The Artist and the Artisans at Independent Almaha Marrakech
8 Aug 2016
- Almaha Marrakech brings together centuries-old Moroccan craftsmanship with a contemporary aesthetic, making this an inspiring independent base
- Designed by famous architect Charles Kaisin, Almaha Marrakech is a secluded luxury riad located in Marrakech’s oldest neighbourhood, the Kasbah
- Explore artisans within walking distance from the hotel and purchase local handcrafted products
Almaha Marrakech is located in Marrakech’s oldest neighbourhood, the Kasbah, where the former royal stables once stood. This independent boutique hotel is within walking distance of the medina and souks, making it the ideal base where from guests can meet local artisans who produce handcrafted Moroccan items.
The hotel, which launched this February, celebrates Moroccan craftsmanship throughout. Belgian designer Charles Kaisin, a huge fan of Morocco, spent time developing local relationships to source unique handcrafted items, which appear across Almaha Marrakech. These all serve as the perfect inspiration before a day out and about in the magical souks where guests can barter their way around. Within moments of leaving the hotel, guests experience craftsmen and women working on their products including smaller jewellery and leather items. Everywhere visitors go, mint tea flows and energy dominates as shoppers seek a bargain. Larger items including carpets and lanterns or other home furnishings are also on sale across the souks. In fact, the medina is almost divided between shopping sectors; arts & crafts, beauty, fashion, food and home accessories. A map provided by Almaha Marrakech helps guests navigate around.
Charles Kaisin actually drew inspiration for Almaha Marrakech from Charles Baudelaire’s famous poem ‘L’invitation au voyage’. With just 12 individually designed bedrooms, some with their own private area on the roof terrace and access to the rooftop outdoor pool, Almaha Marrakech has the feel of a luxury, grand private residence. Almaha also includes an underground luxury hammam and spa, a design bar ‘The Pixel Room’ and a residents-only restaurant ‘The Library’. Aside from the individually designed bedrooms, each with their own story blending local craftsmanship, several other areas created by Charles Kaisin all showcase local artisans work including:
The Pixel Room – The energy of the Jemaa el-Fnaa square – and the countless people who cross and interact inside it daily – is rendered still and peaceful in 23,000 padded cubes of coloured silk. It took 20 people to assemble, one by one, all the pieces and guests could spend hours in this unique room.
The Library – It took well over a month for the 1,083 books in the library to be folded to recreate the poem that inspired Charles Kaisin. The pages of all these French literature books have been expertly folded but not damaged, and are still able to be read. Each book is folded to form a letter. With all these letters together, guests can discover and read the whole poem.
The Patio – located on the ground floor, the patio is draped in white curtains that reflect off a green tiled water display, which fills each evening, illuminating the stars. The gentle lighting through traditional lanterns makes this a very romantic setting for an evening photograph under the night sky.
Almaha Marrakech even has its own scent throughout the riad. The orange tree fragrance, which burns throughout the day, draws guests to the many plants and vegetation around the riad.
Charles Kaisin offers tips for guests to uncover the real Marrakech commenting: “I like to lose myself in the souk, exploring all of the unique aspects of the different places. I have been a number of times and still keep uncovering new wonders. If I wake early I like going to the flower market. In the evening I enjoy crossing the ‘Jemaa el-Fnaa’, smelling the different spices of the cooking, it feels like outdoor theatre. What I really enjoy is the guilty pleasure of staying in the hotel and sharing a meal with friends in The Library. After a day exploring Marrakech, nothing beats relaxing on Almaha’s roof terrace where I enjoy reading with the backdrop of Marrakech sounds.”
Visitors should get lost in the amazing maze of market streets and discover local crafts, before returning to Almaha Marrakech and rediscovering the inspiring interiors.
Derb Ben Zina 55 – 40040 La Kasbah, Marrakech – Morocco +21 252 4386782
Instagram: @almahamarrakech or #almahamarrakech
Accommodation, breakfast, return airport transfers, afternoon mint teas and pastries from €310.00 per room per night
Charles Kaisin available for interview http://www.charleskaisin.com