Every time you walk through the rooms and courts of this nobiliary riad in the medina, you will feel like you are in a dream. The dream of a mother, who found her pleasant retreat here, and the dream of her daughter Philomena, who devoted this house to creative, intimate, authentic and happily unclassifiable reception. Riad Mena is a womanly, gentle, generous and pleasant house. Its terrace makes you want to gaze at the sky, on its patio you can meet souls alike, something spicy cooks slowly in its kitchen, and its rooms are flawless and graceful. Just like Philomena, blue-grey eyes and copper-coloured hair, who has the deep, sunny disposition of the North blending with the South. If you have the chance to meet her, going down the stairs on a late afternoon, she will offer you a watermelon house Martini (a house recipe that changes according to seasonal fruit). While muezzins pray and the African sun sets, she will tell you about her life between Marrakech and London, and about her future and the Riad’s. Two chapters of the same story, since ‘there can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do’ (Freya Stark – British writer, traveller, cartographer, and a famous explorer of the Middle East).
Words Laura Taccari, Philomena’s portrait Jan Gombirik, translation Alessia Andriolo. A special thanks to Paula Hardy.