Q: Where do you stay if you’ve already ticked off the traditional riad or hotel in Marrakech? A: Think outside the box with an eco suite.
Fawakay Villas has opened three eco villa suites in their rustic countryside retreat that are perfect for couples or duos who want to experience a green escape on the more peaceful side of Marrakech. There’s even a friendly resident donkey, Norman. Recently awarded Morocco’s Leading Green Hotel 2018 at the World Travel Awards, the new eco suite trio is just one step the owners have taken to up their sustainability game. Think bamboo straws at the bar.
THE ECO-STYLE EDIT
After staying in the bustling centre of the medina, transferring to Fawakay Villas feels like a breath of fresh air, literally. Located about a 15 to 20 minute drive away from the medina, this boutique villa/eco suite retreat sits in three-and-a-half acres of beautiful (and surprisingly green) Moroccan countryside, complete with rose scented gardens.
On a clear day, you can drink wine on Fawakay’s huge rooftop terrace with a picture postcard view of the Atlas Mountains, about an hour’s drive away. The rooftop vista gives you some perspective on the remoteness of this retreat – if you’re looking for some calm, you’ve come to the right place.
This is a retreat with the personal touch. On arrival, we’re greeted with chic Fawakay embroidered straw hats to shield from the searing Marrakech sun. The personable British couple that own and run Fawakay, Dawn and Francis, make sure your every whim, taxi transfer and menu choices are catered for.
You set the agenda on when and where you want to eat, whether you want to nibble on briouattes around the swimming pool, or inside your suite. If you’re an animal lover, you’ll love waking up to the wagging tails. Besides Norman the donkey being the rather cute on-site lawnmower, there are four small, friendly hotel dogs – Brian, Kipper, Patsy and Eddie. Pre-warning: saying goodbye to all the fluffy things on departure can get a bit emotional.
The dome-like eco suites look like something out of a luxury safari lodge. But what’s more impressive is how the suites were actually made – using 20,000 upcycled plastic bottles. Sourced from the local area, they were individually filled with sand and covered with pise (a traditional building material, or Pneumatically Impacted Stabilised Earth if you want to get really technical). Even the colourful bathroom feature windows were made out of 500+ empty wine bottles, and other windows were sourced in the souk and lovingly restored.
The suite furnishings are the perfect combination of eco meets luxury. Think bamboo roofing, rustic earthy tones and giant geometric floor cushions to flop on after a long hard day of sunbaking/table tennis. There’s also a fireplace that can be lit in the cooler months for a cosy eco night in.
The three eco suites aren’t the only positive steps Fawakay has taken towards a more sustainable boutique retreat. There are no plastic straws or paper napkins in sight, replaced with sustainable but chic alternatives like bamboo straws that fit seamlessly with the rustic setting.
All the eco suites and villas are stocked with sulphate-free, organic toiletries, which feels very in keeping. During our stay, Fawakay were implementing solar power and a clever seven-stage water filtration system using natural well water to make it pure enough for guests to drink. As we finish another bottle of wine at the bar on our last night, I like to think it might end up in another feature window someday…
Feeling inspired? Take a look at our 48 hour guide to Marrakech here