Tourists and holidaymakers in Marrakech are travelling to the outskirts of the city to stay at a new resort that puts a creative twist on luxury.
Set against the backdrop of the stunning Atlas Mountains, The Fellah Hotel offers more than just 5-star accommodation to its visitors. Owned and operated by husband and wife team Redha Moali and Houria Afoufou, the hotel is also home to Dar al-Ma’mûn – a non-profit arts centre that brings international contemporary art and artists to Morocco.
The couple wanted to create a centre where culture and creativity could meet and thrive: “We needed a way to finance it – a good business plan,” Moali told the Wall Street Journal. “This was the equation we figured out.”
The result is a 69-room hotel spread across 14 acres of land – it boasts immaculately manicured landscapes and gardens, a library, open air restaurant, massage school and cultural centre.
Far from the traditional luxury hotel experience in Morocco, Moali and Afoufou tapped the expertise of professional landscapers, librarians, chefs and massage therapists to develop the hotel’s services.
Speaking about the hotel’s massage school, the Wat Po Thai School of Traditional Massage, Moali said: “Asia has a more harmonious relationship between body and spirit than the Occident does, and this was a way to bring the Far East here, to create an encounter of these two cultures.”
In addition to hosting travellers, the Fellah Hotel also hosts an artist-in-residence program year round, inviting four applicants to spend three to five months at the hotel’s cultural centre, all expenses paid.
During their stay the couple arranges meetings with critics, gallery owners and museum curators to aid the artists in their works.
“Never did I imagine it would grow so big, so fast,” Moali said. “Of course, I knew nothing about any of this when I started, other than knowing that I wanted to help.”