Discover Marrakech's most enchanting rooftops and hidden courtyards that will take your breath away
Written by: Arianna Meschia for The Nopo
With the recent bout of extreme weather sweeping the US, it’s hard to believe the worst of winter is behind us. Fear not though, as we’ve got just the right pick me up to get your mind off the freezing temperatures and the snowy blizzards.
We’ve put together a shortlist of the best Marrakech rooftops and secret gardens to get your creative juices flowing and inspire your best patio, terrace, and garden decor yet. Grab a hot drink, snuggle up under your coziest blanket and let yourself be transported to a whole new (warm) world made of stunning sunsets over the Atlas Mountains, calls to prayer fading into the hustle and bustle of the markets, and the smell of a hundred spices wafting up to you.
Der Moulay Abdellah Ben Hezzian, Bab El Ksour, Medina Marrakech
Photos: Igor Demba
El Fenn is one of the most iconic luxury hotels in Marrakech, having made the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List twice in three years. Its thirty-one rooms are individually styled featuring a blend of mid-century European furniture with classical icons of Moroccan design, such as hand-carved plasterwork and cedarwood ceilings.
El Fenn’s crown jewel though is its 1300-square-meter roof terrace, where a team of expert mixologists is on hand any time of the day behind a 30-foot carved marble bar, to conjure up the best and most refreshing drinks.
The hardest choice you’ll have to make after taking a long, refreshing dip in their pool is whether to lie down on one of the many daybeds soaking up the Marrakechi sunshine, or to curl up in the shade with a cup of sweet mint tea to enjoy the close-up view of the iconic Koutoubia mosque minaret.
At sunset the sky will turn from yellow, to orange, to purple, while the evening call to prayer will soar high up above the rooftops of the medina, blending in with soft music from a DJ set.
In the evenings, the rooftop turns into a magical candle-lit paradise, enriched in winter by the open fires lit up for warmth, where you can enjoy a delicious dinner of local seasonal food, ranging from plant-based to the best cuts of lamb, chicken and fish.
Derb Boutouil N°41 Kennaria, Marrakech Médina
+212 524 39 17 43
When it comes to finding a home away from home, look no further than Riad UP, a stunning urban paradise nestled in the middle of the Marrakech medina, halfway between Jemaa el-Fnaa marketplace and the beautiful Tiskiwin Museum of Moroccan arts & crafts.
The terrace offers a dazzling view of the old town and is perfectly designed to dine al-fresco or enjoy a refreshing mint tea after indulging in the richness of their traditional Moroccan cuisine while sunbathing and taking in the majestic views of the Atlas Mountains.
Hosted in a traditional riad completely renovated not long ago, Riad Up has kept all the main features of a vintage Arab-Andalusian palace: a large living room, dining room, and a patio around which a Moorish-style summer lounge pans out offering outdoor seating and a dipping pool. The minimal interior decor inspires relaxation, calm, and clarity of mind, making it a genuinely contemporary jewel immersed in the medina’s centuries-old historical context.
Each part of the house – the patio, pool, terraces, fountain - transports you to bygone times with the clever placement of exquisite handcrafted items of interior decoration, such as carpets, blankets, ceramic vases, and palm-woven lampshades.
78 Bis Derb Nkhal, Rehba Lkdima, Medina, Marrakech
(+212) 05 24 44 36 62
The long-time dream of friends and entrepreneurs Omar and Simo, L’mida is guaranteed to immerse you straightaway in the city’s atmosphere, starting from the name itself, a word in the Darija dialect that means “the home table at which everyone sits together”.
Sit on their rooftop - rumored to be the highest in town - and sip a cup of steaming mint tea or one of their signature mocktails, while the smells of the nearby spice markets waft in and out, and the imposing Atlas Mountains float regally on top of the surrounding scattering of roofs, labyrinthine streets and satellite dishes.
The majestic minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque is stunning at sunset, when a golden light bathes the rooftop and makes the carefully designed space shine in all its glory. A product of Noon Interior, a local interior design studio, the decor was conceived to fit in with the traditional riad look, while modernizing with a touch of unusual colors such as the mustard and green benches and finishings. The result is an elegant mixture of old and new, with a hint of industrial chic in the tables and chairs design and a nod to the peaceful haven of a desert oasis found in the abundant greenery.
Chef Narjisse Benkabbou is ready to cook you up a storm made of the best Moroccan traditional dishes such as tajine and couscous, all made from fresh and locally sourced ingredients that keep the menu varied throughout the seasons.
Kissariat Ben Khaled Street, Fatima Ezzahra, Marrakech Medina
+212 (0) 6 64 46 44 50
From industrial chic to the hottest party spot in Marrakech, head west on El Ksour street for ten minutes and you’ll stumble across Kabana Marrakech, a stone’s throw away from the omnipresent Koutoubia Mosque, which is so close to Kabana's rooftop you might just reach out through the plants that line the terrace and touch it.
The cosmopolitan heart of Kabana is clear from the outset, with their signature sushi chef Youssef conjuring up everyone’s favorite sushi, sashimi, and nigiri from the freshest and most creative ingredients. If you are looking for a more typically Moroccan experience, fear not, because chef Luisma Naranjo, is on hand to craft the most delicious dishes from the Arabic tradition, sprinkled with a touch of Latin and Mediterranean flavor. Handy to know, there are vegetarian and vegan options too, which is not always a given when traveling!
Let Kabana’s selection of cocktails immerse you in the tropical atmosphere of the oasis-like roof garden, which is actually the highest alcohol drinking spot in town. All their cocktails are inspired by locally available ingredients, following a healthy homemade philosophy, which even sees them stocking Moroccan draft beers, as well as a selection of spirits and wines.
Kabana’s real strength though is in the awesome music nights, which include live and DJ sets seven days a week, featuring a cosmopolitan mix of jazz, Latin, soul, and more. Dancing and crowded spaces might be off the menu for now, but keep this absolute gem under a close eye, because we’re sure they’ll come back with a bang as soon as possible.
Le Jardin Secret
Rue Mouassine 121, Marrakesh medina
+212(0)524 39 00 40
Entry fee 60 dirhams
For the history buffs among you, we suggest heading to Le Jardin Secret, an enchanting complex made of two separate riads, a high tower, a hammam, two cafes, and massive gardens, hidden away in the middle of the medina.
As soon as you step in, you’ll breathe in the place’s intriguing history, which started in the 1500s and is very much intertwined with the history of Marrakech itself. The palace counts among its owners a fallen dynast, a poisoned nobleman, and a Sultan’s Chamberlain and former owner of the Watchmakers Guild.
The complex is surrounded by high walls that protect it from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding Mouassine district, while the high tower soars above most other rooftops in town and affords you unmatched views of the medina, stretching all the way to the snow-capped Atlas Mountains.
Everywhere pointed arches, wooden lintel porticoes, and pavilions decorated with zellij tiles from Fez make up geometric designs and showcase the outstanding skills of the local craftsmen. The expansive patios offer a tranquil oasis of green bliss, to enjoy the cafes’ vast selection of teas, cakes, sandwiches, and salads in the shade of the palm trees. Or else stroll in the curated gardens that feature both an exotic and Islamic garden, firmly inserting Le Jardin Secret in Marrakech’s tradition of “green paradise in the desert”.
Whether you have a cozy little balcony, urban rooftop, front door patio or spacious backyard, all you need are a few unique accent pieces to create the perfect relaxing ambiance in your outdoor space.