Visiting in Marrakesh was our very first experience on African soil. We had no idea what to expect and found ourselves overcome with a child-like sense of wonder as we approached the red city. The first thing we saw as we left the airport were camels relaxing on the side of the road in front of a backdrop of red sandstone and palm trees. I was already in love.
We were on our way to Riad Farnatchi, the riad of choice by celebrities such as Scarlett Johannson, Russell Crowe and Angelina Jolie. We were on a mission to find out why.
Riad Farnatchi is located right in the heart of the Medina. It’s tucked secretly away in a quiet alley, right around the corner of the well-known Ben Youssef Medersa and a 5-minute walk to the Souks. You could easily spend days exploring the countless alleys, shops and sights without ever having to walk more than 15 minutes from your intimate hideaway.
Think zellige tiles, orange trees and hidden seating areas. Riad Farnatchi surprises you with every turn and far exceeds what you’d expect to find behind a black wooden door hidden down an obscure alley. The fascinating thing? The riad actually connects what was once five smaller intimate riads into one magical oasis. Yet, the entire establishment only houses 10 exclusive suites!
Once you enter the courtyard, you’ll start to question if you’re hallucinating. The entire place gives off a dreamlike ambience. The serene atmosphere that surrounds the area around the pool lets you forget time and space as you float in the water, with the narrow buildings casting a cooling shadow over the green tiled pool.
The design motive is an intricate mix of local artisan-made woodwork, open spaces and several lounge areas. It feels as if you could spend days here without ever running into other guests.
If you’ve ever wondered how it might feel to sleep on Egyptian cotton laid out on a handmade bed, look no further. The suites at the riad showcase oriental luxury with attention to detail weaved throughout the interior design.
We were pleasantly surprised to find complimentary Moroccan robes (djelaba) and hats (fez) on our bed – a beautifully personal touch, souvenir and comfortable lounge outfit all in one.
Spa & Relaxation
It didn’t take me long to learn that hospitality at Riad Farnatchi was an experience for all the senses. The riad organised for me and Toby to experience a traditional hammam at the famous Farnatchi Spa, housed inside the riad itself.
The treatment included a steam bath, in which our skin was cleansed by vitamin E-rich Moroccan black soap and then gently exfoliated. Our bodies were then immersed in locally-produced Moroccan oil. It was a spiritual experience which completely relaxed us and purified our skin. The spa menu also includes manicures, massages and luxury skin care and various hammam experiences and if I’d had more time, I’d have tried them all!
Breakfast is served around the clock at Riad Farnatchi. It can be enjoyed in the intimacy of your room or in any of the secluded seating areas scattered around the courtyards. Not having to obey a schedule for breakfast during vacation has to be one of the most relaxing services a hotel can offer.
From breakfast with local pastries until till dinner with tagines in all their delicious variations, as well as numerous snacks and goodies in between, food is omnipresent in Marrakesh, and Riad Farnatchi doesn’t disappoint. You’ll realise that your trip simply doesn’t last long enough to taste your way through all of it.
Le Trou au Mur, the newly-opened restaurant belonging to Riad Farnachi and conveniently located just across the street, is an absolute gem! When it comes to exploring the culinary diversity of Morrocco, Le Trou au Mur brings together the most authentic recipes, high-quality ingredients and first class service at an unbeatable price point. Our waiter Jalis confirmed that some of the dishes are so traditional that he had not seen them served outside of the home, until he started working at the restaurant.
James, the passionate hotelier behind Riad Farnatchi, has an infectious way of sharing his love for Morocco with his guests. He provides guests with a detailed guide of his self-tested recommendations. He is particularly enthusiastic about 5-star service. His motto: “Anytime, anywhere, anyhow”.
After our stay, we could easily see why Riad Farnatchi is the top choice when visiting Marrakesh.
This post was made in collaboration with Riad Farnatchi 💛