Talaa 12

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ARABIAN NIGHTS DON'T NEED TO BE darkly exotic to appeal to the senses. That’s the credo of Talaa 12, which ushers you firmly into new, rather than old, Marrakech.

This tranquil and elegant riad in the heart of the Marrakech Medina is coolly contemporary. Instead of traditional décor and an old-Morocco vibe, Talaa 12 is a modernist take on the trad. Stepping through the door from the winding, hustle-bustle streets of the old city is like stepping into a Zen-like haven of tranquillity, atmospherically lantern-lit at night.

Clean lines, calming shades of ivory and khaki and uncluttered spaces add a distinctly contemporary feel here. Bedrooms have a pared-down simplicity with cool floors, stylish sofas, Moorish rugs and an accent on simple serenity. High ceilings, discreet lighting, contemporary paintings and pale green shutters add to the cool and spacious feel. Even when the riad is full (as it was when we stayed), it's so blissfully quiet you'd hardly know.

Chill-out corners

Water bubbles from a rose-petalled stone fountain in the courtyard, with its palms and leafy orange trees, while numerous b’hous (open salons with sofas) on different levels ensure there are plenty of quiet corners for chilling – or simply disappearing.

We arrived at sundown, just as the sky was turning orange and palm trees and minarets were silhouetted against a technicolour backdrop. Be sure to grab your camera – there are fabulous 360 degree views of the Medina and the snow-capped Atlas Mountains from Talaa 12's stunning roof terrace – the perfect place for a sundowner. And you'll love soaking up those fantastic start-the-day views next day with your breakfast, sitting on cushions in the tented pavilion.

Talaa 12’s other big plus is its location – centre stage in the Medina. That means not having to take a taxi back to base each day, and just a short walk to the souks. Fortunately it's hard to get lost around here, since you’re right next to the Musée de Marrakech, which is conveniently signposted everywhere.

Dinner at Talaa 12 can be arranged on request and (while not cheap) and you can dine wherever you choose – in the lantern-lit dining room, the courtyard or up on the roof. Whatever your whim, it's your call.

There’s no pool or spa here, but you’ll find a traditional hammam for enjoying an indulgent steam and massage. Talaa12’s friendly and can’t-do-enough staff will be glad to arrange day passes to nearby pools or to Nikki Beach in the Palmeraie.

© Room for Romance

Talaa 12 was reviewed for Room for Romance by Mairiona Cotter

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