True Moroccan style with a sense of calm: Jnane Tamsna

Dramatic palm trees grace the arched entrance to one of the houses at Jnane Tamsna.

Dramatic palm trees grace the arched entrance to one of the houses at Jnane Tamsna.

As the driver pulled onto the property known as Jnane Tamsna, I could immediately feel as if a true Moroccan adventure were unfolding before me.  Jnane Tamsna is like no other resort or boutique hotel in Morocco — or maybe anywhere — thanks to the impeccable design sense of its owner MeryAnne Loum-Martin, a lawyer from Senegal who studied in Paris.  Together with her husband Dr. Gary Martin, a American ethnobotanist and founder of the Global Diversity Foundation, MeryAnne created an oasis near Marrakech that is now the only black female owned hotel in Morocco.  With its 24 rooms spread among five houses on nine acres, Jnane Tamsna has opened its doors, according to Essence magazine, to Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Giorgio Armani, and Donna Karen, but was my home for a week-long Culinary Journey in Morocco led by San Francisco chef Joanne Weir.

The simple yet dramatic entrance to Jnane Tamsna.

The simple yet dramatic entrance to Jnane Tamsna.

The sense of calm is evident upon arrival.  With a single palm at the entrance, a series of archways led me through the simple, yet elegant main entrance complete with roses floating in a crystal bowl sitting upon a typical Moroccan inlaid chest.   An open book on another invited me to register as a guest.

Floating roses atop an inlaid chest invite guests in for a stay at Jnane Tamsna.

Floating roses atop an inlaid chest invite guests in for a stay at Jnane Tamsna.

The living room became a favorite for me and others with its velvet chairs, indigenous art, and soft lighting.

Gathering room at Jnane Tamsna

Gathering room at Jnane Tamsna

An alcove in the main room invites guests to spend a private moment sipping mint tea offered upon arrival.  And books stacked willy-nilly make anyone feel right at home.

Comfortable alcove flanked by bookshelves invite guests into the main room at Jnane Tamsna.

Comfortable alcove flanked by bookshelves invite guests into the main room at Jnane Tamsna.

Outside, gathering places remain intimate, offering a respite from the jangle of the crowded souks in downtown Marrakech.

Favorite outdoor lounging area with painted tryptych and carved wood panel.

Favorite outdoor lounging area with painted tryptych and carved wood panel.

A stroll through the gardens reveals native plants marked for ready identification. Natural pathways offer closer looks, especially if they’re bordered by twig trellises and blooming bougainvillea, but they’re also where guests wind down on their way to beautiful lodging rooms.

Some of the houses offer spots for gathering. With their Moroccan furnishings — tapestries, weighty furniture, patterned rugs — guests take in the sensory stimuli reminiscent of the beauty of the area.

An outdoor gathering spot takes in the afternoon sun through the vine-covered archways.

An outdoor gathering spot takes in the afternoon sun through the vine-covered archways.

Indoor gathering spot with red patterned accessories: Jnane Tamsna

Indoor gathering spot with red patterned accessories:

Three rooms that I visited were all different.  Painted a deep purplish red, one room was a study in contrasts: cream-colored floor-to-ceiling curtains hung loosely and a patterned rug offered more texture and design.

In another, twin beds under a lush canopy awaited guests and offered a sprig of rosemary on the pillows.

Adding drama to this suite called Calligraphie for its frieze of Arabic writing near the ceiling, was an African garment displayed at the end of an arched hallway.

A third room held a welcoming basket of freshly-picked flowers.

Dining, too, is an experience at Jnane Tamsna.  At one end of the back dining room hangs a colorful, patterned textile and multiple framed portraits. On the ceiling, twigs woven into a grid form a nature-inspired covering.

It’s no wonder that people book Jnane Tamsna for special occasions — wedding receptions, reunions, corporate retreats, cooking schools, and the like.  After all, who wouldn’t want to dine at tables set under the trees overlooking an elegant pool?

Dinner setting under the trees.

Dinner setting under the trees.

Of course, the real treat at Jnane Tamsna is the cadre of people who are ready to serve, to answer questions, to guide you in your travels, and to make you feel at home in this serene oasis right outside Marrakech.  I hope you’ll follow along as I share glimpses of my Culinary Journey in Morocco 2018 with Chef Joanne Weir.  You can’t help but feel the calm and fall in love with the setting that, to me, was the best introduction to Morocco anyone could have.

At the final banquet: Chef Joanne Weir and MeryAnne Loum-Martin

At the final banquet: Chef Joanne Weir and MeryAnne Loum-Martin

For more information:

Jnane Tamsna, Douar Abiad, Palmeraie, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco; +212 5243-28484; jnanetamsna.com

Stunning photos: Follow on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jnanetamsna/

Please join me in this Travel Series: Marvelous Morocco as I share with you experiences from Culinary Journey in Morocco 2018 with Chef Joanne Weir and my travel experiences afterward with my husband Bert as we journeyed to Ouarzazate, the Sahara, Fes, Chefchaouen, and Tangier.  Our organizer for the trip was Lauren Medley Gunnels with Ortelius Travel Advisors.   — Rusha Sams

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
This entry was posted in Marvelous Morocco, Morocco and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to True Moroccan style with a sense of calm: Jnane Tamsna

  1. idjourneys says:

    Amazing places, beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks so much for taking a look and leaving a message. This was one great trip. Our guide tried to show us cultural aspects as well as the usual go-to tourist spots, so we think we saw a lot in a short time.

  2. What a beautiful adventure this must have been! Absolutely awesome!

    • This was one of my best trips ever — very endearing people, lovely architecture, and a fascinating culture with more similarities to ours than you can imagine, yet so different. Hope you’ll continue to hang in there with me — I’ve got more to show!

  3. restlessjo says:

    Sounds like a wonderful experience. The architecture and style is so special, isn’t it? hanks for sharing. 🙂 🙂

    • I’m in love with Moroccan architecture after traveling there for the first time. It’s the arched doors, the mosaic floors, the carved doorways, and on and on and on. So very lovely. Hope you’ll keep following along — I took lots of pictures!!! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Thursday Doors (Salvage Car and Fine Art) – priorhouse blog

  5. prior.. says:

    wow truly an adventure and the title pulled me in (good title)
    🙂
    and great photos of inside and out (calm indeed)

  6. Martha Gill says:

    Stunning photos and vivid narrative! I want to go with you wherever you go in person or virtually.

  7. Jane Lurie says:

    Beautiful place and terrific post, Rusha. What an incredible place to have a culinary adventure!

    • Thanks so much for taking time to look and comment. This was an incredible place to learn about the culture and cuisine of Morocco — and wow! what an introduction. I felt quite special in Jnane Tamsna, but I also felt special in many places. It’s the Moroccan way with tourists — they treat you so well. Hope you’ll stick with me — more pics and tales to come.

  8. Amy says:

    Oh so beautifully decorated. Love the colors and lighting you captured.

  9. Tina Schell says:

    What a fabulous adventure Rusha! And such an amazing spot to start from. Can you see the green of envy in my eyes?!?!

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