It’s probably safe to say that everyone has an idea of what typical Moroccan style is: lots of cool textiles, intricate carvings and stonework, rich colors, etc. El Fenn is a quaint 28-room boutique hotel in the heart of Marrakech that meets all your classic Moroccan décor expectations and exceeds them with impressive attention to detail, gorgeous views of the city, and an eclectic art collection curated by Vanessa Branson. Katie of Ever After Honeymoons recently planned a trip for a lucky crew composed of, photographer Leila Brewster, videographer Julie Hill &planner Carolyn Chen who explored the venue and filled us in with the scoop.
Family Home Turns Boutique Hotel
Designed as a traditional riad, the historic home at El Fenn is built around a central courtyard, with balconies on the upper levels to overlook this focal space below. In 2002, London art curator Vanessa Branson (sister of Sir Richard) purchased the ruins of this home and began restoring the structure to its original glory, eventually growing the property from 6 rooms to 28 private rooms and adding gardens, additional courtyards, private nooks, terraces, swimming pools and more.
The design of El Fenn, which translates to “art” in Arabic and “hip” in local slang, easily lives up to its moniker. Bright, bold hues of reds and pinks are complemented by cool blue tones while modern furniture and accessories play a cool-kid partner to the classic Moorish archways, carved cedar ceilings, and original tile and stonework. Each room has its own personality and is completed with artwork curated by Branson, who has worked hard to enhance the local art scene and founded the Marrakech International Biennale art festival.
Ideal for Weddings and Retreats
El Fenn boasts a number of gathering spaces for events, but perhaps the favorite space is the 7,000 square foot rooftop terrace with views of Marrakech. You can start your day off overlooking the sunrise call to prayer at Koutoubia Mosque and end the day with Sunset cocktails on the terrace. The rooftop space is split into two sections, one with a grassy lawn overlooking the mosque and the other with Berber tents and sofas.
Wedding flow perfection right here: ceremony amongst the citrus trees on the main level, cocktails and dinner on the rooftop terrace during sunset, then dancing poolside under the stars in the central courtyard. Boom – wedding planning complete!
Highlights of El Fenn
Location, location, location! It’s hard to find a chic hotel in the center of Marrakech and this spot definitely takes the cake. Not only did the property win the 2014 Smith Hotel Awards for Best-Dressed Hotel, but also it’s only a 3-minute walk to the main square, Djemma El Fna. Souks are right outside the main door with easy access to both ancient and modern Marrakech.
Also a big perk, the restaurant at El Fenn offers both traditional Moroccan dishes and European cuisine. The chefs cook using ingredients from their on-site organic vegetable garden, highlighting local produce and seasonal dishes. The service approach at El Fenn is designed to make guests feel comfortable and at-home, taken care of but not overly doted upon, and the staff proves as charming as they are accommodating.
What’s Really Good
There’s no shortage of hustle and bustle in Marrakech and El Fenn provides a peaceful zone for those looking to mellow out after a crazy day of exploring town. Check out the spa services for a desert sand body scrub treatment. Afternoon tea is served daily and the fireplace in the library is the perfect place to cozy up with a book in the evening.
Types of Events the Venue is Ideal For
Weddings, Wedding Reception, Group Getaway, Girls Trip, Birthday Party, Anniversary, Vow Renewal, Corporate Event, Holiday Party, Retreats, Family Reunions
As soon as you walk out the front door, you’re greeted by Marrakech’s famed souks (open-air markets) and if you walk about three minutes from the hotel you’ll end up in Djemaa El Fna Square. There are plenty of cafés and gardens nearby, or if you’re into exploring life outside Morocco’s walls, you can hike up into the Atlas Mountains. For landscape lovers, check out the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, an old enchanted garden built over forty years’ span (1907-47) and once owned by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé.
MEET THE CORRESPONDENT