I love, love Marrakech and last year on holiday, I went for dinner at one of the loveliest hotels I’ve seen in a while. Unfortunately, I had already booked my hotel, otherwise I’d have have stayed here! I guess it was the atmosphere of absolute stillness, the gentle heat, (it was March/April), and the amazing greenery that completely overwhelms you as you walk around its gardens. Jnane Tamsna in the Palmeraie, is a true oasis of style and it’s owners, Meryanne, who is French and Gary, an American, the most wonderful hosts. You really feel as if you are in the couple’s home, as the decor is so personalised and the outdoor seamlessly blends in with the lounge areas where you hang out, read or have a drink. The food is amazing, and the dinner setting under the canopy of trees and bougainvillea is truly a magical experience. Meryanne is such a striking, energetic woman that flows from one language to another to make her guests feel even more at home. Gary is a botanist so you can be sure the gardens are a must-see, as they’ve been “constructed” laboriously over the years. Career switches fascinate me and Meryanne doesn’t disappoint, from lawyer to hotelier and then some. Unmissable is the on site Jnane shop , full of hand-picked pieces from all over Morocco that reflect Meryanne’s flawless taste. I knew that talking a bit about her life and her “home” would be captivating…
How did you become a hotelier? Your background is law…
I could not get into 3rd year of architecture because of Maths so I became a lawyer. But my passion has always (since a little girl) been with design and architecture. Marrakech style, creative energy and inspiration gave me the opportunity to fulfil my dream which was to design, build and create. A few years after having designed a holiday property for my parents who were Parisians too, I left the Bar and dedicated my time to becoming an hotelier in Marrakech.
What makes your hotel memorable and unforgettable ?
I think that our guests, and many of them do come back every year, appreciate the fact that it is like a house party and not a hotel. It is like a private estate where every one has privacy and every one can socialise. Each room is different. The food is good home food, a set menu as if you were at friends for some holidays. Then people like the style. It is timeless. Very much rooted into a sense of place. You are in Marrakech, with a sense of British comfort, fireplaces, libraries, and beautiful gardens. We grow our own vegetables, produce our olive oil. Rooms have antiques, drawings, prints, paintings, rugs, nothing has the systematic look of a hotel. Also guests meet other guests and there is a very nice atmosphere at drinks time.
What is the atmosphere of the hotel and what type of guests do you attract?
We attract creative guests. Even when they have jobs as lawyers, bankers or corporate executive positions, they are people who want to reconnect with nature, read, relax, spend time with their partner, family or friends.
Our place is for people who want a break, no tv, but books, and good wifi. Our guests may have a very diverse income from millionaires to people who might have saved for 2 years to go on holidays. What they have in common is a curiosity for life, a sense of adventure. They are avid readers and keen travellers.
What do you like best about running a hotel?
A. The diversity of people we meet. We have an incredible network of clients who have become good friends and there are many countries in the world where we now have friends whom we have visited.
B. Being able to share the love of Marrakech that we feel.
A very exciting project mixing green technologies, real estate, hospitality, style, design, vernacular architecture and extraordinary gardens.