Hotel Highlights

  • One of the warmest welcomes in Marrakech and a fantastic location in the North Medina
  • Excellent hammam and beauty treatments; small swimming pool; delicious food
  • Mountain views from the roof terrace, crackling fires in winter and romantic Royal Suites with private terraces

Overview

Behind a studded wood door in a peaceful alleyway of the North Medina in Marrakech, Noir D’Ivoire hotel has everything you'd want from a traditional riad: an expansive courtyard, scenic rooftop patio and fresh Moroccan food. Luxury is in the trimmings here, such as the glassy pool, decadent hammam and grand piano in the main courtyard.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Noir D'Ivoire with us:

Two 30-minute massages or one 50-minute massage in the hotel's spa

Facilities

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Noir D'Ivoire - Marrakech - Morocco

Need To Know

Rooms

Nine, including seven suites.

Check–out

Midday, but very flexible subject to availability.

Rates

Double rooms from $244.76 (€177), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.60 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates include breakfast. The hotel can provide airport transfers for €30 each way.

Also

Capable therapists use fine natural oils, traditional <i>savon noir</i> and Yon-Ka products for beauty treatments and facials. Book in for a couples’ hammam, or spoil yourself with a relaxing reflexology massage. If you’re in a suite, ask staff to draw and dress your bath; it’ll be surrounded by candles, scented with oils and strewn with rose petals. Open a bottle of champagne from the minibar and, hey presto, instant romance.

At the hotel

Two courtyards, pool, lounge bar, library, gym, hammam and treatment room, boutique, free WiFi, baby grand piano. In rooms, minibar, flatscreen TV/DVD player, AC, luxury toiletries, safe.

Our favourite rooms

Panther, Zebra and Cheetah – the new Royal Suites around the pool patio – are stay-forever fabulous, with private roof terraces or balconies, giant baths and enough room to swing a big cat in. Panther’s particularly decadent: as well as a separate study and dressing room, Indonesian wing chairs and a four-poster bed, its terrace has a Jacuzzi and double day bed so you can sleep under the stars on warmer nights. Above the first courtyard, we loved the Camel suite with its romantically draped bed, colonnaded tadelakt bath and comfy lounge area. The Elephant suite has a beaten silver-alloy bath for two, a carved cedarwood four-poster and balcony. The Junior Suites – red-hued Desert Fox and cosy Chameleon – are also good choices.

Poolside

The new second courtyard features a small swimming pool, flanked by sunloungers, banana trees and a cooling cascade of water.

Packing tips

Swimwear, so you can make the most of the pool. Comfy shoes for exploring; pretty sandals or mules for evenings in. Owner Jill has thoughtfully provided palm-leaf baskets and sunhats in rooms for shopping trips in the souk or taking to the pool.

Also

Smith members can book the whole riad at the exclusive rate of €2,600 a night, with champagne, transfers and spa discount, (three-night minimum at weekend, two nights mid-week). This replaces the Smith membership card offer.

Children

Families welcome; an extra bed can be added to rooms for €50 a night, and babysitting can be arranged – however, this is a place you’ll want to keep entirely to your adult selves.

Food & Drink

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Noir D'Ivoire - Marrakech - Morocco

Hotel Restaurant

Eating is a relaxed affair but food at Noir D’Ivoire is faultless: chef Mohammed takes traditional Marrakchi dishes and transforms them with European flair, creating delicately spiced tagines, silky soups and miniature pancakes for breakfast.

Hotel Bar

The fireplace-focused lounge bar is perfect for aperitifs or nightcaps; join the Fechtmanns and their guests for a friendly gossip over a Casablanca beer or gin and tonic, or sink into one of the squishy sofas in the library with a bottle of wine.

Last orders

Dinner is by arrangement and the bar closes around midnight, or when the last guest has gone to bed. Staff are on hand 24 hours a day – if you need anything, just ask.

Room service

You can dine privately in your suite or take your breakfast on your own terrace if you wish. Your minibar will take care of early-hours imbibing, and rooms have bowls of fruit and nuts to graze on; the chef is working on a 24-hour snack menu.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Comfortable boho chic: silk kaftans, floaty layers, linen shirts.

Top table

A corner table in the dining area, or a table for two beside the banana palms in the courtyard. Enjoy breakfast in the sun on winter mornings on the roof terrace.

Local Guide

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Noir D'Ivoire - Marrakech - Morocco
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Originally a 1940s restaurant, La Maison Arabe (+212 (0)524 387010) is a hotel these days, but it’s still a quiet, grown-up spot for a Moroccan lunch: excellent stock-drenched couscous, fresh juices and coffee. Wander into Le Restaurant and pick a table in the courtyard or tucked away in the ante-room. There are several good dining options around Dar el Bacha, a couple of minutes’ walk from Noir D’Ivoire (staff can also recommend restaurants and book tables and transport for you, if you prefer to venture further).

In Pierre Balmain’s former house, Dar Moha (+212 (0)524 386400) cooks up a French fusion storm, with tagines and pastillas served alongside gratinated scallops and soufflés. Try to get a table in the walled garden; reservations essential. Follow the candelit stairs down to local institution Dar Marjana (+212 (0)524 385110), which provides all the fun of the fare, with dancers, musicians, and wave after wave of Moroccan food.

Local cafés

The Jardin Majorelle café (+212 (0)524 301852) occupies a chic little Bougainvillea-curtained walled garden, with sage-green Parisian-style metal chairs and tables (nb you'll still have to pay the Dhs30 entrance fee for the gardens to get in).

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Bab Doukkala back streets

Noir D'Ivoire

31 Derb Jdid, Bab Doukkala, Marrakech, 44000

Planes

From the UK and elsewhere in Europe, British Airways (www.ba.com), Royal Air Maroc (www.royalairmaroc.com), EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) and Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) fly into Marrakech’s Menara Airport. Taxis to the city centre cost around €12 – make sure you agree a price before setting off to avoid being overcharged.

Trains

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 an air-conditioned journey in summer. You’ll find plenty of taxis waiting at the city’s charming, if slightly run-down, station on Avenue Hassan II.

Automobiles

Driving and parking in the congested centre of Marrakech and parking can both prove to be difficult. If you do want to hire a car, there is an Avis (www.avis.com) rental desk at the airport. To reach the hotel, follow Avenue de la Menara into the city centre.

Reviews

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Noir D'Ivoire - Marrakech - Morocco

Anonymous review

by Lucy Fennings , Wordsmith wonderwoman

It’s not often you get to follow a donkey to your luxury boutique hotel. But then, it's not often your partner trills 'Meet me in Marrakech!' as he leaves on a business trip. When I Googled ‘Noir D’Ivoire’, I found plenty of reassuring pictures (elegantly restored riad with traditional courtyard, romantically draped beds and a mountain-view roof terrace), but I don&rsquo...

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Noir D'Ivoire

Anonymous review by Lucy Fennings, Wordsmith wonderwoman

It’s not often you get to follow a donkey to your luxury boutique hotel. But then, it's not often your partner trills 'Meet me in Marrakech!' as he leaves on a business trip. When I Googled ‘Noir D’Ivoire’, I found plenty of reassuring pictures (elegantly restored riad with traditional courtyard, romantically draped beds and a mountain-view roof terrace), but I don’t recall seeing any donkeys. And if I had read the words ‘pack mules’, I would have assumed it was an instruction and filled my suitcase with Manolos.

But, dusk falls on Marrakech, I find myself at the back of an almost biblical procession – donkey and djellaba-clad man, luggage cart, weary Mrs Smith – that wends its way into the mediaeval medina, and stops outside an undistinguished, sun-bleached door. The needle on my inner romance-ometer slumps from amber (‘hand-tied bouquet’) to red (‘carnations from the garage’), as I cannot believe this portal gives way to a weekend-away paradise. But, lo, the door opens, and – here the needle swings up to ‘long-stemmed roses’ – I see a seductively lit courtyard of cathedralesque proportions.

My eyes scan past a decorative pool, flanked by banana trees and a grand piano, into an arched recess behind a polished colonnade. Mr Smith, who has arrived here independently, is – typically – in the bar, with what seem to be old friends. These turn out to be gregarious hotel owner Jill Fechtmann and her son Oliver. Some fearsomely large G&Ts are in play, and I feel very much the Johnny-come-lately until I’ve had a few slugs of my own expertly mixed drink, and time to gaze slack-jawed at my impressive surroundings.

Two gins in and I’m itching to see our room. I throw Mr Smith a deep and meaningful look (one that means: ‘Finish your drink now’), and he points to a balcony. A few seconds later, we’re racing each other up a candlelit stairwell to the Camel suite.

I start exploring, trying not to feel miffed that ahead-of-me Mr Smith has already bounced on the massive canopy bed, riffled through the champagne-stocked minibar, and swished through the silk-tasselled curtain on the way to bagging one of the twin sinks in the bathroom. Determined that we should make at least one thrilling discovery together, I suggest a long, hot soak in the tadelakt bathtub, which, to my glee, has the diameter of a small planet, not to mention its own domed, column-supported ceiling. Even better, while we’re splashing about like tipsy mer-people, we hear the jazzy tinklings of a piano wafting up from downstairs. Nice.

Post-bath, we take up residence at a table flanking the courtyard for the final part of the pianist’s set and enjoy (yes, enjoy) a bottle of Moroccan wine with our meal. Fragrant orange and carrot soup is followed by a delicately spiced chicken tagine with sun-dried tomatoes; it’s utterly delicious. As ‘Midnight at the Oasis’ gets the jazz treatment, I give Mr Smith that look again, and he gladly acquiesces to an early night in our exotically linen-swagged boudoir.

Next day, after a lingering breakfast (shredded kiwi fruit with rose-oil dressing, fresh yoghurt, pancakes and poached eggs) on the roof terrace, Jill helps us plan our day. She reels off insider tips, and marks up a map with all the best shops and sights. She even gives us a mobile with her number on speed-dial in case we get lost.

After the tranquillity of the riad, the outside world is a frenetic blur of activity, all bright colours and unfamiliar scents. Mopeds and mules, carts and calèches, pushbikes and pedestrians weave their way through the maze of salmon-hued passageways. Everything’s within easy walking distance, and we fill a few fun hours in the souk haggling for lanterns with unexpectedly polite traders – ‘Here’s my card. Perhaps come back later?’ – admiring cacti at the Jardin Majorelle, and wandering labyrinthine streets in happy befuddlement until we find ourselves once more in the square where I’d met the donkey the previous day.

Now feeling a bit hot and dusty, I'm looking forward to the afternoon treatment I’ve booked back at Noir D’Ivoire. As I shuffle off in my robe to the hammam – where I am laid on a heated slab, enveloped in steamy warmth and swathed in astringent savon noir – Mr Smith bravely slinks out for a wet shave at the local barber’s. Occasionally I find myself wondering whether he’ll come back with the same number of ears he set off with, but my mind has more serene things to dwell on. A blissful hour of clay-mask cleansing, exfoliating and reflexology massage later, I emerge flushed, scented with orange oil and fascinated by my own deliciously strokeable skin.

Mr Smith returns from the barber’s – he was shaved by a man with one eye on a televised football match, and suffered nicks each time the local team bore down on goal – so we join the Fechtmanns and some of their guests for an aperitif. Before we know it, it’s nine o’clock. Jill whirrs into action, using her insider contacts and considerable charm to land everyone reservations at the best restaurants in Marrakech. We pass up the offer of a table at trendy Le Foundouk, however, to experience Djemaa el Fna – just a 10-minute walk from the riad.

From a distance, it appears there’s a massive bonfire party going on in the square, with hazy firelight, a rumbling of drums and the smell of sizzling food creating a carnival atmosphere. Appetites piqued, we sidle through the steam and smoke of the stalls, where cooks grill, fry and chop vegetables, skewer meats and butterfly sardines. We grab a seat at Aicha’s (stall number one) and order a selection from the menu. Seconds later, we’re mopping up harissa-hot tomato sauce with warm flatbread, and burning greedy tongues on calamari, roasted aubergine and lamb kebabs. All for less than €10.

We linger in the square, wandering among the groups of musicians, and join a particularly lively throng. Headed by a banjo-playing, storytelling singer (‘The Moroccan Billy Connolly,’ laughs Mr Smith), a traditional gnaoua band is giving their all, and the crowd is loving it. One enthusiastic fan jumps in to dance, tucks a 50-dirham note into the singer’s collar and kisses his cheek before launching himself into a foot-shuffling jig of joy. When we check out of Noir D’Ivoire the next day, it takes a good deal of restraint to stop Mr Smith from doing the same to Jill. My romance-ometer has officially hit an all-time high.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Noir D'Ivoire 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…

SilverSmith

Stayed on 6 Oct 2012

We loved

Walking in from a narrow alleyway into an awe-inspiring interior. The staff are so welcoming and cannot do enough to make sure you enjoy every moment of your stay. Cous Cous, the donkey, meets you at the car to carry your cases through the market, which is an interesting 10-minute walk. Our suite had a very private rooftop terrace with a hot tub and sun beds. We also had lunch and a supper up there under the stars.

Rating: 10/10 stars