Meaning “Fine Arts” in Arabics, the bohemian El Fenn is a Moroccan gem, a heavenly sanctuary of the most indulgent kind in North Africa’s most exotic city. Ideally located in the dusky, pink-walled Medina just five minutes walk from the world-famous Djemaa el Fna square, the boho-style city hotel has been featured everywhere from Vogue to Harper’s Bazaar thanks to its grand architecture and award winning decor.
The moment you enter it feels like being in the most incredible art museum. The beautiful boutique hotel is a constant surprise and an absolute visual adventure. Every single corner is ablaze with a rainbow of colors while songbirds’ melodies float in the air.
15 years ago, the art curator Vanessa Branson and her business partner Howell James found themselves lost in the bustling maze of streets that make up the ancient medina. Completely by accident, they stumbled into a ruined courtyard of one of Marrakech’s formerly great private homes. They instantly fell in love with the old riad and vigorously set about restoring it. With the input of architect Amine Kabbaj and manager William Smit, they turned the heap of ruins into a grand, gorgeous palace.
The Most Seductive Stay in Marrakech
During our stay, we spent our days sunbathing at our private pool, relaxing with a mint tea amongst the scattered cushions in a quiet corner, reading a book in a romantic cushioned alcove, stocking up on treats for back home at El Fenn boutique over a glass of wine, and indulging with delicious and freshly prepared food.
The attention to detail at this intimate, art-filled retreat is second to none. It comes as no surprise that in December 2014 El Fenn was voted number one out of 950 hotels to win the prestigious Mr & Mrs Smith award for Best Dressed Hotel.
There are 22 luxuriously furnished rooms and suites. All of them individually designed and decorated with Vanessa’s personal art collection. Interestingly, there are no keys at El Fenn. No need we were told, this is a family home. From that moment on, a sense of complete safety and tranquility truly enveloped us.
With high ceilings, a seductive deep bath, a cosy lounge area with an open fireplace and a private terrace with a plunge pool, our 65sq m suite was definitely an architectural wonder.
As soon as I closed the door behind us, I rapidly climbed up the stairs and filled the massive bath with hot water. Heavenly bath salts and rose oils induced utter relaxation. An hour later, we were in our gorgeous hooded and tasselled dressing gowns lying on a comfy chaise- long while sipping some mint tea.
In the evening, a sensually lit path took us through serene lemon tree courtyards with marble fountains and rose-petal-filled basins, staircases and balconies which eventually lead to a balmy rooftop terrace. Dinner was served in a stunning Berber-tented seating area under the stars.
Having breakfast with far-reaching views of the Atlas Mountains in the massive Moroccan style rooftop was a wonderful way to star the day. Home-made yogurt, delicious granola, fresh fruit, warm croissants, beetroot marmalade and fresh baked bread plus a la carte menu of eggs, Berber tanginess and other incredible treats arrived soon at our table.
Rates from 184E excluding tax at 10 per cent.
Our Pool Suite, Room 6: 630E (breakfast included)