Shabby chic, hip, boutique
2 Derb Moulay Abdellah, Ben Hssein, Bab El Ksour 212-52-44-41-210 el-fenn.com
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At a Glance
Richard Branson’s sister’s riad in the medina brings a cheeky-yet-cozy option to the heart of Marrakech.
- The rooftop terrace and bar with cozy lounge areas and plunge pools overlooking the soaring Koutoubia mosque.
- The curated boutique filled with unique Moroccan accessories, clothing and homewares made by local designers.
- The concierge team, who gives excellent recommendations.
- The itimate spa with treatments ranging from massages, facials and hammam.
Seriously hip and fun, this riad in the medina is owned by Richard Branson’s sister Vanessa. It’s filled with contemporary art from her sensational collection, including works by Bridget Riley and Fred Pollock, and sits a mere five-minute walk from the Jemaa el-Fnaa. The artistic touch continues in interior details—silver buckets bursting with yellow roses, tables covered in swaths of silk and walls painted in cherry, pomegranate and sage. The overall effect is impeccably tasteful yet full of character; it’s the kind of place you expect that aging rock stars might hole up for weeks at a time. You can email wirelessly by the pool, while tortoises munch in the garden; or enjoy the hammam or the library. The 31 rooms are spacious with big beds, deep baths and wood fires. The Douiria split-level suite has a leather floor and its own roof terrace with a plunge pool.
The food is fresh and local, and at night, the rooftop turns into a buzzing bar. There is also an indoor bar and restaurant adjacent to the boutique. The staff is so laid-back and attractive that they may let service slip a bit, but you must understand that efficiency is overrated in a place this hip.
Who Should Stay
Those who like the lived-in look and don’t need everything to be five-star; there’s a laid-back, house party atmosphere that makes it feel more like a quirky aunt’s boarding house than a proper hotel.
Good To Know
Each of El Fenn’s 31 rooms has a different theme and décor. Consult with your travel specialist, who can match you with the best aesthetic.
- Melissa Biggs Bradley