Amy Hunt falls for the splendour and impeccable service of this boutique Marrakech hotel
The Riad is an enchanting oasis from hustle and bustle outside. Steeped in intriguing history as the former home of jazz legend Josephine Baker, it’s also rich with luxury touches including a private rooftop terrace, hammam and massage room.
Marrakesh can often feel overwhelming, but the staff at Riad Star are the perfect balm. They really can’t do enough for you. Need a taxi booked? No problem. Want a mint tea delivered to your sofa on the terrace? Sure thing. If you’re looking for a home-from-home stay, this is the place for you.
There are 13 unique rooms to choose from. They range from the beautiful Grace room – complete with its own hand-carved meditation pod – to the Ebony room, a grand double-height suite with a bathtub. Each one is as impressive as it comfortable, with large, luxurious beds and cool floors to help escape the heat.
All rooms are air-conditioned and stocked with everything you need for a comfortable stay, including slippers and traditional Moroccan robes.
When you need to wind down from an afternoon exploring the souks, the spa at the Riad Star delivers. Opt for the traditional hammam massage (200 dirhams/around £15), which will leave you with baby soft skin. The hotel’s resident masseuse vigorously scrubs grime and dry dead skin off your body before a soothing hot water wash.
Another star attraction in the middle of this stunning hotel is its crystal-clear plunge pool, creating an atmosphere of calm – a sharp contrast to the fast-paced city.
Come evening, the Riad Star’s rooftop provides incredible views of the medina and beyond, including of the breathtaking Atlas Mountains. It’s the ideal place to unwind and enjoy a drink in this exciting city.
Eating and drinking
Perhaps one of the best parts of staying at the Riad Star is the fresh, local cuisine served up for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Breakfast is included in the cost of the room, and is as authentic as they come. Expect bowls of deliciously sweet fruit, eggs cooked to order, and a selection of condiments alongside homemade khobz, a deliciously fluffy Moroccan bread. Wash it all down with a tasty mint tea (hint – add a cube of sugar).
While Marrakesh is full of delicious restaurants and food outlets, dinner at Riad Star is definitely worth staying in for. Fresh salads, flavour-packed tagines and fruit desserts – all made with locally-sourced ingredients – made for one of my finest meals in Marrakech.
And if the food leaves you wanting more, Riad Star’s owners, Mike and Lucie Wood, have created their own Moroccan cookbook. Favourite dishes to try at home include the courgette salad and aubergine zalouk.
The Riad Star is part of the Marrakech Riad, a collection of boutique hotels in Marrakesh which also includes the Riad Spice, Riad Cinnamon, Riad Papillon and the Dar Habiba. Room prices at the Riad Star start from £112 per night.