Located in the continent of Africa, Morocco covers 446,300 square kilometres of land and 250 square kilometres of water, making it the 58th largest nation in the world. Morocco shares land borders with three countries, Algeria, Spain, Western Sahara and has a population in its capital city, Rabat, of 1,655,753.
Marrakesh, a former imperial city in western Morocco, is a major economic centre and home to mosques, palaces and gardens. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire, with mazelike alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery and jewellery.
From spices to carpets, everything is available at the souks, but when shopping in the main market streets – Souq Semmarine and Souq el-Kebir – you can expect to pay top dollar. Smaller souqs are more often dedicated to artisan workshops where you can buy direct from the producer and where you will generally get better deals.
The splendour, artwork, tiling, colours, and aromas in Marrakech will dazzle your senses but it’s the sonorous call to prayer from the mosques that will truly permeate your mind.
The city is steeped in ancient artistry that continues to thrive, kept alive by the modern craftspeople of the souqs and the contemporary art and design scene of the ville nouvelle.
On the outskirts of Marrakech is Jardin Majorelle, a garden by artist Jacques Majorelle, with exotic plants, water features, the beauty of which is difficult to describe with words.
Palmeraie is a palm oasis of several hundred thousand trees outside of Marrakesh, Morocco. Situated at the edge of the city’s northern section, it measures 5 miles in length, and covers an area of 54 square miles.
The mosques, souks, deserts, day-time activities, nightlife and lifestyle will have you needing much more than a day or two in this lively city and set in the heart of the Medina in Marrakech is L’Hôtel Marrakech. An historic 19th Century Riad originally the central part of a Caidal palace, L’Hôtel Marrakech comprises five spacious suites surrounding a courtyard garden and swimming pool and will cater to your every holiday need.
Opened by Jasper Conran in 2016, this charming retreat combines delicious food, great comfort and service whilst capturing the elegance of hotels of the 1930s. The Riad combines superb Moroccan craftsmanship with pieces of antique furniture, textiles, lighting and art from Jasper’s collection, making it feel more like a home than a hotel.
Jasper Conran, OBE, is a British designer. Having trained at Parson’s School of Design in New York, Jasper Conran produced his first womenswear collection in 1978 and was a founding member of the London Designer Collections – subsequently renamed London Fashion Week – where he continues to show today.
Conran diversified from womenswear into menswear, fragrance, accessories, luggage, collections for the home, interiors and the performing arts, and in 2008 received an OBE for his Services to Retail.
Throughout his career, Conran has pursued his passion for the performing arts. He has created costumes and sets for thirteen ballet, opera and theatre productions, and in 1991 won a Lawrence Olivier Award for Costume Design for Jean Anouilh’s ‘The Rehearsal’.
In 2012, Conran was appointed the Chairman and Creative Director of The Conran Shop where he spent three years conceiving and implementing a strategy to reinvigorate and reposition the business.
L’Hôtel Marrakech is a privately owned riad set in the heart of the ‘red city’s’ Medina. L’Hôtel is conveniently close to the vibrant Jemaa El Fna square, the bustling Souk and nearby the 12th Century Koutoubia Mosque. This historic 19th Century riad, originally the central part of a Caidal palace, comprises five spacious suites, not usually found in the riads of Marrakech surrounding a uniquely wide courtyard garden and swimming pool. This charming retreat combines delicious food, great comfort and service whilst capturing the elegance of hotels of the1930s. Owned by Jasper Conran, the riad combines superb Moroccan craftsmanship with pieces of antique furniture, textiles, lighting and art from his collection, making it feel more like a home than a hotel.
The restoration has been executed using local craftsmen and traditional materials. An atmosphere of timeless relaxed grandeur has been created, white voile curtains flow on the terraces giving privacy to the generously proportioned suites. Simple whitewashed walls, high zouak ceilings; warm, soft, restful colours and unfussy decoration give a relaxing feeling of charm and serenity.
The roof terrace offers extraordinary views of the Atlas Mountains and the skyline of Marrakech. It is a place to unwind after a day’s foray into the souks, and somewhere to lie out on sun loungers. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea can be taken under the pergola. Cocktails can be enjoyed amongst orange blossom and fig trees, a wilderness of honeysuckle, bougainvillaea jasmine and scented roses whilst watching the sun go down over the snow-capped mountains.
In the evening, dinner can be enjoyed in the dining room. On cooler nights the curtains are drawn and a fire is lit whilst traditional Moroccan food is served. On warmer evenings large glass doors open out onto the courtyard garden allowing the gentle sound of the water fountain and the scents of the garden to flow through rooms.
On entering the hotel you will find yourself in the courtyard garden, planted with banana, orange and lemon trees, welcomed by the soothing sound of water from the central fountain surrounded by zelige tilework. Birds sing, perfumed roses and jasmine abound whilst bougainvillea and honeysuckle cascade down the whitewashed walls.
The garden is also home to one of the few swimming pools of the Medina. Enjoy a calm relaxing swim in the ten metre pool (heated in the cooler months). A pleasure that can be enjoyed from early morning to the approach of nightfall as glowing lanterns and candles are lit, enveloping the riad in a magical atmosphere.
Planted with orange, fig and olive trees, jasmine, bougainvillea, honeysuckle and geranium the roof terrace is the perfect place to unwind and relax. Here breakfast and lunch is served under a curtained pergola. Elsewhere on the terrace, tables are set out where you can enjoy afternoon tea, coffee and cocktails. Sun loungers are arranged on a tiled raised terrace so that guests can enjoy the warmth of the Moroccan sun.
L’Hôtel Marrakech prides itself on its approach to serving delicious traditional Moroccan cooking. Food can be served on your private balcony, the dining room or on the roof terrace. Seasonal local produce is brought to the kitchen daily. Dishes prepared celebrate the subtle aromas and colourful enchantment of Marrakech. Guests can enjoy a vibrant array of salads, fresh vegetables, slow cooked tagines, grilled meat and fish as well as the perfect steak and chips. To complete the meal, there are refreshing sorbets, ice creams and fruits to choose from.
The hotel is available for private hire. The riad is the perfect retreat for a group of friends, family or a honeymooning couple. Intimate dinners and parties can also be catered for. The riad is the ideal place to go if you wish to enjoy a large private home without the responsibilities of ownership. Whether reading in the shade by the pool, soaking up the sun on the roof terrace enjoying the array of fine food and drink on offer or venturing out into the city and its souks, everyone is able to enjoy something a little different.
Getting to Marrakech from Australia with Qatar Airlines – Fly Melbourne to Marrakech (return) via – Dohar, Qatar; Casablanca, Morocco: from AU $1800.00