personal, intimate feeling, though, because that—and its Provencal-Moroccan aesthetic—is what sets it apart.

Lounge with Table at Riads to Rent, Marrakech, Morocco - courtesy Peacock Pavillion

Riads to Rent

We can recommend stylish riads in the heart of the medina for a house party or a sprawling villa in the Palmeraie that is perfect for families. We will tailor suggestions based on your particular wishes and group configuration. Contact our bookings team to arrange.

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