While Marrakech is full of lovely riads and hotels, Riad Mena & Beyond stands out among them all for their minimalist style, tranquil colors and kind hospitality.
By the time I was on my way to Marrakech, I found myself yearning to be at Riad Mena & Beyond. I was already in contact with the owner, Philomena, and in our correspondence she was incredibly kind and thoughtful - I could tell that this was going to be a welcoming, warm and comfortable accommodation.
When I arrived in this new city, Philomena had arranged a pick-up at the Marrakech bus stop for me. Since it was dusk when I arrived, I was very grateful for the car hire.
At the edge of the medina where the car could go no further, another staff member of Riad Mena & Beyond met me to assist with bags and show me to the riad.
Note: a Riad is a traditional Moroccan home located in the medina, and has an interior courtyard, frequently converted into lovely accommodations in cities like Marrakech and Fez.
He opened the door of the Riad and it felt like we entered another world entirely. An immediate flood of tranquility rushed over me, for the first time in a while could I take a big breath of ease. For two weeks I had been hiking, camel riding in the Sahara Desert, and taking overnight bus rides to new cities so it was wonderful to step into this lovely and peaceful haven.
The courtyard was adorned with massive, jungle-like palm trees and bushes mimicking the wild, mystically lit by glowing candles and ambient up lights. The tranquility was undeniable.
I had a tour of the riad – the living spaces, courtyards, pool, hammam spa, terraces and some of the rooms that had no patrons.
As I arrived in Marrakech when many riads were closing for a short break, including Riad Be Mena, only one other room was occupied. The best I can tell is that the closing happens for a couple of reasons: it's slow tourist season in the August heat, and its a tradition carried over from Europe to give employees time off in August.
Every inch of this riad oozed with simple, comfortable luxury; homey details, a neutral color pallet and layers of texture in an understated yet playful mix.
Riad Be Mena’s use of color is very careful and deliberate, only sprinkled in here and there with the use of thoughtful hand crafted objects like baskets, rugs and lamps.
Earthy reds woven into baskets in The Traveller room. The centerpiece, a mesmerizing black metal lantern that sparkles grandeur after dark. This room features the option of a double bed or two singles, ideal for a group of friends or families with children.
Pops of bright red mingled with masculine grays and delicate whites in the Eileen Gray Room, which mixes mid-century modern with traditional Moroccan details. This suite is aptly suited for lovers with it’s double shower, large tub, romantic fireplace and flirty curtains for privacy.
In the main indoor living room, a record player sung soothing melodies and candles blazed in the window. Again, color coming only from throw pillows on the white sofa backdrop or lustrous table lamp. The room was polished, understated and intimate.
In the cozy music room, color comes from the book covers and the faded rug, and the outdoor nook boasts all neutrals except for a fiery orange-red mid century modern egg chair statement piece.
The India room on the 2nd floor has the most color with a rug hanging as a headboard in various shades of pink, orange, blue and green that channels the brightly colored country namesake. The room is perfectly paired with a muted bathroom.
I stayed in The Gysin room; a masculine suite with a quirky placement of off-centered paintings above the bed, an act as a rebellion to the traditional headboard. I was captivated by it’s mid century modern woven leather chair, equal parts rustic and contemporary. And the sconce fixed on the wall, incorporating mixed metals half reminded me both of a satellite and an African relic.
To me this was Riad Mena & Beyond’s charm, this fantastic juxtaposition of ethnic and modern, designed in the upmost stylish and comfortable way. It’s refined, but comfortable and lived in. Never a traditional sense of stuffy luxury. There are artisanal relics and hand crafted decor gracing shelves in a splendidly minimalist way, using texture to add interest: so visually stunning.
The entire space provided its’ clients a tranquil place to rest from the often chaotic energy that ensues in the medinas outside of the riad walls.
Philomena and her lovely staff at Riad Mena & Beyond had also prepared a vegetarian meal for my friend and I, which was ready as soon as we were done with our welcome tour of the riad. A delicious combination of tajine, vegetable spreads, freshly baked bread, and ice cream for desert.
The next morning the riad came alive; bright white walls reflected the day’s sunlight, the courtyard tile reflected the blue sky, the foliage in the courtyard breathed life.
The staff kindly let us know breakfast would be ready for us whenever we chose to take it. We decided we would go for a swim, soak up the morning sun and then eat.
We had an absurdly long breakfast in the main courtyard chatting for three hours over coffee, juice, fruits, yogurt and breads, exercised on the terrace, and lounged by the pool. We felt like this was our place.
Riad Mena & Beyond is the perfect balance of everything done for us, someone available for whatever we might need and being at home. We immensely enjoyed our stay at the Riad Mena & Beyond.
The guest rooms, plant filled courtyards, several communal living and dining spaces and kind staff will make you feel right at home in Marrakech.
Contact us to plan your one of a kind trip to Marrakech, Morocco and beyond.