Hotel Amani: Marrakech’s best-kept secret (…or one of them!)
It’s warming up to 22C in Marrakech today (sigh!) and 26C next Monday, with sun all week according to Google and if you’re heading to Marrakech this spring, I wanted to share my “secret place to stay”, the Hotel Amani, in Gueliz. There are so many reasons I stay there, I thought it would be easier to list them below.
The staff are wonderful, the location is great (it’s not in the medina but for me that’s a plus, and it’s just minutes away, anyway). If you’re looking for a hotel where you can kick back and relax, with a cafe on site, you’ll love the Cafe Karma attached to the hotel. I was there just before the Marrakech Film Festival last year and there were quite a few people from the festival staying at the Amani as well.
So here’s my low down, below, 10 Reasons to Love The Amani!
Weather forecast: Tues 24 Feb!
10 Reasons I Love The Amani
1. The price. It’s probably one of the top hotels in Marrakech when it comes to the “price – quality – location – service” ratio. (If you jet off to Marrakech this week, it’s £35 a night on Expedia.co.uk right now).
Your very own peaceful spot, a corner of the Amani’s roof terrace where you can read, soak up some sun, linger over a drink and take in the all-pink “Rose City” rooftop views
2. The staff. Morocco is famous for its warm hospitality and Othman, who speaks brilliant English, and his team are just lovely. Nothing is too much trouble and everyone was smiling the whole time I was there, they really know how to make you feel welcome. If you’re travelling solo (as a woman), this would a great place to stay.
3. The Marrakech-meets-Modern Boutique Hotel Vibe. You can really kick back and relax here. There’s even a library of books to read in the Amani’s Karma Cafe which locals come to for a nuss-nuss, mint tea and msemen (a half coffee/half milk coffee and “msemen” are those addictive square, folded crispy breakfast pancakes!) Or you can just people watch…
A smart address and lots of breathing space: The Amani and the Cafe Karma (on the right!)
And you can just see parts of the spacious roof terrace at the top…
4. The location. Far from the madding medina crowds, The Amani is just a few minutes by car from the medina and when you step out of the hotel into the sunshine, you’re in Gueliz, Marrakech’s shopping and cafe district, just off the smart, palm-lined Boulevard Mohammed V, near the Hivernage Gardens. Literally steps from the hotel is the beautiful Royal Theatre of Marrakech (below), one of my favourite landmarks in the whole city, which glows a gorgeous mandarin-pink colour at sunset.
5. Cafe Karma. Great idea to have a real, not just a hotel, cafe, as part of the hotel. I had a delicious breakfast (fresh orange juice, a nuss-nuss and pancakes) here and the locals come here for coffee, too! (Lots of pics on the cafe’s own website: www.cafe-karma.com)
6. C is for clean – and a bath! My bathroom and room were spotless. I’m not sure if all the rooms have bathrooms with an actual bath, but mine did (with a shower attachment, too). Water is a precious resource in Morocco and I wouldn’t dream of having a bath there usually, but it’s nice to have the option in winter – e.g. after a long haul flight from the States.
Green, pink and blue: Marrakech on another sunny day
7. The TV (and fridge, tea and coffee making facilities). I barely watch TV when I’m travelling, but my room had a flat plasma-screen TV with quite a few European channels on it. Important for some, not for others…but good to know! I’ve stayed in 5-star resorts where you can’t make a cup of tea of coffee, but you can here, by the way, and there’s also a mini fridge to keep your drinks cool in.
8. The spa. I didn’t get time to venture down into the Kays & Layla spa area/treatment room, but the Amani offers Hammam-style treatments and if you need a massage or a mani-pedicure while you’re in Marrakech, you don’t need to go in search of a salon. Best to make a reservation first 00212 6 61 90 50 02.
Kays & Layla treatment room and beauty salon (above/below)
9. The pool. There’s an indoor pool downstairs – if you’re up as early as the birds, maybe squeeze in a few laps before breakfast?
The sunlight casting shadows across the indoor pool area
10. Has to be…the Roof Terrace! I was amazed to find the Amani had a roof terrace where you can have breakfast in the morning, lunch and supper in the evening – or just hang out there during the day in between sightseeing, shopping and whatever else is on your agenda. Warm sun on your face in February is priceless and I could have lingered over a couple of coffees for most of the day! Being in a big city away from the bustle, yet so close to everything, with a chilled roof top to take in the views from, was quite special.
Thank you Othman and the team at The Amani Hotel Appart for looking after me so well, I miss you and I want to come back!
Morocco +212 5668328235 or +212 661556187
Good coffee + good karma = Cafe Karma
…and the team that make it all happen. “Chukran” for a wonderful visit to The Amani – thank you!