A Day at Harvest Cafe Newrybar.

Monday, June 16th 2014

Sitting on the sprawling verandah of Harvest Café Newrybar, shaded by the overhanging wisteria tree, face lit by warm afternoon sun, as aromas of autumnal delights hang in the crisp hinterland air, you get an overwhelming nostalgia for a simpler existence, where time spent and meals shared with family and friends takes priority over the hustle of our busy modern lives. 

Set in a little town called Newrybar in the Hinterland of Northern NSW, just outside of Byron Bay, this 1900’s rustic cottage house with its whitewashed weatherboards, teak floors and small town vibe, is our routine weekend visit for lazy Sunday lunch. Romanced by fresh county air and wide-open spaces, we love to lose our days feasting on their local, seasonal and sustainable menu and cocktails inspired by the native Australian bush and tropical fruits.

Like us and the abundance of barefoot beauties, if you have been pulled to the Byron area for its bohemian charm and laid-back existence, chances are you would have hustled for a table at Harvest on a busy Sunday or lined up for a coffee and pastry from their famous deli. However with its rustic, yet chic aesthetic and relaxed vibe, Harvest is also the perfect space for an intimate bohemian, effortlessly luxe or country inspired reception full of soul. We wanted to visit one of our favourite spaces and show it to you through the inquisitive eyes of a free spirit on the search for her dream wedding space…

Enter Harvest’s restaurant area and memories of lazy Sundays spent around the fire in the living room of a family country retreat flood in. The open plan kitchen and bar area, leather clubman chairs, hanging pendant lights, casual stacks of coffee table cookbooks and worn daily newspapers set amongst the spirited conversations of friends catching up over a long lunch, instantly makes you feel like you are amongst good company. Inspiring thoughts of a newlywed couple sharing stories and a glass of red wine with family and friends well into the night.  

Our favourite spot for a rustic reception dinner is Harvest’s verandah. As we move out onto the sprawling, open roof, timber decked area, which looks out to the neighboring deli, Harvest gardens and historic 100-year-old bakery, we are instantly dreaming of a shared meal with friends reception dinner. Think dramatic long tables and bentwood chairs set with incredible handpicked arrangements of wildflowers in deep plum, rich berry, jewel tone and wine stain hues, complementing the natural landscape of the area and the seasons harvest. A spirited ambience and magical serenity created with an abundance of soft flickering pillar candles and mood lighting.

The food however is the real star of Harvest for us and if amazing food and wine is a big focus for you, then with just one mouthful you will fall even more in love with this incredible venue. Renowned for their fresh and seasonal produce sourced from the local region and Harvest’s own garden and 5-acre organic farm, the new autumn menu is a delicate and fresh celebration of the season. Our feast of Local heirloom tomato carpaccio, Harvest salted ricotta, garden herbs; and a Harvest Garden Celebration on toasted buckwheat to start, looks and tastes like a beautifully delicate flowering garden on a plate. The mains of Risotto with pearl barley, smoked mushrooms, kale, toasted macadamias and pecorino; Brunswick Heads Spanish Mackerel with Sweet Corn and Baby Beets; and Pan seared duck breast with fennel puree and braised cabbage with currans give you the hearty satisfaction that only comes with eating wholesome food appropriate for the season amongst good company.

The old-bakery set at the back of the cottage house is another of our favourite spots to hold a spirited and lively reception. Retreating to the space after wandering the Harvest Garden (where small ceremonies can be held), with its concrete floors, exposed brick walls, bi-fold French windows, wooden ceiling beams and dramatic rustic chandelier, we feel we have discovered the ultimate gem for an intimate and completely original wedding reception. Inspiring thoughts of 40 of your closet family and friends enjoying a shared table menu or embracing the spirit of paddock to plate with a whole beast from the woodfire oven. The rustic details are divine and if keeping costs low is a priority, minimal styling is needed. The beauty is in the spaces, history, charm and the unique story it tells (it is still a functioning bakery during the day). We recommend opting for oversized florals held in dramatic crystal cut vases to bring a sense of opulence to the space.

The night comes quietly at Harvest. The soft auburn glow of the afternoon light seems to hang magically in the air as the hinterland fields come alive with the luminous sparkle of a setting sun. A reminder to us that at just 40 minutes down the coast, there is an undisturbed, unpretentious and breathtakingly beautiful place can be escaped to.

Wedding packages can be tailored to suit your reception preference and range from cocktail style for up to 130, shared table dining or even a luxurious dinner for eight in the private dining room (housed in the century old bakery). You can find more information, package options as well as venue hire fees over on Harvest Café’s official website

Royal Mansour Marrakech.

Thursday, June 12th 2014

There are times for barefoot adventures and times for camping under a magical blanket of stars. There are times for rambling conversations and close company with friends. There are times for midnight swims, late night city dates and dancing until dawn. There are also times to escape the madness and retreat. Times to hide away from reality and times to dream. There are times to get lost in a fantasy world of beauty; times to recharge and refresh and times for absolute indulgence and complete luxury.

After a whirlwind, adventure-filled trip across Morocco with thousand of miles covered, 3 editorials and 3 films shot, a new home furnished, a sandstorm braved and eternal memories made, we were in much need of time to recharge and take a break. As creative souls endlessly inspired by colours, textures and architectural details, the luxurious Royal Mansour has always held a top spot on our wish list of hotels to visit for it's sense of mystery, extravagance and seamless blend of Moroccan tradition with modern comforts. Romanced by cities and their stories, their secrets and their spirit, there are some spaces in a city that one dreams of visiting. Often it is those like the Royal Mansour that stand as noble as the city itself. Drawn to Morocco for its innate sense of beauty and driven by our fueled desire to experience the country in its most authentic and true form we had long dreamed of visiting the city’s most illustrious space. An icon (like only a handful in the world) managing to hold within its secret walls the spirit of a country and tell an authentic story of tradition and culture.  Anticipation, hope, wonder and emotion enveloped as we waited to discover the true Morocco behind the secret walls.

Enter the grand grounds of this secret oasis through elaborate bronzed gates and you are transported to a magical city where the madness of the souks is left behind (although only a 5 minute stroll away), nothing is as it first seems and reality gives way to a royal terracotta palace where dreams are brought to life and everything is possible. Nestled inside the Medina, hidden by ancient city walls and amidst giant palms and citrus and pomegranate trees, the Royal Mansour; a labyrinth Medina within Medina is an intoxicating mystery waiting to be discovered. With the opening of the city gates begins an excitement of the senses, a royal treatment, an astounding service and a beautiful discovery of Moroccan tradition. Where everything you could possibly want for is available and 500 of the most committed staff preempt your every need to make for the most relaxing, indulgent and inspiring stay. The beauty of the hotel reveals itself in layers as you come to discover the warmth and generosity of the Moroccan people and their commitment to craftsmanship, tradition, excellence and most importantly their unique culture.

Just like the city of Marrakech, the beauty of the Royal Mansour is that it is an open page for travellers to write their own story. There is an unpredictability, a randomness and organized chaos that excites. Designed to mirror the mystery of the city with its mazed alleyways, exotic charms, ancient otherworldliness and beautiful romance of the old and the new, the hotel unfolds with unexpected alleyways and endless twists and turns. Anticipation is heightened and senses are set alight with rose scents lingering in the air, trickling fountains flowing and intoxicating visual delights of rich colours, elaborate details, mystical objects and sumptuous materials. From the moment of arrival the eyes are conflicted. There isn’t an inch of space not to be consumed, as you set out to discover the hidden nooks, romantic rooftops with views of the Koutoubia Moaque and Atlas Mountains, exotic palm tree clad gardens, serene pool area, winding paths, cozy bars, relaxing lounges and heavenly spa (which requires a full post of its own). You sip cocktails by the fire, gaze at the stars from the retractable roof library and soak up the extravagance of the open roof reception lobby where a sunken fountain ebbs and flows and a huge rustic chandelier is suspended almost as if in mid air.

Forever drawn to the intricate and breathtaking details of Moroccan architecture, the grandness and the talented craftsmanship behind the visually intoxicating city, for us the Royal Mansour is the ultimate in design inspiration. Commissioned by King Mohammed VI and with the best hands of more than 1500 Moroccan artisans working for 4 years to create the city within a city, every single detail of the hotel celebrates traditional artisan skills and local Moroccan design. Inspired by the exoticism and richness of Marrakech and the Medina, walls are clad with rose gold leaf like the last of the rays of a setting sun, doors are turquoise and riads are terracotta, plasterwork is delicately carved, zellige tiles are mosaiced in intricate geometric patterns, wood is cedar, hallways are arched and symmetrical, and surfaces are juxtaposed to create an unparalleled grandness.

If it is sophistication and luxury that you seek there is no better time or place to indulge and a stay at the Royal Mansour will have you questioning the value of every other hotel you have ever stayed at. The level of service, sophistication, elegance and detail making it worth everything you have invested in this experience. From being ushered to your private riad where you check in in complete privacy and your bags and butler await in your room (accessed magically by secret underground tunnels for staff), the luxuries and service from the staff will be like nothing you have ever experienced. Your very own 2 bedroom private riad resembling a small palace spread over three elaborate floors becomes your private hideaway. You dine in your private dining room at all hours on the most delicious Mediterranean cuisines that rival a fine dining restaurant.  You indulge in frozen margaritas by your rooftop pool or visit the Hotel’s two fine dining restaurants, La Grande Table Marocaine and La Grande Table Francaise, which sits within their very own miniature palaces inside the hotel walls and are supervised by celebrated Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alleno. You might lose hours in the sun in the garden restaurant feasting on a continental breakfast of breads and pastries, traditional crepes, fresh fruit and porridge, baked eggs and pancakes, the freshest of orange juices and way too many coffees. Your days will pass easily and the outside world will disappear as the creation of a city within a city draws you in and allows you to fully retreat.

For those romanced by tradition and culture there are authentic Moroccan experiences to immerse yourself in. Whether it be an authentic meal of Moroccan cuisine, exotic spices and age old recipes that have been given contemporary flair at La Grande Table Marocaine  (think local rose wines, homemade bread, small tapas style Moroccan salads, lemon chicken tagine, seven-vegetable couscous, crystal stemware and white glove service) or a traditional Hamman treatment at the hotel’s iconic spa, we love that luxury hasn’t meant the loss of culture and tradition.

While extravagant, lavish and indulgent, the Royal Mansour is also breathtaking beautiful, charming, inspired and an absolute must visit whilst in Marrakech. It really is a celebration of all that makes Marrakech one of those extraordinary places that draws you in and excites the senses. Whether it’s a time to relax and retreat or a time to overindulge, a time to be inspired, a time for romance or a time to celebrate; whether you are romanced by architecture and art, culture and heritage or excellence and all that it is lavish you will absolutely love the Royal Mansour. Unlike other luxury hotels around the world it is also an authentic cultural experience and gives those seeking to immerse themselves in sophistication and culture a glimpse of the countries soul. From the most unparalleled service you will ever experience to the ongoing excitement of the senses you are mesmorised by a world that mirrors the city. It is, like Marrakech a mysterious tapestry intricately woven with textured threads of magic and culture, of colour and history, of architecture and tradition, of old and new.

 

THE SPA...

There are some images that become so iconic that they are synonymous with a country. Forever pinned on the spilling mood boards of nomadic beauties and the interior design infatuated as that magical place that calls; an enticing world for escape in a land far away. When the days are long and the stresses high there is peace in knowing that this dreamy place awaits. Most will never go, but the romance is in the hope. The hope that one-day you will escape, you will seek and you will retreat.

The iconic Royal Mansour Spa with its lavish white web lace design and temple-like ethereal space that floods with the golden light of the red city has long been our dreamy place for escape in a land far away. Like the many who have been memorised by the image of the incredible design before us and the many that it will continue to inspire, we have long dreamed of visiting this Marrakech icon and one of the world’s most beautiful and luxurious spas. This single image is responsible for igniting exotic daydreams and an obsession with all white interiors. It was obvious the Royal Mansour Spa was our number one must visit on our trip to Morocco.

Enter the 2,500 square metre Royal Mansour Spa where ethereal natural light floods through floor-to-ceiling white ornate web lace work and the cool air is filled with the sweet scent of fresh roses where you automatically feel the relaxation and serenity take over. If the Medina and private riads of Royal Mansour intoxicate the senses with exotic richness, the spa (set separately with its own entrance and driveway and gardens of citrus and lemon trees) calms the emotions with beautiful bright white light flooding in in as far as the eye can see, heavenly high ceilings, trickling fountains and a mood of serene opulence.  This peaceful temple forces you to leave behind the hustle, bustle and heat of Marrakech and emerges as a magical place charged with majestic powers to take you far away.

From the moment of arrival your escape begins. As you wait for your treatment to commence in the Spa’s lobby where private booths are adorned with pastel soft furnishings, sunlight streams through the glass atrium and the soft trickle of the centre fountain silences out any outside noise, you know this is going to be an otherworldly experience. An experience that is infused with luxury and tradition and perhaps one that holds much more than the iconic images of its beautiful design.

Move through the lobby area and take the lift upstairs (the Spa is spread over three elaborate floors) in anticipation of your treatment and you will fall even deeper into this heavenly rabbit hole and start to question exactly how you will find your way back to reality. Elaborate relaxation rooms and private treatment suites lay secretly behind close doors and secluded terraces overlooking the exotic terracotta city await moments of peace.

From ancient holistic rituals to modern advances in anti-ageing and skin care this is really is a world-class spa and the 101 different treatments on offer and prestigious brands used rival the world’s best luxury spa experiences. Think Moroccan Deep Tissue Massage, Traditional Hammam, Reflexology, Maroc Pureness Facial, Balneotherapy, Sea algae wrap, Sisley Hydration Facial and Therapeutic massage.

Inspired to deliver a traditional Moroccan spa experience a number of treatments are steeped in history and are influenced by Moroccan tradition. Romanced by immersing ourselves in local culture and the spirit of a place, we opt tor the ancient Moroccan ritual of the traditional Hammam - a signature bathing ritual that has existed for thousands of years. The Hammam, meaning “spreader of warmth” in Arabic is a traditional cleaning ritual, undertaken by Moroccan people once a week in a communal bathhouse. Wander around the old city and in every neighbourhood you will see a public Hammam usually close to a bakery to help heat the steam room and marked by intricate and colourful tiles. The soulful Hamman experience at the Royal Mansour brings the purification ritual to a whole new level of luxury. Combing hot saunas, fragranced steam and cold plunge pools to revitalise the body and soul in a private treatment room (although you can book a double treatment if desired). Black soap scrub is applied whilst lying on heated hot marble and echos of tricking water filled the room. The steam allows your skin to absorb the oils and helps to relax the muscles. Exfoliation occurs when the therapist wearing traditional kessa massage glove scrubs you head to toe before you climb into an icy cold plunge pool. The treatment often referred to as a rebirth and makes us feel just that - refreshed, revitalised, cleansed and skin left silky smooth. It is the perfect treatment to indulge in after a week of madness and editorial shooting in the Sahara Desert.

Post treatment the options for further escape seem endless and we don’t rush to meet reality. The Spa really does deserve a whole day to take advantage of the full experience and if the day has been lost to the madness that is the Medina, the 9pm close time can be flexible for hotel guests. Whether you choose to sit by the indoor clear covered pool, take a nap in the relaxation room, work off some of your overindulgence in the Pilates studio or gym or even have your hair done at the salon, nothing quite compares to the level of indulgence and choice on offer. For a touch of Paris in Medina explore the Spa’s boutique where shelves of Maroc Maroc, Sisley, Dr Hauschka, Chanel and Leonor Greyl products used in the treatments can be shopped.

An iconic image might be able to spark exotic daydreams and provide moments of fleeting escape, but your imagination won’t do this dreamy space justice. If you are lucky enough to be in Morocco and regardless of whether you are a hotel guest or not a visit the Royal Mansour Spa will regenerate the mind, body and soul in ways one doesn’t even know possible. Just like the city within a city that is the Royal Mansour, the spa also waits to be discovered. A breathtaking white temple for the times to escape, times to relax and times to indulge. 

 

THE RIADS...

Think about the majestic places you may have visited, maybe only in the exotic daydreams that cloud days from the stresses of reality, that draw you back and have you never wanting to leave.  Often it’s not the modern comforts, extravagant luxuries or even the five star services, but the warm spirit a place illuminates that has your soul wanting to rest a little longer. It is in the details, the culture and tradition, the seclusion and privacy and personal journey that has your heart seeking a path back.

There are luxury hotel rooms, and then there are the private Riads of the Royal Mansour. Reminiscent of an ancient otherworld where tradition and luxury are delivered with warmth and spirit, and culture and authenticity is preserved in the face of an era that seems obsessed with technology and in-your-face glamour. The private riads of Royal Mansour offer a charming blend of culture and luxury.  Perfect for those seeking a luxurious and private honeymoon option in the complete seclusion of a private riad, a spirited pre-wedding getaway with girlfriends or even an inspired space to hold a lavish rehearsal dinner under the stars on a private rooftop with the last of the suns rays sets on the red city of Marrakech, the Royal Mansour Riads tell a story of exoticism and culture; one that is honest and true and cant be replicated by other luxury hotels around the world.

True Marrakech is discovered in the home where tradition is preserved, design is inspired and privacy and peace prevail. The two-bedroom riad (there are 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom available) that sprawls over three grand floors has been designed to embody this tradition of spirit and upon entering the space and standing in the central open-air courtyard with your face illuminated by natural light you are intoxicated by the beautiful blend of tradition and opulence. Think a living room under the open sky, trickling fountains, scents of wood and fresh roses, tiled floors layered with patterned rugs, an elaborate dining room, a traditional Moroccan Bhou (lounge), a chess room and bar. Bedrooms, dressing rooms and bathrooms for retreat complete with the softest linens and MarocMaroc beauty products, set separately on the first floor overlooking the tranquil open roof courtyard. A private rooftop looking over the city of Marrakech with its own plunge pool, open fireplace, dining area and solarium waiting your retreat on the third level.

As the eyes adjust to the overwhelming grandness of the riad, you take in the rich interiors, unique furnishings, colourful mosaics, luxurious fabrics, decadent antiques and handcrafted furniture sourced from all around the world. The divine details of the embellished space begin to emerge and you realise that this place might very well be one of those that you revisit time and time again, if only in your most animated daydreams. Each riad is unique and decorated differently, all with Moroccan design and craftsmanship. Think walls lined with glazed honey, blue, green or terracotta tiles; zelliges and smooth, shiny tadelakt painted walls; mashrabiya screens; ceilings of sculpted plaster and painted wooden panels. A mix of textures, a clash of surfaces and handmade details create a mood of warmth and opulence. Fusing the beautiful traditional architecture and Moroccan details with modern elements of technology hidden discretely make for a luxurious and modern stay. TV’s are hidden behind intricately carved walls, discrete touch screens control lights and open roofs are sensored according to the weather. We loved that the traditional riad design isn't compromised by technology!

The more you immerse yourself in your private world, the more you discover and the more that awaits. Whether it’s a moment of celebration with the arrival bottle of Champagne, a moment of complete relaxation in the enormous marble bath, a moment of peace taking in the exotic city from your private rooftop as the Muslim call to prayer echoes, or a moment of overindulgence with extravagant in-room dining and the most delicious Mediterranean cuisines, there are moments for whatever form of indulgence you seek. We recommend giving your days freely to sipping tea in the bhou, sharing rambling conversations around the dining table, indulging with cocktails in the sun by the private pool, snoozing on the rooftop day bed and feasting on the most amazing food. While the city waits outside an enticing world is on the inside of your very own private walls.

While visually spectacular, the real secret to the splendor of the riads is in the service provided during your stay. The design of the hotel has been carefully considered for complete privacy and seclusion with an elaborate underground tunnel system providing discrete access to the riads for staff. A private butler called Rishi with a warm spirit and gentle soul might service your stay. Available when required, discrete always and bringing a sense of culture and friendship to the stay, you’ll fall in love with the personalised touches and the way service is delivered with a kind smile.

As we immerse ourselves in this magical space and give ourselves freely to its majestic powers to transport, we fall even more in love with the city of Marrakech and what is stands for. When forced to return to reality and leave behind this once in a lifetime experience we will remember the time we were able to fully escape reality, immerse ourselves in culture and learn about the Moroccan way of life. It will forever stand as that alluring place that our hearts will be forever mapping a path for return.  

Weddings and Events

While there are large and elaborate spaces and terraces within the main lobby area for weddings and events, we love the idea of a small and intimate gathering in your private riad. As the last of red sunrays turn the city gold, the rooftop of your riad evokes exotic romance. Have a dinner party by the pool and feast on the delicious cuisine, cocktails and wine available. Your very own butler will service your dinner and no additional styling is needed. This is the perfect option for a small elopement!

The extravagant and formal event ballroom works for a more classic wedding aesthetic. It is very opulent and lavish so additional styling would be kept to a minimum in this area. Crystal vases filled with an abundance of antique roses and soft flickering pillar candles would work beautifully.

The Terrace space overlooking the main lobby or the Hotel’s lobby are our favourite areas for a bohemian-inspired cocktail style reception. Palm tree clad views of the city from the terracotta terrace or the open roof reception lobby with its huge rustic chandelier, bohemian drapes and intricate tiles are the perfect style for a mood of effortless bohemian luxury.

La Table is the Hotel’s courtyard dining space and is great for a more casual wedding luncheon. Think white cane furniture, picnic umbrellas and coloured crystal ware set in the garden amongst rustic olive trees. This more informal outdoor space (although the service is still that of a fine dining restaurant) is perfect to hold a pre-wedding lunch with your bridal party and guests.

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Riad El Fenn, Marrakech.

Friday, June 6th 2014

Research the exotic and effortlessly cool city of Marrakech Morocco and you will be lost in a world of vibrant colour, foreign charm and inspiring interiors; a world where the old is blended with the new and the east meets the west. You’ll be pulled by the colourful interiors, Moroccan traditions and exotic luxury of some of the most inspiring spaces in the world. Chances are in the exhilarating mix will be the eclectic El Fenn hotel. A hip and luxurious boutique riad located just inside the city gates behind high fortress walls, just five minutes away from the main square. 

Allured by the turquoise walls, magical rooftops, opulent suites, bold interiors and after featuring heavily on many of our inspiration mood boards we knew that this had to be our first stop on our exploration of this wild, colourfully chaotic country…

Have you ever experienced lust at first sight? That undeniable, impossible to ignore feeling that has you wanting to consume every inch of something or someone. Full of emotion and senses heightened you want to take in every tiny detail. On arrival at El Fenn this familiar dizzying feeling enveloped us after being swiftly collected from the airport and darted through the gates of the old fortified city where thousands of vendors and their stalls selling everything from handcrafted leathers, antique carpets to local produce are mazed in labyrinthine alleyways and the El Fenn lies quietly amongst the chaos.

As we past through the enormous door and into the private sanctuary of the riad, shutting away the outside noise, we are greeted by art adorned walls splashed red and pink and an we are instantly and overwhelming attracted to this boutique space. So we set out to discover the hideaway nooks, rooftop terraces, courtyards, swimming pools and the tumbling bougainvillea of this private labyrinth oasis. A lot like lust we found the more we discovered the deeper we fell. Owners Howell James and Vanessa Branson (sister of Richard) have created an artistic and soulful intoxicating feast for the eyes, the ultimate stylish sanctuary for creative spirits to stay in a city that inspires creativity. A majestic ancient riad that beautifully blends old Moroccan flare with contemporary art and design.

After consuming the coffee that waits at our suite door each morning, breakfast on the rooftop terrace quickly becomes a nourishing ritual as we feasted on Moroccan baked eggs in tagine and tomatoes, breads, croissants, yogurt, muesli and the freshest orange juice as the sun began to rise over the terracotta skyline. The perfect peaceful start to days filled with seeking and exploring the ancient city.

After hustling in Djmaa El Fnaa Square (just a 5 minute walk away) where street theatre of acrobats, fire-eaters, snake charmers and sword swallowers enchant, El Fenn becomes our private retreat to escape the madness and heat of the city. It is here a real sense of glamour has been injected into the exotic. Lazing around the serene tiled garden courtyards, three swimming pools, the hotels Hammam and Spa and our boutique suite elaborately decorated with traditional Moroccan interiors and soft furnishings, the mood is one of bohemian chic, hippie-de-luxe and a transient way of life that embraces the gypset - everything that drew us to Marrakech in the first place.

The open plan bathroom with a freestanding bath in the middle of a richly decorated colourful bedroom, kilim covered king sized bed, rooftop private plunge pool with vibrant berber tented daybeds and the outdoor leafy terrace of room 19 becomes our favourite spot to chill after long afternoons in the sun. The room preserving the spirit of a traditional riad with contemporary decorative twists. Magic happens on the sprawling rooftop terrace with incredible views of the scorched red city, Atlas Mountains and Koutoubia mosque. As we drink Mojitos, bask in sun as the call to pray echoed through skies painted red and eat dinners of traditional tagines under a blanket of stars we feel as though we have found our creative sanctuary.

Rooms at El Fenn...

The soul of the El Fenn Hotel lies in its exquisitely decorated interiors and edgy art collection that adorns the 20 individual style rooms and suites. Each room slightly different and each evoking a mood of luxurious yet laidback glamour. You’d be forgiven for thinking that you are lazing in the bedroom of your most effortlessly cool friend. With no televisions or telephones the rooms are a tranquil escape from reality.

An eclectic mix of Moroccan and contemporary furnishings, a vibrant palette of rich textiles and unexpected pieces give the rooms an undeniable exotic romance and the distinct feeling of relaxed glamour. Ethnic patterns meet velvet armchairs, art adorned turquoise walls and leather stitched floors layered with vintage berber rugs which pop against vases of vibrant roses and traditional Moroccan architecture. 

Room 19 becomes our private hideaway and if it wasn’t for our fuelled desire to explore every inch of the city it is quite possible that we would never leave. Think an open plan bathroom with a freestanding bath for two in the middle of a richly decorated colourful bedroom, kilim covered king sized bed, a rooftop private plunge pool, vibrant daybeds and an outdoor leafy terrace. The room preserving the peaceful spirit of a traditional riad with contemporary decorative twists. If you are planning a honeymoon it is the perfect suite to experience the vibrant soul of the hotel while having the privacy and seclusion of your own private rooftop and pool.

If you are looking for interior or design inspiration you will absolutely love staying at El Fenn. Some of our favourite design elements were the copper, brass and stainless steel inlaid into polished floors, a free standing silver bath for two, monsoon showers, real wood fireplaces, artwork from Vanessa Branson’s private collection, hot pink tadelakt bathrooms, hand carved ceilings, leather lined walls, artisan crafted plaster work, leather stitched floors and kilim covered beds.

There are a range of different rooms available from Imperial Suites to Courtyard Rooms ranging from 200 to 600 euro per night. If you are travelling with a group of girls the hotel is accommodating and will bring in a roll away bed to save you getting two rooms. You can see the full range of rooms available here.


Weddings at El Fenn

Captivated by the bewitching 1960’s images of Talitha Getty that set the world on fire as she lay under a roof of stars in Marrakech, all beautiful and damned, Saint Laurent’s most famous love affair and the birth of bohemian chic, hippie-de-luxe and a transient way of life that embraced the gypset, we have long been romanced by the idea of a luxurious yet exotic wedding reception on a Moroccan rooftop.

Inspiring a mood of laidback glamour and reminiscent of bohemian beauties lazing on rooftops and sipping cocktails with friends, there is just something about rooftop wedding receptions that is so effortlessly cool! Being under a blanket of stars and high above a city as night falls, observing the city come alive with glittering lights is just magical.

The rooftop space at El Fenn on the edge of the old fortified city with its incredible views of the terracotta cityscape, Koutoubia Mosque and Atlas Mountains brings a whole new level of romance and exoticism to this trend.

The Muslim calls to prayer echos through a sky scorched red by a setting sun and at dusk the city lights up and glows around you, you can see the steam easing from food stalls in the Medina and then the moon rises. The area is decorated with Berber tented daybeds in eclectic bold prints and is complete with a glamourous plunge pool. All this evokes a mood of exotic bohemian luxury, perfect for those considering an elopement, but still wanting a unique wedding venue injected with exotic charm and culture.

The décor is a vibrant palette of terracotta, eclectic prints and soft furnishings so really no additional styling is needed. The tented daybeds, silver Moroccan coffee tables, oversized terracotta pots and wooden stools create a relaxed space perfect for a cocktail style reception. We love the idea of using the space and existing styling to create a picnic style setting. Complete with clusters of Moroccan lanterns for ambient lighting and a barefoot bride dancing under a blanket of stars. Think more casual summer party than formal reception!  Long tables can also be set up to create a shared meal with friends vibe.

The hotel’s tranquil courtyards and pool areas can also be used for ceremonies and events. The pool area can be transformed into a Berber salon with rugs and kilms over the daybeds. If you dream of an escape and are romanced by the thought of having all of your family and friends gather for a weekend of celebrations in an exotic far-flung location, then it doesn’t get any better than the El Fenn and the riad and rooms can be hired exclusively for wedding.

All weddings and events are personalised to suit what you are looking for. You can find out more information here.

Photography: Karissa Fanning and Jennifer Stengleign

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