05 Mar El Fenn: Resort from Ruins
With 28 individually styled rooms and suites, tree-filled courtyards, hideaway nooks and a 7,000 square foot roof terrace, El Fenn is the perfect retreat from which to enjoy Africa’s most exotic city. But who would guess that the luxurious hotel was once an almost ruined courtyard of one of Marrakech’s formerly great private homes? We love how this resort completely transformed its look with an unexpected vibrancy that matches the island’s vibe.
While looking for a holiday house, Vanessa Branson and Howell James stumbled across a nearly destroyed property in 2002 and soon realized that the atmospheric riad was going to become so much more. Combining grandeur and historic architecture, the two created a home from home retreat through the lens of the building’s past with a contemporary, decorative twist. Local craftsman used traditional techniques to breathe new life into the building and create an experience for guests that would connect them with the surrounding culture.
In addition to the suites, El Fenn has three swimming pools, a restaurant, bar, spa and library due to the purchase of neighboring riads and the expertise of renowned Moroccan architect, Amine Kabbaj. Polished lime plastering was used in a rainbow of colors to create walls, baths and bed frames, original tiling was renovated, and carved cedar ceilings were restored. Retro furniture sourced from local flea markets was combined with one-off bespoke pieces for an interior that is entirely unique and authentic. Doused in rich, bold colors, ornate patterns and organic materials, each and every corner of these amenities are inspired by the nearby, world-famous Djemaa el Fna square and its thriving Moroccan culture.
Home from Home
Despite the two year renovation the former private home has gone through, the essence of El Fenn remains. It’s a place to kick back and enjoy the tranquility of an abundance of hidden spaces before stepping outside to soak up the atmosphere of a city that’s captivated everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Winston Churchill. At El Fenn, guests are welcomed to indulge in the culture and find comfort in a place that feels like home from thousands of miles away.
About El Fenn:
After a two year renovation, El Fenn opened with six bedrooms in March 2004. Since then twenty-two more rooms and suites, tree swimming pools, a restaurant, bar, spa and library have been added thanks to the purchase of neighboring roads and the expertise of renowned Moroccan architect Amine Kabbaj. Combining grandeur and historic architecture with hideaway nooks, terraces and gardens, the hotel is just five minutes walk from the world-famous Djemaa el Fna square and bustling maze of streets that make up the souk.