Riad Farnatchi: luxury boutique hotel review — privacy in paradise
It might take you a few tries before you spot the main entrance to Riad Farnatchi. The inconspicuous brown door could be one leading to any house in the narrow streets of this part of Marrakech.
There’s good reason however why the luxury boutique hotel prefers to stay low-key — and that’s to protect their high-profile guests.
Needless to say, there’s no walking around the streets and getting lost for these guests. Riad Farnatchi arranges a pick-up from the airport (for all guests), and a personal escort to the riad. However, if, like me you do arrive by foot, look out for the entrance to Farnatchi Spa — they’ll help if you do get lost.
Riad Farnatchi: luxury hotel a world away from the streets of Marrakech
Stepping inside the doors of the riad is almost like walking into another world. The ambience changes completely from the constant movement of people and noise outside its walls.
By contrast, the most prominent sound you’ll hear here, is the water gently trickling into the feature pool. Aside from the quiet murmurings of the staff, the tranquility’s a real welcome from the buzz of Marrakech’s streets. Little did I know at this point, but the luxury experience was about to get a whole lot better.
A home within a suite
It’s easy to feel at home the second you enter your suite at Riad Farnatchi. Despite its luxury tag, the vibe is relaxed and very down-to-earth. Walking in behind the porter, we felt as though we were walking into our own home.
You know you’re in luxury accommodation when your suite’s bigger than your apartment. Prepare to fawn over the salon area, complete with 2 armchairs, TV and desk. This leads on to your own private balcony, overlooking the courtyard below.
“Despite its luxury tag, the vibe is relaxed and very down-to-earth.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
“Stepping inside the doors of the riad is almost like walking into another world.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
A few steps lead up to the bedroom, where we found complimentary Moroccan jalabahs and Fez hats waiting for us. Comfort isn’t just about the level of service they offer; it extends to the attire too. You can wear the loose tunics around the riad, and take them home after. The bedroom looks out onto another private courtyard, with 2 chairs to soak up the silent ambience.
If you like suites with a generous bathtub, you won’t be disappointed here. Opt for a long soak in the tub, or for a rainforest shower in a separate room. The goodies on offer are all from one of my favourite brands, Molton Brown, and yes, I tried each one!
The difference at Riad Farnatchi
One thing I really appreciate about Riad Farnatchi is that you make the rules. There’s no set time for breakfast; you decide what time you’d like to eat. On the rooftop terrace, there’s a large lounge area, where you can eat your meals if you wish. With sufficient notice, they can even arrange a barbecue if you want one! There’s a feeling that the staff want to make your break as special and memorable as possible, and you really won’t want to leave.
The riad also has 2 seriously stylish dining rooms if you’d like to eat there, but it’s totally up to you. We had breakfast by the pool on our final morning, and appreciated the peaceful environment before heading back into the wilderness of Marrakech!
For regular readers of my posts, you’ll know I’m a sucker for a good spa and massage. Farnatchi Spa is open to the public, and its elegant and tranquil interior matches that of the riad. Being in Morocco, a hammam room is compulsory, and the spa also offers massages using products made in the country, such as argan oil.
Unluckily for us, I missed the official opening of their new restaurant, Le Trou Au Mur by just a day! From the look of the menu, everything looks tempting. From the Marrakechi classic of a Tangia, or an international favourite with a Moroccan twist, Berber Shepherd’s Pie, I’m saddened we missed it. The menu also has tagine (each day a different variety) and cous cous, as well as homemade ice cream.
Though we were a day early to try the new restaurant, we did get the chance to try the food in the hotel. The staff are more than happy to recommend some top choices for restaurants, and there’s a useful list of places in the suite too.
In spite of this, we were so relaxed as we were, that we decided to order in — Riad Farnatchi style. If you’d like to have dinner in the hotel, you need to give sufficient notice (2 hours). This is because everything is made to order, and from scratch.
At 8.30pm sharp, the porter brought the food to the table on our balcony, as per my request! A complete professional with every movement, he prepared the table for us, poured the wine, and wished us a pleasant evening. On top of the first-class service, the meal was one of the best we’d had during our travels in Morocco. It made our entire travel that more special to end on such a high note.
“The pastry was flaky and buttery, and the filling was the perfect balance of sweet and savoury.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
For starters, we had the delicately spiced chicken pastilla. It’s a popular dish in Morocco, but this doesn’t mean it’s good everywhere. The pastry was flaky and buttery, and the filling was the perfect balance of sweet and savoury.
For the main course, we tasted one of the best tagines we’d had in Morocco: a beef and eggplant tagine. Butter like beef that took little effort to slice into, and a fiery accompaniment of eggplant to add some heat to the dish. For dessert, our bellies were too full to take anymore. Instead, we enjoyed the rest of the evening drinking chilled white wine under the Marrakech skies.
Planning a return
There are so many reasons why flashpackers and fans of luxury hotels should choose Riad Farnatchi for their stay in Marrakech. For me, I’m already planning my return, if only to sample the gastronomic delights at Le Trou Au Mer. It’s so different to any luxury hotel I’ve stayed in, simply because you have the freedom to decide how to enjoy your time. One thing’s for certain, 1 night here was definitely not enough.
Disclaimer: Even though I was invited by Riad Farnatchi, all views are my own and based on my own experience.
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