Derb el Farnatchi, Rue Souk el Fassis, Marrakech, Morocco
- Recommended for:
- Couples, Culture vultures, Honeymooners, Mature travellers, Seasoned travellers, Design and architecture, Escaping the crowds, Relaxation, Romance, Special occasions
Best for Romance - Expert review of Riad Farnatchi
There are plenty of lovely riads, special guest houses and boutique hotels in Marrakech. But sometimes you want a place you can rely on to deliver a holiday with something extra. The Farnatchi is just such a place – sympathetically renovated, understatedly stylish and with all possible comforts on tap. With nine suites spread out over what used to be five riads, there are several courtyards’ worth of peace and quiet and numerous stylishly appointed public areas to immerse yourself in. There’s nothing run-of-the-mill about this place, which feels like a home rather than a hotel. Owner Jonathan Wix has designed and run high-end establishments in the UK and France, and the service here has that quiet self-assurance that tells you you’re in capable hands from the moment you walk through the front door. If a friend asked me to choose them a honeymoon hotel in Marrakech, I’d probably suggest the Farnatchi.
The Farnatchi is off to the north of the souks, near the Medersa Ben Youssef. Not the easiest place to find (but then where is in Marrakech?), but once you’ve found it you may never want to leave. And if you do, you can borrow one of the riad’s mobile phones so that if you do ever get lost, you can phone up for directions home…or organise for someone to come and find you!
There are nine suites to choose from, each with unashamedly luxurious décor and accessories, including Bose i-pod docks, satellite TVs with on-demand movies, Egyptian cotton sheets, central heating and air conditioning. Each suite has at least one private sitting area, and many have their own balcony overlooking a courtyard.
The 16-seater ‘Marococo’ dining room, with carved black tadelakt, an ornate gold fireplace, beautiful coloured lanterns and cream leather high-backed benches, has to be sat in to be believed. There are also two sitting rooms, two b’hous (traditional recessed seating areas), a third dining b’hou, plus a beautiful roof garden with barbeque, sun loungers and dining tables for 16.
The Farnatchi’s cook produces Moroccan dinner to order, if booked in advance; the first guest to request dinner for a particular evening gets to choose the menu, and any other guests dining on the same day will be offered the same, plus a vegetarian option (or meal to meet special dietary requirements). It’s also possible to commission a roof top barbeque where staff provide salads, raw ingredients, dessert and drinks and as much or as little assistance as you want.
The 7m plunge pool has an underwater jetstream to allow you to swim against the tide, and it’s heatable in the winter months. The traditional white marble hammam is free to guests between 4 and 7pm, and you can also book massage and beauty treatments. Access to a house with pool and garden outside the medina is also possible.
The Wix’s staff, many of whom have very good English, are extremely well-trained and will help you enjoy your stay in whatever way they can - shining shoes, hanging up clothes and providing you with teas, coffees and nibbles at every turn, and always happy to advise you on directions and finding whatever it is you’re looking for.
Couples, families (children are welcome but on the explicit proviso that parents are responsible for any damage they might cause!) and groups of friends (it’s possible to book the whole riad for a house party). The likes of Brad and Angelina have been known to stay, which gives you an idea of the kind of budget we're talking about, though...
Prices include breakfast; free use of the hammam from 4 to 7pm; free tea and coffee throughout the day; free fruit, pastries and mineral water; taxi transfers to and from the airport; and free Moroccan slippers and djellabas to use in the house and take home.
More information on Riad Farnatchi:
- Derb el Farnatchi, Rue Souk el Fassis, Marrakech, Morocco
- High-Speed Internet, Restaurant, Room Service, Swimming Pool