Sultry, seductive, and almost otherworldly – La Sultana is a smart riad for heat-seeking sophisticates. This fantastical oasis of rose garden terraces amid Marrakech’s rich sensual assault is the stuff of short-haul honeymoon reverie,
If you’re after a chic (but immensely relaxing) and private sanctuary inside the Medina bustle, La Sultana is where to drop your cases. Stay here for a rare blend of sunshine, culture and top-notch food in one authentic Moroccan riad.
Set the scene:
In a city where thousands of pretty riads jostle for attention, what sets La Sultana apart from anywhere else is its enticingly polished-yet-rustic appeal. A preposterously pretty haven of vivid-green palms, dusty-pink terracotta brickwork, old antiques and wafting linen curtains – this sprawling property consists of five riads, all of them decorated in a different style signifying various historic periods. From the pots of sweet-scented garden roses casually dotted around the property to the sumptuous wherever-you-fancy-it lunches and warren of secluded terraces and light-filled rooms leading off the central courtyard, there’s a sense that you’re floating through your very own riad, admiring its romantic corners.
At the heart of the property lies a jade-coloured pool flanked by turquoise daybeds, with flashes of bougainvillaea creeping up the balconies. Here, the French influences render it a Moorish-style private members club, with a fun scene depicting understated glamour unfolding around its glorious pool. Outside La Sultana’s walls lie sunny, souk-lined streets, with Marrakech’s hustling main square within ambling distance. Yves Saint Laurent’s infamous garden of Eden, Jardin Majorelle, is also not far, nor is the beautiful 14th century Islamic College. Alternatively, honyemooners can arrange drivers to take them further afield via the concierge, who suggests day tours to the Atlas Mountains.
Choose from 28 splendid rooms, all configured and uniquely decorated with bold colours, delicate detailing and rich, textured fabrics. Garden views are framed by generous swagged curtains and colourful light, filtered through stained-glass windows dances along the tiles. A deep sense of peace envelops you from the moment you step through the heavy wooden doors into your bedroom. Walls come in crimson and aubergine hues with huge brass lanterns casting dizzying shadows across comfortable king-sized beds. Their high, vaulted ceilings, intricately carved woods, marble and copper echo the hotel’s rich history and Marrakech’s golden age.
Food and drink:
The Odette Rooftop Bar & Mezze is as beautiful as the 360-degree views it offers. Couples can position themselves here for a signature cocktail or a serving of mint tea – poured from an elaborate silver-tone pot – watching the sun cast ombre shades of pink and orange across the sky before it sinks below Marrakech’s rooftops. Dinner here is a smart casual affair, with little gems such as lamb saddle & Sicilian caponata, clams & cheese risotto and crunchy sesame vegetable mems. La Table de La Sultana is the main event, where honeymooners can expect mouth-watering seafood pastilla, tagine with sorbet and milk cream pastilla with live music. Staff are impeccably dressed and attentive but never overbearing, dishing up plates of solid, traditional Moroccan cooking that are all classic and beautifully presented.
This boutique hotel opened its doors to the public in the spring of 2004. Built from the shell of a Moroccan palace within the UNESCO World Heritage site, it transformed into an impressive fusion of five historic riads. Ever since, La Sultanta has fiercely preserved its architecture, incorporating ten centuries of rich history from the Almohad, Saadian and Alaouite dynasties into a modern notions of luxury travel. La Sultana Marrakech was refurbished using local techniques, to nodding to its impressive history and anchoring it in its setting. The craftsmen, stone and plaster carvers and zellige makers assiduously decorated the rooms in a traditional Moroccan style under the supervision of conservation experts, ensuring the palace’s jaw-dropping charm and authenticity remained amid the flasher, less reverential noise spreading across the Moroccan hotel scene.
La Sultana adore children and welcome them enthusiastically, adding to the captivating appeal as an enchanting – yet surprisingly accessible – family holiday for some welcome out-of-season sun. The Riad’s location also makes it a prime spot for adventure-making beyond its walls. The atmospheric Medina is easy to explore (we suggest taking a guide) but better still, easy to navigate with a pushchair. The famous Jardin Majorelle are certainly child-friendly – the sounds and sights of both of will keep the whole family captivated. A horse-carriage tour is another exciting option to consider when exploring the city en famille, and one that’s sure to stick in little minds for a long time.
Thanks to its Riad architecture with patios, thick brick walls and fountains, La Sultana Marrakech has minimised the need for air conditioning while implementing a drop-by-drop irrigation system in its beautiful gardens. Any bakery waste is sent to a local farm in exchange for natural fertiliser, which is duly used on the hotel’s organic vegetable patch. Moreover, plant-based dishes are actively promoted though La Sultana’s ‘Botanical Monday’ initiative – so eco-conscious honeymooners are wise to hole up here for a week or two.
La Sultana’s spa is small but perfectly-formed. The main objective here is to ensure guests are expertly pummelled, scrubbed then steamed to perfection in the hammam. Pink-hued spa with bathing pools set amid a colonnaded hammam, the spa conjures visions of Cleopatra at bath time, or a Moorish princess spending hours bathing and ruminating amid the pillars and flickering lanterns.
La Sultana Marrakech is located in the historical Kasbah area in the Medina of Marrakech – a stone throw from the main attractions where you can hit the souk and stock up on babouche slippers and beaded necklaces. For adventures further afield, it’s a 30-minute drive to the Atlas Mountains.
Rates at La Sultana Marrakech start from £350 per night for a Riad Room.
To book visit: www.lasultanahotels.com