Monday July 22nd, 2024
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Eat, Pray, Love, and Lie Down: Our Favourite Boutique Stays in Morocco

From Agafay to the Medina – here’s where to stay if you’re planning your own Moroccan odyssey.

Ziyad El-Helbawy

Eat, Pray, Love, and Lie Down: Our Favourite Boutique Stays in Morocco

When Elizabeth Gilbert wrote her globetrotting 2006 memoir, ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ which was later turned into a cult-classic starring Julia Roberts, she designated one country for each titular imperative – Italy for food, India for spirituality, and Indonesia for love. If Gilbert had perhaps decided to start off her journey somewhere else, say in Morocco, she would have not had to leave its borders to publish a memoir under the same title.

With aeons-old traditional culinary practices – the products of which will have you rekindling your love for food – almost-mystical natural vistas that evoke a sense of spiritual awe, and a people whose generosity and kindness will make you feel loved and cherished, Morocco is a whole world in and of itself, one where a soul may truly find solace, and a lost, or perhaps tired, spirit may find rejuvenation.

From Essaouira to Agafay and all the way up to Tangier, we’ve gathered up some of our favourite boutique stays across the Kingdom, where luxury, comfort, and an almost divine sense of calm intertwine. 

Le Jardin Des Douars

📍Essaouira, Morocco


Set amidst fields of argan greens in Morocco’s famed port city, Le Jardin Des Douars is aesthetically akin to a fantastical sandcastle straight out of the pages of a storybook. With lush botanical gardens and ponds dotted with hammocks throughout, the 15-year-old countryside escape is designed with the authentic ‘Maghrebi’ experience in mind, complete with earth-tones and traditional artwork.

For the gourmands amongst us, French-infused Moroccan meals at Le Jardin Des Douars can be enjoyed on the terrace under the skyline’s starry bed, or indoors amidst candlelit settings. With an in-house spa offering Moroccan and Oriental treatments, the boutique stay caters to souls seeking respite from life’s hustle and bustle. Le Jardin Des Douars is located 15 minutes away from the heart of Essaouira’s Medina.



Euphoriad

📍Rabat, Morocco

What was once the former residence of the Pasha of Rabat, Euphoriad, has been completely redesigned by Moroccan architect Chafiq Kabbaj into a Riad that is at once a museum of all the influential figures who once roamed its halls and a boutique stay with eight rooms that epitomise modern comfort.

With a panoramic pool on the terrace, a Moroccan hammam, and a sophisticated dining area, the Riad offers incredible views of the city, with guided tours available upon request.

Le Riad Yasmine

📍Marrakech, Morocco

Nestled in the heart of the Marrakech Medina, Le Riad Yasmine is truly an emerald-hued slice of paradise, forming what is essentially an urban jungle within its walls. Enveloped in palm trees and other verdant foliage, the Riad truly feels like a home away from home, with a communicable courtyard highlighted by a cosy pool surrounded by ample lounging arrangements for that pool-side vacation read, a rooftop terrace with views of the Medina, and a shared living room for those late-night conversations with strangers.

Jnane Tamsna

📍Marrakech, Morocco

The architectural brainchild of its owner and designer, Meryanne Loum-Martin, hailing from Côte d'Ivoire, Jnane Tamsna is a boho family-friendly oasis, and perhaps the largest of all boutique stays on this list with 24 rooms. With a nine-acre garden on its premises, Jnane Tamsna boasts five swimming pools and a tennis court, as well as classes for aspiring chefs and calligraphers, ensuring a full authentic Moroccan experience is enjoyed without leaving its gates. 

Dar El Sadaka

📍Palmeraie, Morocco

Situated within a sprawling twenty-five-acre private domain in the Marrakech Palmeraie, Dar El Sadaka is an exclusive retreat that welcomes a few select guests year-round. The story of Dar El Sadaka unfolds through art, philanthropy, and a pursuit of beauty and connection. Originally a fortified farm, Dar El Sadaka has evolved over the years. 

In the year 2000, in collaboration with designer Philippe Forrestier, French visual artist Jean-François Fourtou orchestrated a transformation of the villa as he took up residence in it. What emerged was nothing short of magnificent – a guesthouse where luxury and comfort intermingle with uniqueness and fantasy. Dar El Sadaka is a place where art is not confined to galleries but seamlessly integrates into every corner (and ceiling) of the retreat, with sculptures of animals, both realistic and whimsical, inhabiting the grounds.

Riad Semlalia

📍Fez, Morocco

Looking straight out of a period drama, Riad Semlalia was originally built in 1910 and most recently renovated in 2023. With Moroccan blues and stained glass windows dotting the estate’s 11 suites, the Riad Semlalia promises and indeed provides a truly elevated and authentic Moroccan experience. Right in the heart of the Fez Medina, the Riad is within walking distance from the city’s most prominent attractions.

With a terrace overlooking the city equipped with a state-of-the-art pool, a traditional courtyard where guests can mingle and relax within the embrace of its ornamental pillars, and a variety of alfresco dining options, Riad Semlalia is the place to be in Fez.

Dar Seffarine

📍Fez, Morocco

For travellers who truly yearn for a taste of untouched history in the oldest district in Fez, Dar Seffarine is the place to go. Designed to maintain its 600-year-old historical charm, Dar Seffarine stuns with all the hallmarks of Islamic architecture – intricate woodwork, traditional 'zellij' mosaic tiles, and a breathtaking panoramic view of its surrounding souks and streets.

If, perhaps, you cannot stay at Dar Seffarine (although that would be most unfortunate), you may be pleased to hear that a tour to visit what is essentially one of the oldest houses in Fez can be arranged.

Lalla Soulika

📍Tangier, Morocco

For centuries, Tangier has hosted the Moroccan royal family’s summer residence, and at Lalla Soulika, you will most definitely be treated like royalty. Built in 1905 in the heart of Tangier's Medina, the Lalla Soulika boasts a crowning jewel unlike any other – its breathtaking location overlooking the ocean.

With colourful interiors and intricately designed suites that evoke the vibrancy of the coastal city, the residence also features four dining establishments, a stargaze-worthy rooftop, and the promise of a life-changing experience, if only for the duration of your stay.

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