We’ve covered a number of amazing hotels on Entertainment Designer. But staying at riad AnaYela in Marrakech, Morocco, is as close as one can get to living an Arabian Nights fairytale. Translated into English as “I am Yela,” AnaYela took its name after a hidden love letter was uncovered in the hotel’s plot during construction. The design of the hotel and many of its small touches take guests on a guided journey through the couple’s love story.
“Ana Yela” was the first sentence of the letter in which she revealed her feelings towards her future husband. The story says that Yela once lived in this Morrocan palace herself, which is a living tribute to the love story of the young girl. Keeping with the hotel’s nature, a renowned Moroccan calligrapher hammered the story in silver to the many doors scattered throughout the house. Guests can travel from room to room reading young Yela’s story, a fact that makes a stay at the hotel a uniquely enchanting experience.
German entrepreneur Bernd Kolb restored the 300-year-old palace with the intention of creating “A Place of Inspiration,” and he has undoubtedly succeeded. The hotel is an oasis of soothing colors, textures, music, and aromas perfect for anybody looking to escape the stress of the outside world and indulge themselves in a Moroccan fairytale atmosphere.
Bernd Kolb and Yannick Hervy designed each piece of the hotel’s interior—from the furniture down to the dinner utensils—which were then brought to life by local Moroccan artists. From wall to wall, AnaYela is a time capsule of old-age Marrakech reflected by the traditional craftsmanship that the city is famous for.
Styled as a traditional Moroccan riad, the hotel’s three double rooms and five suites are laid out in a circular pattern enclosing a luxurious indoor courtyard, which frames a heated indoor pool. As if the palace’s interior weren’t enchanting enough, a step onto AnaYela’s flat rooftop terrace comes with the reward of breathtaking views of the city of Marrakech and the surrounding desert and snow-capped Atlas Mountains.
The small tower on the terrace is home to the Magic Carpet, an intimate restaurant and popular meeting place for young couples long before the hotel was built. Indeed, the tower marks the spot where Yela first met her husband and where the two shared their very first kiss.
Selected for a record number of three World Hotel Awards, AnaYela is truly a place where romance comes alive everywhere that you look. Successfully personifying a love story is quite a rare feat, yet one that has undoubtedly been accomplished at this hotel. Romantics of all ages will love the blending of love story, history, and cultural context that come alive at AnaYela.
Image sources: AnaYela and UnusualHotels