Marrakech, Morocco

Almaha Marrakech

Rates from (ex tax)$215.90

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR201.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

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Style

Kaisin-designed den

Setting

Royal Kasbah quarters

In typical Marrakchi fashion, Almaha’s unassuming entrance and lofty walls give not a hint of the exotic Charles Kaisin-designed interiors hidden within. Cut-glass lanterns cast rainbows across domed ceilings, the courtyard and roof terrace are bougainvillaea-draped, and the spa has two Zellige-tiled hammams: it’s unsurprising that Kaisin’s designs were inspired by Baudelaire’s romantic, jetsetting poem L’Invitation au Voyage (the French poet’s books line the library walls, too). If you’re not moved by verse, the hotel’s central Kasbah seat and regal rooms may inspire you to be Marrakech-bound.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A two-course Moroccan lunch; guests booking their first dinner also receive an apéritif with home-made nibbles. Stays of four nights or more will also get a 30-minute massage

Facilities

Photos Almaha Marrakech facilities

Need to know

Rooms

12, including 10 suites.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $215.90 (€183), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.60 per person per night on check-out.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR201.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include a traditional Moroccan breakfast, return transfers from Marrakech Menara Airport, spa access, and tea and pastries on arrival.

Also

Belgian architect Charles Kaisin designed the hotel, which took 10 years to complete. Each room’s furnishings are bespoke and Kaisin’s designs update traditional Berber patterns and palettes. Artists should hang out in the colourful lounge, where walls are bedecked with woven cubes, which create an abstract, pixellated depiction of Djemaa El-Fna.

At the hotel

Spa, terrace, lounge and library, and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: a TV, working fireplace, under-floor heating, a minibar and free bottled water.

Our favourite rooms

The Deluxe Rooms with Private Terrace are airy and courtyard-spying; we love their traditional ogee-arch fireplaces and secluded outdoor spaces. For a ravishingly-regal lodging, check into a Senior Suite with Private Terrace, where you’ll find an oversized marble bath tub, sculpted wall furnishings and ornate marquetry on the magnificent bed’s headboard.

Poolside

The bijou, blue, Zellige-tiled pool (18sq m) is sunk into the roof terrace; it’s heated year-round and open to adults only. After dark, it’s romantically lantern-lit.

Spa

The tempting Almaha spa has a traditional, marble-lined steam room; two hammams; a Jacuzzi; and two treatment rooms. Choose from traditional black-soap scrubs, shoulder-loosening Ayurvedic massages and reflexology treatments, all using locally-sourced products.

Packing tips

Bring an extra-large suitcase to stash your market-sourced spices in.

Also

The courtyard’s reflecting pool is at its best after dark, when it refills itself every evening.

Children

This restful riad is better suited to couples.

Food and Drink

Photos Almaha Marrakech food and drink

Top Table

Take a cosy pew by the pretty ogee-arched fireplace in the library.

Dress Code

Floaty linens for balmy summer nights; colourful cashmere for cool winter evenings.

Hotel restaurant

Traditional, locally-sourced Moroccan dishes are served in the candlelit, Baudelaire-inspired library: a blush-pink space lined in intricately carved jali screens. The menu changes frequently, but expect hearty tagines, fresh couscous salads and sugar-and-cinnamon-dusted pastillas.

Hotel bar

There’s no bar as such, but a selection of tipples can be brought to you anywhere in the hotel.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am, lunch from noon till 3pm, and dinner from 7pm till 11pm.

Room service

All restaurant dishes can be served wherever you so desire between 6.30am and 10.30pm.

Location

Photos Almaha Marrakech location
Address
Almaha Marrakech
55 Derb Ben Zina
Marrakech
40040
Marrakech
Morocco

Planes

Marrakech Menara Airport (www.marrakech.airport-authority.com) is six kilometres away; a 15-minute drive from the riad. It's served by British Airways, Ryanair and EasyJet. Return airport transfers are included in your room rate.

Trains

Marrakech Railway Station is five kilometres away (a 12-minute drive), and the hotel will pick you up (and drop you back here) for free. ONCF (www.oncf.ma) services arrive from most major Moroccan cities, including Fes, Casablanca and Rabat.

Automobiles

Almaha is located in the heart of the Kasbah, where parking isn’t possible and exploring is best done on foot.

Worth getting out of bed for

If you’ve had your fill of passing time by the pool, soaking in the hotel’s spoiling spa or brushing up on your Baudelaire, venture out to the sweet-smelling Marché du Mellah to pick up some blooms, or to the enchanting Jardin Majorelle to sit amid the peaceful lily-filled pools and azure-blue architecture. Art aficionados can nose around Le Jardin Secret, an ornate Saadian Dynasty palace, decorated with intricate Islamic art and surrounded by lush gardens, or head to the petite Tiskiwin Museum, where you’ll find a hand-picked collection of North African jewellery, carpets and homewares. Bustling Djemaa el-Fna market’s intoxicating scent indicates what most stalls are selling: ras el hanout, cinnamon and burning incense perfume the air. The street-food stalls are the most enticingly scented; follow your nose for sugar-dusted pastillas, fruity tagines and honey-drenched chebakia (Moroccan doughnuts).

Local restaurants

Arrive hungry at Dar Yacout, where richly-spiced Moroccan cuisine is served in ornate, lantern-filled dining rooms, and on the rooftop; sup alongside panoramic views of the Medina and the Koutoubia Mosque here. Fellow Smith-pick Maison mk’s fine-dining restaurant Gastro mk has a delectable five-course fusion menu, featuring mouth-watering dishes like slow-cooked lamb tagine with pomegranate molasses and fondant potato, and marmalade cake with cinnamon sorbet and orange blossom. Well-loved eatery Al Fassia Gueliz serves up traditional dishes like pigeon-stuffed pastillas and an array of tagines in cosy surrounds. 

Local cafés

A two-minute walk from the hotel, Café Clock holds regular art exhibitions and music workshops in its modern restaurant, which even has a lending library for the literary-inclined. Dishes range from the traditional (lamb tagine; falafel, hummus and tabbouleh) to the adventurous (camel burgers and minted-cheese salad). 

Reviews

Photos Almaha Marrakech reviews
Louis-Nicolas Darbon

Anonymous review

It’s almost 1am and the chaos is just as I remembered it. As we pass the narrow streets of the Medina, people are everywhere: hanging out in the streets, tucking into lamb tagine from the tiny kitchens emitting temptingly scented smoke. I look out of the window and a donkey is trying to pass, but the street is too small for us both to fit. The taxi driver stops and says that we have arrived; I’m slightly confused as I can’t see the entrance to the riad. The driver tells me to wait in the car and suddenly our guide appears: I don’t know what they’re called, but I’ve dubbed them ‘light-carriers’. A man holding a lantern, dressed in traditional Moroccan attire, arrives to escort us to the hotel. The darkness is complete, but there’s something so charming and mysterious about this city, that we feel like we’ve gone back in time. After a few minutes’ walk we arrive at Almaha Marrakech’s massive, beautifully-crafted wooden doors.

At check-in I can’t quite figure out if I’m in a hotel or a traditional Moroccan shop, but the hotel owner does something to the wall and – just like that – a secret door opens up. I really didn’t think those existed in real life. And so, here we are, in the most beautiful riad, right in the middle of the Medina; from the outside, you could never guess this was within. And that’s what I love about this city – the mystery and the hidden palaces.

As we walk through the courtyard, between white curtains and past the courtyard pool, I look up to the open ceiling and I’m reminded that it’s December, yet the temperature is perfect. With its 12 individually designed rooms, the hotel is the project of the owner’s good friend, Belgian architect and designer Charles Kaisin. The Pixel Room contains probably one of the most unique artworks I have seen. The walls are covered in 23,000 silk ‘pixels’ that transform into clear images of Marrakech and Jemaa el-Fna when you hold up your iPhone camera. We continue to the library, which, the owner tells us, is inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s Invitation to Voyage poem. To read it is to understand Almaha’s interior design, the owner says. A total of 1,083 books fills the library and each page is folded to show a letter in the spine of the book; when put together, you can read the whole poem. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly solid walls: there’s a secret passage here, too.

Our Junior Suite sits on the top floor; it’s the same size – or probably bigger than – a one-bedroom London flat and beautifully decorated in traditional Moroccan style. I love the craftsmanship, the attention to detail and the artisanal touches. It’s rare these days to stay in a place where you feel like you’ve gone back in time, which doesn’t feel old-fashioned. Everything here is new – the hotel has been open less than a year – and yet you feel like you’re in a traditional palace (albeit with modern luxuries and design).

The living room is comfy, with a TV hidden behind a wooden door; there are no traces of ugly modern technology – here, it’s all about intricate details and beautiful decor. The bedroom is vast and the wall has been hand-carved with Moorish designs. The bathroom might be the same size as the bedroom, finished in black marble and fully equipped with a walk-in closet which, of course, was Mrs Smith’s favourite part. My favourite? The private rooftop. It’s too dark to see anything besides the star-filled sky – I’ve set my alarm for 7am so as not to miss the sunrise and breakfast, which will, of course, be served up there.

I’m an early bird for a reason; I don’t want to miss a sunrise if I can help it. Here, on the roof terrace, I can see the sun peek over the Atlas mountains that surround the city. The sky is pink and we are right in the middle of Kasbah – Marrakech’s oldest neighbourhood. Through the speakers from the mosque at Jemaa el-Fna, the morning prayer is in full swing. We request breakfast to be served on our private patio and the waiter says we are lucky, as last week it was raining. Today there is not a cloud in the sky and my iPhone is showing 22°C for the day. Perfect weather for spending the morning relaxing by the rooftop pool.

On our last day, after a busy weekend full of discoveries, we are happy to be back at Almaha, where we have booked in at the spa, which is adorned with beautifully patterned tile work from floor to ceiling. Best surprise to end the weekend? The hotel has organised a romantic dinner for two right in the middle of the courtyard with a table on a platform over the water – it couldn't get more romantic than this. Dining in the open air on water – who would have thought that was even possible?

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Almaha Marrakech’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The personalized and tailored service was impeccable. It was a complete dream come true. The staff caters to your every need, no matter what time of the day.

Rating

Stayed on 26 May 2017

We loved

Loved the architecture and feel of the place - a real oasis of calm. Quirky door from reception (I won't spoil it) and a large and beautiful courtyard in the middle with the rooms surrounding it. Lovely spacious room - heated floor much appreciated in Jan and loved the roof terrace where we had lunch. Unobtrusive and excellent service and staff clearly had a genuine love for the place - Anas especially. Cannot recommend highly enough.

Don’t expect

Don't expect hustle and bustle and probably not great for exuberant kids.

Rating

Stayed on 20 Jan 2017

We loved

Tranquility and very quiet.

Don’t expect

Big families.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Dec 2016

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