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Riad El Fenn, Marrakech

Thu, Feb 17, 2011

Northern Africa

Welcome to the luxury Riad that adorns the heart of the Medina on the Bab El Ksour! This is Riad El Fenn accessible by a stroll of five minutes from the Djemma Al Fna square and Koutoubia mosque. This traditional Moroccan palace is a standard Riad boasting a stylishly innovative touch of an artist: the humble entrance of this maze takes one into the three courtyards of which one is invigoratingly lit with a basin of rose petals and marble fountain making you pass a screening room, antique wooden doors, small steps, and library equipped with Wi-Fi.

Adorned in a great style featuring modern wall masterpieces, leather floors, and comfy nooks; Riad El Fenn is a friendly hotel where every detail has been thoroughly paid attention just for the guests, right from linens to food. With 21 unique suites, Hammam Spa, Turkish bath, and 3 swimming pools, this is a boutique hotel of exclusive features as well as amenities. In addition, it features several sites to relax under the sun, along the pool, amidst the green garden, or on the terrace. From its lush garden, terrace with rosebush, and pool; you can enjoy the splendid vistas of the city as well as of the Atlas Mountains. The owners, Howell James and Vanessa Branson are taking care of this elegant home that is surely away you’re your home, but makes you feel at home via its organic garden, library, and cinema.


At the Riad El Fenn, there are 21 rooms of which majority are tall, open-plan suites. Among the total rooms, six of them are equipped with the fireplaces. At top are the largest suites of 900 sq ft having small plunge pools for beautiful vistas as well as private terrace. No matter which you choose, all the rooms have wide beds, Egyptian cotton linen, showers, giant baths, small or big sitting area, air-conditioners, iPod docking stations, wheelchairs, and safe.

The baths are profound, showers tend to possess power, and the heating/air-conditioning is prudent. Pillows are in plenty, the mattresses are compact, linens are fine, bath oils are delightful, and the aromatic are the candles here.

My recommendations: the Douiria Suite (Room 6) as a split retreat with a vast private terrace and plunge pool; Room 10 in turquoise amidst the orange tree courtyard with carved wooden ceiling as well as a fireplace seen from bathroom and bedroom, and Room 11 with deep-red walls, private verandah, and white marble fireplace.


•  Mini cinema  • Wi-Fi throughout for free  • Vast roof terrace with dining area  • Air conditioned public areas        • Car rental desk  •  24-hour front desk  • Elevators  • Self parking  • Restaurant  • Room service

•  Safe deposit box  • 24 hour security  • Shops/commercial services  • Laundry/valet services  • Handicapped rooms/facilities  • Overhead projector  • Lounge/Bar

•  Business center  • Business services  • Currency exchange  • Coffee shop or café  • Medical aid  • Porter/bellhop  • Safe-deposit box - front desk  •  Shopping on site


• Hammam  • Heated marble swimming pool - outdoor  • Treatment room  • Spa

• Steam room  • Hanging garden  • Hair salon  • Sun deck  • Library

•  Painting kits (water colors and oils)  • Yoga mats  • Bicycle rentals  • Golf  • Horseback riding

• Tennis  • Quad biking  •Hiking  • Hot-air ballooning  • Day trips to Atlas, countryside spas, and other attractions with a knowledgeable local guide speaking different languages


At the sole restaurant in the Riad El Fenn, you can savor the modern Med-Maroc menus that change daily to give the taste of all the fresh, organic produce grown in the hotel’s private garden at the Atlas foothills. The regional style dominates the lunch, while the invention is seen during the dinner (€30). Breakfast includes fresh orange juice, croissants, and strong coffee that can be had on the terrace, in room, or anywhere in the Riad.

Book that little table in front of the fireplace in the eatery or go for the last one on the roof that offers the vista of the Koutoubia. Room service can bring you toasted sandwiches, meals, and desserts in your room on request.


Double rooms: 150 Euros of which 1 percent is tax and includes charges for transfers, breakfast, an early-morning tea, coffee, and pastries, and mineral water.

Note: For kids, consult the hotel; but pets are surely not allowed as there are tortoises, iguana, and chameleon.

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