Riad Antara has all the foundations of a soulful souk-side stay. This peaceful pad – run by warm and welcoming owners Anne and Laurent (themselves reason enough to write home) – was once a Saadian residence, and much of the artisanal authenticity remains, with the addition of carefully curated art and modern touches. The solar-heated pool and traditional hammam will look particularly inviting after a day of medina mooching; as will a sundowner on the dusk-drenched terrace – feet clad with your own set of babouche.
10am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £247.52 (€290), including 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 include a set of babouche (traditional Moroccan leather slippers) and a bountiful breakfast. Start the day on the sun-soaked rooftop with a diffa of Moroccan brioche, french pancakes, fresh fruits and homemade orange blossom yogurt.
At the hotel
Indoor pool, rooftop, spa with hammam, two patios, restaurant. In rooms: WiFi, TV, safe, heated floors, bottled water, organic Nectarome products. Three of the suites are kitted out with fireplaces.
Our favourite rooms
All seven suites are tastefully decorated, but we love the ground-floor Alba suite with it’s fireplace and floor pouffes. Those wanting a view of the action might opt for the Beni Abs suite – its indoor terrace looks down to the swimming pool.
Palm trees, pouffes and a floor-to-ceiling mirror (positioned to reflect the riad, not your face mid-front crawl) border Antara’s small, solar-heated pool. Despite its size you can still get your laps in, thanks to its counter-current swimming technology.
Relax travel-tired muscles in the two-person hammam, a traditional Arab escape from the medina melee. There’s a treatment room for traditional hot-stone and herbal massages, too.
More is more in Marrakech, so bring your loudest fits to compete with the medina mania.
The hammam and pool are heated by solar panels; LED bulbs are used throughout the riad; and the restaurant reduces its carbon emissions by working with small, local producers that use sustainable and organic practices.
Bag a table on the pastel-pink rooftop at sunset and watch the terracotta roofs of Marrakech turn a rich red hue.
Anything that works with your babouche, because where else can you wear slippers to dinner?
The hearty, savoury-sweet cuisine of Morocco meets a dash of French flair in Riad Antara’s restaurant. There’s no set menu – instead, a visit to the market (and the preferences of patrons) define the dishes of the day. Expect home cooked sardine meatball tagine, steaming plates of Moroccan vegetables and perfectly poached pears. There’s a great selection of local wine and fresh teas, too.
Breakfast is served from 8–11am; lunch and dinner are arranged on request, 24 hours in advance. Dinner is typically served around 8pm, but the hotel can be flexible depending on when you prefer to dine.
Riad Antara’s discreet façade is sandwiched between the high walls of Marrakech’s medina.
Marrakech airport is just 15 minutes away. Contact the hotel to arrange your transfer.
There’s a carpark just down the road from the riad – let the hotel know in advance and they’ll greet you there.
Worth getting out of bed for
Dodge donkey carts as you explore the looping derbs of the medina, just steps from Riad Antara’s salmon-coloured walls, and aim for Aya’s to get your hands on some traditional Moroccan clothing. For green space, take to Jardin Majorelle’s wonderland of canopies, cacti gardens and candy-coloured pathways (but head in as early as you can to avoid the crowds). Don’t forget that you’re just on the edge of the Sahara – sort a sandy day trip with Dunes & Desert. Or let off some hot air with a balloon ride over Morocco – Ciel d’afrique will take you to the skies for excellent views over mountains, gorges, deserts and Berber villages.
For modern Moroccan fusion with lantern-adorned views of the Atlas Mountains, find a spot on L’mida’s rooftop. Try their homemade nut butter, made with argan oil, ground roasted almonds and honey. Le Kilim is a modern brunch option, featuring the likes of fluffy pancakes with amlou, sour yogurt and plum compôte. Le Foundouk’s rooftop is one of the city’s most romantic settings, serving Moroccan staples of couscous, pastilla and tagine. After dark, join the crowds in Jemaa el Fna square – every evening, the market is a haven for local pop-up restaurants such as No. 14, which serves fresh fish (order the calamari) with homemade dips.
Grab a spiced coffee or mint tea on the roof terrace of Café des Epices in the spice souk. Café Clock is a good choice for breakfast and lunch; start the day with caramelised banana-topped pancakes or berber eggs, or stop by around noon for an extensive selection of falafel, hummus, tabbouleh, citrus salads and sandwiches.
As the sun sets, bag a table on the secluded terrace of the Grand Café de la Poste with a glass of rosé in hand. Take pre- or post-dinner drinks in La Mamounia’s Churchill bar. It’s low-lit and set to a soundtrack of sultry piano playing. Live jazz can also be found on the roof of La Pergola in the medina; while DJ sets are spun on Kabana’s roof terrace.
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 Marrakech riad and unpacked their babouche and spice rack, a full account of their medina break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Riad Antara in Morocco…
Senses awaken on stepping foot inside Marrakech’s medina – sights, sounds and smells compete to be bolder and brighter than the last – no surprises, seeing how Marrakech is a cultural crossroads between Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The souks are home to hordes of handmade treasures. Kaftans, woven baskets, lanterns and spices can be found in this winding warren – stitched into the fabric of the terracotta walls alongside modern restaurants and boutiques. And in this melee you’ll find Riad Antara – an urban pad with a weighty wooden door that completely shuts out the outside world, despite its proximity to Rue Riad Zitoun El Jdid – one of the city’s most renowned shopping streets. The pouffe-lined patio is just the place to take a time-out from bargaining and refuel with fresh mint teas and traditional pastries.