One of our favourite Marrakech hideaways, drenched in chic design, El Fenn is a worth an explore...
Located in the complex technicoloured maze that is the souk, the small boutique hotel, El Fenn, sits hidden away in the patchwork kingdom that is Marrakech. Once you have navigated your way down small streets and round winding corners (and avoided all speeding motorbikes in the process) you will find yourself at the great yet subtle entrance of El Fenn. Once through the large cast iron and wooden doors, you step into a gulf of colour, the high walls of the hallways beaming a bold and impressive red. It becomes quite clear that this hotel is passionate about design, incredible art work adorns vertical surfaces, bringing to life this chic city hideaway. Owner of El Fenn, Vanessa Branson, is an avid art lover and curator, and she brings a variety of conceptual art to the spaces of El Fenn, injecting contemporary design into this traditional part of the city. Both her, and her business partner, Howell James, fell deeply in love with Morocco and its ornate charm, and both have poured into El Fenn a huge amount of detail which can be detected in every corner of this hotel.
The layout of the hotel has a cool vibe about it, a relaxed modernity to it. Their boutique is a key signature of their dedication to design, a shop combined with a bar, filled with unique products that hail the magic of Morocco. The wallpaper, a sweeping bold landscape of flamingos flying, in golds, pinks and mint greens. This boutique combines a selection of in vogue trends with classic Moroccan pieces drenched in history. The shop at El Fenn is big and bold in personality and well worth a visit.
Step out of the large iron doors of the shop into the jungle courtyard where gold lanterns line a walkway to an elongated pool which swells into a hidden alcove. Tables, chairs and sun loungers spread out across the rest of the courtyard so that guests can lounge beneath the falling vines and overhanging bamboo.
Wandering up the stairs to the first floor balcony of suites, one is overwhelmed with the refreshing explosion of plants that fall from above, concealing the view down to the pool courtyard. The sensation is unique, like that of standing behind a rushing waterfall, the light flushing through the vines that tumble down, illuminating their chlorophyll neon nature. And along these hidden balconies are the large doors to luscious suites, the balcony corridors are ideal places for guests to relax and absorb the serenity of this city retreat.
Plush aubergine and green velvet sofas, over the top wicker chairs and elegant woven rugs are placed delicately on the tiles, all positioned beside a fire place at the end of the outdoor corridor, creating the perfect spot for autumnal evenings when the cooler winds sweep through the city.
Cross a small emerald hallway and find a narrow flight of stairs which will transport you to El Fenn’s best kept secret.
The El Fenn rooftop is a spot in Morocco not to miss. The perfect time to visit this haven above the souks is early evening, if you are visiting Morocco in October time (our favourite season to visit magical Marrakech) then head to the rooftop for 6:30pm. The minimalist bar is tall and subtle, a large slab of smooth carved wood is the best spot to place ones drink whilst picking up the camera to take a photo of the views that stretch for miles. The rooftop is built with relaxation in mind, various comfortable seating areas are placed along the walls, string lights floating above and pots of cacti adding a sense of tradition to this location. Settle down on the colourful pillows with glass of fresh Rosé in hand whilst watching the sun flourish in the sky, beaming from blush pinks to deep dark ochres and finally to a crisp navy, casting a blanket of stars across the bustling city. Once the skies darken, the rooftop lights up and dinner is served.
El Fenn offers guests either a full set menu, each course taking your palette to different lands, but ultimately bringing you back to Morocco. The fresh crab, mango and avocado salad is a sensational and refreshing start to the courses, leaving your tastebuds gasping for more. Or you can go your own way and celebrate the ‘light bites’ menu, ordering multiple plates so that you can try a little bit of everything. Beware, these portions are relatively small, so do not be afraid to fill the table with as much as you can. (Little secret from us to you, the fresh salmon bruschetta with crunchy tomatoes, cream cheese and a touch of parmesan is a delectable infusion and delicious when paired with a dry white wine)
El Fenn is a contemporary space in the heart of Marrakech, a hotel which puts design at its forefront, pushing boundaries with its bold colours and eye catching art. If you’re after a chic, elevated hotel that is in the perfect location then check out El Fenn and fall in love, as we have with its enchantingly modern spirit.