Riad Meriem, Marrakech $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
A pet project of New York designer, art collector, and world traveler Thomas Hays, Meriem is a tasteful little riad sporting glistening tadlakt wallsin mostly muted aubergine and pale beigeand dramatic speckled lighting cast by fixtures from King Mohammed VI's lantern maker. It's especially popular with Americans, many of whom take advantage of Hays's local contacts to do some serious shopping for art and antiques. Each of the five guest rooms has a different themethe Ivory Room is starkly minimalist while chandeliers light the Star Suite, for example. Despite its relatively small size, verandas, alcoves, salons, and a vast roof terrace make the place seem larger. In the center of it all, the handsome courtyard shelters a plunge pool shaded by pomegranate bushes, olive trees, and a three-story-tall bougainvillea. Dinner (we recommend chef Najet's vegetarian couscous) can be served at a number of romantic spots on the property, including in front of the Chimney lounge's open fireplace or under a private tent on the roof; breakfast is included in the room rate. Since Meriem is located in the labyrinthine Medina, you're likely to need help finding the place (especially at night). But the friendly staffnotably Anglo-Iranian manager Cyrus and Moroccan majordomo Hassanwill make sure you find your way home, and provide a local cell phone for the duration of your stay just in case.
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