One of Morocco’s only Black woman-owned hotels has been 18 years in the making, and owner Meryanne Loum-Martin has no plans of slowing down.
After purchasing the land in 2000, Loum-Martin and her husband built Jnane Tamsna, a boutique hotel located in Marrakech, from the ground up in less than a year, according to Black Enterprise. The unique lodging has since been featured in dozens of coffee table books and magazines, including Elle, Vogue and Town & Country.
Loum-Martin noted the journey hasn’t always been easy, however.
“… At that time, I was a Black woman in a country with a low percentage of Black people,” she told the magazine, speaking to the discrimination often faced by darker skinned Blacks in Morocco.
“I didn’t speak the language and the field of construction was very much a world of men who are known to ignore women,” she added. “And you know what? We designed everything ourselves. My husband was responsible for the gardens and I was responsible for the architecture, interiors, and floor plans.”
What makes Jnane Tamsna unique, Loum-Martin said, is the fact that it doesn’t compete with conventional luxury offered at other hotels. For instance, there are no TVs, no room service and no DJs by the swimming pool. The hotel does offer its guests “excellent internet” to stay connected to the news and stock market, however.
“I have made a bet with some guests: the day the news will be good, we will have a TV in all rooms,” she said. “Until then, enjoy the gardens.”
Thanks to the “unplugged” lodging, Loum-Martin said guests who may have never crossed paths can sit with one another and engage in interesting conversations. Some guests have even arranged to explore the city together, she said. She takes take pride in that her hotel connects people who have nothing in common other than the fact that they’re staying at Jnane Tamsna.
The hotel is situated on nine acres of land and includes five pools and a tennis court. The food is a fusion of Mediterranean and Moroccan cuisines, much of it organic, as the hotel grows its own produce. Not to mention, there is homemade olive oil and fruit preserves.
“We have 635 century-old palm trees, olive trees, and orchard and vegetable gardens,” Loum-Martin said. “We have a very loyal clientele, who come back again and again and send their friends … who just love to sit under the shade of our extraordinary trees, read, chat, or sip our own organic grapefruit juice.”