Hotel Highlights

  • Tucked away in the Palmeraie
  • Wonderful gardens with five pools; fantastic food
  • Like a family friend's house in the countryside

Overview

In Marrakech's refined Palmeraie district, away from the hustle and bustle of the souks, Jnane Tamsna hotel offers relaxed, family-friendly lodgings with a distinctly Moroccan feel. A sense of space gives it a peaceful atmosphere – a stroll throughout the grounds will take you past pools, down shady pathways and through a lush garden that wouldn't look out of place in a sultan's palace. Near the action but far enough away to kick back, this photogenic hideaway provides Morocco at your pace.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Jnane Tamsna with us:

Special bathroom products and complimentary in-room aromatherapy

Facilities

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Jnane Tamsna Hotel - Marrakech - Morocco

Need To Know

Rooms

24.

Check–out

Flexible.

Rates

Double rooms from $245.06 (€177), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Jnane Tamsna is unable to accept payment by credit card.

More details

Rates include breakfast and soft drinks. Extra beds can be added to larger or garden rooms.

Also

Yoga classes, pilates, tennis coaching, reflexology and massages can be arranged on site. Jnane Tamsna has a rotating programme of residential events, including respected spa retreats by the likes of In:Spa, culinary courses in Jnane Tamsna's kitchens, literary salons and children's activity weekends; these must be booked in advance. There is also an excellent hammam, five minutes away by car, that the hotel can book guests into.

At the hotel

Tennis court, tennis and yoga coaching on request, bikes to hire, book and DVD libraries, free WiFi throughout. In-room spa treatments can be arranged.

Our favourite rooms

The Blue Animal Room – lovely and big with a fireplace. The Green Syrian Room overlooks the olive grove. The intimate Celadon Room, with a four-poster. Moussafir House has a pool and outdoor salon; the Casablanca room has a large private terrace.

Poolside

There are five swimming pools dotted throughout the grounds, two of which are always heated.

Packing tips

Multiple swimwear options. Sketchbook for botanical drawings and North African recipe notes.

Also

Well-behaved dogs are permitted free in garden rooms. Smoking allowed, taking other guests into consideration. Disabled access is good here, and there is a wheelchair on site. Private parties and weddings are a speciality at this family-friendly escape.

Children

Very welcome: cots (free) and beds for over 3s (€40) can be added to rooms; under 13s stay for €175–€294 a night. Babysitting and activities programmes can be arranged; there's also a TV and games room with DVD library, and a portable kid’s pool.

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Pet‐friendly

Well-behaved dogs are permitted free, in Garden rooms only; bowls and food can be provided at cost.

Weddings

This property is suitable for weddings

More details

Food & Drink

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Jnane Tamsna Hotel - Marrakech - Morocco

Hotel Restaurant

The kitchen serves delicious Med-Moroccan fusion, using fresh ingredients from Jnane Tamsna’s own organic herb and vegetable gardens.

Hotel Bar

There is an honesty bar in the sitting room, and waiter service from 18h45 until dinner.

Last orders

None at lunch; dinner served until 12.30am by pre-arrangement if you have a late flight.

Room service

None, unless a guest is feeling unwell.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Summery, unstructured.

Top table

On the roof for cocktails; in the garden for dinner.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Le Français is La Mamounia's fabulous French fine-diner (+212 (0)524 388600). Linger over Jean-Pierre Vigato’s simply elegant menu of rustic Gallic fare, matched by an equally smart wine list. Tables are well-dressed, and so should you be.

In a fabulous spot with medina views one way and mountains the other, Terrasse des Epices at 15 Souk Cherifia, Sidi Abdelaziz (+212 (0)524 375904), specialises in Moroccan-spiced grills as well as traditional tagines and pigeon pastillas. Bag a table on the roof terrace or in one of the restaurant’s bejewelled, becushioned booths. Salads and grills dominate the menu, but if dining with fussy eaters, resort to pasta and the restaurant’s delectable desserts. There are no highchairs or baby-changing facilities, but there's a typically Moroccan welcome for family diners.

Guided by men in cloaks and a lantern, down a dusty alley, you'll find Foundouk, a chic purple-hued dining den at 55 Souk Hal Fassi, Kat Bennahïd (+212 (0)524 378190). Visit this riad eatery with a cosmopolitan feel by night for good cocktails and tasty Moroccan/Mediterranean fusion food. Try the grise wine, a very light Moroccan rosé, with Harira soup and seafood, or grilled sardines and tagines with a robust bottle of something red. Closed Mondays.

Local bars

Mojitos, delicious Thai and French fusion food, leather banquettes, cala lilies, moody lighting and minimalist fireplaces – Bô & Zin is a slice of NY in Marrakech. It's a familiar-feeling spot to hole up for a grown-up tête-à-tête (+212 (0)524 388012).

Local cafés

Inside the Yves Saint Laurent-owned Jardin Majorelle is a chic little bougainvillea-curtained garden café with sage-green Parisian-style metal chairs (+212 (0)524 313047). Try Thé Vert 1001 (green tea with rose petals) or an Infusion Parfum de Sultan (rooibos with orange zest). You’ll have to pay the garden entrance fee to gain access, but if you go late morning, you’ll probably get the gardens to yourself and can nab a table for lunch afterwards. Alternatively, have breakfast before you tour the plants and the sweet little museum.

For an adventurous street-food supper, head to Jemaa el Fna: this vast square is the beating heart of old Marrakech, inside the medina. Go at sunset to experience it at its colourful, people-watching, music-playing, snake-charming best. Beyond the visual treats, the fragrance of sizzling spices wafting from the square’s food stalls is an experience in itself.

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Palm-shaded pools and paths

Jnane Tamsna

Douar Abiad, La Palmeraie, Marrakech, 40007

Jnane Tamsna is in the Palmeraie district, north-east of Marrakech, around 20 minutes from town, outside the village of Douar Abiad.

Planes

Marrakech Menara Airport is 10km away from the hotel (www.marrakech.airport-authority.com). Fly there from the UK and elsewhere in Europe with British Airways (www.ba.com), Royal Air Maroc (www.royalairmaroc.com), EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) and Ryanair (www.ryanair.com), among others.

Trains

At the southerly end of the Moroccan rail network, Marrakech railway station is less than 20 minutes' drive from Jnane Tamsna. The Moroccan state railway, ONCF (www.oncf.ma), runs inexpensive (but limited) services to Marrakech from Casablanca, Fez and Tangier. Look for TCR (Train Climatisé Rapide) trains to guarantee air-conditioning in summer.

Automobiles

Driving in Marrakech can be horn-filled and hectic, but if you insist, hire a car from the Avis (www.avis.com) desk at the airport. Jnane Tamsna is around 8km to the east of Marrakech off the N8 highway, which links the city with Fez.

Other

If you've a thirst for overland adventure, take the ferry across the Straits from Spain (www.trasmediterranea.es), and pick up the train at Tangier (www.oncf.ma).

Reviews

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Jnane Tamsna Hotel - Marrakech - Morocco

Anonymous review

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

The captain informed us that the stopover would be short, and so it transpired. A mere 25 minutes later, and several drug dealers and white slave traders lighter (I mean, what sort of person gets off at Casablanca?), our plane left the yellow lines of the runway for the mystique and allure of ancient Marrakech.

We arrived at night, greeted at the airport by a quiet, polite Moroccan whos...

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Jnane Tamsna

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

The captain informed us that the stopover would be short, and so it transpired. A mere 25 minutes later, and several drug dealers and white slave traders lighter (I mean, what sort of person gets off at Casablanca?), our plane left the yellow lines of the runway for the mystique and allure of ancient Marrakech.

We arrived at night, greeted at the airport by a quiet, polite Moroccan whose main source of income was a battered yellow Merc with more previous owners than a Seventies school textbook. As our delicate European buttocks bumped along unmade roads and then deserted wastelands, the possibility of abduction did briefly pass Mr Smith’s mind, but any fears of ‘sleeping with the dromedaries’ passed as the hotel came into view.

Welcome to Marrakech, where the first thing you learn is that strange fungal smells, unlit passages and unmarked doors are the city’s prelude to its most wonderful places, of which Jnane Tamsna is one. The big picture first: this hotel is not set in the old town; it’s a 20-minute drive northwest, in an area called La Palmeraie, notable for its numerous, government-protected palm-trees and some seriously large private houses. Being ‘out of it’ in this case proved a blessing; the hotel offers an escape from the overwhelming humanity of the souks and alleys in which you are likely to spend the majority of your time getting lost.

This Mr & Mrs Smith visited the hotel for New Year. In summer, when temperatures soar to just beyond the melting point of your typical Anglo-Saxon, I imagine the relief that comes from swapping hoi polloi for the pool is even greater. (Did I mention that Jnane Tamsna has two secluded swimming pools for its ten rooms?)

The hotel benefits from a wonderful sense of space and light. Even the walk from our room to reception took a minute or two, and passed pools, covered pathways, a wonderful garden, and a discreetly located tennis court. It’s an extremely photogenic location, and as you walk around it’s easy to imagine yourself posed artfully in some shot accompanying an article entitled ‘The Wonder of Marrakech’. Only this is the real thing, and you’re standing in it.

The gentle sound of running fountains and arabesque tiling seduce the ear and eye, and contribute enormously to the sense of calm. And these pockets of charm aren’t just add-ons, but areas you can really enjoy. We spent several nights plonked in front of a fire in the evening room, helping ourselves to ice-cold vodka tonics and reading holiday books whose spines had been broken by the sun and pages warped by swimming-pool water.

Our ‘plus one’ was equally charmed by the place, spending her mornings walking in the grounds and asking her botanically challenged parents difficult questions, before retiring to one of the beautiful shaded areas around the pool to do some colouring in. Our favourite spot was the area just to the rear of the main house, where we took lunch. Fresh food, perfectly spiced and served under a quiet shade, set us up perfectly for the day. It soothed our minds and breathed some gentle warmth into our winter bones.

In common with many of its taxis, service in Marrakech has only one gear, and a low one at that. Jnane Tamsna approaches this endemic problem in an unusual, possibly unconscious, surprisingly effective way. Their secret is to offer service only where they know they can provide it. For example, you won’t get annoyed here with room service turning up late or arriving with the wrong order, because there is no room service. And you won’t become irritated that reception takes an age to answer the phone, because there isn’t a phone in the room.

It all makes for a stress-free stay: you help yourself to drinks in the evening, and laundry is free and on demand. And ours came back so quickly, we found ourselves checking it had been done properly. Most pleasant of all, though guests are told that breakfast is usually before 9.30, we, like all the other guests, usually turned up well after 10, only to be greeted by helpful smiles from the staff.

Our trip to the souk proved problematic, if only because we had to get our bearings at every step, but at least we entertained the traders with our captivating impression of a family of meerkats. As a reward for purchasing a customs-baiting quantity of carpets and ceramics, we took ourselves off for what I had hoped to be gentle pampering in a hammam. Of course, anyone who has had a hammam or taken the care to investigate what it entails will know to expect nothing of the kind.

If I may give some advice, let me point out that there are only two ways to deal with a hammam. The first, and the simplest, is not to have one. The second is to submit entirely and accept that you are nothing more than a meaningless assembly of flesh and bone. Muscular resistance and confused existential thoughts only make things worse. Rashid, who, I helplessly observed, was practising sailing knots on my body, had extraordinarily soft hands for a strapping six foot seven Moroccan wrestler. Once he had finished with me, I was doused repeatedly with water which was cunningly kept a fraction below the temperature that evaporates skin. I loved it. Have one. You’ll free great. But don’t expect Rashid to return your letters when you get back home.

In all, we spent a week melting into the somewhat softer embrace of Jnane Tamsna, and we left thinking that it’s probably what most people envisage when they imagine Marrakech: a boutique hotel with enough cultural distance from Europe to feed our need for exotica, but European enough to be manageable. It is an effortless oasis: sensual, relaxed and endlessly welcoming.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Jnane Tamsna from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on 28 Feb 2014

We loved

The decor and decoration were so tasteful – no bling, no glitz or glam… just pure beauty.

Don’t expect

The food could be better.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 15 May 2013

We loved

Everything. We were welcomed in a relaxed friendly manner which continued for our entire stay. The hotel was beautiful, with lots of areas to sit, relax and enjoy the decorations and grounds. Our room was very elegant and extremely quiet. I have never stayed anywhere so peaceful before. All the staff members were incredibly helpful; everything we needed was possible and happened efficiently. Our meals were delicious and served in beautiful surroundings with wonderful service. Our entire stay was magical: we felt like welcome guests at a friend's home. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to escape for a few days or does not want to stay in the chaos of the medina but wants to retreat to tranquility.

Don’t expect

Breakfast could be more varied.

Rating: 10/10 stars