La Sultana: The Queen of the Marrakech Riads

When I think of Morocco, I think of tale of adventures like Arabian Nights, Aladdin and his Lamp, Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. These stories center on a hero and his adventures in the markets of Marrakech saving the damsel in distress or searching for hidden treasure. I found such a treasure in the heart the medina of Marrakech in La Sultana, a grand dame of Marrakech’s riads.


My adventure began with my entrance into the Medina, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a thousand years of history and an amazing true open-air. It is a bustling market even at night, as I passed through the winding streets of vendors selling their wares. A sense of adventure quickly sets in as I enter the long corridor with Moroccan lamps along the carpeted walkway leading to La Sultana Marrakech. It is a grand and fitting entrance.


The doorman gives me a friendly greeting, welcoming me to La Sultana. It is a bit late when I arrive, but the staff has been waiting and provides me with attentive and personalized service making me feel welcomed.


La Sultana is actually comprised of five connecting buildings and has 28 unique and special accommodations from rooms to grand suites to accommodate a family. The five buildings are riads which are traditional Moroccan houses with a central patio and all the windows overlooking the interior rather than the outdoors as in European houses.

The tile, wood, and metal work in each building are nothing less than functional pieces of art with every inch of this property being a celebration of Moroccan craftsmanship. Each of the five buildings is different, so there is a new level of amazement as you explore and enter each building and room.  The buildings are designed with Moorish or Andalusian architectural influences with high vaulted ceilings. The spaces are decorated with precious woods, marble and copper and littered with paintings and objets d’arts.


I was in the Pelican suite on the first floor, which opened into a beautiful courtyard. I felt that I was staying in someone’s home and not a hotel. Inside my room was absolutely remarkable. It was blue with vaulted ceiling and Moroccan details. What I love about Morocco is the artistic craftsmanship and detail that you find here is like nowhere else in the world. The bed was on an elevated platform and below there was a comfortable sitting area around a fireplace and mantel. The bathroom was elaborate with an artesian shower and deep sunken bath.

Every corner was tastefully decorated with design surprises such as the stained glass window that opened into the courtyard. All of the modern conveniences of a five star hotel were there from the flat screen TV, complimentary high speed internet, and complimentary soft drinks. After my long trip I was pleased to be greeted with the snack tray and a selection of fruits.

My favorite feature at the property was the rooftop terrace which connects the five roofs of the building into a massive outdoor space with spectacular views of the snow capped Atlas Mountains, the vibrant markets below as well as the nearby Royal Palace, Koutoubia Mosque and other landmarks. There were large palms and orange trees, an outdoor bar and restaurant, and trellised patios with places to sit or sunbathe.

Indoors, there is a beautiful pool in a garden of palm trees, bougainvillea bushes, and large art pieces surrounded by red brick walls and an arched walkway. It is the place for breakfast where a friendly and attentive staff brings you fresh croissants, fruits and juices to start your day. The dining experience is as perfect as the lodging and combines Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine in are fined ambience. The restaurant of La Sultana offers a traditional Moroccan cuisine to reflect the flavors of the season with the Tasting Menu, the Traditional Lamb Couscous with Seven Vegetables. Dinner is served either in the cozy atmosphere of the patio in the winter or on the rooftop overlooking the vibrant city and the Atlas mountains in the summer. A favorite experience for guests is that La Sultana delivers the secrets of popular Moroccan cuisine with daily cooking classes.


The spa at La Sultana evokes the sensuous world of the harem with ancient doors opening onto an interior of crimson marble, illuminated by wrought-iron lanterns, with a vaulted ceiling suspended on pillars rising up from a turquoise pool. The Sultana Spa offers two superb hammams, a Jacuzzi, sauna, beauty centre, hairdresser, balneotherapy baths, massage cabins in the open air. It is in the heart of the Sultana, the hammam serves as a temple of body relaxation and spirit massage.


My adventure from this sanctuary called La Sultana lead me to explore the Medina just beyond the entrance. In the souk you’ll find a fascinating array of handicrafts from rugs and spices to hammered copper and brass goods and colorful fabrics. You can also take a horse drawn carriage to take in the sights.


 La Sultana is in the district Quarter of the Imperial Kasbah which was a citadel and has been continuously occupied by the Sultans of Morocco since the twelfth century. Consequently this area focuses within the vicinity of the splendid palaces and magnificent monuments built by the Sultans. The Bab Agnaou is the most beautiful and impressive of the gates in the entire city ramparts; it was constructed in the twelfth century using local stone as the ceremonial entrance of the Sultans into the Kasbah. The gardens and pavilions of the Royal Palace dominate the view to the East from roof terraces.


After some touring and exploring I return back to my temporary sanctuary, La Sultana, for a few more days of rest and rejuvenation. La Sultana is a treasure of the Medina, a remarkable and special hotel that will provide you with a not-to-be-missed experience in an exciting location.



TEL. +212 5 24 38 80 08   

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