18 Jan 2017

From the minute I crossed the threshold of Le Riad Yasmine from the hectic, bustling streets of Marrakech, I was enveloped in an atmosphere of perfect calm. All the noise of the city that was threatening to overwhelm me were left on the other side of the unassuming door as I was ushered into the leafy canopied courtyard to wait for the customary glass of mint tea, a sign of Moroccan hospitality.

The riad – a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard – was so zen-like and serene that it seemed as if I was the only one there in that moment. I couldn’t believe that after a year and a half of planning (and a LOT of Instagram stalking), I was finally seeing the lush jungle of foliage that surrounded an emerald green tiled pool with my own eyes instead of on my phone. It was even more beautiful than I had hoped!

It was also more serene than I thought it would be since the Internet is losing it’s shiz over this infamous pool scene. I imagined the riad would be swarming with snap-happy bloggers but fortunately, no one was present to witness THIS blogger clicking shot after idyllic, unpopulated shot on her iPhone.

Despite the many, insanely indulgent luxury hotels available throughout the city (for the price of an arm and a leg), riads are definitely the way to go when visiting Marrakech and while Le Riad Yasmine is an exceptionally gorgeous one, there’s more to this picture perfect paradise than a photogenic pool.

1/ POOL IS "MOST INSTAGRAMMED"
If you’re like me and endlessly lust over travel photos on Instagram, then chances are that at some point (especially if you follow me) you’ve come across what Mashable has dubbed “the world’s most photogenic swimming pool.” Dedicated Instagrammers are flocking from all over the world to get their own shot of the infamous courtyard, thus inspiring even MORE people to visit.

2/ THE SYMBOL THAT LIES BENEATH
My designer eyes were so overwhelmed by the beauty of the chic, striped day beds, all the lush foliage, the emerald green tiles that I almost didn’t notice the symbol that at the bottom of the pool. Berbers’ refer to themselves as amazigh, their word for “free man” represented by the yaz symbol. Also found on the Berber flag, the strokes of the yaz look like outstretched arms and legs in the joyful posture of a liberated figure.

3/ THEMATICALLY DECORATED ROOMS
The pool may be what is most photographed and recognizable of the riad but the rooms are pretty gorgeous as well! Not only are they expertly decorated with local finds like woven rugs and handmade macrame, each of the seven rooms are themed; decorated to reflect different locations in Morocco such as Legzira Beach and Naila Lagoon.

4/ PRIME LOCATION
The streets of Marrakech are so overwhelming – families zipping by on vespas, shop owners calling to you, children playing soccer – that it makes a five-minute walk feel like an hour. Luckily Le Riad Yasmine is in a prime location to get to all the hot spots in the city like Jemaa el-Fnaa (the main square), Ben Youssef Medusa, La Maison de la Photographie, Musée de Marrakech, many bustling souks, and popular restaurants like Le Jardin and I Limoni.

5/ IRL SOCIAL HUB
Le Riad Yasmine is run by the social media savvy French couple Gabriel Paris and Alice Tassery. As a former communications manager in France, Alice has applied her skills to marketing the riad by developing influencer programs with nomadic digital tastemakers. Obviously her strategy is working since 80 percent of guests have found the riad through Instagram and Pinterest. Chances are high that you’ll be in residence with at least two or three bloggers during your stay.

6/ SUPER HELPFUL HOSTS
I had a never-ending list of questions about Marrakech before I visited – what to do, see, how to get around, how far the souks were, etc..– that Gabi and Alice patiently answered. I trusted their judgement of what restaurants were good and the best way to travel into the desert. They even kindly helped arranged everything from booking a night in a traditional kasbah (they had THE BEST tangine) to finding the perfect Saharan glamping adventure.

7/ AUTHENTIC BREAKFAST
Breakfast at Le Riad Yasmine is nothing like the half-hearted boxed cereal and overripe fruit situations I have experienced on prior travels but a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds! Fried eggs are served with several types of bread – the cornerstone of Moroccan cuisine – as well as pastries and cakes made of semolina. You can wash it all down with the traditional mint tea, freshly squeezed orange juice, or flavourful Moroccan coffee. Enjoy your first meal of the day poolside or on the sunny rooftop.

NOTES:

Le Riad Yasmine
209 Rue Ank Jemel | Bab Taghzout,
Marrakech 40030, Morocco
+212(0) 524 377 012
leriadyasmine@gmail.com

Transportation:
You can arrange a taxi through the riad (150 MAD) or get one straight from the airport. I recommend the former option as it’s easier.

Rooms:
Cost: €95 - 125 / room / night
Number of Rooms: 7
Room Capacity: Between 2-3 people
Wifi? Yes
Breakfast is included

Nearby:
To Do: Souks, Jemma el-Fnaa Square, Musée du Marrakech,
Maison de la Photographie, Ben Youssef Medusa
To Eat: Le Jardin (sister restaurant of the notorious Nomad)
I Limoni (Italian)

Tips:
- They also have an in-house chef if you want a quiet meal at the riad but it’s “by reservation” only so let them know ahead of time.
- Extra person per room is an additional €30 per night.
- If you’re having a family reunion or planning a trip to Marrakech with a group of your girlfriends, the riad is available for exclusive rental.

ETC is the overflow of thoughts in the mind of Teri Yeung. It’s a place full of stories of travel adventures, imparted lessons learned from life’s achievements and failures, behind-the-scenes of projects and experiments, and anything else that inspires excitement and joy.

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