Riad Hayati, Marrakesh $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Opened in 2005, this beautifully restored 18th-century residence, near the Bahia Palace, was a labor of love for its Anglo-American owner, Ron Ciccone. Ciccone has spent decades traveling in the Middle East while working as a foreign correspondent for Turner Broadcasting (CNN) and filled Hayati with treasures he picked up along the way. A priceless Damascene marble fountain is the centerpiece of the lushly planted courtyard, and antique kilims, paintings, and tapestries from Syria, Persia, and Ottoman Turkey adorn the riad's three guest rooms. The rooms all also have exotic tadlakt bathrooms with plunge poolsize tubs, and two have fireplaces. But the most luxurious accommodation here is the Palm Suite annexa mini-palazzo carved out of two adjacent houses, with a private courtyard, roof terrace, and plunge pool. The brother-and-sister team of Abdel and Mina Hak ensures that everything runs flawlessly and Mina also happens to be one of the best cooks in Marrakesh (she was previously the chef for Marrakesh interior decorator Jacqueline Foissac). Aperitifs as well as Mina's breakfast (omelets, home-baked croissants, soft Berber crepes with honey) are included in the room rate. Many guests eschew the Marrakesh restaurant scene for her superb salads, tajines, and French desserts ($30 per person) at dinnertime too. Since the property is small and has many repeat guests (often London professionals and paparazzi-evading celebrities), it's best to book two months in advance.
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