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Hotel

5 mins read

Black Owned Luxury Hotel, Jnane Tamsna Hosting Writers Retreat in Morocco for Black Authors

Jnane Tamsna is the only Black woman-owned luxury hotel resort located in the lush date palm forest of Marrakech, Morocco.

In partnership with Parea Books, Jnane Tamsna is launching the Philoxenia retreats, an Immersive Literature & Writing Retreat for four esteemed authors in a series of generative creative writing workshops that explore themes of self-expansion, societal revolution, cultural presence, and embodiment.

Jnane Tamsna

The workshops ( January 6th to 11th 2023) will be complemented by cultural activities, including private tours of the city’s majestic medina and sojourns to secret gardens within the city’s walls.

This will be a space to discover, create, reflect, and develop relationships with people across borders, cultures, and backgrounds.

AWARD-WINNING AUTHORS

Cleyvis Natera

Cleyvis Natera is an essayist, short fiction writer, critic and novelist. Her debut novel Neruda on the Park was an anticipated book of 2022 by TIME, the Today Show, Good Morning America’s Zibby Owens, ELLE. Upon publication, Neruda on the Park was selected as a May 2022 New York Times Editor’s Choice.

Camille T. Dungy
Camille T. Dungy is an author, poet and scholar. Author of four collections of poetry, most recently Trophic Cascade (Wesleyan UP, 2017), winner of the Colorado Book Award. Her debut collection of personal essays is Guidebook to Relative Strangers (W. W. Norton, 2017), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Dungy is currently a Professor in the English Department at Colorado State University.
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black. Originally from Spring Valley, New York, he graduated from SUNY Albany and received his MFA from Syracuse University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming from numerous publications, including the New York Times Book Review, Literary Hub, the Paris Review. He is the winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award.
Tanaïs
Tanaïs is the author of In Sensorium: Notes for My People, a finalist for the 2022 Kirkus Prize, and the critically acclaimed novel Bright Lines, which was a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award, and the Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize. TANAÏS is based in New York City.

THE HOST

Meryanne Loum-Martin is the owner of Jnane Tamsna. We caught up with her to find out more about this exciting cultural experience.
Jnane Tamsna
Meryanne Loum-Martin

Why is this retreat important to you?

In a world where so many deserve to be seen but still are not, in a corporate space where to reach the same level, we are expected to stand out: we need our voice.

Curated by our mind, customized by our uniqueness, and enriched by our experience, our voice is our personal tool for change,  growth, and impact.

With our Philoxenia retreats, we want to learn from prominent storytellers and writers of color.

Jnane Tamsna is a space in which energy, style, and architecture have “ de facto” been a catalyst for transformative experiences. It favors a remarkable connection between people.

It is important for me to bring this efficient and educational tool to the immense construction site which is diversity, inclusion, and equity.

How can people support this event?

There are 3 ways:

  1. Individuals can book the retreat.
  2. Corporations can send employees. The unique bond of this shared experience will impact the conversation back in the office.
  3. Donations to The Global Diversity Foundation will pay for their airfare and a small stipend of up to 10 young writers. Most of them coming from HBCUs. Jnane Tamsna will offer them room and board.

Please contact jnanedesign@gmail.com for more information.

RSVP NOW

2 mins read

From Hotel Cleaner to “Afro-Chic” Luxury Hotel Owner

Souadou Niang is the owner of The Palms Luxury Boutique Hotel, a 5-star hotel located in Dakar, Senegal.

At the age of 18, Souadou moved from Senegal to New York to further her education. As she studied to earn a Bachelors degree, she also earned a living as a cleaning lady at a Ritz Carlton hotel located in Tysons Corner, VA.

 Palms Luxury Boutique Hotel in Dakar, Senegal.
Souadou Niang

“I arrived in the country where they tell you the sky is the limit. My vision was to be part of the hotel management,” she said during an interview with BBC.

After completeing her studies, Souadou returned home on a mission to prove that Senegal could have the same luxury accommodations as the hotel she had dedicated over a decade of her life to.

Souadou Niang

However, accomplishing that dream was easier said than done. “I only had answers such as ‘You won’t get far, ‘It’s not for women, ‘It is not for African women,’ and I had no guarantees in Dakar. I knocked on the door of several banks,” she said.”

The ambitious entrepreneur eventually met an investor who believed in her vision, and her goal of being a hotel owner in her home country came to reality.

Souadou Niang

In terms of visual presentation, The Palms rivals any other five-star hotel you can find anywjere else in the world. Furthermore, the hotel’s staff is 80 percent women, an ode to Souadou’s belief in the spirit and capabilities of African women.

Souadou Niang

“My dream is to conquer Africa, and why not the world. As the international hotel franchises in Africa, we should be able to adapt our Afro-chic boutique hotels in Western countries and show African women can run luxury boutique hotels with the same standards as the international hotels,” Souadou said.

Tony O. Lawson


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7 mins read

The Only Black Woman Hotel Owner In Morocco Is Planning Her Next Moves

Meryanne Loum-Martin is the owner of Jnane Tamsna, a 24-room boutique hotel located in Marrakech, Morroco. She has operated this business for over 20 years. During the last few months, she has had to pivot and figure out how to keep the business afloat while rebranding her enterprise and launching new ventures.

We caught up with her to find out how things going now and what she has in store for us next.

Black Woman Hotel Owner
Meryanne Loum-Martin

What inspired you to step into the hotel business?

I used to be a lawyer in Paris but I was always passionate about architecture and design. I discovered Marrakech in 1985 and immediately fell in love with it: diversity, cultural heritage, the mother continent, and a cosmopolitan and creative social life.

Black Woman Hotel Owner

I also had the intuition that boutique experience was the future of travel, so in 1989 I launched two neighboring private residences and turned them into a hospitality business. This later won the “Best Villa to rent in the World” award from Harper’s and Queen magazine.

My work was published in the New York Times, WSJ, Town and Country, Architecture Digest, and almost 60 other magazines worldwide.

At one point in time, there was a waiting list to find a slot and Tom Cruise had to try four times before we could find availability. Brad Pitt had told him that it was the place to stay in Marrakech.

We’ve hosted Fortune 500 CEOs to public figures like Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan, Peter Lindberg, David Bowie and Iman, Mick Jagger, Princess Caroline of Monaco, and many other royals. They described the villa as “very famous to very few” and was always full.

The enormous success of this boutique villa concept led me to create Jnane Tamsna in 2001. In a nutshell, I love designing, and I have to turn it into a business to make a living, hence hospitality.


The travel and hospitality industry has been hit hard in the past few months. How have you been able to pivot or leverage your brand in other ways? 

It has been very hard as of late February. I had just sponsored, hosted, and conceived a cultural pop-up called AFREECulture Salon to celebrate the creativity of our diaspora in film, literature, and entrepreneurship.

It was a great success and was counting on the very high rate of occupancy of the high season to follow, to absorb the expenses and suddenly there was nothing.

But such is life, as the world was going through a major pandemic. Because I am a connector, cultural entrepreneur, and creative,  I want to use my platform to host events that will enrich the conversation about our diaspora. AFREECulture salon will launch for Labor Day 2021. 

Since I have non-profit status that can benefit corporate sponsors,  I would like them to support events such as fascinating retreats with amazing speakers, films, documentaries, and music connected to our cause.

Black Woman Hotel Owner

What upcoming projects can we expect from you?

I am launching a special offer for the Shoppe Black audience. Please contact requests@jnanetamsna.com and ask about “Meryanne’s Shoppe Black special deal.”

My book, “Inside Marrakech” published by Rizzoli NY is coming out in October. It is my personal journey through the most beautiful private houses and gardens of Marrakech. I am looking for Black-owned bookstores where we could organize festive zoom launch parties, all over the country.

I am also working on a fabulous new resort concept and hopefully, we are ready to submit to planning consent in the Fall.  This is the project of my life.

The architect and project partner is a multi-award winning icon in the 5-star hospitality industry, and I could not be more humbled that he shared my vision and suggested to partner.

Black Woman Hotel Owner

I am developing my e-commerce lifestyle brand starting with beautiful tableware and luminaries. I can be contacted at Jnane Tamsna Lifestyle to receive photos and details about our available products. Although our website will not be up before fall, we have started selling. So please contact me! 

Black Woman Hotel Owner

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

In an ideal world…

My two hotels are doing well with the most diverse clientele ever. I will own four restaurants, one cultural special events venue, and a small museum space celebrating the impact of diasporas on culture.

For the museum space, I am working with an amazing architect who is redoing the Rockefeller wing of the MET. Kulapat Yantrasast.

I see AFREECulture salon having a yearly rendezvous in Marrakech. My e-commerce lifestyle and interiors line is a success.

I would also like all of my enterprises to mentor young interior designers and hospitality creatives so that our diaspora has more and more placers connected to our narrative while open to all.

What advice do you have for those interested in the hospitality industry?

It is a tough world. Don’t start your own business unless you know your market and future clients, have identified a niche and have direct access to it. Have very strong unique selling points so the competition is less harsh. Be unique, don’t be afraid of being generous and human.

 

Tony O. Lawson


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