Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Join the Boho Set for the Big Boom in Marrakech; More Flights and New Five-Star Hotels Make This Moroccan City an Even Hotter Spot, Discovers Cathy Hawker

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Join the Boho Set for the Big Boom in Marrakech; More Flights and New Five-Star Hotels Make This Moroccan City an Even Hotter Spot, Discovers Cathy Hawker

Article excerpt

Byline: Cathy Hawker

BOHEMIANS AND backpackers have hotfooted it to f Marrakech for decades, attracted by the dramatic street theatre and vibrant colours of its treasureladen souks. New scheduled flights from London and five-star hotel openings mean that 2011 should entice and enchant a new crowd of luxury-loving visitors to Morocco's most accessible city.

This spring BA and bmi both launched new flights from Heathrow and Gatwick to Marrakech's impressive new terminal. Meanwhile, new hotels planning to open their doors this year include The Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental.

Says Philip Arnott of Savills associates Moroccan Properties. "Morocco has always been glamorous, and now with 21 five-star hotels and easy access from across Europe, it has widened its appeal."

AN EASY LIFESTYLE

Marrakech is three and a half hours from London with a dry climate and a daytime temperature that rarely dips below 16C. The safe lifestyle seems a world away from the dramas playing out elsewhere in a North Africa. "Tourism has steadily increased over the past 10 years, and by 10 per cent last year alone," says Alastair Emery of developer Ajensa. A His firm is building The Baglioni Marrakech, a five-star, 80-room hotel due to open in April next year with 16 private villas for sale. The 34-acre site is 10 minutes from the airport and 15 from the Medina, with views to the Atlas A Mountains.

The large one-storey villas in oneacre plots are designed so that the bedrooms can be locked off, a clever way of maximising rentals. Fourbedroom 7,265sq ft riad-style villas are based around a courtyard, while the five-bedroom 9,042sq ft villas are styled on Moorish palaces.

These residences, with interiors by Jade Jagger, are priced from [pounds sterling]1.73 million to [pounds sterling]2 million.

OUTSIDE THE CITY

The Medina with its frenzied street life and souk is Marrakech at its most vibrant -- and its most noisy.

Ay A lesford has restored riads for sale from [pounds sterling]287,230, with six-bedroom Riad Ksiba for [pounds sterling]500,000. Cluttons Resorts has a seven-bedroom riad in the smart Dar El Bacha area, currently run as a boutique hotel, with swimming pool and staff accommodation for [pounds sterling]3. …

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