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Nobu Marrakech Brings A New Buzz To The Red City

Marrakech is hardly short of atmosphere. Anyone who’s visited this majestic city will be able to recall in a blink its labyrinthine medina, vibrant souks, vivid palette of tiles and spices, and hypnotic sunsets.

Nobu Hotel Marrakech, the group’s first hotel in Africa and located just outside the sun-bleached red ramparts of the historic town, has brought a new surge of buzzy energy to the Red City. Part of the city’s ‘Golden Triangle’, overlooking five-star stalwarts La Mamounia and Royal Mansour, the hotel is housed in a striking circular building that’s stood since 2010 but that was reopened under Nobu in 2023.

The airy atrium sets a blissful tone, complete with a towering Japanese Bonsai tree on which tiny songbirds can be seen flitting about. Arriving here from the airport (a mere 15-minute drive away) to a cup of steaming Moroccan mint tea is a memorable introduction to the city – and a welcome reprieve every time you return over the course of a stay.

The Vibe

Image credit: Toby Mitchell

Image credit: Toby Mitchell

The Nobu refurb included the addition of what many consider the hotel’s crowning glory: a rooftop pool, bar and restaurant with panoramic views of the city. Thrumming with life, it has quickly become a place to see and be seen in Marrakech. The music is loud enough to potentially raise an eyebrow if you’re north of 25 but, that said, couples and groups of all ages can be found settling in here for a prolonged rooftop session, seemingly spurred on by the pulsating beats. There are ring lights, make no mistake, and gorgeous people vying for the perfect Instagram shot. But as sunset turns the sky the same blushed-terracotta shade as the old city walls and the cocktails and icy rosé keep on coming, it becomes decidedly hard to leave this hotspot.

The Rooms

This is an all-suite property, so you can rely on ample space in any one of the 71 accomodations. In classic Nobu style, they are warmly understated, but flashes of deep ruby among the earthy palette, and a few Moroccan touches give a welcome sense of place. There’s a rich, inviting abundance of dark wood and the glint of lantern-style light fixtures, but perhaps the best way to fully remind yourself where you are is to throw open the floor-to-ceiling windows and drink in the views; either a postcard-perfect frame of the Koutoubia Mosque or the mighty backdrop of the soaring Atlas Mountains. The busy throng of the road between the hotel and the city walls adds to the atmosphere for the most part, and not a whisper can be heard when the windows are closed.

The Food + Drink

Image credit: Toby Mitchell

Image credit: Toby Mitchell

This is Nobu, so in all likelihood you know what to expect from the signature restaurant on the ground floor, which is a glamorous, buzzy, romantic den of pale wood and low lighting. But even if you know and love the Nobu classics, the quality of the produce here makes it feel like a revelation: the black cod is plumper, the zing of the jalapeño yellowtail is louder, and the wagyu dumplings are faster to melt in your mouth. To fully imbibe it all, settle in for the signature omakase, which is best taken at the chef’s counter. The adjoining bar serves killer cocktails too, including a jalapeño and ginger martini that makes another round feel gloriously unavoidable.

As for other food options at the hotel, it’s heaven to ascend to the rooftop pool for glistening salads of fresh lobster or crayfish and mango, especially if you’ve just finished the short (but potentially sweltering) walk back from the medina. The Moroccan dishes also shine on the roof, from a trio of addictively crisp pastillas to a lamb shank tagine that falls off the bone. It’s a similar story at breakfast downstairs, which is laden with international delights but reaches its apex with plump dates, fresh sesame-topped bread and glistening Amlou, which combines almond, argan oil and honey. Just what you need to set you up for a day of exploring Marrakech’s similarly rich delights.

The Little Extras

Housekeeping is impeccable and each day a small selection of Moroccan sweet treats will be left in your room, as well as fresh fruit and a pillow favour at turndown. Bathrooms are well stocked with Nuxe minis, which fill the air with a divine honeyed scent.

The To-Do List

The hotel is a 20-minute walk (or sub-10 minute taxi) from Djemma El Fna square, so getting lost in the historic medina and bartering for Berber rugs, ceramics and spices in the souks is non-negotiable. Another must for chic travellers is the nearby Jardin Majorelle, where you’ll find the cobalt-hued former home of Yves Saint Laurent. The hotel can organise trips out to the mesmerising Agafay desert for sunset quad bike tours and camel rides. Or for the height of adventure, you can take it all in from a hot-air balloon.

Lead Image: Camilla Akerberg
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