Riad Star opens in September 2013 after two years of renovation by a team of Marrakech’s finest craftsmen. It was part of the palace once owned by the Pasha of Marrakech, Thami El Glaoui who in the 1940s invited Josephine Baker to live there. She was inspirational vaudeville star, singer and dancer of the jazz era. She was also a French resistance heroine and civil rights pioneer to come and live in it and Riad Star’s seven rooms have been decorated in Art Deco style with memorabilia sourced from the Parisian music halls of the twenties and thirties. Riad Star is a unique addition to Moroccan Riad and Boutique Hotel offerings.
The Riad is attached to the former Menebhi Palace which is now the Marrakech Museum, for many years it was used to accommodate distinguished guests.
Following a painstaking renovation, Riad Star now continues that tradition of hospitality as a boutique Riad hotel with just seven guest rooms. Riad Star blends traditional Moroccan style with Art Deco and modern elements.
The riad has original cedar woodwork, exquisite hand carved plaster and a host of other features have all been retained while discretely incorporating air conditioning, Wifi, power showers and other creature comforts. The individually named rooms include the Josephine. Unusually for Marrakech this room has a window onto the street. It is believed the Pasha of Marrakech paid children to sit outside Josephine’s window and read for her while she was convalescing.
A private roof terrace offers a further seating area with outdoor fireplace, a space to relax and loungers to soak up the Marrakech sun. Best of all is the Riad’s hammam and massage suite, the ultimate Marrakech luxury just a few short steps from the comfort of your room.
Riad Star offers extremely versatile accommodation. All rooms can be double or twin, most can be triples making the Riad perfect for groups of friends. The Josephine and Star rooms can interconnect which is great for families. The dining room features full length mirrors and makes a stunning dance studio. The dipping pool can be covered leaving the patio free for yoga, or special occasion parties. There is also the option of covering the patio with a secret rolling roof guaranteeing the success of your event in all weathers.
The Riad Star Collection comprising memorabilia, art and documents celebrates the Music Hall era and the extraordinary life of Josephine Baker. Highlights includes a stage costume created for Josephine’s spectacular last performance by Andre Levasseur from a design by Niki de Saint Phalle.
A 19 page manuscript, hand corrected by Josephine, setting out her ideals and her vision of universal brotherhood.Letters, news cuttings and photographs from throughout Josephine’s career including a polaroid taken in the kitchen at the Chateau des Milandes with her Rainbow tribe of twelve adopted children.A stage costume created by designer Gessmar for the legendary singer Mistinguett around 1920, a jewellery box and Costume Jewellery belonging to Mistinguett.Gauches by Erte, Wittop, Bib, Zig, and other leading designers for the Casino de Paris. Some of these items may be on loan to international exhibitions.
If you want to enter into the spirit of the roaring twenties you can find costumes, many of which were worn on the Paris stage you can wear in a dressing up cupboard.
English owners Mike and Lucie Wood are passionate about sharing Josephine’s vision of the potential of the world’s peoples to live together in harmony. There is no better place to appreciate diverse cultures than Marrakech, an ancient trading post which sits at the intersection between Europe, the Arab world and Sub Saharan Africa.