Whether he's sending ensembles down the runway or revamping a riad, Jasper Conran's creativity is inexhaustible; the Brit designer's new luxury stay L’Hôtel Marrakech is such a personal project, it feels like hanging out in the designer’s home (invited, natch…). Hidden away in the Medina’s meandering alleys, this 19th-century former palace’s zouack ceilings and zellige tiles have been restored, four-poster beds have been added to each of the – just five – suites and a pool is hidden in the jungly, bougainvillea- and jasmine-scented courtyard. Add twin roof terraces and serious statement pieces from Jas’ personal collection: we have to say, we like the cut of his crib…
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $453.51 (€409), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.50 per person per night on check-out.
Rates usually include Continental breakfast, a lavish spread of breads and pastries, cheeses, eggs any-which-way, fresh fruit and juices, and strong coffee or teas. Rates do not include a discretionary seven per cent service charge.
Take afternoon tea under the pergola on one of the roof terraces, or at a table set amid its many flower-filled urns. The view stretches out to the Atlas Mountains. Perfumed with orange-blossom, honeysuckle and rose, the rooftop ’s set for snoozy summer cocktail hours.
At the hotel
Courtyard gardens, hammam, twin roof terraces, lounge and dining room, and free WiFi. In rooms: artwork and antiques picked by Conran himself, free seasonal fruit and bottled water, handmade Egyptian-cotton linens, air-conditioning and Le Sens de Marrakech toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
We’ve got designs on the upper-level suites; best booked for soft-focus romance. Set overlooking the courtyard, each has a huge private terrace with voile curtains you can pull across when you need some alone time. Interiors are just as seductive: the pristine Egyptian-cotton linens in the white four-poster beds are begging to be rumpled.
It’s rare for a riad in the Medina to have a lap pool, so the 10-metre one in the courtyard is a welcome surprise hidden amid the garden’s luxuriant trees and flowering plants. It’s heated in the summer months, and after dark it’s lit by candles and lanterns. Couples can chill out side-by-side on a pair of sunloungers shaded by a parasol, while waiters waft over with drinks at the dozy nod of a sun hat.
A wide-brimmed hat and a fan for days spent on the terrace, a page-turner and a ballpark budget for your interior revamp once you return home.
On request, a local therapist can set up a massage table in your suite.
The glamour! The passion! The winding stairs and pool with no gate! This riad is for over-18s only, to maintain its wonderful sense of serenity.
We very much enjoyed having an array of dishes ferried to our private terrace.
As Jasper's treasured guest.
Dinner is an informal affair, served in the lemon-striped, Thirties-revival dining room, or on your terrace. The menu’s dishes shift with the season, but spice-sprinkled, olive-pocked salads, tender chicken tagines livened with preserved lemon, fish pastillas and refreshing fruit salads are the sort of tempting things to expect. On cooler nights a fire is stoked, and in summer the glass doors are opened to allow the scents of the garden to drift in. One meal is included in your stay, an excellent excuse to give the chef’s talents a whirl.
Guests set the timetable here, so when you start to feel peckish, hail a member of the team.
As flexible as mealtimes, room service can be delivered to your door whenever you feel the need. Dishes vary with the season, but traditional and modern Moroccan fare takes precedence.
L’Hôtel lies in a secluded quarter of the Medina, north west of Jemaa El-Fna and the souk. Staff greet you at the Ben Youssef Mosque and lead you through a maze of quiet side streets to the riad’s decorative doors.
From Marrakech Menara International airport, the drive to the hotel is under 20 minutes. Fly direct with EasyJet from the UK; flights from the US have a stopover in Lisbon or Casablanca. Airport transfers in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class (or a Mercedes Vito minivan for groups of up to seven guests) are included in your room rate.
Marrakech Railway Station is a 15-minute drive from the hotel. Trains arrive here direct from Casablanca or Fez.
It’s easy to navigate central Marrakech on foot; alternatively, private drivers can be hired for around £60 a day. Roads can be chaotic, especially around the Medina, where donkey-driven carts and scooters share the streets. Cars cannot go down the winding alleys that lead to the hotel, so you’ll need to find a parking spot elsewhere in the Medina. If you’re lucky enough to locate a space for your motor, four wheels will come in handy for exploring the sprawling Palmeraie, upper reaches of the Atlas and beyond; or if you’re planning a trip to Essaouira (a three-hour drive away). There are car-hire booths at the airport.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel is within a hawker’s call of the Medina and the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque, the revered religious monument has stayed the tallest building in the city out of respect. Jemaa El-Fna and the souk’s myriad stalls and nightly melee are a 20-minute stroll away. Only Muslims can enter the Ben Youssef Mosque, but differently denominated visitors can marvel at its exterior. The neon-bright buildings, towering cacti and flower-crowded walkways of the Jardin Majorelle are unfailingly lovely, and the little on-site museum has intricate Berber jewellery and costumery to covet. For more wondrous weaving and richly cultured handicraft, stop by Maison Tiskiwin, a petite space filled with textiles, tents and adornments. Or peep into Marrakech’s past at La Maison de la Photographie museum and find that some things are still very much the same today.
With one meal included in your stay you have an excuse to spend one candlelit night behind the curtains on your terrace, or four-poster (hey, we’re not ones to judge). Bô Zin is reliably cool, with ochre walls, tented terraces and low lighting under which you can share fragrant cous-cous dishes and Thai-inspired tidbits. Follow the design theme at Dar Moha, which resides in Pierre Balmain’s former pad. Diners sit on the patio by his Persian rug-tiled pool and pick from any number of plates lining the table: Berber-style cous cous, sweet pastillas and crispy, thyme-infused chicken.
Bakchich Café, with its bold hues and recycled furnishings, is a cheery spot in which to spend the afternoon while sipping a freshly squeezed juice and tucking into a tagine.
Kechmara on the Rue de la Liberté is a mod Marrakchi hangout where pitchers of rosé wine are served with grapefruit juice, mojitos come with the freshest mint and the Marrakech Iced Tea knocks you for six (thanks to the slugs of vodka, gin, tequila and rum muddled into it).
I should start by saying I’m not sure if I’m a talented enough writer to fully convey quite how special L’Hotel Marrakech is, but will try my best to do it justice.
After landing in Marrakech and being met by our driver, we took the short journey through hectic streets into the old town. After swerving around donkeys and mopeds, we were met by a very nice man named George, who then led us down winding pink medina alleyways until we were stood outside an impressive dark green door: the entrance to L’Hotel. I feel like it would be cliché to call it ‘an oasis’. But it is, so I’m going to.
Behind the door is Jasper Conran’s beautifully restored 19th-century riad, where you suddenly feel a million miles away from the hot and dusty streets, transported instead into a world of 1930s elegance. The noise from the markets is replaced by the sound of water trickling from the flower-covered fountain in the middle of the courtyard; the people and donkeys by the occasional roaming tortoise.
After being shown to our suite – one of only five in the hotel – George is back with some mint tea and helpful advice for anyone new to Marrakech (mainly, how to not get lost or ripped off – important for any Morocco novice).
By this time, the sun was starting to set and there was no better place to watch it than from the roof terrace where, from under the honeysuckle-covered pergola, you can see the Atlas mountains and the busy rooftops of the city.
It’s at this point L’Hotel Marrakech becomes truly magical: the courtyard is now candlelit and scored with standards by Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, interrupted occasionally by the distant call to prayer coming from outside the riad walls. Inside the riad walls, though, you may as well be on the set of Casablanca – all that’s missing is Humphrey Bogart in a white suit.
Staying here feels a bit like staying at someone’s incredibly beautiful home, rather than in a hotel. There’s no official restaurant, instead there’s an intimate and elegantly decorated dining room that looks out onto the courtyard through big iron-edged glass doors. There’s no menu either – instead you let George and his colleagues know that you’ll be having dinner and they let you know what’s being served. (That evening it was the best beef tagine I’ve ever had in my life. In fact, I’m now ruined for all other beef tagines.)
After waking up in the Tangier suite’s muslin-draped four-poster bed, Mr Smith and I had breakfast (your choice of Moroccan or continental with bottomless fresh orange juice) on one of the private terraces overlooking the courtyard. After that it was time to venture out of the riad – a trip made easier by hotel manager Luca who came along to show us the way to the souk. After some well-executed bargaining (thanks for those tips, George) and a stop for lunch at a great restaurant recommended by another hotel guest, we were eager to get back to cool off in the pool before dinner.
Now, I’m normally loathe to do touristy things when I’m abroad, but there was no way in hell I was going to go to Morocco and not ride a camel. So the next day the hotel arranged an excursion for us. It was seamlessly easy: we were picked up, dropped off, and fed by an extremely kind Berber family – and by the end of the day I was riding a camel named Jackie Chan through the desert.
Once the camel adventure had been ticked off my bucket list, the last day of our trip was mainly spent at the pool guessing what kind of tagine we were going to have for dinner based on the incredible smells coming out of the kitchen, and envying the newly arrived guests who still had their whole trip ahead of them.
Saying goodbye to L’Hotel, George, Luca, Billie Holiday and the nameless tortoises wasn’t easy. I haven't stayed somewhere where I felt so looked after, by such nice people, in a long time. Whether it was directions to Le Jardin Majorelle, instructions on how to haggle with cab drivers, or getting you on a camel, L’Hotel Marrakech has it all effortlessly covered.
I’m already looking forward to the beef tagine next year…
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in L'Hôtel Marrakech’s Guestbook below.
We were lucky enough to stay at L'Hotel Marrakesh for five nights to celebrate our wedding anniversary and loved everything about it: our room (Asilah) was beautiful and airy, the courtyard was shady and peaceful with its trees, birds and water fountain with fresh roses floating in the bubbling water and the pool was so refreshing to come home to after the heat and frenetic pace of the souqs in the medina. As other have commented, the staff at the riad are so accommodating and professional - we ate dinner there on two evenings (once up on the roof terrace which we had entirely to ourselves) and they made sure to cook us different but equally delicious meals on each occasion. They also arranged a guided tour of the medina and a day trip to the Atlas mountains as well as transport to a beautiful golf course just outside the city. The overall feeling of L'Hotel Marrakesh is one of staying in a stylish private residence with just the most wonderful hosts - many thanks to Luca, Fred and all the team.
Big chain hotel style service – this place delivers truly personal attention.
Stayed on 18 Jun 2019
It's like a small paradise in the middle of medina. It is quite, peaceful, and the room is spadeful with extra comfort. The breakfast and dinner are very nice, especially you can enjoy the breakfast at the terrace with a good view of the old city. The beef tajine at dinner is amazingly delicious, highly recommended. The ecosystem inside the hotel is very nice, a lot of trees and birds, while the 'bird-meeting' in the morning, around 8, will definitely wake you up, in a friendly local way. The staff are extremely warm hearted, welcoming and helpful. They will definitely fun-fill all your needs, just ask.
It's in the medina, which means it is hard to find it when you are new to the city. The staff will pick you up at arrival, but on your way back, it is very likely to get lost and it took me 20 minutes every day trying to locate the hotel. The chicken tajine at dinner is way too salty. The hot water doesn't perform very well in the room. It is easily to run out of water if two girls wash their hairs. It is better not to be fooled by the huge marble bathtub. It is more for decoration than actual use, also the shower is a bit funny.
Stayed on 29 Jan 2019
We loved everything about L'Hotel; it was an oasis in the midst of the wonderful craziness of Marrakesh. It has something extra, due in many ways to the lovely team who genuinely do anything they can to make your stay feel special. With just five suites, beautifully furnished; stunning garden and roof terraces, we really did feel like this was our home in Marrakesh – if only for three days. We ate twice in the Riad as the food and setting (expect low tables adorned with roses) was wonderful. We took a dip in the pool too and enjoyed champagne at sunset on the roof terrace each night, looking out to the Atlas mountains beyond.
L'Hotel doesn't have an alcohol licence yet, however they will be happy to serve any that you provide yourself.
Stayed on 14 Nov 2018
Beyond compare. We spent three blissful days and nights at L'Hotel Marrakech. The riad is centered around a lush courtyard garden with a pool that catches midday sun and a rose filled bubbling fountain. All Riads have this central courtyard design and some can be very loud and echoey. The garden here creates visual privacy but also sound privacy. We never heard doors banging or voices amplified by all the tile and marble. Instead we heard the bubbly fountain and birdsong! The staff is impeccable; discreet but not formal so to put you on edge. Fred, Ishmael and Khalil were incredibly helpful and patient and sweet. They made us feel welcome. Something right is going on at this gem of a hotel.
Stayed on 4 Nov 2018
The exquisite interiors, old-fashioned glamour and impeccable service. As first time visitors to Marrakech, it was with some trepidation that we plunged into the dusty, narrow alleyway and made our way past crumbling buildings and stray cats but, after dodging mopeds and donkey carts, we arrived at the discreet dark green door of LHotel Marrakech and entered another world. From the scent of orange blossom that fills the entrance to the mint tea and madeleines served on arrival, every detail has been meticulously planned. Jasper Conrans sublime interiors blend local craftsmanship with antique pieces to create an elegant retreat that harks back to an earlier, more glamorous age. At the heart of the riad is the courtyard garden with its lush planting and bubbling fountain. We found ourselves abandoning sightseeing plans to spend our afternoons amongst the greenery, relaxing by the little pool. Its at dusk, however, that it becomes truly enchanting. Dozens of tiny birds swoop in to roost in the trees, the lanterns are lit and music from the 1930s fills the air. We ventured out for dinner on only one night as the food in the hotel was wonderful and there was something deliciously decadent about dining in front of an open fire. With just five suites, L'Hotel is quiet and intimate – more like a private house than a hotel – and most of the time we felt we had the place to ourselves. The service from manager Luca Ravera and his team was exceptional. We couldn't have wished for more.
Alcohol to be served. As far as we were concerned, this was the hotel's only drawback, as the Art Deco zinc-topped bar would have been the perfect spot to enjoy a Casablanca-inspired cocktail.
Stayed on 14 Oct 2018
Exquisite riad – beautifully landscaped and an ideal place to kick back with a book and relax. Friendly and unstuffy service. We felt like we were the only ones there, even though it was fully booked.
No alcohol sold – but you can bring your own. We enjoyed our duty free champagne poolside and chilled by the wonderful staff.
Stayed on 29 Sep 2018
We absolutely LOVED our stay at L'Hotel Marrakech from the moment we arrived we were blown away. The hotel is beyond stunning with beautiful decor throughout and full of detail. From the moment we arrived the service was impeccable, the staff were super friendly and helpful and we were really touched by the big bouquet of roses in our suite along with a card wishing us a 'Happy 1st Anniversary' - a lovely gesture! We stayed in the CasaBlanca suite and it was even better than it looked in the photos online. The room is breath-taking, the bed really comfortable and the bathroom magnificent. We had a complimentary dinner one night and we both agreed it was the best meal we had during our stay in Morocco - the food was delicious, we'd highly recommend it. Finally we treated ourselves to a couples massage in our room. Outside the hotel, we ate dinner at Dar Yacout which was absolutely fantastic. There was SO much food and it's all included in the price along with drinks. The welcome drink up on the roof is worth the visit alone. The atmosphere was really romantic; candlelight and rose petals everywhere - a must do!
A big party atmosphere, it's a great location right in the heart of the old town but it's calm and tranquil inside the riad and not somewhere to stay for any wild nights out.
Stayed on 11 Jul 2018
The hotel is an oasis of calm in busy Marrakech. Ideally situated for walking around the city. Our room was beautiful and although we didn't have dinner in the hotel, the breakfast was fabulous.
A busy hotel. Just six rooms – bliss!
Stayed on 2 Jun 2018
Everything! L'Hôtel Marrakech is simply stunning. I absolutely loved this hotel, Luca the manager, and all of the staff. A beautiful oasis in the middle of the Medina, it is every bit as lovely as the photos suggest. The staff are warm and welcoming and the personal service and attention to detail are second to none. I cannot recommend L'Hôtel Marrakech highly enough. Enjoy!
Stayed on 17 Jan 2018
The beautiful riad, lovely staff and delicious food.