Have just spent 5 nights at the Riad Farnatchi. This is a sophisticated, luxurious and superbly run establishment. It is also very, very expensive. My thoughts...
The location is in the north of the Medina. This is less touristy, more residential, so all life is going on around you (quite biblical!). The north entrance to the souk is but a few minutes walk away and there are several important historical buildings close by. You have to always walk through the souk to get the the Jemaa el Fna and the new town areas unless you get a taxi which has to skirt the Medina walls. I would not recommend doing the walk at night - its a little intimidating. The riad is not terribly quiet - private space for locals is their roof tops so you can nearly always hear kids playing and people chattering. At 5am the call to pray starts too! Ear plugs are available though!
Our split level suit was luxurious and large - the bed area had an enclosed very private courtyard with seating and an olive tree (prettily lit at night). The canopied bed was massive (king size +), very comfortable and with good quality linens and there was a fitted sofa strewn with colouful cushions. Lighting was a bit harsh though and dimmers or lamps would have made for a more cozy effect. The curtains never drew properly either which got annoying!
The marble bathroom was semi open plan and split into three zones (only the wc had a door to close it off from the rest of the suite). It had custom made pieces and Philippe Stark designed fittings. There were beautiful Moroccan artisan light fittings and mirrors. There were more than enough thick towels (replaced every day) and we had towelling robes too plus complimentary leather Moroccan slippers and jellabah gowns. The slippers were too uncomfotable to wear though and the jellabahs too small - but a nice souvenier! There were four different type types of Molton Brown shower gel in the huge shower plus their shampoo and conditioner. The lighting could have been better though and a magnifying mirror for shaving and make-up would have been very useful.
The living area was a strange mix of Moroccan and art deco furniture - all custom made. There were beautiful rugs on the floor and artwork on the walls. The living area opened onto a shady balcony with table and chairs that over looked the courtyard that contained the marble plunge pool. There was an open fire too in the living area. The suite had two flatscreen TVs, two DVD players, two CD players and an iPod docking station. The suite was also WiFi enabled and laptops were available for loan (as were DVDs and CDs, deposits required however). A mini fridge (stocked or empty) would have been a better inclusion than most of the other tech equipment I think. And like the sleeping area, the lighting was too harsh (beautiful fittings) and lamps and/or dimmers would have been better. We also had a small library with lots of reading matter.
Breakfast was very disappointing I have to say. Lovely as it was to be able to set your own breakfast time and have it anywhere in the riad you wished - it was limited and monotonous considering the cost per night of staying here. However, everyday there was a selection of fresh fruit put in the suite along with Moroccan pastries. In the early evening, if you were in your suite, quite delicious canapes were delivered too. There was always mineral water in the room to drink and in the bathroom and complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks were available all day within the riad. There was a small elegant restaurant in the riad but we never used it and only saw one couple go in during our stay.
The public areas were even nicer than the suite and were straight out of some top architectural or interior design magazine! Just beautiful!
The staff were excellent, Kahlid and Saida especially were fantastic. Nothing but nothing was too much trouble for them. They were discreet yet always on hand and helped us no end with arrangements and advice, taxis were called promptly (and needed to get to restaurants and further flung sites like the Majorelle Gardens) and they arranged for us to have the same driver as often as possible which was great. He managed to get the taxi right to the riad alley for our return journeys which was a magnifient feat as the deeper we drove into the Medina the narrower the alleys got! . Housekeeping was perfect. We never met the manager Lynn Perez (who is mentioned in every guide book when describing this riad) although we saw her a couple of times and heard her frequently. We did however meet the owner, Jonathan Wicks who was a most charming man and helped us plan a superb day trip to have lunch at Richard Branson's spa retreat (Kasbar Tamadot) near Imlill in the Atlas foothills with a short exploration of Imlill after. We were thrilled to find that unbeknown to us the lunch tab was picked up by the riad - a superb gesture.
We had a most marvellous stay and would recommend without hesitation despite our few criticisms we feel justified in mentioning as we did pay close to £2000 for 5 nights so expectations were very, very high.