Having found your way to the unassuming front door through the edges of the Medina and down a narrow street, what opens up beyond the entrance of Riad Tarabel enchants from the very first moment. The interiors here have a definite French feel, drawing on the city’s colonial past. Muted greens, creams and rattan furniture soften the architectural lines of archways, gallery walkways above and the enchanting orange-tree filled courtyards that are central to the hotel’s layout. Arriving at night means you’ll be met by a fairyland-like scene of tinkling water features illuminated by the soft glow of candlelight.
Rooms are exactly what you want from a holiday: unnecessarily luxurious yet unpretentious. In each there is plenty of relaxation space and capacious bathrooms with little thoughtful touches throughout – plenty of hanging space in wardrobes, aromatic bath and products that align with the herbaceous smell of the entire hotel, and beautiful artworks adorning the walls. After sinking into sleep you’ll likely be woken by the hypnotic sounds of the calls to prayer (as well as a cockerel or two) come the early morning, and were it not for this enchanting Moroccan alarm clock you might sleep for hours past your usual cut off thanks to plush, plumped up beds that are made up in cool crisp linens and soft washed silk bedspreads.
Breakfast is served on the rooftop in fine weather (i.e., 96% pf the time) and in the ‘Winter Lounge’ come damp days. Here a friendly fire crackles and the best spot in the house is a seat right on the cushion-clad sofa in front of the live pyro-show playing out before you. The procession begins with pastries, yogurt and fresh fruits and there is always the option of eggs anyway you like, accompanied by warm Moroccan breads and a selection of condiments.
If you venture out of your room, you’ll find all kinds of corners and cosy spaces to curl up in, as well as a charming pool in the middle of the second courtyard which makes for the perfect place to take a midday dip. Thanks to just a handful of rooms nowhere ever feels busy, and if you close your eyes and wish hard enough you could almost imagine you were quite alone in your very own home (a home that is very well run by extremely charming staff, of course). Outside the hotel and you’re right into the thick of it; all the winding streets, stalls and souks that make up old town Marrakech. Following an afternoon of exploration, the prospect of doing nothing at all back at the hotel will likely be a welcome one. Take things seriously by treating yourself to a massage or hammam ritual in the peaceful spa, a space concealed behind a door posing as a full-length mirror. Alternatively sip on the city’s signature mint tea with a side of the chef’s buttery, sesame biscuits on one of the many daybeds in the communal spaces.
A hotel can only ever as good as its service and here Riad Tarabel excel. This isn’t to say the rest isn’t up to par, rather that the warm and welcoming team go above and beyond all expectations to make each and every guest feel completely at ease from the first moment until the last. It’s like they know what you want before you do, and that’s a pretty ‘pinch me’ feeling. There’s a subtle understanding here, that without the place trying to be too clever it meets and then exceeds expectations – a quality, we suspect, that keeps this riad full, thanks to recommendations and repeat custom.
Rooms at Riad Tarabel cost from £195 and include breakfast.