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A Writers’ Hotel in Marrakesh – Riad Calypso

‘Literary genius’ is the preferred currency at a stylish

New Boutique hotel in Marrakech

If your passion is writing, then you have a personal invitation to visit one of today’s most interesting novelists and stay at his charming new boutique hotel located the ancient Medina of Morocco’s most popular destination: Marrakech.

“Riad Calypso” (named after the nymph Calypso in Homer’s “Odyssey”) is probably the only hotel in the world that treats literature with more love and affection than it does money.  The more accomplished novelists and poets, for example, are encouraged to pay for their stay with a signed copy of one of their books for the hotel owner to keep.

Even fledgling authors on the road—those writers with only one or two self-published books under their belts—are asked to pay less than the general public for rooms, just as long as they too offer the hotel owner an autographed book they’ve written.

The owner of this unique hotel is the novelist Roman Payne, an author best known for his 2013 novel, “The Wanderess” (Aesthete Press), which made headlines in France and Europe upon its release after banned the book in the USA for what they called, “inappropriate sexual content.”  After Amazon retracted the ban, the book became something of a cult-classic, influencing everything from American pop-music to international high-fashion; and even body-art, as many young women tattooed their bodies with the novel’s most famous phrase:


“She was free in her wildness, she was a Wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.”  

In India, the celebrated designer of Bollywood film costumes, Masaba Gupta, had just finished reading Payne’s novel when she was asked to design the collection to open New Delhi’s upcoming Fashion Week.  Gupta told the press that Payne’s quote “doe-eyed gypsy-girl heroine” was her inspiration for the Fashion Week collection she titled: “Wanderess.”

In the USA, the popstar, “Halsey” was influenced by “The Wanderess” when she wrote the song “Hurricane” for her debut album, “Badlands.”  When “Badlands” was released, Halsey became such a hit that she sold out Madison Square Garden in a matter of minutes.  The young popstar told reporters, in effect, that her ability to be courageous and outspoken, to face the public spotlight with boldness and a complete lack of self-consciousness—in short, many of the traits that helped her become a star—were things that Payne’s literature helped her to learn:

“I stumbled on this book when I was a teenager, and its words helped to shape my will to be unapologetic, to be unbound by the perimeters of a single place.  To write a song like ‘Hurricane.’ To be like, ‘The Wanderess.’”

— Singer, Halsey (February 2016)

Why this American-born writer who spent almost all of his adult life living in France is now running a hotel in Morocco is a question that no one seems to have an answer for.  But if you book a few nights at “Riad Calypso” in Marrakech, he may answer this question for you himself.  And if you too are a writer, you may want to tell Payne a few stories of your own.  Knowing his appreciation for literature, your storytelling just may help you pay for your stay!

To see photos of Riad Calypso, search for it on, or else visit

To book your stay, you may:

  1. Email:

  2. Call: +212 5 24 39 13 48

  3. Inquire directly at the hotel

It’s important to consider:  This article mentions that “the more accomplished novelists and poets” receive free stays.  Please do not make the hotel decide if you are qualified for this on the spot.  Before arriving with your book in your hand, send a cover-letter and/or a copy of your book to the hotel beforehand (address below), along with a SASE if you want the book returned.  If this sounds like too much of a hassle, however, just come with your book and receive the discount on your stay that all novelist’s get who share their talent with the hotel.

Riad Calypso

130 Derb zemouri, Bab doukkala

Marrakech, Morocco 40000

For more information, please contact:

Julie Sevigny

(360) 542-4136


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