The Mamounia was the latest to regain the glory of times past, but many other exotic riads have been reformed and refurbished and born anew as exquisite boutique hotels. Fairytale settings in the heart of the medina - the old quarter - in authentic palaces and mansions with traditional Arab architecture arranged around courtyards where cool fountains play. Step into the world of the Arabian Nights:
In the very centre of the medina, this hotel is an ideal place to delve into the Muslim culture. The unusual decor of the 28 bedrooms - each one unique - seems to have been designed to leave you speechless. So, too, the spa - one of the most famous in Marrakesh - which, with its marble columns reminiscent of ancient Roman baths, is a veritable temple of serenity and relaxation. There are other areas dedicated to leisure, including the enormous panoramic terrace, oriental library, heated pool, hanging gardens... and a restaurant service offering epicurean delights.
Dar Les Cigognes
Two traditional Arab houses, formerly the property of a rich merchant, have been transformed into this boutique hotel ideally suited to satisfy even the most demanding tastes. The discreet entrance opposite the royal palace opens into a world of elegance, refinement and style. The 11 rooms and suites are all unique, and fully equipped with every last detail needed for your comfort. The Moorish decor draws on the rich cultural heritage of the region. There is also a separate four-bedroomed villa, Le Nid des Cigognes - the Storks' Nest - which offers additional privacy, but with the same superb level of service enjoyed in the hotel. There are plenty of quiet corners for guests to relax, a restaurant specialising in Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine, spa, traditional hammam and jacuzzi, boutique, and a terrace with stunning views of the Atlas mountains.
Les Jardins de la Koutoubia
The hotel couldn't be better located: in the heart of the medina, very close to the Jemaa el-Fna square. It's one of the most luxurious hotels in the city - as indicated by the fact that more than half the rooms are suites. In the decor, Moroccan tradition is blended with contemporary, minimalist style and the result is fit for a king.Two suites have private roof terraces that look out over the minaret of Koutoubia, and at the very top of the building is the eminently luxurious Royal Suite.
Palais Rhoul & Spa
Original works of art, unusual furniture and antiques, rich fabrics and oriental objets d'art are all elements that contribute to the elegance of the suites of this, one of the most charming hotels in Morocco. A small Berber doorway is the deceptive entrance into this world of luxury and delight. Across the threshold, a great columned lounge offers a view of the circular pool around which some of the rooms are set, while others look out over the garden. Scattered among the palm trees of the five hectare garden are a number of traditional caidal tents, each a unique luxury suite. The hotel's hammam is reckoned to be one of the finest in the country and after bathing there's nothing like restoring your strength with a snack of mint tea and dates, or perhaps one of the classic and creative Moroccan dishes in one of the hotel's fine restaurants.
Just five minutes from the vibrant Jemaa el-Fna square, within the old walls that enclose the Marrakesh medina, this former mansion belonged to an aristocratic Moroccan family but now belongs to two Catalan cousins who have made every effort to use traditional materials and techniques in the restoration work. The hotel was opened in June 2009 and, with just eight individually decorated rooms, offers an exclusive and charming haven away from the bustle of the outside world. Behind the strong façade, the central courtyard is perfumed with the fragrances of the Islamic world. White is the dominant colour in the rooms, which are arranged on two levels around the courtyard. The roof garden is the ideal place to enjoy traditional tea or a cocktail. Here, too, breakfast is served and there is a pool where you can swim while enjoying the view out over the city rooftops and the minarets, and across to the snowy peaks of the Atlas mountains.
Other emblematic hotels in Marrakech include: La Mamounia, Hivernage Hotel Spa, Kasbah du Toubkal, Villa des Orangers, Farnatchi Riad, and Riad Malika.