Marrakech: hints of bygone eras at Riad Laksiba – by border hopping blog

Posted on June 8, 2011



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hints of bygone eras at Riad Laksiba

A few months ago, we shared with you the curious image of Hannah by Simon Hawkesley (below, left), a recreation of Irving Penn’s 1951 “Woman in Palace” shot of Lisa Fonssagrives (below, right).

Hawkesley contacted us afterward and informed us that Hannah is his daughter. A lovely image began to emerge in our minds. You know how the brain works – an intriguing detail here, another there, and the imagination takes flight. Morocco is, of course, one of the more mysterious lands on this earth.

A stunning blond. An English photographer father with a penchant for vintage fashion photography. A fabulous home in Marrakech.

We began to thoroughly envy Hannah.

There’s more.

Hawkesley also sent images from his most recent photoshoot of Hannah, this time accompanied by her brother, Sam (below, left).

We began to thoroughly envy Sam.

A recreation of Patrick Litchfield’s 1969 shot of Paul and Talitha Getty (above, right).

Lucky for us, these photos were shot in Riad Laksiba, offering five bedrooms. A sensational Moroccan photoshoot is just a plane ride away.

With so many foreigners plucking up real estate in Marrakech, and each with their own alluring eccentricities, a speculative riad property is all about location, location, location. (And perhaps search engine optimization.) Such was the dialogue in Hawkesley’s mind when looking for property. “It dawned on me that I always chose hotels in the Kasbah district of the Medina, to set up Base Camp, whilst exploring…. The answer, for ‘Where to Buy’?, had been staring me in the face from outset…. The Imperial Kasbah. First Citadel of the Sultans of Morocco!” he divulges in Laksiba’s story on the riad’s blog.

We were already tossing about the theme of “location” x3 in Marrakech when stumbling upon this story. “Location… location .. location…. is the thing we ‘bang on about’ in the UK,” Hawkesley echoed. But location in Marrakech is not just about proximity, he suggests. Given the labyrinthine quality of the Medina, it’s also about easy access. Quite literally, the “moral to the story” is: “Don’t buy a Riad that you cannot find again. If you can’t find it then don’t expect your friends to either.”

After much deliberation and testing, Hawkesley determined the most convenient location: the Bab Ksiba, an entrance to the Medina with which everyone in Marrakech is familiar. Choosing the road before the riad might seem counter-intuitive. But after reading Hawkesley’s story – which, by the way, you really ought to read for yourself (it’s in several parts) – we are reminded of the act of giving in to fate.

“The Stable and Riad Laksiba”
photo by Simon Hawkesley

Once inside Bab Ksiba, the first right leads to Derb Kadi (Street of the Judge). “Derb Kadi was historically the Royal Stables,” Hawkesley explains. “The remaining stable is directly opposite Riad Laksiba’s front door and stands testament to a bygone age.”

Bygone age begins to sum up our impression of this riad. But we get the sense that one must see it with their own eyes.

hand carved doors at Riad Laksiba
photo by Simon Hawkesley

For it’s all in the details.

“Ouled Nials dancer” by Lehnert Landrock at Riad Laksiba
photo by Simon Hawkesley

And the art.

left: “The Pelt Merchant” by Jean-Léone Gérôme
right: the Courtyard viewed from the Office at Riad Laksbi
photos by Simon Hawkesley

Even the riad’s logo gives us the sense that we ought to pull up a pouffe, light the shisha and listen to a tale…

Riad Laksiba logo


Riad Laksiba
16, bis5. Derb Kadi
Kasbah, Medina
Marrakech, Morocco
+212 (0) 524 38 37 04 (from Morocco)
+212 (0) 654 51 56 34 (mobile from Morocco)
+44 (0) 7850 39 01 07 (mobile from UK)