El Fenn Hotel: Traditional Moroccan Style with a Modern Twist

El Fenn
©Joanna Vestey, El Fenn Hotel
Kasia Gatkowska XL1
© Kasia Gatkowska, El Fenn Hotel


«Authenticity is the heartbeat of our hotel. Brick by brick, person by person, we honour the ancient traditions of Marrakech»


Entwined within the Marrakech medina, a network of traditional riads connect to form the El Fenn Hotel. Across 31 individually styled rooms and suites, El Fenn displays their trademark blend of a cool and distinct home-away-from-home feeling. As a meeting ground for opulence and tradition, the hotel was opened in 2004 by Vanessa Branson and Howell James after a chance encounter. Having been in Marrakech searching for a holiday home, they came across a run-down riad, practically derelict but an ideal renovation project to shape their own holiday home. It was upon reading the sale contract that they realised the property came with a string of other, smaller, riads. Instead of backing out, the pair saw the opportunity for what was at the time a guesthouse, and what would become El Fenn Hotel; the ‘Best Hotel in Morocco’, according to Conde Nast’s Traveller Gold List of 2021

Bright, bold colours meet striking mid-century furniture and ancient local traditions, with no two rooms being the same. Located in a hub of local craft, the hotel supports independent Moroccan artisanal work, with hand -carved cedar wood ceilings and tadelakt lime plaster, and no sign of beige within the site’s 30 000 square feet. Outdoor showers, open fireplaces, and enormous bathtubs create an authentic luxury, the perfect balance of comfort and extravagance among local influences.

Throughout the site one finds the work of iconic artists such as William Kentridge or Anthony Gormley, taken from the owners’ impressive collection of contemporary art. On top of this notable collection, the hotel also showcases rolling exhibitions of both local and international photography, sculpture, and painting, as well as being a hub for the Marrakech Biennale.

Cécile Treal High Terrace El Fenn 2332
©Cécile Treal, El Fenn Hotel

A highlight of the hotel is the vast roof terrace. The best views of the Marrakech skyline, with vistas of the Koutoubia Mosque set against the sprawling Atlas Mountains, can be enjoyed from the heated rooftop pool, restaurant, or cocktail bar. The restaurant, headed by executive chef Tara Stevens, offers exception local and seasonal dishes. Largely plant based, the menus draw upon the rich traditions of Moroccan cuisines, paired with the best of Moroccan wines (with over 90% of the wine list being local).


In addition to a rooftop lap pool, El Fenn has 2 further pools (a rarity within the medina) as well as a spa. Relax and rejuvenate with manicures, facials, massages, and the traditional Moroccan Hamman skin treatment. Follow on from the spa with boutique shopping at the hotel’s local artisanal store, with a host of in-house products as well as all the best work by young, local designers who use traditional artisanal techniques with a fresh and modern twist.

To discover more, visit el-fenn.com