Suite dreams – in our new riad in Marrakesh

Riad Sapphire and Spa_riad in Marrakesh_Cinnabar room_luxury boutique hotel
Cinnabar suite

There was no space for boring, cookie-cutter style rooms in our new riad. Each suite has been lovingly designed with the guest’s comfort in mind every step of the way. You’ll see that we have a gemstone theme, which is apparent in the colour scheme and energy of each suite. Here we explain in just one sentence what makes each of the suites so special:

Sapphire suite –A bright junior suite on the ground floor with arched windows and French doors opening onto our beautifully kept petite courtyard.

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Sapphire suite

Amethyst suite – Opening onto our grand courtyard, this double/triple suite comes with latticed windows and hand-woven curtains evoking romantic Arabian nights.

Riad Sapphire and Spa_boutique hotel in Marrakesh
Amethyst suite

Peridot suite – Imperially positioned on the upper floor and decorated in peridot green shades, this double suite makes for a sensory treat.

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Peridot suite

Cinnabar suite – Located on the upper floor and decorated in a warm red palette – this suite is a supremely comfortable home away from home with its own working fireplace.

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Cinnabar suite

Ebony suite – A double/triple suite on the upper floor complete with beautiful menzeh – a traditional Moroccan balcony covered with latticed woodwork for privacy.

Riad Sapphire and Spa_riad in Marrakesh_boutique hotel
Ebony suite

Amber superior suite –A family-friendly suite on the upper floor complete with lovely pyramid skylight giving masses of light and romantic four-poster queen-sized bed with floaty drapes.

amber suite_riad sapphire and spa_riad in Marrakech
Amber suite

Topaz superior suite – Choc-a-bloc with charms, this double/triple/quadruple suite on the upper floor boasts a fabulous domed ceiling with inset stars and romantic four-poster queen-sized bed.

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Topaz suite

Citrine suite – Perched on the upper floor, a soft, relaxing lemon palette makes this double/triple suite cool and comforting.

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Citrine suite

Outstanding value too – check out website for the latest promotions – the best deals are direct via our website.

Our websites: www.riadsapphire.com and www.chic-riads-marrakech.com

Keep up with the news on Facebook (regularly updated) here: www.facebook.com/riad.sapphire and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter too www.twitter.com/RiadSapphire

Opening of our new luxury boutique hotel / riad in Marrakech

Drumroll please….

Riad Sapphire is now officially OPEN!

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We have worked day and night to make sure that our brand new, all-suite riad stands out in the crowd. We believe what we have created is unique that it interprets a vivid and modern take on classic Moorish architecture, complemented by clean lines and restrained décor.

From top to bottom, our local artisans have crafted unique and fetching furnishings that give a sense of place and comfort.

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For example, our lampshades were custom-ordered, the woodwork was all handmade (look out for the handsome lattice screen, locally called a ‘menzeh’), a leather-covered ceiling fan. There are lime plaster tadelakt walls, marble flooring in the courtyards and the fabrics were predominately hand-woven. A modern spin has been put on classic design, so while you’ll recognise the traditional etching typically found on a Moroccan railing, you’ll notice that we have had it rendered in modern glass.

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dining area in loggia of Riad Sapphire, Marrakesh

In between welcoming visitors old and new, we’re busy toasting all the wonderful artisans who have helped us to create one of the most stylish places to stay in North Africa. We hope to have you with us very soon.

Keep up with the news on Facebook (regularly updated) here: www.facebook.com/riad.sapphire and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter too www.twitter.com/RiadSapphire

Polo in Morocco

polo_playing_in_Morocco

Polo is a sport famously played by kings and noblemen. Dating back to a time when royal guards and elite troops practised it as a form of cavalry training, it is still popular with wealthy Moroccans today.

Marrakech is home to North Africa’s first polo resort, Jnan Amar Marrakech (www.jnanamar.com). There, in the southern corner of this large retreat, is a smartly designed equestrian complex. The stable can hold up to 104 horses, and there is a Riding Academy where you can learn to play polo with professional trainers in the outdoor practice field.

On the 19th of April this year there will be a high-profile event at Jnan Amar Marrakech in aid of the Eve Branson Foundation – a Moroccan charity serving disadvantaged communities in the High Atlas. Several VIPs will be in attendance.

You can apply for an invitation here: http://evebransonfoundation.org.uk/assets/2014_Morocco_Save_The_Date_V8-1.jpg

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Classic reads: Lords of the Atlas by Gavin Maxwell

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This book, which has the sub-title ‘The Rise and Fall of the House of Glaoua 1893-1956’, is set in the medieval city of Marrakesh. It tells the tale of ambitious warlord brothers from the High Atlas Mountains and their rise to great power in Morocco in the early 20th century. A page-turner, Maxwell balances ostentation, mystery and terror in equal measure.

Lords of the Atlas was first published in 1966, then again by the British publishing house Eland in 2004. The Publisher, Barnaby Rogerson, has this to say about the book:

“Beware, ‘Lords of the Atlas’ can instil a desperate craving for Morocco and the red-walled city of Marrakech. I drunk too deeply, too young, from a magic potion composed of Gavin Maxwell’s ‘Lords of the Atlas’ and Delacroix’s ‘Arab Tax’, and have been obsessed by Morocco ever since.”

You can read an extract of the book here: http://www.travelbooks.co.uk/extract.asp?id=71

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Berber Rafting, activity near Marrakesh

berber rafting, activities, near Marrakech
A great way to get active and see Morocco’s countryside is to get out and about on the country’s rivers. One of the best ways to do this is by booking a trip with Dutch-owned company Berber Rafting. A white water rafting and adventure company, most tours involve taking guests to the mountains, trekking on Mt “Jebel Toubkal” (4167 m), Africa’s second highest peak after Mt Kilimanjaro and rafting on the thundering Ahansal River. This is also an unusual way to get up close to traditional Berber villages which might otherwise be hard to access.
Their website is a wealth of information on rafting in Morocco and as well as listing plenty of inspirational itineraries also has some tips on what to do is someone in your party goes ‘man overboard’ and what to pack. The rafting season tends to start just as soon as the snow melts.
www.berberraftingadventures.com

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Cinema Maroc

cinema maroc, Marrakesh

Founder of Cinema Maroc Houda Lakhdar is an expert blogger and a graduate of the Higher School of Visual Arts, Marrakech. Well known on the indie film circuit, Lakhdar’s short film “Zahra” – produced in 2012 – made ​​its debut at the Spring Festival of Arab Cinema in Paris as well as at the Festival of Mediterranean Short Films, Tangier. So, given all this, Lakhdar is well placed to run a successful blog on the Moroccan film industry.

The website Lakhdar runs, Cinema Maroc, covers most aspects of Moroccan film and is a must-visit for movie-buffs. There is a News section which informs visitors to the site about what is happening right now – usually interviews and events – and a Ranking section which reviews films, normally independent ones. The Archives section is crammed full of factoids about actors, little-known films and interviews with local film stars.

The website is regularly updated here www.cinema-maroc.com and you can follow on Twitter too @CinemaMaroc

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Terres D’Amanar – outside Marrakesh

terres d'amanar, marrakech

Just a 30 minute drive out of Marrakech takes you to the lively estate of Terres D’Amanar, located at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.

A fine example of ecotourism and sustainable development in Morocco, Terres d’Amanar makes for a great, fun day out. Active types will enjoy the zip-wires, trekking, horse riding, climbing and mountain biking activities on offer, while more sedate activities include cookery and craft lessons. For all to enjoy there is a swimming pool and a library. Children love it here and Terres D’Amanar is popular with families.

The overall project has been overseen and designed by the local community who remain heavily involved. Seasonal food is prepared by Berber women from neighbouring areas and the staff come from nearby settlements too. Partnerships with local cooperatives mean that vegetables, craft products and raw building materials are all sourced locally as well – a creative and useful model that can serve as a blueprint for other businesses.

If you fancy overnighting, there are simple but clean and functional guestrooms available as well as large, comfortable tents for camping in the ‘nature village.’

www.terresdamanar.com

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Ness Radio

ness radio, in Marrakesh

There might be blue skies in Morocco, but winter drags on in much of northern Europe and America. A great way to feel the warmth of Morocco is to tune in to the exotic sounds of Ness Radio.

Founded in 2008 in Marrakech by Younes Duret and Wattfutchureez, Ness Radio is the first collaborative Internet radio broadcast from Morocco. Broadcasting an eclectic range of music styles from house and electro to jazz, soul and hip-hop, the ethos of Ness Radio is to provide an exchange and sharing platform that transcends borders.

The radio station has recently released its first compilation: Kafilah 2.0. Kafilah 2.0 is a collaborative project that brings together 16 artists from different backgrounds around the theme of ‘Maghreb, East and West.’ The curious name has been inspired by the ancient adventurer Ibn Battuta who roamed the shores of the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia mainly through the Kafilah (caravan). The ‘2.0’ relates to the digital age.

The first 3 songs of the compilation have just become available as a free download. Expect to hear Gnawa rhythms and sax solos from Hamada El Mansour and work from French producer Woodini.

Listen to the radio station here and the first three tracks of Kafilah 2.0: http://nessradio.com/

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