Riad el Fenn, Marrakech, Morocco

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  • Sleek, chic and very boutique, this gorgeous 22-room riad is filled with modern British art and ancient Moroccan crafts

    British TV programmes never tire of telling you nightmare stories about people buying homes abroad, only to find that they don’t legally own it. So it’s refreshing to hear about someone discovering by accident that the house next door came with the purchase. As if that weren’t enough, she fell in love with the place so deeply that she bought two more adjoining houses.

    The someone in question is Vanessa Branson, who obviously shares the same business genes as her tycoon brother; and the building is a grand, 6-bedroom townhouse that stood in ruins until she and her business partner Howell James snapped it up.

    Vanessa has approached the interior décor with equal vigour. Cherry reds and pomegranate pinks greet you as you enter; warm saffrons and copper-sulphate azures brighten up the bedrooms.

    The best of the essentials feature in bedrooms: a powerful shower, a deep tadlakt bath (and plenty of hot water!), low-profile air-con, fine linen, scented candles and a huge array of coloured babouche slippers to choose from.

    And now the vast sprawling roof terrace – its views pure magic at night – offers 3 small heated pools, a sun deck and hanging gardens.

    There’s also a big garden with a heated marble swimming pool, and additional buildings housing 9 new bedrooms, plus massage and treatment rooms, and a mini cinema.

    New too are the theatre bar and restaurant, with central hand-blown glass chandelier, flexible seating and a stage equipped with sound, lighting, retro projection and piano – regular Saturday jazz nights are planned. Wow!

    Riad el Finn in the Marrakech Medina is a luxury riad with 22 rooms, with doubles costing from €270 for bed and breakfast.

    To book boutique hotels and riads in Marrakech and to read i-escape’s full hotel review, click here

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