Jnane Tamsna Boutique Hotel – A Marrakech Oasis
By Maria Fedele
Marrakech is a hectic, frantic, and relentless city. But this chaos and eccentricity is what lures tourists to explore the myriad of treasures and charms enclosed in the blush-coloured city walls.
Frittering away hours wondering through Marrakech’s souks (markets) is the primary recreation, hunting for Moorish rugs, hand-crafted ceramic home-wares, lanterns, and leather-goods. And for the senses? The pungent aromas of spices, argan oil, charcoal fires, and herbal concoctions blend to make a heady perfume. It’s this abundance of sights, diversity, and vivacity that makes Marrakech a truly unique destination.
It is imperative, then, to find respite in a city which kicks your imagination into overdrive and overloads your senses – a place to relax and debrief, to rest and recuperate. And the luxurious Jnane Tamsna boutique hotel is just such a place.
This North African paradise is located in the Palmeraie area, about 10 minutes drive from the city center on the northern fringes of Marrakech. This area perfectly exemplifies the new spirit of Marrakech, with acres of space brimming with resorts and views towards the High Atlas Mountains. It is, therefore, far enough from the bedlam and commotion of the Medina to afford a sense of calm and serenity.
Sprawling Jnane Tamsna Boutique Hotel
The resort covers a sprawling nine-hectare estate set amongst a fully sustainable garden with five swimming pools, a tennis court, library, and an excellent restaurant. The gravelled pathway leads up to a striking entrance framed by keyhole archways and lush olive trees.
We are greeted by friendly staff who usher us into the sitting room, a grand space filled with deep-seated leather couches, Moorish antiques, and a fireplace idly burning its last embers. Several other guests are sipping wine, socialising and browsing the rows of bookshelves – it’s as if we have just arrived at a social gathering and everyone has been expecting us.
The creation of this exquisite oasis is attributed to interior designer Meryanne Loum-Martin and her husband Gary Martin, an English ethnobotanist. The couple identified a niche in the market for secluded, boutique accommodation during a time when Marrakech was being revived by tourism, breathing life back into the crumbling ancient Medina and restoring the city to its former grandeur.
Despite these advances, Meryanne points out that the essence of Marrakech has remained unchanged, its authenticity very much intact and the deep-seated culture that makes the city exceptional is still a perpetual allurement for travellers.
Meryanne explains that the couple built the estate in 2001 from scratch, replicating a country house rooted in an organic lifestyle with the rustic charm emblematic of Moroccan style. She draws inspiration from her travels, particularly in India, Mexico, West Africa, and Brazil, and these cultural influences are reflected in every aspect of the hotel. The culmination of Maryanne’s style creates a wispy, boho chic charm underpinned by a slow, indulgent way of life.
The Essence of Moroccan Culture
The rooms at the exquisite Jnane Tamsna boutique hotel are phenomenal, with all 24 of the individual suites – as well as the stunning private villa – decorated to reflect the essence of Moroccan culture. The big, airy rooms feel like a home-away-from home, with comfort and cosiness a staple. Rustic furniture has been carefully curated and sourced from local artisans, with soft furnishings in deep shades of burnt orange and vivid plum which complement the ochre-coloured walls and dark oak fixtures.
Traditional Moroccan lanterns hang heavily from the ceilings, casting dim lighting in addition to a few scattered lamps, while huge windows let in the brilliant Moroccan sun during the day. The bathrooms are rustic and decorated with a simplistic elegance. All are fitted with spacious soaking tubs, and complimentary lotions and potions to create an altogether relaxing, soothing and blissful repose.
When not unwinding in the comfort of your suite, be sure to check out the hotel’s restaurant which serves up traditional Moroccan food by way of the fresh produce grown onsite. The dinning room is always full at meal times; and for good reason. The menu changes seasonally depending on what is in harvest in the gardens, committing to being as fully sustainable as possible.
For the first course, we were served a soul-warming courgette soup which was seasoned with dashes of typical Moroccan spices and warm freshly baked Khobz Ksra (Moroccan bread). For mains, our tagines were an absolute delight to devour. The mouth-watering lamb and accompanying vegetables served with a side of fluffy couscous was cooked to absolute perfection. Our desserts of chocolate brownie and apple pie were equally wonderful. The service, too, was impeccable as friendly waiters attentively bustled about efficiently.
The verdict? Jnane Tamsa is the kind of place to sink into a dreamy splendour, a place to haul up in and unfurl after a long day of exploring the wonders of Marrakech.
Jet-setting Contributor Maria Fedele is an adventurous traveller and freelance writer from South Australia who has lived in Paris and currently calls London home.