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Hotel Highlights

  • Orange-tree and palm-filled courtyard
  • Hammam and massages
  • In the heart of the medina

Overview

Staying at Talaa 12 is a passport to feeling in the centre of the action within minutes of arriving in Marrakech. Inside the door is a small, dark vestibule leading to a light-filled courtyard. Rooms overlooking the courtyard are shuttered in calm pale green – very Farrow & Ball; there’s even a bamboo wind chime clunking softly in the breeze. There are plenty of these intimate seating areas, so even when the hotel is full you'll still always get some private time together.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Talaa 12 with us:

A choice of aperitif each (except champagne); guests staying four or more nights get a traditional exfoliating/rhassoul hammam for two

Facilities

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Talaa 12 Hotel - Marrakech - Morocco

Need To Know

Rooms

Four deluxe rooms, two suites, two deluxe suites.

Check–out

Midday, but flexible.

Rates

Double rooms from $179.78 (€136), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.00 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates include breakfast.

At the hotel

Hammam, massage available, WiFi areas.

Our favourite rooms

The two airy modern-opulent deluxe suites have private balconies, which open onto the courtyard, and one has a fireplace.

Also

No pets. A minimum stay of two nights is required during the week and three nights at weekends.

Children

Cot and child’s bed available. Under-sixes stay free; beds for older children cost from €50 a night, according to season. Babysitting, about €25 an evening.

Food & Drink

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Talaa 12 Hotel - Marrakech - Morocco

Hotel Restaurant

Traditional Moroccan food, served anywhere you feel like it.

Hotel Bar

You can have a drink in the courtyard, the salon, on the roof – wherever you choose.

Last orders

Lunch 3pm; dinner 9pm. Drinks are served for as long as you want them.

Room service

None.

Smith Insider

Dress code

No rules.

Top table

On the roof when it’s fine; by the fire in winter.

Local Guide

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Talaa 12 Hotel - Marrakech - Morocco
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Wind your way from the hotel through the Medina’s alleyways to Djemaa el Fna, the city’s main square, bustling with henna artists, snake charmers and belly dancers by day and tempting food stalls that pop up magically by nightfall. Duck inside one of the souk entrances and follow enticing scents and sounds through the labyrinthine paths; barter for bohemian bowls, intricate jewellery and opulent fabrics to treasure forever. The Koutoubia mosque, that most iconic of Marrakech sights, is just a short stroll away; if you want to explore further afield, a taxi can whisk you off to the Jardin Majorelle’s mini oasis of exotic plants, vibrant colour and Eden-like waters in no time (+212 (0)524 313047). A must-do cultural experience in itself, a hammam session also soothes tired limbs: you’ll be steamed, soaped and scrubbed from top to toe during this time-honoured tradition, which will leave you blissed-out and squeaky-clean. Book one at the hotel or make a day of it at the luxurious Les Bains de Marrakech (+212 (0) 524 381428).

Local restaurants

A few minutes’ walk from the hotel, Villa Flore (+212 (0) 243 91700) serves elegant, French-influenced Moroccan food in a romantic courtyard setting. Try the pigeon pastillas and velvety baba ganoush accompanied by a glass of local wine. Helmed by the Chaab sisters and run exclusively by women, Al Fassia (+212 (0) 524 434060) is the perfect place to feast on Moroccan classics. Towers of pillow-soft couscous and succulent slow-roasted lamb draw locals and visitors night after night, so reservations are essential. Le Tobsil’s banquet is an extravagant affair set in a former palace; book ahead and come hungry for tablefuls of palate-pleasing starters, golden pastillas, buttery tagines and delicate desserts (+212 (0) 244 44052). If you’ve had your fill of all foods Moroccan, Bô & Zin (+212 (0) 524 388012) offers south-east Asian cuisine in a sleek tented garden. Slip away to the new town and draw out your dinner of red tuna teriyaki and wok-fried greens with post-feast drinks over at the bar.

Local bars

No visit to Marrakech is complete without an evening spent perched on a rooftop terrace, gazing at the city’s twinkling lights. Sip a cocktail at Kosy Bar (+212 (0) 524 380324), a million miles away from the hectic main square. After-hours fun can be found at international nightclub Pacha (+212 (0) 245 88400) – this local outpost has shisha pipes, bongo players and belly dancers.

Local cafés

Handily located just minutes from the hotel, Souk Kafé (+212 (0) 662 610229) is the perfect laid-back spot for relaxing after a morning exploring the souks. Refuel with a lemony chicken tagine followed by traditional pastries and the freshest of mint teas.

+ Enlarge
Boutique back alley

Talaa 12

12 Talaa Ben Youssef, Medina, Marrakech, 40000

Planes

From the UK and elsewhere in Europe, British Airways (www.ba.com), Royal Air Maroc (www.royalairmaroc.com), EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) and Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) fly into Marrakech’s Menara Airport. Taxis from the airport to the city centre take 20 minutes and cost around €12 – make sure you agree a price before setting off to avoid being overcharged. The hotel can provide one-way airport transfers in a private, luxury minivan: €25 for three passengers, €35 for three and €50 for four).

Trains

The Moroccan state railway, ONCF (www.oncf.ma), runs inexpensive (but limited) services to Marrakech from Casablanca, Fez and Tangier. Look for TCR (Train Climatisé Rapide) trains to guarantee an air-conditioned journey in summer. You’ll find plenty of taxis waiting at the city’s charming, if slightly run-down, station on Avenue Hassan II.

Automobiles

Driving in Marrakech can be horn-filled and hectic, but if you insist, hire a car from the Avis (www.avis.com) desk at the airport. To reach the hotel follow, Avenue de la Menara to the city centre. There’s a guarded car park two minutes from the hotel.

Reviews

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Talaa 12 Hotel - Marrakech - Morocco

Anonymous review

by Amanda Morison , Professional mum

Staying at Talaa 12 is a passport to feeling in the centre of the action within minutes of arriving in Marrakech. It’s not just its spot-on location – on a relatively quiet street in the heart of the medina – that gives it this quality, but also how you get there. If you’re coming from the airport, a friendly member of staff will be there to greet you, navigating you throug…
Read more

Talaa 12

Anonymous review by Amanda Morison, Professional mum

Staying at Talaa 12 is a passport to feeling in the centre of the action within minutes of arriving in Marrakech. It’s not just its spot-on location – on a relatively quiet street in the heart of the medina – that gives it this quality, but also how you get there. If you’re coming from the airport, a friendly member of staff will be there to greet you, navigating you through the chaos and into a taxi. You wind through ever-smaller streets, before eventually being decanted next to a few of Marrakech’s rather put-upon horses and donkeys.

Your possessions (including young children, if you’re with little Miss or Master Smiths) are then unloaded into a hand-drawn cart, and off you go off into the whirling chaos of the medina. As a first introduction to some of the city’s celebrated souks and sights the transfer is unsurpassable, especially as you feel less of a tourist trundling about in this low-tech manner. By the time you fetch up outside Talaa 12 – a discreet sign flush with the wall the only clue you’ve arrived – your Moroccan adventure has already begun.

Inside the door is a small, dark vestibule leading to a light-filled courtyard. So far, so typically Moroccan, but Talaa 12 is a more contemplative space than the usual all-singing, all-dancing tiled riad courtyards. Rooms overlooking the courtyard are shuttered in calm pale green – very Farrow & Ball; there’s even a bamboo wind chime clunking softly in the breeze. Orange trees and palms stand guard over a small pool – a gazing-at rather than swimming-in affair. We checked in in a small sitting room to the side.

There are plenty of these intimate seating areas, so we knew that even if the hotel filled up (20 guests is the maximum, anyway) we’d always have a little private time together. After the chaos outside, the effect is of Talaa 12’s calm is striking.

Our room, overlooking the central courtyard, was simply styled, with a large bed, two white leather tub chairs, a claret-coloured rug, and a couple of the contemporary paintings that are dotted all over the riad. The bathroom was small but pretty, with a shower and plenty of towels. Knowing water to be a precious commodity in Morocco, we didn’t mind the lack of a bathtub.

When you’re in the heart of the Marrakech Medina, there’s not much time to wallow in a bath, anyway. Before venturing into the unknown, we headed up to the rooftop to get our bearings. What a view! Talaa 12 is a relatively tall riad, so its terrace has a clear view all the way to the Atlas Mountains. As these are to Marrakech what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, we were happy to dally a while, especially as a canvas sail set-up protected us from the surprisingly strong winter sun.

Invigorated with mint tea, we thought we’d hit the souk. I was nervous about getting lost – I once spent two hours walking in ever-decreasing circles trying to find my way back to a riad that noone had ever heard of. Fortunately, Talaa 12 is a rarity among Marrakech hotels: it’s almost impossible to get lost trying to find it. Just ask for the Marrakech Museum or the Ben Youssef Mosque, and you’re there. This also makes for easy sightseeing, especially with the souks and the Djemaa El Fnaa only minutes away.

Being so close to everything means you can dip in and out of Marrakech very easily – if the snake charmers, tooth-pullers and hustlers in the Djemaa El Fna get too much (or if your purchases start to weigh you down), you can nip back home for some more mint tea and a chance to regroup. In the summer, the hotel has arrangements with various private pools in the Palmeraie, about 20 minutes away, so you can cool off and chill out with a lunch thrown in for no more than €30.

That night, we drank delicious local wine on white sofas in front of a roaring fire, before a three-course Moroccan dinner in the small dining room. Lanterns flickered over tables of milk-chocolate-hued wood, and the food – a lemony chicken tajine – was flavourful and subtle. Our fellow diners were a Parisian couple, and we fell to chatting. They told us they’d been toying with the idea of buying a riad to use as a weekend retreat – a common fantasy among French professionals. Now they’d stayed at Talaa 12, they said, they probably wouldn’t bother. They felt they’d already found a home from home – and hadn’t had to do any of the hard work. Our feelings exactly. Places this tranquil are hard to create and impossible to copy. Talaa 12 will remain a complete one-off.

The Guestbook

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