‘We should have a room, never out of bloom’ these eternal words taken from Charles Baudelaire’s poem L’invitation au Voyage (Invitation to Voyage) are the founding concept of Almaha, the newly opened riad hotel in Marrakech’s oldest neighbourhood, the Kasbah. A boutique hotel in a city full of hidden artistic treasures and unrivalled craftsmanship Almaha is the first hotel by architect and designer Charles Kaisin. Hailed as the perfect place to explore the magic of Marrakech, the hotel offers the chance to absorb the excitement of the Medina before retreating to the unparalleled luxury of the Almaha.
With original decor conceived by the Belgian architect and designer, the inspiration drawn from the aforementioned Baudelaire poem can be seen in every facet which has turned the space into a new land to be discovered. Still embracing the design of the traditional Moroccan riad it combines the warm hospitality of the region with dramatic new features which leave a tranquil yet dynamic impression. With just twelve individually styled rooms, the Almaha hotel is positioned where the royal stables once stood and guests enter though vast wooden doors where they are instantly immersed in the unique craftsmanship of the hotel.
Both innovative and disciplined in his approach to design, Charles Kaisin has utilised centuries old craftsmanship whilst adding contemporary elements with geometry used as a language base throughout. The visual mathematics of this geometry have created a cyclical rhythm adding to the tranquil atmosphere of each room. Moroccan art features heavily in every space highlighting the link between craftsmen and artists, with a vibrant fusion of Bedouin and Marrakechi art intermingling on the walls, ceiling and floors in their two distinctive designs. The materials used in the hotel are modest despite the overall look of grandeur and craftsmen using multigenerational family traditions have applied their craft to leather, wrought iron, wood, glass and ceramics to form the interior.
Just like there is nowhere in the world quite like Jemaa el Fna, the square at the heart of the Medina, there is also nowhere quite like Almaha’s Pixel Room. A bold celebration of the treasure to be discovered in the square and the thousands of Marrakechis that cross the area each day, the Pixel Room is filled with 23,000 pixels arranged to represent images of the square. Each pixel is a snuggly fitted cushion forming a rainbow of colours, giving the impression of the square’s daytime souks and night-time spectacles. A key example of the geometry throughout the hotel, it is a unique room to unwind and enjoy a cup of Moroccan mint tea or evening drinks in after wandering the markets.
No room better exhibits the hotel’s poetry inspired theme than the Library which offers a diverse collection of over a thousand books celebrating French literature to delve into during a stay. In the L’invitation au Voyage Baudelaire writes of luxury, peace and pleasure and Charles has commented ‘the content of the poem is a starting point to understanding the interior design of Almaha Marrakech. It is an invitation to open your mind and discover other cultures whilst feeling at home’. This idea is one the library with its historic tomes perfectly encapsulates and in charming addition, the pages of each novel have been folded, not damaged, to form the letters of Baudelaire’s recognisable words.
Along with the twelve unique suites, the Library and the soon to be iconic Pixel Room, the Almaha hotel also includes an underground hammam and spa designed to relax and stimulate the senses. Created using zellige (terra cotta tiling work) elements which can be seen in the artfully patterned walls, Charles chose the design to enhance guests’ peaceful state of mind and five different traditional hammam rituals are available along with ten massages. The finishing touch to the hotel is the airy rooftop terrace to enjoy Morocco’s heat and if the temperature gets a bit too much, the pool is just a few steps away.