Marrakech, Morocco

El Fenn

Rates from (ex tax)$230.45

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 (EUR240.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Traditional riad with an artist’s touch

Setting

On the cusp of medina and souk

A 22-room labyrinth with three sheltered courtyards, El Fenn hotel is a serene, shady enclosure that offers an art-gallery-worthy respite from the outside world of bustling Marrakech. Lanterns light a sultry courtyard with a marble fountain in this colourful, avante-garde hideaway, complete with carved antique wood doors and a well-stocked library.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of wine; members staying three nights or more will receive a traditional hammam for two

Facilities

Photos El Fenn facilities

Need to know

Rooms

22 rooms (including 12 suites) and one private four-bedroom riad set away from the main house.

Check–Out

12 noon, with free late check-out whenever possible.

Rates

Double rooms from $230.45 (€218), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 5% per booking 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 (EUR240.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Breakfast, afternoon mint tea and home-made pastries are included for Smith guests.

Also

The artworks on display are by Bridget Riley, Antony Gormley, Frances Upritchard, Fiona Rae and so on. No pets allowed – El Fenn has its own tortoises, chameleon and iguana.

At the hotel

Spa and hammam, heated marble swimming pool, treatment room, mini cinema, free WiFi throughout, massive roof terrace with dining area, hanging garden, sun deck and heated reading pools, library, boutique, painting kits (oils and watercolour), yoga mats.

Our favourite rooms

The Pool Suite, aka Room 6, is a split-level rock-star retreat with its own 600-foot private terrace with little unheated pool. Room 11 has a dramatic, scarlet-upholstered 10-foot headboard, white marble fireplace, and private verandah. Room 10 is similar, but turquoise. In the main riad, most of the rooms are open-plan suites, six with fireplaces and all with six-foot-wide beds and Egyptian cotton bedlinen, giant custom-built baths, and powerful showers.

Poolside

Three pools. In serene and shaded open-air courtyard's, the hotel's two Carrara marble-lined pools are surrounded by day-beds and a fire-pit; the petite plunge pool on the roof has a Berber-tented sitting area and sweeping views of the Atlas Mountains and the Koutoubia mosque.

Spa

The little spa is tucked away in its own serenely shaded courtyard. Dip in the spa pool or lounge alongside it between treatments. Try the hammam and massage – they're both first class.

Packing tips

This Moorish hideaway is a jewel-coloured mishmash of patterns and textures, which will undoubtedly bring out your artistic side. Bring a sketchbook so you're ready when inspiration strikes.

Also

The little shop behind the lobby is packed with super-stylish Marrakchi delights, from tasselled babouches to ornate tablewear worth bringing an extra suitcase for.

Children

El Fenn is not ideal for kids, though they love the pools and the pets. Cots and extra beds are free for under-5s (€25 a night for 5–12s, €50 for over-12s). Babysitting can be arranged for €40 an evening.

Food and Drink

Photos El Fenn food and drink

Top Table

The little table facing the fireplace in the dining room, or the end table on the roof with a view of the Koutoubia.

Dress Code

As though you’re at home.

Hotel restaurant

Daily-changing Mod Med-Maroc menus based on what’s in season from El Fenn’s organic garden suppliers: country-style at lunch, polished and inventive at supper, (both €30). Breakfast is a lavish spread (€15 a person) of hot and cold delicacies: home-made yoghurt and granola, fresh fruit, cakes, pastries, breads, Moroccan pancakes, tea, coffee and orange juice and eggs cooked to your taste: shakshouka – in a spicy tomato sauce – fried, boiled, poached, scrambled or in an omelette. 

Hotel bar

As well as in the stylish Krug bar, guests are served drinks anywhere they like in the riad.

Last orders

Until 11am for breakfast, 3pm at lunch; 10pm at supper, unless pre-arranged otherwise. Can serve until midnight.

Room service

You can order up burgers, pasta, light dishes and desserts on request, up until 10pm.

Location

Photos El Fenn location
Address
El Fenn
Bab El Ksour, Medina
40000
Marrakech
Morocco

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. Transfers to or from the airport can be arranged with the hotel for €30 each way.

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 one of the desks at the airport. To reach the hotel, follow Avenue de la Menara to the city centre.

Local restaurants

Le Grand Café de la Poste (+ 212 (0) 244 33038) has been around since the 1920s; it’s somewhat of an institution in Marrakech, with an art-deco setting of checkerboard floors, potted palms and plush sofas. Highlights include roast fish and delicately pink duck breast. Terrasse des Épices (+212 (0) 524 375904) is the big sister of the much-loved, medina-perched Café des Épices. People-watch on their lantern-strewn terrace while sampling grillades (grilled meats and kebabs), followed by something rich and sweet from the classic dessert. The no-frills, souk-side eatery Chez Chegrouni (+212 (0) 246 54761) offers classic dishes of skewered meat, lamb and plum tagine, and fluffy aromatic couscous at fabulous prices. They don’t take reservations so join the queue to devour hearty portions of traditional Moroccan fare.

Reviews

Photos El Fenn reviews

Anonymous review

A mixture of jazz and pagan ritual music blared out of the speakers of the taxi taking us on the ten-minute drive from Marrakech airport to El Fenn. Parking in a narrow alley, the driver carried our luggage down an even narrower alley to an entrance resembling that of an urban after-hours club.

A riad is a house built around a central square courtyard. Its exterior walls and entrance door are usually weather-beaten and uncompromising. Moroccan architecture encloses space, creates a sheltered garden from a wilderness, turns away from the outside world, shuts out its noise, and looks in on a personal paradise of shade, rippling cool water, and fragrant flowers. The door’s eye-slit slammed open and shut, and the massive door swung open to reveal a smiling face.

‘Welcome to El Fenn.’

Splashes of cherry red and pomegranate pink beamed at us as we walked down a dark corridor. At the end, a neat array of about 50 pairs of sparkling slippers and jewelled trainers lay next to a large mirror. I was about to show respect by taking off my shoes and adding them to the pile, when Mrs Smith exclaimed: ‘This is art at its best?’

Feeling sheepish, I recalled that while Richard Branson had been in the neighbourhood converting a kasbah, his sister Vanessa had bought a heap of ruins and vigorously set about restoring them to the current combination of family home, boutique-hotel business, and artistic retreat. Some of her favourite and most precious works are exhibited here. A portrait of George Bush was hung upside down. A sign read: ‘I Believe in Van Gogh’. El Fenn means ‘art’ in Arabic and ‘hip’ in local slang. The double meaning made sense.

We walked through a sensually lit courtyard, past a marble fountain trickling water into a rose-petal-filled basin, and up a short flight of steps to a WiFi’d library stocked with French and English books on all subjects. In the corner was a laptop and desk diary, which served as the reception desk. Frederic, the man responsible for the riad’s final design, welcomed us and reeled off a list of the facilities. There was a hammam, a marble swimming pool, and a lounge cinema with a digital projector to watch DVDs.

All food was freshly prepared with local products bought daily at the city market or produced at El Fenn’s own organic vegetable garden in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Drinks and snacks (breakfast, lunch and dinner, too) would be readily on hand anytime. Beauticians and masseurs, including a Japanese-trained shiatsu master, were constantly available to offer treatments varying from hot-stone chakra stimulation to upper-lip waxing, either in one’s bedroom or in designated healing rooms. We were offered the choice of eating dinner now or sometime after settling into our room. Tired and starving, we opted for the former.

In a cosy, informal dining room where Moorish architecture blended with superb modern interior design, we were served a delicious and delicate feast of lobster mousse, sesame wafers, artichoke hearts, grilled sea bass with olives and lemon peel, apple ratatouille, pulses, mashed turnips, harissa, pigeon, chocolate timbale, strawberries, and two bottles of wine. Well fed, we asked for the room key and were told there weren’t any: there was no need.

A feeling of complete safety overcame us. Soothingly exhausted, we climbed slowly up the steps to our room, which had an open fire and a private roof terrace with small plunge pool. Scented candles flickered seductively. Bowls of roses perfumed every corner. A giant powerful showerhead towered over a deep marble bathtub surrounded by various oils, salts and erotic products. Mrs Smith turned on the taps. The massive bath filled with hot water immediately. Twenty minutes later, we were lying in our hooded and tasselled dressing gowns on a huge firm bed with plentiful pillows and the finest of linen listening to the silence. Unexpectedly, we fell asleep.

Next morning, I cautiously opened the door and let in streams of strong sunlight. On a stool outside, the caring staff had placed a tray of hot tea and coffee flasks, milk, sugar, and tiny cakes. Consuming the lot simply increased our appetite for breakfast. We went to the main rooftop terrace, overlooking the snow-covered peaks of the Atlas and replete with corners containing woven-leather chairs, daybeds and giant cushions to make one’s own for reading, eating, drinking, sunbathing, or snoozing. Freshly squeezed orange juice, strong coffee, home-made yoghurt, beetroot marmalade and warm croissants took seconds to arrive at our chosen table. Smells of rosewater and incense and songbirds’ melodies floated over us we drifted back into dreamland. Carved wooden doors, ornate metal jalousies, antique mirrors, intricate carvings and lanterns in alcoves, and faded rugs reminded us where we were. Perhaps we should explore.

We ventured out to take a short walk, which was curtailed by Mrs Smith spotting the horse-drawn carriages. We grabbed one. Anxious to please, the toothless driver, proud of his city, took us for a ride around the sights of Marrakech. He stopped at a herbalist whose shelves were stacked with jars of medicinal plants, dried flowers, spices, cosmetics, and dyes. Mrs Smith bought some cream of argan (a tree that refuses to grow if transplanted outside Morocco) and some of the diet tea favoured by Victoria Beckham. I sampled some Moroccan Viagra (red ginseng) and Spanish fly (beetle wings).

The hotel room had been thoroughly serviced by the time we returned. This time, sleep eluded us. For providing a mixture of African exotica, Arabic glamour and European comfort, El Fenn is unbeatable.

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 El Fenn’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Everything! El Fenn was a perfect chic getaway, and its Marrakech Medina location was amazing! Raves all round! Loved El Fenn! Plus Mr & Mrs Smith made it extra special with breakfast and a bottle wine included. Pretty much most awesome stay – bar none! We stayed in the El Fenn Suite for 2 nights – ooh la la! Chic design with a private roof top pool. Then we stayed in the Vanessa riad (16) for several nights. El Fenn is uber arty-chic with a laid-back vibe, drop-dead gorgeous pools, food, hospitality, and fun, helpful staff in heart of Marrakech Medina. One word: GO! Loved it all at El Fenn! Awesome places to explore close by: Le Jardin Nomad for dinner views, souks to shop, hammam at El Fenn La Sultana, culture tour and more! El Fenn will book it all. Chic, fun, hip, beyond fab! Great for any holiday: friends, couples, family, honeymoon.

Don’t expect

Get it all – nothing underwhelms

Rating

Stayed on 2 Sep 2016

We loved

Food, service, quirkiness, proximity to Marrakech main square (10 minute walk max). Recommend eating from the stalls in the main square.

Don’t expect

TV or any kind of in room or in hotel entertainment (or locks on doors)

Rating

Stayed on 28 Aug 2016

We loved

Everything! El Fenn is amazing!!! Design style hospitality food fun - just so great! Loved having breakfast included - yum roof top was amazing! We loved pools boutique store. We loved the souks, Le Jardin for dinner, Nomad roof top for drink views, Terraso des Espice for lunch design appeal, tour with guide for history of Marrakech, and so much more!

Don’t expect

Has it all - nothing amiss - love.

Rating

Stayed on 21 Aug 2016

We loved

The location inside the medina, close to the souk and great restaurants, the stunning décor, the amazing art, impeccable gift shop, incredible service, literally the most friendly people who were willing to do anything and everything to help at a moment's notice - just super personable. The way they meshed all of the old riad buildings together, we got lost inside the hotel every single time we came or went, and kind of loved it every time it happened...Oh and the turtles. LOVED the turtles :) - also - the rooftop is EPIC, and wasn't ever crowded, felt like we owned the place. The pool suite #19 is worth EVERY dollar. 

Don’t expect

Anything in the form of nightlife at the hotel. The whole hotel / restaurant / bar goes to sleep around 10pm, which again, can be kind of magical in the sense that you can wander around like you own the place...plus get a really great nights sleep.

Rating

Stayed on 30 Jun 2016

We loved

EVERYTHING! The riad is tucked away but near everything, we loved the information, tips and advice we got about visiting Marrakech from those who worked in El Fenn, we love that they take care of reservations for us... Makes everything a lot easier as a tourist. Service is insanely AMAZING. Spa is amazing, loved the interior design of the entire riad, love the little turtles!

Don’t expect

To eat between 3-5pm at the riad :( Also the lights in the main courtyard of the riad weren't on late when we returned from dinner so we felt weird coming back. Hard to find a chair at the pool too. Crowded.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Jun 2016

We loved

Everything about this place is special. Come preparared to get lost in the souk and when you do, enjoy the experience. Everyone will direct you to 'the square' whether you want to go there or not! 10/10

Don’t expect

A lock on your room door!

Rating

Stayed on 30 Apr 2016

We loved

The colorful decor, the friendly staff, the delicious rooftop breakfast. They arranged to pick us up as we arrived very late at night. There was someone there to greet us and get us up to our room. The next day we got a full tour. They made dinner reservations and provided us a map of the medina. The complimentary hammam was fantastic! El Fenn staff took us to the street and arranged a driver to take us and wait for us while we road a camel. It wasn't the Sahara but we road a camel! I would suggest hiring a guide for the afternoon to show you the Medina and explain the fascinating history. El Fenn can arrange. Their restaurant recommendations were great. Lastly, don't be intimidated by the souks. The merchants are friendly and I got some beautiful things for very cheap. I got two leather poofs for 45! If you can, bring an empty suitcase. I wish I had. Marrakech is amazing and the Moroccan people are very friendly and willing to help you. El Fenn was perfect!

Don’t expect

WiFi wasn't great but we didn't expect it to be.

Rating

Stayed on 18 Apr 2016

We loved

The location is fantastic, in the heart of the Medina and the hotel really is stunningly beautiful. The team have worked really hard to retain what feels like a laid back luxurious setting whilst losing none of the local Marrakech atmosphere. We loved the individuality of the rooms and the roof top terrace is a real bonus. 8/10

Don’t expect

The service is good (not brilliant) and always offered with a smile, but our morning coffee outside our room never materialised throughout our 5 day visit, despite us gently mentioning it to one of the reception team. We had to request our Mr Mrs Smith extra at the Hammam as it wasn't mentioned on our arrival. We had a few issues with items on our final bill that our booking had confirmed were actually already included. All minor issues but just slightly took the edge off a really beautiful stay...

Rating

Stayed on 11 Mar 2016

We loved

The tranquility of the El Fenn and the staff, who were extremely helpful and accommodating! 10/10

Don’t expect

I was a little disappointed with the massage I had at the El Fenn, particularly as I couldn't communicate with the masseuse

Rating

Stayed on 6 Mar 2016

We loved

Ambiance, excellent low key service, nothing too much trouble, tasteful decor and style.

Don’t expect

Warmth in winter (and lovely open fires do set off the smoke alarm!), or great mattresses (rather lumpy particularly as two singles bolted together).

Rating

Stayed on 15 Feb 2016

We loved

El Fenn is simply the most beautiful hotel we've ever stayed at. From the welcome tour to the huge, healthy lunches to the hammam and cocktails at the bar, everything was perfect. The staff treated us like family and we felt like we belonged even after just two nights. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Don’t expect

To want to leave: we didn't!

Rating

Stayed on 24 Dec 2015

We loved

The wood fire in our bedroom and the spa!

Don’t expect

Rain!

Rating

Stayed on 4 Dec 2015

We loved

Everything. This was the best place we've ever stayed! You are made to feel very welcome and nothing is too much trouble. It is also really well placed for a stroll into the souk and some great restaurants if you can actually drag yourself away from the riad.

Don’t expect

An endless supply of really hot water, which was the one slight shame given the amazing bathroom we had in the room.

Rating

Stayed on 27 Nov 2015

We loved

Beautiful interior designs, great rooftop sunset view, fantastic location, fabulous Mr & Mrs Smith extra (couples hamman)!

Don’t expect

To sleep in too late; the hotel and city are bustling by 9 AM.

Rating

Stayed on 23 Nov 2015

We loved

the roof top terrace and the location

Don’t expect

it to be easy to find the place, plan on calling when you arrive if you aren't getting transferred there by the hotel.

Rating

Stayed on 10 Nov 2015

We loved

The service was great!! Friendly and helpful!

Don’t expect

No complaints at all.

Rating

Stayed on 5 Nov 2015

We loved

The place, the building, the food, and the very friendly staff.

Don’t expect

Nothing really.

Rating

Stayed on 2 Nov 2015

We loved

Upon stepping into El Fenn, you felt transported away to another time. This spectacular riad was such a welcome getaway from the hustle and bustle of the medina in Marrakech. The staff was especially welcoming and very helpful! The souk was just steps away - definitely a must-visit.

Don’t expect

The only thing I wasn't ready for was how busy Marrakech was. Steel yourself and be ready for crowds as soon as you step away from the tranquility that is El Fenn.

Rating

Stayed on 12 Oct 2015

We loved

The hotel is nestled down a side alley just around the corner from Jemaa el-Fnaa ? but youd never know it. This cozy, super stylish 28 bedroom oasis is the perfect escape from the city heat, noise and hustle. We were in design heaven. The team at El Fenn have gone out of their way to make our experience here an incredible one. Our room spanned over 3-floors and highlighted a sunk-in bathtub in the bedroom, fireplace, living room, a small den equipped with a swing (of course) and its own exclusive pool terrace with views of Mosquée de la Koutoubia. Everything was perfect!

Rating

Stayed on 22 Jun 2015

We loved

Everything from the start of booking the trip (excellent customer service) to the stay itself. The staff of El Fenn couldn't do a better job.

Don’t expect

Massage area could be more welcoming.

Rating

Stayed on 1 Mar 2015

We loved

Our collonade room was AMAZING! The closest we will ever get to a palace. It truly felt like a home from home. Walking back in from the madness of Marrakech made it all the more welcoming. Ten out of 10.

Don’t expect

The hotel does not accept any cash, which we weren't told at check in. Luckily the manager allowed us to pay in cash but only after a four-hour wait to see if it was possible. Not a great system to operate in a hotel where it is easy to rack up a bill and a half!

Rating

Stayed on 19 Feb 2015

We loved

Stylish, many private spaces to lounge particularly on the rooftops in the sun (it was low season mind). Lovely library to have a drink by the fireplace. Decent restaurant. We got upgraded as it was low season. Good hammam (but maintenance staff walked past as we were between treatments in our robes). Nice touch to have coffee left outside your room in the morning. Afternoon tea was also pleasant.

Don’t expect

Felt overstaffed (peace/spa was spoilt by a member of staff walking past every ten mins wherever you were sat). Breakfast (which was average) not included despite high price of room. Maintenance works during the day in the expectation you are off out which also spoiled the peace. You can hear the call to prayer and streets (unlike riads in other locations) "Heated" pool was very cold. Bedroom doors don't lock from the outside but you do have a safe.

Rating

Stayed on 10 Feb 2015