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'ir ';J,l;ü

,ili rln, coot medina (and beyond)


,g ,n,l,ir'are trappening in Marrakesh. or rather;.small things, as aginJnaoorisfr i I ansidn's and palaces are being transformed into guesthouses, and chic hotels it rringing up like oases in the Il




Itho-u€h,iCs just steps from Marrakesh's teeming souks, I M{i;-oqe.of the many new guesthotlidb deep ancibnt watled medina-is the-epitome of tranquillity. Breakfast is served on the tented roof, an enchanting acrie vfith a view of the Atlas Mountains. As I slather homemade flg preservcs on a freshly baked croissant, Abdourrazak, rfajordomo who makes Maji feel like a home away


the from

see whether I'll need help arranging slehtseeing, shopping, or lunch-and even offers to take

Ipme, stopt by to





RIAD MArt Set around a





it illegal for the famously bothersome' sreet hawkers to

hassle-foreign visitors) Meanwhile, thete's more heppening in the palmy outskirts, where a hand[ul of stylish hotels have recently opened, promising the pCace and privacy of a rural setting. With options like th6Je, Marrakesh has never been more welcoming,plore sedüctive. >>


,tä"., r grre l-:* Äaisr! ns ,iri i


me around- the.ciry himseif Such is theladvantegc of stayingatailad and experiencing the Merrqkesh me,{ina ftrstn"I"a. leaaing ,qih" allure] focal autiiorities teve made


B4,uYrlH Ylfl( .P ^ ^ - . T t,wu lw1 ,



o.*firee-shaded court-

yard, this tiny guesthouse is the besrd«d in town. British writer-photographer couple Maggie ,fla Ctry perry have restored a former Moorish mansion. fie six unpretentious guest rooms have carved plaster ceilings, billowy white window reatmcnts, and scnrc of the tnost comfortable bcds in Marrakcsh. 79 Derb Moulay Abdul kahr, »crt Oabadil; .phone uttdfax ztz.44f4z6.6SS; du$bsfron S7it, tncialtngbru\fost.

r \




Marrakesh by design. rRoM LEFr: Riad Mabrouka's rooftop chaises; cobalt glasses for tea (and for sale) at Ryad Tamsna; one of Rlad Kalss's many secret salons; a pared.down Mabrouka bedroom,


j7 8. 47 8;; doublesfrom


Lahdima; xz-44/440-926,fax ubk str




zs o,


t * 44f 442-7oo;

cl u d i ng b r e;

Zitoun Kedhn; phoue andfu ztz-44f440-t+t; www.riadhaßs.con; dou.

fr on




tn cl uding b r eahfa s t.

RIAO MABRoUKA Owners Catherine and Picrre-Jcan Niri have pushed rypically opulent Moroccan döcor in a bold

ininimalist direction. Thc roof tcrrace (a tailorcd ban§uette her8, a wicker chaise there, white umbrcllas and cacti

in earthenware pots everywhere) has a Delano-meetsof colorful tile and mosaics, floors

.Santa.Ee feel. Instead I'


phone andfax zr2-44/J77-s7g; $


25, in


d u/i ng b r e ahfost.


A turquoise-tiled swimming pool surrounde-d

by a rwo-story colonnade ofdeep red arches forms the centerpiece of this handsome n'dddeep in the medina (you didn't tead it here, but rumor has it the place was once






Souikat Laksour; ztz-44/44t-o26, ,ean-Paul Gaultier

is a regular at Taoufiq Baroudi's boutlque, for glamorous caftans, babouches (slippers), silk quilts, and pillows. Mlnistero del Guslo 22 Derb Azzouz el-Mouossine; 212-44/426455.This ltalian-run gallery with a pool in the middle specializes

in contemporary art and furniture. Ryad Tamsna z3 Derb Zonka Deiko, off Rue Riod Zitoun ldid; zrz44b85-zZz. Meryanne Loum-Martin's restored medina town

house has an excellent bookstore, an art gallery, and a boutique oTfering one-of-a-kind fabrics, scarves, bags, and iewelry.

[a Porte d'Orlent 9 Blvd. Monsour Eddohbi; ztz-t+4/4j8-962. This vast emporium of North African antlques specializes in wood, including ornate doors, chests, and entire cawed ceilings (they can be shipped anywhere). Cooperatlm,Aue. Mohomed V iustbeyond Ploce Djemoo el-Fng;

ztz-44/44o-5or. A well-edited collection of the usual souk stuff-ca rpets, pottery, iewelry-at, fai r, fixed prices.




nub r o uha. com; iloubl e sfro m


hlno rntss Two mansions have been joined to create a hip eight-room retreat where cool North African house rnusic fills the enornrous tiled courtyard, thick with tropical trees. The grand salon-with zo-foot carved qiches at either end, a baronial fireplace, and enough North African entiques to fill a small museum-is one of the iity's most spectacular inte riors. At night, candles and lanterns light every bcguiling passageway. o5 oerbldid, niad lpla

el sahio,

no, lncludingbreahfast.

RIAD ElllrA T.hc cight guest rootns in tlris z8o-year-old former caid's palace retain their tiled floors and sculptcd äeilings but are appointed with all sorts of bizarre Art Nouveau-style furnishings: iron beds, outsized pcdestal tables, pink and purplc Berber carpets in Modernist patierns. It's not everyonei cup of mint tea, burifyou're looking for fantasy, this place delivers. 9 Derb Mesfoui, Rahba do

ar e tadelakt (polished plaste r) ; in place of doors, tlrick canvas curtains shut offclosets and entryways.56 Derb

and walls

of five interconnected mansions, El Cadi is a labyrinth ofpatios and pools, secret alcoves and terraces. Many of the I2 rooms have fireplaces, for cool desert hights. Boosting the charm ofthe place is its colIcction of Islamic and Bcrber art, amassed by owner Herlvig Bartels, a former German ambassador to Morocco. 87 Derb Moulay abdelkadel, Dabache; ut-44fj78-655,fax a2.44/ RIAD EL CADI Carvcd out





tf t ttte matraKeSn

lturr lry rr garrulous forrrrcr cconoruist frorn (icrrnany, ;Noga has a staff of nirrc to attend to seven guest .roorns. Altlrough thc roor.ns arc relatively small, this lis onc of thc ftw riadswith satcllitc tclevision: nooks iand terraces offcr privatc space for reading and


lrelaxing. 78 oerbJdid at ltouar Graoua; tz-44fj77.670, g dax m- a a/j s o 46 ; w ww. riadno[d. con; doubles fron $ tjg. -


rmmvs In thc village of Ouled Bcn Rahfirc rnilcs rrorth of Mairakeslr, Caravan Serai


lvas dcsigned by the acclaimed Morocco-based ar!hitects;Charles and Martrieu Boccara. Austere inud walls conceal I7 rustic-chic roorrrs; the swimining pool is set in a dranratic arcaded courtyard that has the look ofa posturodern Elizabetharl theatcr. A shuttle takes guests into town, but many prefer to luxuriate in the traditionalhanmam or go horseback riding. Ouled ßen Rahnan; ztz-44fjoo.joz, fax ztz.44fjoo.z6z; www. cardtanserdhnar rakesh.


m; doubles

fron $ g6,

ßritish-based Moroccan entreprcnettr Abcl Darnoussi has restored a Iio-year-old Berber casbah, or fortress. The nrain buiiding enconrpasscs six courtyards, I4 guest rooms, and salons and dining areas of all shapes and sizes. Outside the casbah walls, there's a pool, clay tennis court, openair spa, and four over-the-top private guest tents, with airconditioning, tiled baths, and canopy beds draped in antique

ineludingb r cakfast.

,NAilE TAMSNA Meryanne Loum-Martin helped make Marrakesh a must for fashionable travelers back in r99o when slrc startcd rcnting out Dar Tämsna, two fabulous villas in exclusivc La Palrneraic, a neighborhood just nortl'r of the city. Noq for wanderers in search of a villa experience (but who don't want to take over an entire



az. 44h29.




zrz-44f4zo-g6o,far uz-44f4zo-

fr o m $ 4oo, including brcakfasr.

TIGMI ßlending seamlessly into the village of Tägadert, t5

miles south of Marrakesh, this eco-resort lets travelers experience an unspoiled Berber communiry Created by Max I-awrence, an Englishrnan who has lived and rvorkcd irr N,[orocco for ahnost a decade, the rirud-walled Tigmi was built with the entl,usiastic help: of z5o villagers. Everything is wonderfully simple, from lhe L-shaped pool in the front garden r6 rfig ligtrt suites;withüreirurrfi'n:- ished country furniture, Numerous teriaces offer dreamy views of the Atlas Mounta ins. Togadeit) 44.rj8of tzt.gj,fax

house), Loum-Martin has unveiled this nearby rial, built äroulrd two Zen-like courtyards. The ro spacious bedrooms have fireplaces. custom-designcd iron beds, and äntiques galore (borie-inlaid chaises, studdcd chests, t lorth African photos). Doudr Abidd, La Palmeraie; ztz-6rf )42-n7

Rte. de Guemassa,

97 o ; w ww.kwbahagafay. co m ; double s

doublcsfron $147, including breakfast.


ßASBAH AGAFAY Ten miles beyond thc Marrakesh airport, <iverlooking green fields and golden desert footl illr,

4|.tj8o/828-6jo;doublesfrom$z6Tincludingallmeals. r

WHERE TO EAT ln addition to the city's riod revolution, Marrakesh is stining up interest on the food front. Here, some of the town's top ii Atizla ßue CÄouhada-chawki, Hivernoge; ztz-44/68.j6o; diiner for two g3o. Excellent ltalian, French, ant fish dishes; on mild evenings, Alizia's bougainvillea:t shaded front garden is the ptace to be.


n; 212-44/4oj-35j; dinngr for two $94. For a change of scene and cuisine, the Thai dining room ofthe stuhning Aman resort is worth a trek to the outskirts of Marrakesh. Dar Moha Almadlna 8r Rue Dar et Bacha; zn-44/j86-4oo; dinner for two $Zz.lhe former mansion of desi§ner Pierre Ba[main provides the sumptuous setting for Amanjena Rte. de Ouorzozate, km

chef Moha Fedal's nouvelle cuisine morocaine. La Malson Arabe

$jo. Le


Derb AssehbC, Bob Doukkalo;

ztz-44/j87-oto; dinner for two

One of the city's best small hotels now has a romantic new dining room, its

Tobslt ez Delb Abdelloh Ben Hessoien, R'milo Bob Ksour; eai-44/444-o5z; din-

i n novative Morocca n cookin g-lamb togi n e wilhq postilld (iligeon pie)-served in the coürtyard of a lovely riod. I n

e! foi tvt/o$94-



ce, moist