Our taxi narrowly misses a horse-drawn carriage and pulls up sharply on a small side street inside the Medina... ‘Here!... you are here’ announces our friendly (Riad sent) driver. We climb out into the dazzling Moroccan sunshine somewhat bewildered (wondering where on earth we are) but thankfully a guide (again sent by our Riad) is there to meet us and, with the hugest of smiles, explains (in perfect English) that the street is too narrow to drive down. His young assistant piles our luggage on to a hand-driven cart and together they lead us through a series of narrow terracotta-, dun- and honey-coloured walled passageways to the ancient studded-wooden door of Riad Orangeraie. The door opens to an exquisitely cool oasis... a tiled Moorish courtyard, surrounded by pastel-hued walls, filled with potted palms and luscious flowers and the sounds of singing birds mixed with the smooth vibes of Buddha Bar music (emanating, we found out later, from the Riad's very chilled library) and a glimpse of the deepest and bluest of swimming pools. Riad Orangeraie is a stunning example of a traditional Moroccan house (and vernacular Boho chic) arranged around a central courtyard - and as we stood there... gazing in wonder at what 'we' (or rather my dear friend Beverley, whose 40th birthday we were there to celebrate) had discovered... we were warmly greeted by Cyril our incredibly charming (and impossibly handsome!) French host and one of his incredibly kind and ever-smiling team proffering a tray of hot mint tea and traditional Moroccan cakes. As I walked into my room, I caught my breath – it was huge, cool and wonderfully exotic: terracotta walls, orange silk cushions and deep-red-velvet-adorned chairs, brilliant white cotton sheets sprinkled with rose petals and the finest of linen curtains billowing gently in the breeze... just enough for me to glimpse a beautiful black & white 'old hollywood' vision: a scene from Casablanca - expertly projected onto the wall outside my bedroom's floor-to-ceiling window. Through an arch doorway I could see the bathroom – a treasure trove of shining mirrors, flickering candles, fluffy white towels and a delicious array of lotions and potions in exotic Moroccan pots and bottles. Every room at the Riad Orangeraie was gorgeous – every member of staff was delightful (nothing was too much trouble: every detail had been thought of and every guest's whim was catered for) and every drink and bite-to-eat was delicious: it is little wonder that some of our party were, at times, almost reluctant to venture out. That said - it would be crazy not to explore the delights of this City – there can be few more pleasurable ways to waste time than wandering around the seemingly endless maze of markets and shops which sell everything from carpets and slippers to woollen hats and kaftans or spices and soaps to suitcases and raffia baskets... so many sights to behold, people to meet (and cheekily bargain with!), colours to appreciate and smells to be intoxicated by. As I stood on the roof top terrace, sipping a glass of perfectly-chilled Sancerre, watching the light fade over the sunset-pinked rooftops with the snow-capped Atlas mountains just-visible in the distance... and noticed another friendly-fez-topped-fellow discreetly lighting the mediaeval lanterns hanging all around the garden – it was easy to think that I'd died and gone to heaven.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Restored to its previous grandeur by a passionate team, this ancient Marrakech residence has been transformed into a Riad with a delightful ambiance. The seven spicy bedrooms, warm and colourful like their name, open onto two patios. The garden patio, where you can enjoy the flowers and aromatic plants while the fountain trickles in the background and the pool patio, an invitation to the art of relaxation, beside the sky blue mosaic pool. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Riad De l`Orangeraie Hotel Marrakech