By Thomas Shambler
Marrakech's new high-design hotel is a luxurious new retreat located inside a 19th-century palace
Ever since cultural icons like Yves Saint Laurent and the Beatles took to Marrakech in the 1960s, Morocco has become an exotic location at the height of bohemian luxury.
In the hotel trade, over a decade ago it became quite fashionable to buy cheap riads - a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard – and turn them into boutique hotels.
The idea was to faithfully recreate the artisanal flair of traditional Moroccan design, along with a modern twist. For a good example of this, look no further than L’Hôtel Marrakech.
Marrakech is the country's fourth-largest city after Casablanca, Fes and Tangier. L’Hôtel Marrakech opened its 19th-century palace doors at the end of last year. Located near the Red City's Jemaa el Fna square, it aims to bring a dose of style to the very traditional city.
L’Hôtel is owned by Jasper Conran – the British designer known for his high-fashion womenswear – has given the historic palace a touch of modern-day fashion, filling the walls with a curated collection of art.
From geometric zellij tiles to artworks from Yves Saint Laurent's personal collection, the hotel is a treat for art buffs and fashionistas both. Five suites make up the property, and each is named after a notable Moroccan city. Each features a private sitting room or terrace and decorated with mother-of-pearl, king-size poster beds and large tadelakt bathtubs.
The star of the property is a magnificent courtyard garden, filled with honeysuckle, jasmine, orange and banana trees. At night, the garden and its heated swimming pool are illuminated by Moorish lanterns, making it the perfect destination for drinks after dark.
L’Hôtel Marrakech's main restaurant serves a variety of traditional Moroccan dishes, including slow-cooked tagines and fish pastillas. All food is sourced locally.
Guests can enjoy their meals in an elegant dining room, or sip cocktails on a rooftop terrace that provides views of the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech's picturesque skyline. Guests wishing to recover after a long trip – or simply calm down after a visit to the city's bustling medina – can relax in the healing hammam, which offers a range of treatments influenced by the region.