The Red City is a maze of colorful souks, Moorish architecture, and countless hotels and guesthouses (known as riads) in all sizes, styles, and price points. How to narrow them down? JS correspondent Rana Good hit the streets to find the 10 best.
When in Marrakech, there's nothing quite like staying in the heart of the medina. The colorful El Fenn is right in the thick of it all—the perfect launch point for exploring nearby landmarks like Jemaa el Fna (the large market square) or the Koutoubiya Mosque. Like the city itself, this 21-room riad is a blend of modern and old-world: seven courtyard houses are filled with local textiles, cutting-edge wall art, and hidden nooks in which to curl up in. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or all three) on the 7,000-square-foot roof terrace, where the local style set convenes against a beautiful city backdrop.
Like Aman's other resorts around the world, Amanjena, on a quiet road in Marrakech's outskirts, is a Zen-like escape from urban life. The romance here is palpable: 32 rose-pink pavilions and six bi-level maisons (which come with their own private pools) feature up-lit domes over king-sized beds, views of the Atlas Mountains, and loungers from which to take in the African sun. By day, the massive pool is surrounded by sunbathers and swimmers working off meals from the Mediterranean-Moroccan restaurant or Japanese sushi bar; by night, it's lit by lanterns that set everything aglow. For added luxury, a Cadial Tent can be set up for candlelit dinners accompanied by live music, while complimentary car service is available for those wanting a taste of medina life.
La Villa Des Orangers
It's easy to miss this luxe property, hidden behind an unassuming door near to the Jemaa el-Fnaa market, but that's part of the allure. A delicious smell of orange blossoms fills the air at La Villa Des Orangers, a 27-room riad in two 20th-century residences connected by a lush courtyard garden, where guests are often found lounging by the heated central pool or detoxing in the standout spa (we recommend a traditional Moroccan hammam treatment such as a black soap scrubs or rhassoul mask).
One step inside La Mamounia and you'll understand why it's considered one of Marrakech's most famous hotels. The opulent Moroccan décor and sprawling gardens make you feel like you’re living in a dreamy, faraway estate. But it’s the little details that make a stay here truly memorable: guests are greeted with a plate of dates and a glass of almond milk upon arrival, while convenient switchboards in all 209 rooms mean you can dim the lights with the press of one button. Headed out for the evening? Use their on-site hairdresser for the perfect up-do or blowout to perfect your evening look.
You can't get more luxe in Morocco than the Royal Mansour. Commissioned by King Mohammed VI himself, this "mini-medina" is composed of 53 individual riads decked out in velvet brocade couches and Baccarat chandeliers as well as fireplaces and private rooftop pools. If you manage to leave your plush guesthouse, prepare to be mesmerized by water fountains, parquet floors, and colorful mosaics that took three and a half years to complete. The real highlight, however, is the incredibly attentive and discreet service: an underground system of tunnels allows staff to enter and tend to guest wishes without interrupting their privacy, while their VIP airport service allows you to skip the lines and be escorted straight to your gate.
Surrounded by a thicket of roses and fruit trees, this country-style villa in the Palmeraie (a district of manicured gardens) is a breath of fresh air from the nearby buzz of central Marrakech. And, with six individually decorated rooms and space for only 14 guests, it feels more like a private townhouse than any hotel. Our favorite rooms to book: the Perla Suite, which features an expansive roof terrace, and the Bebra, which has a stunning hand-painted bathroom ceiling. Just remember to keep an eye on your watch, as cake and mint tea is served every day at 4 p.m.
The Selman is a visual stunner at every turn, from the highly landscaped gardens and Olympic-size pool to the Arabian interiors by famed French architect Jacques Garcia, which feature column-flanked corridors, tadelakt plasterwork, zellij tiling, and sumptuous upholstery in purple and gold hues. Rooms are more soothing but no less luxurious—think velvet curtains, sleek bathrooms, and views of the Atlas Mountains. There's a notable baroque-style bar and restaurant that serves Moroccan cuisine, but our favorite feature might be the paddocks just beyond the grounds, where you'll find the owner's fleet of thoroughbred horses.
A stay at the intimate Peacock Pavilions, in an olive grove on the outskirts of Marrakech, is an adventure in the best kind of way. American photographer Maryam Montague and her architect husband, who live on property with their kids and a menagerie of animals (including peacocks), rent out individual multi-bedroom villas tricked out with global finds—Tibetan chests, Asian altarpieces, and postmodern furniture. There's no formal restaurant, but you can enjoy farm-to-table meals on the main building's terrace or in the comfort of your villa in between dips in the pool, a movie at the alfresco cinema, or a round on the boules court. Bonus: 10% of profits go to Project Soar, an education and empowerment non-profit that supports local disadvantaged children.
Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech
The Mandarin Oriental was the latest to arrive on Marrakech's luxury hotel scene when it debuted last October. Its 50 sprawling acres, a short drive from the city center, are dotted with olive groves, reflecting pools, and rose gardens. Parisian firm Gilles & Boissier merged Moorish and Berber aesthetics in each of the 54 villas and nine suites—look out for handwoven rugs, tadelakt plaster, and intricate latticework. As its size may suggest, the property has no shortage of diversions, with four restaurants (including "it" hotspot, Ling Ling), a heated indoor lap pool, and a signature spa with its own Tai Chi studio and two hammams. Love golf? Hotel guests have direct access to two adjacent golf courses.