How to create a uniquely Moroccan city hotel? Pick a cluster of authentic riads and infuse them with the intimacy and beauty of a traditional Marrakech townhouse, combined with contemporary oriental luxury.
With every step, as we turned into a narrow enclosure surrounded by tall houses, the noise of the busy street behind seemed to recede and subdue. This illusion was undoubtedly enhanced by the prettiness of the La Sultana Marrakech entrance. The buildings converge on the hotel’s large brass gate, polished to a brilliant shine. We could sense the echoes of ancient dynasties and Morocco’s exotic splendor.
We were soon exploring the La Sultana riads, starting from the rooftop terrace. Shaded by white curtains in a comfy gazebo we were welcomed here by Moroccan snacks brought in on a silver tray. Check-in formalities were quickly completed, as we drank the extra-sweet Moroccan mint tea, poured into the traditional glass cups.
Keen on discovering the rest of the hotel, one after another we visited its five riads. Always with a courtyard at the core, each riad has its own identity, atmosphere, and design theme.
Each of the 28 rooms at La Sultana has a different layout and furnishings while reflecting the riad’s particular theme. Exquisite local tiles, handicrafts, and furniture from Europe and Africa bring warmth and character. What they have in common is outstanding craftsmanship that celebrates the country’s artisan traditions.
La Sultana is filled with beautifully carved cedar wood ceilings and beams, intricate stucco, striking tiles and extravagant furnishings that give interiors original themes—without ever veering into cliché.
The most beautiful to our eyes and the last riad we walked into was Riad Bahia, which wowed us with its flooded-with-light courtyard. The riad’s design looks effortless, and the contrast of dark wood set against white stucco walls and columns is brilliant. This is the Riad with the deluxe suites and apartments, and it’s also where we stayed.
Our room had a large salon with a fireplace, bathroom with a marble jacuzzi bath and was decorated with carved cedar panels. The lovely latched windows opened onto a shaded furnished terrace that connected our room with the white courtyard.
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Our favorite places
The courtyard of the neighboring riad is largely taken by a cool swimming pool, with the hotel’s restaurant close by. It’s a lovely place for dinner, especially when softly lit by candlelight. The food is a highlight as well — La Sultana’s French chef created a great menu inspired by Mediterranean and Oriental influences.
From the pool, it’s a quick walk to the spa, a place with a truly beautiful relaxation lounge. Utilizing the original building’s architecture, its aesthetic is calming and elegant, with jade green and oxidized copper set against terracotta walls. The treatment rooms are soundproofed and have extra-wide massage beds.
In the morning, back on the rooftop, we’d munch on La Sultana’s fantastic breakfast, served on blue and white china. The morning meals are sumptuous and rich. Delightful Berber dishes and local pancakes, as well as the sensational homemade yogurt, were our faves.
Kissing our diets goodbye (with a shrug), we’d talk about a day ahead and the exploration of Marrakech. It’s a pleasant walk from the hotel to the Jemaa el-Fnaa, with its snake charmers, food stalls and all the hustle and bustle.