Riad Farnatchi has been created out of five small Riads in the heart of the oldest part of Marrakech where houses have stood for many centuries; some of the walls are over 400 years old.
ABOUT: A boutique riad ranking among Morocco’s smartest boltholes. Created from five former riads by award-winning British hotelier Jonathan Wix (he of Leeds’s 42 The Calls and the Tremoille in Paris) and now run by his son, the Fernatchi blends informal comfort with the services and amenities of a modern five-star hotel. The location is in Marrakech’s oldest quarter, just a few 400-year-old walls from the Ben Youssef Medersa (religious school), a truly sublime example of Moorish architecture.
ROOMS: Along with lots of traditional Moroccan touches, the nine large suites come with Egyptian cotton sheets, Molton Brown toiletries, marble baths, Bose speakers and iPod docks, air-conditioning and underfloor heating, plus terraces or balconies. Polygamists should stay in Suite 1, where the original owner received his wives, while lovers must make a beeline for the very romantic Red Suite.
FACILITIES: The swimming pool is small but heated; also hot is the white-marble hammam (steam room), which is free for guests between 4 and 7pm. Thai Massage, reflexology and beauty treatments are available. Food-wise, there’s intimate candlelit dining in the Marococo dining room and barbecues on the flowery roof terrace. Wherever you sit, your derriere will be delighted: all specially-commissioned, the riad’s furniture was, unusually, designed with comfort in mind as much as style.
MORE INFO: Anything is possible at the Fernatchi: helicopter and hot-air balloon rides, cooking classes and belly dancing lessons can all be arranged for an additional fee.