28 Derb Zerwal, Zaouira Abassia
40000 Marrakech Medina
3 double rooms and 2 suites
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Located in the heart of the Medina, or historic city, of Marrakech, the AnaYela is surrounded on all sides by the bustling souks, cafes and nightclubs of the lively Red City. Housed in a 300-year-old palace, the hotel is named for a former occupant, a girl named Yela who left behind an intimate journal in one of its secret rooms. The hotel name translates literally to “I Am Yela,” and everything in it references the life and times of its past dweller. One of Morocco’s most renowned calligraphers even hammered the girl’s story in silver onto the vast doors scattered throughout the premises so that guests can stroll through the house and “read” them like pages in a storybook.
The building itself is an homage to Moroccan history – in particular, local architecture and design. Its restoration was conducted using only traditional Moroccan craftsmanship, with over 100 artisans performing the work completely by hand, without the help of a single electric tool. Similarly, each piece of furniture and ornamentation was personally designed by owner Bernd Kolb and designer Yannick Hervy and then hand-crafted by a team of Moroccan artisans.
Inside, the AnaYela contains just three double rooms and two suites, meaning guests are assured a luxuriously intimate and exclusive experience. Each room is individually decorated, and the suites come with brick-built baths for two. Services range from in-room massage to on-site henna painting, and facilities include a restaurant serving traditional Moroccan cuisine, 24-hour snack bar, multiple lounge areas and several conference spaces, including an open-air cinema and two salons.
As in all urban Moroccan homes, the heart of the AnaYela is a roofless inner courtyard that acts as a veritable open-air living room complete with heated swimming pool. Up above is the hotel’s terrace roof bar featuring an authentic nomad tent from the Sahara and an open fire for barbecuing. A small terrace tower known as the Flying Carpet is one of the highest points in the Medina, a romantic spot where Yela once met her lover and where now guests can enjoy stunning views of Marrakech below and the Atlas Mountains beyond.
The boutique hotel is happy to arrange a number of special services and programmes for guests, including traditional Moroccan soirees – complete with live music, snake charmers, soothsayers and storytellers – and unusual Experience Programmes inspired by the film The Game and executed in collaboration with Moroccan directors and actors. The hotel can also put together tailor-made programmes for city exploration and even provide a personal shopper to help guests negotiate price.
Very authentic neighbourhood in the medina of Marrakech, only 10 minute walk from the souks, and 20 minute to airport.