Our History

In the late 90s, I was a lawyer living in France. By chance, I saw a TV programme about how the Marrakech medina was undergoing a real renaissance. Historically, foreigners couldn’t walk into the medina, without being utterly swarmed by locals begging to be their guide. But to encourage tourism, the police had started patrolling the space, and this changed everything. Travellers were happier to visit, businesses serving tourists were made possible again… indeed the very fabric of the traditional space was being spun into a buzzing international hub.

Fascinated, my brother Laurent and I went to visit – and instantly fell in love with the country’s exotic vibe and friendly people. I was amazed at how affordable property was, and we started looking for a holiday home in the medina that had so bewitched us. One day we stumbled upon a virtually dilapidated ancient Riad.
Due to the property’s exceptional location, and the number of co-heir owners (26 people altogether), the house was considered impossible to buy. It took 2 years of extensive negotiations and long administrative formalities before we became the new owners.

During that 2 years, I had grown even more disillusioned by my work as a lawyer. The medina was still changing at a rapid pace, and a handful of riads were being converted into small hotels. ‘What if…?’ I said to my brother, who delightedly agreed. Inspired and excited, we moved to Morocco to turn our holiday dream into a permanent space we could share with like-minded travellers. We envisioned a peaceful, stylish retreat that blended traditional and contemporary influences, in terms of décor, service and style.

A team of local craftsmen painstakingly restored and transformed the grand house. Walls and ceilings were rebuilt then plastered in colourful tadelakt; traditional lattices were carved from cedar wood. A pool was carefully dug out and decorated with gorgeous mosaic tiles; tiny palms were planted in the open-air courtyards.
We sourced handmade furniture, vintage art and authentic carpets from local shops and souks. These were paired with modern kilims and beautiful antiques we had gathered during our travels around Morocco.

Riad l’Orangeraie opened its doors in December 2003, with 7 beautiful bedrooms and a truly welcoming ambiance.Just a 5-minute walk from Jemaa el Fna, l’Orangeraie’s location is perfect, yet it is astonishingly peaceful, a calm retreat after a morning in the bustling souks. Sixteen years have since passed, and the house feels full of stories of its temporary residents, many of whom return year after year. Lifelong friendships have been formed here; love stories have started.
Annual renovations maintain the high quality of l’Orangeraie’s interiors, but it’s the service that guests truly remember. Several staff members have worked here from the beginning, and new personalities have only enriched the team. The team are always genuinely delighted to welcome travellers to the Riad and the authenticity we pride ourselves in is deeply felt by our guests – since its creation, Riad l’Orangeraie has consistently ranked within the 10 best riads of the city on TripAdvisor from guest reviews, and won the Travellers’ Choice every year since its creation in 2013. It is currently ranked 10th B&B in Morocco and 3rd in Marrakech, a true testament to the team, who have become a tightly-knit family over the years.

But despite all the evolution and change, the spirit of l’Orangeraie stays the same: it’s a place to kick back and enjoy the tranquility of an ancient Marrakech residence, before stepping outside to soak up the incomparable atmosphere of this fascinating city.
We look forward to welcoming you to our home.