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Riad Noir d'Ivoire, Medina, Marrakesh 

31 Derb J'did
Bab Doukkala
Morocco 44000
Tel: 212 24 38 09 75
view web site ›'s insider take:

You know you're in for a unique experience when a handsome young man dressed in black and Couscous, the house donkey, meet you in the Noir d'Ivoire's parking area (next to the Bab Doukkala Mosque) to transport your baggage through the Medina's narrow paths. This striking property is done with wit and style by British co-owner and decorator Jill Fechtmann: A large wooden camel sculpture, for example, stands in the Chameau Suite. Each of the four rooms has a canopied bed, palm frond–and–camel leather Mauritanian rugs, Indian and Syrian chairs and chests—plus all the usual electronics: Wi-Fi, satellite plasma TV, and DVD players. The equally stylish public rooms fan off a courtyard where a giant wrought-iron chandelier lights a keyhole-shaped pool. It's been big a hit with French and British high rollers since opening in late 2006, so to keep up with demand, Noir d'Ivoire has opened an annex next door with three additional super-suites. At more than 1,000 square feet each, there's room for separate studies, dressing rooms, verandas, and private roof terraces with whirlpool baths and daybeds. The real knockout here, however, is the second courtyard, where one wall is a 21-foot-high waterfall. A 36-foot-long lap pool, a well-equipped fitness center, a cigar smoking room, and a wine cellar complete the picture. Happily, for guests staying in the original, more humble wing, the flashy new courtyard is accessible to them.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
This spectacular oasis, created by a worldly Franco-English couple, is tucked away on a narrow lane off a teeming street leading into the medina from the Bab Doukkala, one of the gates in Marrakech's old walls. The charming nine-room guesthouse wraps around a courtyard garden with a small plunge pool, banana trees, and birds. The owners have furnished the delightful courtyard salons with pierced-steel lamps, lanterns, and piles of books and magazines, unifying the look throughout the property with tadlekt (polished plaster) surfaces in a rich cream color. Every room is individually decorated with a mixture of Moroccan handicrafts, Syrian furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and plush armchairs, and all of them have working fireplaces. A spa treatment room and a stunning roof terrace make it easy to spend a relaxing day without going anywhere, and if you book one of the three suites, you'll have your own Jacuzzi and rooftop dining pavilion. The talented chef does traditional Moroccan dishes and sophisticated riffs on North African classics, and the hospitality is magical. —2008 Hot List

When to go: Since summer in Marrakech is scorching, the best months are April through May and September through October.

Which room to book: The Elephant room has a small balcony overlooking the interior courtyard and a superb collection of African masks collected by the owners from their time in Swaziland

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