British fashion designer Jasper Conran liked Marrakech so much he ended up buying and restoring his own traditional 19th-century riad.
Located in the neighbourhood of Bab Boukkala, the riad can’t be accessed by car thanks to the tiny streets of Marrakech’s old city.
After arriving at the main square we were met by the hotel manager for a short walk through a maze of walkways before arriving at the gates of the riad.
Once inside, the vibe is completely different and you feel worlds away from the smelly hot streets of Marrakech.
Conran’s design aesthetic for the riad is old-school glamour fit for a scene from a 1940’s movie.
The riad is a true oasis with a beautiful lush garden in the middle of the building and a small swimming pool (which was ice-cold).
On the roof of the riad, there are 2 terraces on each side for guests to make use of, one side doubles as a dining area whereas the other side is perfect for sunbathing.
L’Hotel Marrakech is the true essence of ’boutique’ with only 5 suites, each one with a different design and art pieces from Jasper Conran’s collection.
Our room was the Casablanca suite, which is the largest along with the Fez suite.
The room was huge and comes with a large balcony overlooking the riad’s garden.
The high beamed arches of the balcony are equipped with voile drapery for added privacy.
Check-in was done on our balcony, where the manager explained us everything there was to know about the hotel and the surrounding neighbourhood over Moroccan mint tea.
At this stage, I also realised there are no keys… which feels a bit uneasy at first considering anyone could walk into your room when you’re out. At night, the doors do lock but only from the inside.
We booked this hotel through Mr & Mrs Smith, if you’re not familiar with the site, it’s basically a curated list of hotels around the world and does offer some extra amenities compared to booking direct.
The price was far from cheap at 500 euros per night which came with 1 dinner for 2 and return transfer from the airport.
The room was beautiful and I love the design style of Moroccan riads (which is why I decided to stay here over a resort style hotel). The bed (covered in voile drapery) and pillows were comfortable and I could appreciate the attention to detail with all the art pieces, Moroccan lamps and rugs.
The bathroom was equally spacious and although the bath/shower set up was true to tradition; the water ended up going everywhere.
So far everything was great… until we went to sleep and realised the air conditioning unit sounded like an old truck engine. It was terrible.
Considering the heat, turning off the aircon wasn’t exactly ideal. The next day I asked if anything could be done but apparently, it was in the “too hard basket”. Considering all the work that had gone into restoring this place into a haven of old-world luxury, they could have at least bought a proper aircon system. At 500 euros a night, I expect better.
L’Hotel Marrakech Food
At the moment, L’Hotel Marrakech doesn’t have a liquor license yet so there was no option for wine or other alcoholic beverages. BYO was welcome but considering Morocco is a Muslim country… alcohol isn’t that accessible outside the hotels and restaurants.
The free dinner we enjoyed thanks to booking with Mr & Mrs Smith, was OK but not exceptional as some reviews make it seem. The regular price was 50 euro per person (which is expensive for Marrakech) so we decided to eat out on the other 2 nights we were there.
For breakfast, there were 2 options, European style continental or Moroccan breakfast. I thought it was funny that both were the same but the Moroccan breakfast had more bread varieties on offer. Although the breakfast looked great, the bread and pastries rather dry and tasteless. Something you wouldn’t expect from an ex-french colony.
L’Hotel Marrakech in Conclusion
Travel guides and Instagrammers make Marrakech out to be this beautiful and culturally enriching place. It is not. As a city, I thought Marrakech was a bit of a dump. It smelled bad, the majority of the houses are concrete slabs which look terrible, the food scene is stuck in time (circa 1940’s) but minus the colonial French charm which has been replaced by hostile looks from the locals.
As for L’Hotel Marrakech, I wish it was perfect but sadly it’s not. Even though aesthetically the place is amazing and I would love to have my own riad, the big let down was the noisy aircon unit which didn’t help in getting proper sleep. If this issue was fixed I would recommend the hotel but until it is, there are plenty of other places to stay in Marrakech. As I finish this review, I noticed Condé Nast published their Gold List for 2019 which includes L’Hotel Marrakech as one of the 2 recommendations for Morocco…
On a side note, if you’re planning to visit Morocco. Do not take your drone. As I found out the hard way, it’s illegal and mine got confiscated at the airport (I didn’t even fly it!).