When I was designing Dar Jaguar’s interiors, I didn’t want it to feel like a riad hotel. I asked myself what it was that I would most want when choosing where to stay in Marrakech.
My desire was for it to feel like a sumptuous Moroccan home, perfect for everything from romantic nights away to hen party accommodation, (for more on why Romance is for everyone, please read here) whilst giving in to the senses and enjoying some indulgent relaxation.
I wanted to create luxury rooms each with their own individual style and charm. I would work with local craftsmen and women to create authentic Moroccan furniture and detailing and combine this with heirlooms and antique ornaments that I had sourced from my travels around the world.
I was very excited about the walls in particular. We would not be using paint. A Moroccan home would not be bone fide without walls of tadlekt. A magnificent coating material named after the craft of “tadlekt” which translates as “to rub in”. A painstakingly skilled craft using lime and olive soap, which is then hand polished with river stone to acquire its waterproof and luxurious appearance.
I loved choosing the distinctive vintage colour palette for each room and watching these artists perfect the shades of tadlekt by adding colour, drop by drop.
The walls were gloriously glossy and felt undulatingly soft to touch.
Each room has exquisitely engraved plasterwork, which I watched being crafted by breathtakingly talented artists whose families have been undertaking this intricate work for generations. I had the sculpture work of the most ancient rooms restored to perfection and their arches fortified and re-shaped. Although inherited from Roman and Byzantine architecture, the Moroccans established their own sophisticated Islamic arches, which no riad should be without.
With a heady mix of 1001 Nights and the Romantic poets imprinted on my mind, I strew the beds with antique and silk textile cushions. I softly lit the bedrooms with Byzantine inspired, jewel coloured Syrian hanging lamps, for which every bead and crystal was hand chosen. What a labour of love.
The bathroom walls, baths and showers are lavished with yet more sumptuous polished tadlekt – how could I resist? Authentic, natural bejmat tiling covers the floors and dual copper basins and exquisite hand made brass lights for me add a seductively Oriental ambience.
Two of the suites have Classical columns set into the baths with steps rising to enter. Here I was drawing from the Romantic Victorian painters who captured the luxury and decadence of the Roman Empire.
In my mind, it all felt quite celestial.