AnaYela, Medina, Marrakesh
Tel: 212 524 386969
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:Everything at the five-room AnaYela, in the northern part of Marrakech's Old Cityfrom the rose petal-filmed plunge pool to the abundance of filigreed chandeliers that send spangles of light dancing off the wallsspeaks of romance. The riad, located in a 300-year-old palace that sits behind an unmarked wooden door, is thrillingly elusive, reached by a ten-minute walk through a series of twisty alleyways (a staff member will escort you from one of the main squares). Inside, the original structure has been left mostly intact, and the restrained creamy palette means the few occasional bursts of colorthe terra cotta of the exposed brick, the ruby-toned etched-glass windowpanes, and the dozens of silver objects that decorate both the rooms and common areasshine all the more brightly. There are few concessions to modernity: Rooms have A/C but no locks, phones, or TV. Without these distractions, it's easy to wile away an entire day on the plush roof deck, polishing off another plate of almondy pastries brought by the sweet (if occasionally absent-minded) staff. 2009 Hot List
When to go: December through March for sunny, temperate days and dry, brisk nightsperfect for making use of your en suite fireplace.
Which room to book: All rooms overlook the plunge pool in the central courtyard, but upper-floor rooms offer a bit more privacy (a premium in riads); note, however, that there's no elevator.