Ex-pats doing up riads are an ongoing trend in Marrakech, and one of our favourites is Riad Meriem, the creation of New York interior designer Thomas Hays. Its five rooms are all different—conceived by Hays then executed by local artisans. But it's not all archways and lanterns; there are some modern touches too, such as fine-art photography and custom-made lighting. The souk is just one minute's walk away, and after haggling over slippers and tea glasses, you'll be glad to retreat to the candlelit courtyard for a dip in the hammam-style pool, followed by an alfresco dinner with views of the Atlas mountains. Whether you rent the whole place or stay à deux, it's the perfect exotic escape.