Another weekend in Marrakesh, another soujorne at the Noir d’Ivoire, one of my many second homes.
Those who know me have listened to my endless praise of the place quite a bit. But duty calls, and its my distinct pleasure to share my morrocan secret with those who haven’t yet endured all of my travel ramblings.
My plane landed, I went through customs, and after that rather fastidious while, I was greeted by my driver and a Mercedes-Benz in full Noir d’Ivoire livery. The first timers would by now expect a regular drop off at the hotels door. This, however, is Marrakesh, and the narrow streets of the Medina aren’t really that car friendly. Thus, in the purest local fashion, a small cart was waiting for us, pulled by a sweet donkey named, well, Donkey, ready to take my luggage and myself across the maze of alleys until we reached our final destination.
I was greeted by Yassin, who treated me to a cup of fresh mint tea and some local almond biscuits while checking me in. By now I was already feeling as moroccan as King Hassan.
I was escorted to my suite, a tastefull fantasia in that lovely “Coco-Chanell-meets-the-Sahara” blend, which you can only find in Marrakesh. While every guest gets a local phone with a local sim card and all the relevant contacts, Yassin was kind enough to let me test drive the future in-house app, with a geo located guide to all their reccomended spots. Huge perk!
After going over my restaurant bookings with the all-knowing concierge, I went for my mandatory post-airplane dip. And while the Noir’s pool is not exactly olympic sized, it makes up for it with glamour, style and hot water!
Noir D’Ivoire is a riad, a traditional morrocan townhouse around one or two inner courtyards. Generally, riadshave understated facades enclosing stunning interiors. With 9 individually designed rooms and a 30 strong staff, Noir d’Ivoire hits that very precise mark between hotel and private home. No matter how many times you stay here, it always gives you the sense of privilege that comes with staying at the little palace of that very stylish imaginary moroccan friend of yours.
But there’s nothing imaginary about the maître de maison of this gem of a place. Marc Hammani, the well heeled chef at the helm of this operation, is an extraordinary host. I had the pleasure of having breakfast with him, entertained by the many career episodes he shared with me, and going over some of his new ideas for the place. And what a start for a busy day: a breakfast table all dressed up in Christofle, covered with delicious Msemmen, the local crepe-like bread, compotes, honey, and home made yogurth and viennoiseries. And before you ask, yes: I did order my 4 minute oeuf a la coque, as per usual.
Afterwards, it was marrakeshian business as usual. The thoughtfull staff appointed me a personal guide, and I was off for a tour around the souk. The maze of streets and back alleys might feel confusing for newcomers, but Noir d’Ivoire’s people will smoothen it out for you. Do bring enough cash, and let the avid shopper inside of you come to life!
All in all, another unforgetable stay at my marrakesh home-away-from-home. Try it out, but don’t go telling everybody about it. It’ll be our little secret.
For more information and booking please contact:
Riad Noir d’Ivoire, Marrakech.
T. +212 524 380 975 F. +212 524 381 653
Is there a more romantic mean of transportation than an old (...)