Marrakech

 

 

 

A Suite at La Mam ounia
A Suite at La Mam ounia looks out on the hotel’s expansive gardens and the Atlas Mountains.

 

 

 

Advisor Insight:

Peter Carideo of CRC Travel in Chicago says, “When exploring Marrakech and the labyrinthine of souks in the old town, I suggest hiring an experienced guide to help steer through the maze of stalls. You can spend literally hours wandering; however, if your time is limited, it is best to focus on certain places or areas to maximize your time. Otherwise, you can wander aimlessly for hours. Guides can also help negotiate prices for items and knickknacks.

“If you are looking to get out of Marrakech for the day, take an excursion to the Atlas Mountains (a little over an hour outside the city center). The drive is worth the trip as the road hugs the valley with villages appearing to cling to the sides of the mountain. A great lunch spot is Sir Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot.”

 

Checking into four riad-style hotels that showcase luxe living at its finest in the “Red City.”

While Casablanca is the city in Morocco that has been immortalized in cinema, it is Marrakech that has left an imprint on travelers. 

La Mamounia

La Mamounia has been a luxury haven for decades. Its celebrity guests are many: Winston Churchill, for one, has a bar in the hotel named after him, while Hollywood heavyweights Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet have called the hotel home away from home. Of Note: Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Man Who Knew Too Much here.

Deluxe rooms and Executive Suites are the most popular accommodations, but we hear the two-bedroom signature suites (Majorelle, Marqueterie and Al Mamoun) and the three-bedroom Riad Villas are best bets for families.

For a truly over-the-top experience, book the Prestige, 7th Art, Baldaquin, Koutoubia, Churchill or one of the two-bedroom signature suites. For the best views, ask for rooms and suites facing the Koutoubia Mosque. Note: The Al Mamoun Suite and the riads offer private butler service.

The hotel’s spa has nine treatment rooms (including two double) and two traditional hammams plus a private hammam and a hairdressing salon. Couples and groups will love the private suite, which comes with all of the spa’s services for two to seven people.

When booking appointments, request Paul for hair-styling; Atika or Hannan for facials; and either Kabir, Hassan, Meryam, Salima or Mohamed for massages. Hint: Groups should book treatments a month out; individuals can book a week before arrival. Reach out to Spa Director Aude Koch (akoch@mamounia.com; 011-212-524-388-684) or Regional Director Marianne Nielsen (mnielsen@mamounia.com; 011-212-524-388-684).

Royal Mansour
A Riad at Royal Mansour, built within the old city.

 

 

Dining at La Mamounia is an experience in itself, and there is something for almost every palate. The hotel has a restaurant with traditional Moroccan fare, one serving classic French cuisine and another dishing out rustic Italian. At Le Français, try the milk-fed veal chop and potato purée; at L'Italien, the spaghetti with clams, parsley and botarg takes top prize; and at Le Morocain, the specialty is tangia marrakchi. Contact Food and Beverage Coordinator Imane Soussi (isoussi@mamounia.com; 011-212-524-388-608) for reservations.

Head Concierge Taoufiq Ait El Haddad can arrange all sorts of over-the-top experiences, such as flying over the desert in a private jet.

Marrakech Menara Airport is 15 minutes away, and the hotel has a special arrangement with the airport that lets guests relax in a private lounge upon arrival. The hotel also provides ground transfers for guests from a fleet of Range Rovers, Jaguar Daimlers and Mercedes vans.

Director of Reservations Mohamed Ennassiri (mennassiri@mamounia.com; 011-212-524-388-600) or Executive Director of Marketing Denys Courtier (dcourtier@mamounia.com; 011-212-524-388-600) can handle any special requests or questions.

 

 

Pool at La Maison Arabe
The Pool at La Maison Arabe is ringed by olive trees.

  

 

Royal Mansour Marrakech

Royal Mansour Marrakech, built in traditional riad design, opened in June within the medina walls of the old city. The hotel has a staff of 500 to attend to 53 private riads that are connected by tunnels. The hotel is fit for a king—literally; it is owned by King Mohammed VI.

Families should ask for the three-bedroom riads (Nos. 15, 20, 35 and 45) or the Riad d’Honneur (No. 54). Each riad has a bar, living area and, in some cases, a dining room. Bedrooms on the first floors overlook the private courtyard, and rooftop terraces have sun beds and private pools with views of the city or the Atlas Mountains. Each riad also has its own dedicated butler. The Riad d’Honneur, on the other hand, has four bedrooms sprawling out over 21,525 square feet. It also has an office, private swimming pool, home theater, gym and traditional hammam, as well as additional rooms for staff.

The spa has 10 treatment rooms and three spa suites. We hear the most popular treatment is a stay in the hammam, followed by a Ceremonial marocMaroc Massage, which uses a balm made of argan oil and monoi butter. Contact Spa Director Anjana Nicolas (anicolas@royalmansour.ma; 011-212-529-808-112) to book treatments.

For Foodies: We hear both the Moroccan and French options, La Grande Table Marocaine and La Grande Table Française, are exemplary. (At the former, try the lamb shoulder meqfoul-style, which serves two.) There is also La Table, an all-day dining restaurant with international fare. The three restaurants are overseen by three-Michelin-star chef Yannick Alléno from Le Meurice in Paris. For reservations, contact Food and Beverage Director Frédéric Le Gallois (flegallois@royalmansour.ma; 011-212-529-808-310).

Chef Concierge Kevin Trimoula is a member of Les Clefs d’Or and can organize just about anything a client needs. (We've heard that a helicopter ride to the Atlas Mountains is a great option.)

Luxury travel advisors should reach out to Director of Sales and Marketing Karim Fehry Fassy (kfehryfassy@royalman sour.ma; 011-212-529-808-150).

 

 

Insider Insight:

Joel Zack, founder of Heritage Tours Private Travel, says Marrakech is at the top of everyone’s list. “It has the best hotels and restaurants, and great shopping,” he says. “There’s a whole young generation of designers—expats and Moroccans—who are creating great designs.”

Amanjena is one hotel he recommends. “It’s about 20 minutes outside of town and focuses on rest and relaxation and has villas with private plunge pools.

“To me, Marrakech is not a city about monuments. It is about hidden parts of the medina and observing the people. Once you are there and know the enchantment of the medina and how fascinating everyday life is (away from the touristy stretches), you have hit magic.”

 

 

Villa des Orangers

The Villa des Orangers is a traditional riad with rooms and suites facing the courtyards and the Atlas Mountains or the Koutoubia Mosque from the rooftop terraces. We hear the suites with terraces (Nos. 05, 06, 08, 15, 22, 26 and 28) are the most popular, and the Master Suite (No. 20) and the private riad, both of which can hold up to four people, are best for families. (Note: The private riad also comes with private butler service.)

The intimate spa includes a traditional Moroccan hammam, three massage cabins and a treatment room. Top treatments are the Les Sens de Marrakech and Yonka, as well as the hammam and traditional body scrub. Request Mouna for beauty and body treatments and Samira for massages.

Concierge Imane Ait Gachi (message@villadesorangers.com; 011-212-524-384-638) can arrange any kind of luxury experience, including a dinner in the desert, with a 1001 Arabian Nights ambiance.

La Maison Arabe

In Marrakech’s medina, La Maison Arabe has 26 rooms and suites, most with private terraces and fireplaces. Each room looks out to the hotel’s flower-filled patios or gardens. The most requested premium accommodations are the four garden-side Junior Suites: Nahda (No. 241), Nar (No. 242), Layle (No. 243) and Sahm (No. 245). Families should opt for the Royal Suites, Chems (No. 226) or Nahar (No. 227), which are duplex suites with a private rooftop terrace. For top views, book top-floor garden-side rooms and suites. Guests in these rooms can look out over the tiled rooftop and minaret of the Bab Doukkala Mosque.

The hotel has a new Wellness Center with two large hammams and five massage rooms. The most popular treatment is The Royal Session, which starts with a 45-minute traditional hammam session, including a traditional kessa body scrub with black soap (an exfoliating paste made from olive oil, ground olive pits and eucalyptus) to deep-clean the skin, and a rassoul wrap using natural spices. The session ends with a 30-minute massage. Contact Reservations Manager Fatimah Zahra (reservation@la maisonarabe.com; 011-212-524-387-010) to book treatments—ideally, at least a week out.

Head Concierge Ibrahim Halil (concierge@lamaisonarabe.com; 011-212-524-387-010) can arrange hot-air ballooning, helicopter excursions or a private picnic in the Ourika Valley, an hour away from Marrakech. For fashionistas and art aficionados, Halil can also arrange a visit to the showrooms of some top-end Marrakech fashion designers or cutting-edge contemporary art galleries.

Luxury travel advisors can reach out to either of the two general managers, Taoufik Ghaffouli or Nabila Dakir (reser vation@lamaisonarabe.com; 011-212-524-387-010).

On the radar: Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech is scheduled to open in June. The hotel will have 140 guest rooms and suites and 43 private residences (both villas and riads).

The spa will be housed in a standalone Moroccan-style building with 10 treatment rooms, each with its own exterior garden. It will also have two VIP couples spa suites in a private adjacent building with steam showers, garden treatment area, hammam and treatment pool.