The 'ocher city' is trendier than ever, and it's full of places that are as incongruous as they are splendid for an artsy getaway. The famed playground of the rich and famous (Yves Saint Laurent's lavish home turned botanical garden comes to mind) proves itself time and time again as the next place you need to discover, starting with these 5 hotels and villas.
Hidden behind a grove of palm trees, Dar Sabra is a surprising oasis under the dry Marrakchi sun. An ode to brutalism and surrealism, this guest house combines steep lines with sharp geometry where volumes Medina in sharp and precise lines. The lounges include furniture that combines clean design and private pools for each villa. In the garden, colorful sculptures, zany and hidden frescoes punctuate the greenery. A haven of two hectares dedicated to cubist and futuristic architecture, it is here where you can find more than sixty works of art selected by Monsieur Chapoutot, the owner of the place.
Nestled in the heart of the medina of Marrakech, in an uncrowded alley, Le 18 Marrakech is only revealed to those who seek it. Knock on the door, and enter a place like no other; this is a riad that preserves the traditional architectural tradition all the while incorporating contemporary furniture design. It features an open-concept kitchen with black and white cement tiles, rooms with unique decorations where each object seems to have been unearthed specifically for this space, and well as an intimate patio. Designed by photographer Laïla Hida in September 2013, and conceived as a cultural riad, the venue hosts exhibitions, discussions, art installations and screenings throughout the year.
It's the worst-kept secret of the medina; acclaimed by fashionistas and artists alike, the Secret Garden riad has admirers around the world. In addition to the twist of Moroccan traditions, natural fiber accents, oriental opulence and boho influences, this ultra-confidential address offers a rooftop where you can find delicious food. On the sidelines of its six relaxed anti-modernist rooms, the place seduces the artists with its proposal of a residence. Thus, one can take refuge in the Studio of the Riad to undertake a kind of creative retirement.
Straight out of the overflowing imagination of Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj, this tea room-gallery not far from the bustling Jemaa El Fna square will inspire you. A real demonstration of Moroccan pop art, psychedelic fabrics make up an atypical interior decoration, the hallmark of the famous designer. On the patio or comfortably seated on a bench made of wine racks, you can sip a tea while checking out all the curiosities this place has on display.
In 2002, Vanessa Branson and Howell James fell in love with a house in ruins. Two years later, El Fenn riad was born, combining Moroccan ancestral know-how, luscious decoration and ultra-luxury service. Original cedar ceilings and traditional mosaics blend together with hand-picked furniture. the riad has twenty-eight rooms and suites, three pools, a bar, a spa and a library, offering a hedonistic retreat to a select few. Branson, to whom we owe the creation of the Marrakech Biennial, has created something of a living gallery where the works of contemporary artists adorn the walls.