Riad Farnatchi- A Boutique Luxury Hotel in the Heart of Marrakech
With centuries of history and a vibrant culture it’s no surprise that Marrakech is high on the wish list of many travelers. There are a number of large luxury resorts on the outskirts of the city but to get fully immersed in Marrakech’s dynamic culture I chose to stay in a riad, a traditional Moroccan home centered around a courtyard, for a more authentic experience in the Red City. Riad Farnatchi, a beautifully restored boutique guesthouse, would be my home while exploring Marrakech.
I was graciously hosted by Riad Farnatchi but as always all opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate links, when you make a purchase or book a hotel through these links the Casual Travelist receives a small commission that helps support this site at no additional cost to you.
After 16 hours of travel from the US I was greeted at the airport by one of Riad Farnatchi’s drivers, a quick drive brought me to the edge of Marrakech’s bustling medina. The streets of the medina are far too narrow for cars, so the last leg of our journey was a 10 minute walk led by one of Riad Farnatchi’s courteous porters. The narrow streets were a frenetic mix of vendors, carts drawn by donkeys bringing produce to market, women retrieving their daily bread from community ovens and scooters zipping past everyone. It’s this beautiful frenzy that drew me to Marrakech but at that moment it was all a bit overwhelming for my jet-lagged brain, that is until I passed through the doors of Riad Farnatchi. Entering Riad Farnatchi I was warmly greeted with a glass of mint iced tea(a refreshing welcome with Marrakech’s temperatures hovering near 100 degrees) the hustle of the medina replaced with the tranquility of the Riad’s courtyard. I was amazed at transformation that happens once you pass through Riad Farnatchi’s doors, the trickling of the pool’s fountain and the occasional chirps of birds hanging in the bougainvilla were the only things that broke the peacefulness of the courtyard.A narrow staircase brought us to our second floor suite and my jaw dropped when I entered the room. A bright sitting area opened up to a terrace overlooking the courtyard, my spacious suite was decorated sumptuously with furniture designed specifically for the riad and from the handmade Berber rugs to the intricate metalwork no detail went unnoticed (each of Riad Farnatchi’s 10 suites are uniquely decorated, no two are alike). The bed was supremely comfortable while the bathroom featured a soaking tub and one of the best showers(complete with Molton Brown products) I’ve encountered on my travels. We were even provided with fez and djellaba, traditional Moroccan hats and robes, as gifts.
The attention to detail and craftmanship extended throughout the Riad’s common spaces. Intricate handcarved plaster grace the halls of Riad Farnatchi while wrought iron accented windows and terraces giving the riad a timeless appeal. A second sunlight courtyard was framed by b’hous, quiet sitting areas perfect for tucking into a book or just as a respite from the dizzing energy of the medina. The courtyard hosted orange trees that, when in season, provide fruit and juice for the decadent Moroccan breakfasts that can be served poolside, in your room or on the rooftop terrace. Speaking of breakfast, I can’t think of a better way to start my day than with a Moroccan breakfast overlooking the rooftops of Marrakech with the Koutoubia Mosque in the distance. French press coffee, yogurt with plums and pomegranate, and a variety of Moroccan breads were brought to our table while the kitchen prepared our eggs made to order.I opted for the eggs shakshuka, fried eggs served in an addictive spiced tomato-pepper sauce.Dinners at Riad Farnatchi were even better featuring elevated takes on traditional Berber home cooking. Our dinner started out withA medley of Moroccan salads, a delightful mix of vegetables and Berber spices that provided a nice contrast to the rich bastilla, a savory-sweet pastry filled with spiced chicken. We then shared mechoui, lamb’s shoulder roasted for hours until meltingly tender. Sadly my trip was just a little too early to visit Riad Farnatchi’s new restaurant, Le Trou Au Mur, which has opened with rave reviews. With a traditional clay mechoui oven succulent traditional roasts are a hallmark of the restaurant, with a vareity of Moroccan specialties and European classics rounding out the menu.No visit to Marrakech is complete without experiencing a hammam and the Farnatchi Spa is one of the best in the medina. I enjoyed the Royal Hammam treatment at the skilled hands of Fatiha who left me feeling thoroughly pampered and relaxed. In my private marble steam room my treatment started with an exfoliation with nourishing Moroccan black olive soap followed by an herbal mask that made my skin soft and radiant and glowing. A traditional Beldi massage and a final rinse with rosewater left me feeling transformed and renewed. The Farnatchi Spa also offers a curated selection of massages and spa treatments featuring the best organic Moroccan and European skin care lines.What really sets Riad Farnatchi apart from other luxury riads is it’s people. From arranging guides to explore Marrakech to preparing an afternoon pot of mint tea no request is too small and the staff made sure every aspect of my stay was perfect. They truly made me feel like I a was a guest in their home and it’s the service and smiles I received that will bring me back to Raid Farnatchi the next time I’m in Marrakech.