Good Things’ Picture Editor Alice Griffiths enjoyed a long weekend exploring the colourful delights of Marrakech, staying at the Almaha Marrakech Riad. Read on to discover more about her lavish adventure…
Marrakech is renowned as a city bubbling with an often frantic pace of life; it’s hot, it’s crowded and it’s exciting but when it comes to where to stay, you will definitely welcome the oasis of calm that we discovered at the delightful Almaha Marrakech Riad.
Driving into the walls of Medina we quickly get sense of the cities hectic vibe, as the taxi swerves around the various collections of bikes, horses and pedestrians. Although the journey to the hotel is short, it takes us through a labyrinth of streets, some of which are too small for the cab, meaning the last leg of our journey is on foot. Stepping off the scorching street the dark coolness of the welcoming reception is instantly soothing.
The hanging ceiling lanterns are captivating and create a surreal effect which is only highlighted by a pure Harry Potter moment as we have to step through a bookcase to get our room. The design throughout the hotel is the work of Charles Kaisin, who draws inspiration from the famous Charles Baudelaire poem ‘L’invitation au voyage’. This influence is reflected throughout the hotel, where the traditional Moroccan craftsmanship is respected and accompanied with an elegant modern twist.
Almaha Marrakech is the perfect place to relax and unwind and provides just the contrast you need from the frenetic pace of the city outside. Ideally situated in a quiet residential area in the heart of Kasbah, the hotel is a 20-minute walk from the main square of Jemaa-el-Fina. With just 12 rooms and suites, the delightful staff are able to indulge your every whim.
Our room is designed for complete relaxation, the warming scent of orange blossom provides a deliciously fragrant welcome. It’s a real show-stopper bedroom with an oversize double bed with an inlaid wood bed head and sculpted stucco panels, and not one but two fireplaces as well as a terrace and stairs leading onto our private rooftop patio with views over the city – talk about feeling spoilt!
Throughout our stay Almaha Marrakech extends this relaxing concept, we enjoy breakfast served on our rooftop terrace, gazing on to the hustle and bustle below, while soaking in the sun. The Moroccan pancakes with fresh yoghurt and fruit was the best way to start the day. After a busy day exploring the city the underground hammam spa is the perfect place to retreat, with its plunge pools, jacuzzi, and marble lined steam rooms you are guaranteed to be completely refreshed.
The Pixel room, so named due to the 23,000 hand stitched to represent the Mosque is a lovely place to take a moment and enjoy a glass of Moroccan mint tea. The facilities are exclusive to hotel guests and serving an amazing selection of traditional Moroccan meals it’s the perfect way to spend an evening. We dined in the Library, when dimly lit is incredibly atmospheric. Authentic Moroccan cuisine being the main focus, we feasted on the lamb tagine, a house speciality, made all the more flavoursome with the addition of fresh apricots and dates.
Exploring the city
Marrakech is a wonderful destination for history buffs as well as anyone wanting to immerse themselves in a different culture – its city walls are bursting with places to discover and things to do.
My advice is to get up early to avoid the hottest part of the day, you can walk to most of the main attractions on foot so make sure you have comfy shoes. A visit to the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square is a must, bursting with traders, musicians, snake charmers and performers. Visit at night and you will really see it come alive.
Fancy some shopping? Try a spot of haggling with the locals in the Souk and pick up a bargain or two to take home. They expect you to haggle so don’t be shy in engaging in some friendly banter.
Admire the Kasbah Mosque, whose calls for prayer can be heard from the terrace in our room. Tucked away behind the Mosque are the Saadian Tombs, the gorgeous Moroccan design is simply breathtaking. Meanwhile, the Marrakech Museum is the place to gaze at fantastic mosaics.
The Jardin Majorelle gardens are cool and hidden in the shade, offering a more chilled out day of exploring. It’s easy to lose yourself in the stunning selection of plants and the iconic blue designs are perfect for Instagram opportunities.
Where: 55, Derb Ben Zina, La Kasbah, 40040 Marrakech
Price: Rooms start from £310, including breakfast
Bookings: To make a reservation, click here.