Checked In: Design Tips from Morocco’s Hotel Nord Pinus

When in April this year, travel blogger and friend Natasha Nyanin invited me to join her on a press tour in Northern Morocco she was curating, I hesitated. The schedule consisted of 5 nights, 3 hotels, and 2 major cities. I was unsure that I had the stamina to do the trip justice given that I was in the middle of a cross continental move from Tunisia to Cote d’Ivoire. However, once I began to research the locations we would be visiting, I knew I had to take part and I have no regrets! Below and over the next few weeks, I recount my experience at some of the best riads of Tangiers and Fez in Morocco and share the business tips and design pointers I picked up along the way. In Part 1 of this three-part series, I give you Hotel Nord Pinus, Tangiers.

I award this property the moniker of “Mixologist”.  I am referring to decorator and owner Anne Igou’s knack for mixing trends, periods, textiles and furniture – not drinks. Purchased 8 years ago, renovated over the course of 1.5 years and filled with a decade’s worth of collected global treasures, the space is stunning and a definite must stay. Already featured on Design Sponge and other prominent websites, we stayed in La Chambre de l’Espagnol. It appeared to be the unofficial go-to room for housing the media, possibly for its compact but punchy interior. Nonetheless, we were given unfettered access to the entire riad for a photo shoot.

We were greeted on our first morning by Khadidja the hotel manager who sat down with us over our 10am msemmem (traditional Moroccan bread) and melon breakfast to explain how the hotel was conceived. She spoke passionately about Tangiers’ relationship with twin city Arles in France where the sister Hotel Nord Pinus is located. She also explained the owner’s love of photography which she linked to Igou’s longstanding relationship with photographer extraordinaire Peter Lindberg.  We did not have much time to bask in the glory that was the decor but in less than 48 hours, I managed to walk away with 7 important tips from this property.

Tip 1: For hoteliers, try to ensure your hotel manager is available to speak to the press during their visits. This is so enriching to bloggers.

Tip 2: As a blogger, use your network and partner with other writers who need to source similar content. This helps to split costs. These could include photographers, videographers, interior stylists, or fashion brands.

Tip 3: As a writer, read existing stories on the space you are visiting and google the body of images that already exist. Thereafter, try to visually capture the space in a way that has not been documented before.

Tip 4: For decorators, a bunch of blooms cannot compete with a big leafy plant. The courtyard-slash-reception area of the hotel featured numerous terracotta planters filled to Eden-like perfection. The sense of green carries on throughout the many terraces and open spaces on the grounds.

Tip 5: For interior designers, Hotel Nord Pinus teaches us to make windows a focal point. Do not relegate stained glass to the hallways of piety alone. In Morocco they add a whimsical pop of color or inform the room’s color palette as is the case in the main restaurant.

Tip 6: For designers, add architectural interest to a home by layering or adding texture to your doorways. The bedroom doors in Nord Pinus are embossed with upholstery and the bathroom doors open up in layers like a 3 piece couture suit. The doors feature carved pale cedar wood, intricate engraving and scalloped arches.

Tip 7: Lastly, Nord Pinus teaches decorators to always go for gold. Everywhere. It creates instant but subtle old world luxury and Nord Pinus nails it.

Thank you Nord Pinus! I fell in love and cannot wait to return.

This week I was introduced to the concept of traveloguing. @BlueprintAfrica was invited to visit Tangers, Chefchouaen and Fez in Northern Morocco to experience 4 delectable hotels in 4 days. It's been hectic, gastronomic, curious, frustrating and fantastic. But most of all it has been a learning experience on the freelance PR life, photography and friendship…all with cotton candy skies. 📷 Stop 1: @nordpinus rooftop Thank you Khadijah, manager extraordinaire! #liveauthentic #thatsdarling #travelstroke #darlingmovement #flashesofdelight #livethelittlethings #nothingisordinary #thehappynow #welltravelled #visualsoflife #openmyworld #goplayoutside  #letsgosomewhere #ourplanetdaily #travelnoire #openskies #lonelyplanet #passionpassport #architecture #rooftop

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