From Dar Nakhil to Casa Gyla, a hidden gem in Marrakech’s Palmeraie

 

Today, we sat down with Amine, the lucky owner of Casa Gyla, so he could tell us a little more about his magical place filled with history … One of the best secret Marrakech sights from our perspective.

 

Marrakech Insiders - Casa Gyla

 

« Dar Nakhil (The house of the Palm Tree in Arabic) was designed and built by Jacqueline Foissac and her lover the spanish painter Alejandro Reino in 1968. It was their love get away spot, away from the outside world. It was part of the first villas of the Palmeraie (the first one was built in the 1920’s) when there was no electricity. Jacqueline Foissac is a famous interior designer and a pioneer in her league, she put back in light « pisé », bricks made of pressed mud, in modern architecture. And her house’s architecture is exactly what gives it this « je ne sais quoi ». A Morocan architecture, sobre, simple and authentic where each element could stand alone, like the 17th century doors in the main hall. Jacqueline and Alejandro designed the swimming pool and surrounded it with trees to keep the freshness of the water in the summer and have more privacy while swimming.

 

The love birds split up and Jacqueline Foissac left for Greece. It is then that my father fell in love with the house. He flew to Athens to meet upw ith jacqueline and close a deal and was back in the house as its new owner just weeks later. Having purchased the house but also all of its content.

 

Her love story not having had a happy ending, Jacqueline confessed to my dad that she never wanted to set foot in the house again. The safe in her room is still locked to this day ! My father was in love with this house, he made quite a few changes and asked the american architect Bill Willis to take care of the work. Willis was the architect of Saint Laurent’s house, he took charge of renovating the Hammam of Casa Gyla, the guests’ house and the chimney in the living room.

 

On my side, I have a very intense link to this house as it carries some of my best childhood memories. Born in Casablanca, we’d escape to here during our holidays and where we had a perfect and simple life. We could do whatever we wanted in the middle of the Palmeraie, those were the days ! When my dad passed away in 1995, I inherited the house. I was young and wanted to travel the world. The house remained almost empty for a long time and I returned in June 2016 and moved back in. I decided to give it back its former glory and started renovating everything ; my goal is to make it a discreet and cosy guest house.

Today, I still have so much to do but I made myself a promise : make the spirit of the house live on, and I intend to achieve it !

 

Marrakech Insiders - Casa Gyla

 

Don’t hesitate to ask us to see Amine’s house on your next ride with us !

 

Marrakech Insiders, the best way to visit Marrakech

Author

Rachel

A few years ago, Rachel, born and raised in Switzerland, discovered by chance the ocher city. But what followed was in no way due to chance. Her curiosity was thoroughly aroused, she strove, in the course of her academic work, to reconstruct the puzzle of the architectural heritage of Gueliz. She went through tons of archives, interviewed the city's living memories and explored its sleepy nooks. Today, Rachel tells her stories on a shiny sidecar and published a book with Editions Sarrazines & Co retracing all her finds on the Gueliz.