Ksar Kasbah – a boutique bolthole in the oldest part of Marrakech – is where the bright young things flock for poolside lounging, rooftop dining and heavenly hammams. The decor is laidback and the food is home-made: Layla, the excellent chef, is famous for her fluffy pancakes, fresh juices and traditional tagines. Marrakech’s most famous monuments are just steps away or, if you feel like venturing farther, Ksar Kasbah can organise all manner of day trips to the desert, mountains or Berber villages. And rest assured: Marrakech can be an assault on the senses, but relaxation reigns behind Ksar Kasbah’s discreet wooden doors.
Check in is 11am and check out is 2pm. Both can be flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £118.85 (€139), including tax at 20 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates usually include chef Layla’s home-made breakfasts of pancakes, avocado toast and freshly squeezed juices.
No need to pack a sunhat: Ksar Kasbah has their own embroidered straw hats for guests to use (and ‘gram).
At the hotel
Rooftop terrace, hammam, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: air-conditioning, free bottled water, black-out curtains and organic bath products by local brand the Moroccans.
Our favourite rooms
We love the Agafay Suite with its sunny yellow details, trad Tuareg rug and free-standing bath tub. The Toubkal Suite has a fireplace and a black-tiled bathroom for added drama.
The heated courtyard pool is prettily tiled, dotted with sun loungers and tropical plants. Though perhaps not big enough for serious laps, it’s perfect for cooling off after a dusty day in the souks.
The rooftop spa has two treatment cabins and a traditional hammam. Treatments include black-soap body scrubs, deep-tissue massages, reflexology and cleansing clay facials. All treatments use natural products with native ingredients like argan oil and rhassoul clay, and there are manicures and pedicures for prettifying, too.
Bring something floaty and ethereal, for afternoons by the pool and golden hour on the rooftop.
Little Smiths aged 6-and-over are welcome. The two-bedroom Majorelle Room is perfect for a family of four but an extra bed can be made up in any of the suites.
Ksar Kasbah keeps its footprint small by using solar energy, sourcing all its food from local markets and stocking organic bath products from Les Marocains.
Pull up a pouf on the rooftop for spectacular North African sunsets.
Come as you are: Ksar Kasbah is a thoroughly relaxed riad.
Breakfast at Ksar Kasbah is a roving affair: you can post up poolside or relax on the rooftop. Chef Layla’s Moroccan crepes, fluffy muffins and fresh juices are all divine, though she also has healthy, western dishes in her repertoire, like homemade granola with yoghurt or avocado on toast. At lunch and dinner, which are served on the pool patio, traditional Moroccan cuisine is the order of the day so expect roasted aubergine and tantalising tagines.
There’s no dedicated bar, but you can order freshly made juices and Moroccan mint tea by the pool or up to the roof terrace. We particularly like the green detox concoction of refreshing cucumber, kiwi and mint.
Breakfast is served from 7.30am to 10.30am; the poolside restaurant serves lunch, snacks and dinner from noon to 9.30pm.
Finding Ksar Kasbah feels like keeping a secret spy rendezvous: it’s down a winding side street of the ancient Kasbah district, behind a discreet wooden door.
Fly into Marrakech’s Menara airport, just 15 minutes from Ksar Kasbah by car. The hotel is happy to organise private airport transfers – they’re about £18 each way.
Marrakech train station is the closest, a 15-minute drive from the hotel. Direct services arrive from major Moroccan cities, including Fez, Casablanca and Rabat.
Ksar Kasbah is in the heart of Marrakech’s ancient and winding old city, where exploring is best done on foot.
Worth getting out of bed for
Strut like a sultan through the grounds of the Bahia and El Badi Palaces while marvelling at the intricate craftsmanship and pretty pavilions. It would be wise to buy a second suitcase before hitting the Chabi Chic boutique because you’re going to want every piece of hand-painted heaven in this homeware mecca. Get up early to beat the crowds at the legendary YSL museum and the Jardin Majorelle. Ksar Kasbah can organise excursions to Essaouira, the Atlas Mountains and the Agafay Desert as well as sidecar tours, hot-air balloon flights and quad biking.
Book ahead at Nomad, in the heart of the medina, for killer views from the terrace and perfectly seasoned salads (or pop in unannounced for lunch if you’re prepared to wait a while). Seek shade in the garden at La Famille, a quaint Mediterranean-Moroccan spot that’s all a-twinkle in the evenings. There’s live music and all-day dining at La Terrasse des Épices. Hedonists will love louche Le Jardin, which evokes Marrakech’s 1970s heyday.
You’ll find expert caipirinhas and vinyl-spinning DJs at jazzy Kechmara.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this hip hideaway in Marrakech and unpacked their Beldi tea glasses and souk spices, a full account of their colourful break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Ksar Kasbah & Spa in Morocco…
Down a winding side street in the oldest part of Marrakech, behind a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it wooden door, you’ll find Ksar Kasbah & Spa, a hip hideaway that offers cool respite from the buzz beyond. As you start to take in the lush courtyard that surrounds the pool ? its forest-green marble floors, tropical plants and jauntily-striped sunloungers ? you might feel your fingers moving irresistibly towards your camera. You wouldn’t be the first: this perfectly-proportioned riad has set many shutters aflutter. But Ksar Kasbah isn’t just a feast for the eyes, their fabulous chef, Layla, will soon have you begging, darling, please for her home-made pancakes, tagines and briouates (samosa-y things). After a day exploring the palaces, ruins and secret gardens on your doorstep, book into Ksar Kasbah’s boutique spa for an invigorating black-soap body scrub or de-stressing deep-tissue massage. Once your muscles have been pummelled into blissful surrender, you’ll be ready for a mint tea on the spacious rooftop, where kilim cushions in dusky colours mirror the sunset views over the medina. With the mystical sound of the call to prayer in the distance, Ksar Kasbah will leave you tickled pink in the Red City.