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Culture / Travel

Inside the Moroccan Wonder Hotel That Used to be a Palace

Casablanca’s Romance Gets Reimagined by a Dapper Renaissance Man

BY // 01.17.18

It is tempting to dive recklessly into Morocco’s sultry beauty, allowing the multitude of sights, sounds, and smells to meld. But within the walls of L’Hôtel Marrakech, every detail — from color to fragrance to works of art — plays a distinct and resoundingly beautiful note.

The softness of the flowers, the spice from the tagine, the patina of antique bronze, and the detail of the Zellij tilework all sing together in harmony. Meanwhile, bright oranges, yellows, reds, and pinks burst from rich textiles to reverberate against crisp whites and warm Tadelakt plaster.

The master composer of this symphony is, of course, Jasper Conran, whose first hotel project bears his impeccable style and a decidedly personal stamp. Conran, a British designer who first made his mark on London Fashion Week in 1978, is a most dapper Renaissance man.

In addition to his lines of womenswear, menswear, fragrances, and accessories, Conran is renowned for his elegant home and interiors collections — he has created crystal for Waterford; and designed a fine bone china tableware collection for the 250-year-old British company, Wedgwood.

His innate sense of the dramatics has led him to create costumes and sets for 13 plays, ballets, and operas, including a redesign of the costumes for Simon Callow’s adaptation of My Fair Lady (originally staged in 1956 with costume designs by Cecil Beaton) and, in 1994, he put a colorful spin on Galina Samsova’s production of the ballet Sleeping Beauty. His foray into hotel design — and as hotelier — is no surprise, but is a delight, nonetheless.

A blue striped rug, mother-of-pearl-inlaid dresser, and crisp white bed create perfection in the Tangier Suite

The lovingly restored 19th century Riad, which Conran debuted as a small, cozy hotel in 2016, is filled with the well=traveled designer’s own collection of antiques, textiles, lighting, and art, including pieces acquired from the private collections of American interior designer Bill Willis and French fashion visionary Yves Saint Laurent, both legendary in their love for all things Morocco. (While in town, we highly suggest visiting the Le Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech, which opened in October of 2017.)

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Originally part of a Caidal palace, L’Hôtel Marrakech and its five coveted suites surround a courtyard garden and tranquil swimming pool. In each suite, a four-poster bed is dressed in hand-finished Egyptian cotton linens and flowing white voile. Traditional Moroccan details, like mother of pearl inlaid dressers and antique lanterns, are placed thoughtfully throughout, allowing the breathing room for every flourish to fully shine.

You’ll want to end your days with a cardamom and pomegranate cocktail on the roof terrace, with exquisite views of the Atlas mountains and the city of Marrakech glowing below.

With all of the romance of Casablanca and the charm of an English country home, L’Hôtel Marrakech is the flawless center stone in the jewel box of Morocco. Here’s looking at you, Conran.

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