Marrakech – In the Heart of the Red City
Marrakech is a vibrant, dazzling city, where the bustling medina and opulent palaces exist side by side in perfect harmony. Intimate luxury hotels entice elite travellers from all over the world in search of sophistication, haute cuisine and a change of scenery.
Marrakech is a true open-air museum. The walls surrounding the old city are remnants of its past as an immense fortress. Within those walls, visitors will fall under the spell of the charming Koutoubia Mosque, Jemaa el-Fnaa square and the bustling souks, where they can hunt down artisanal treasures or marvel at the famous spice market. In recent years, the more modern Gueliz and Hivernage districts have been attracting upscale brands, perfect for designer shop lovers. High-end accommodations and one-of-a-kind Moroccan hospitality appeal to the most exacting international clientele.
It is also one of the best places to party. When day turns into night, a sumptuous ambiance worthy of The Thousand and One Nights takes hold on terraces where the zellijs glow in the candlelight. From the snow-covered peaks of the Atlas Mountains, to the aromas of gardens full of olive and fruit trees, and the white dunes of the Agafay Desert—the Red City offers endless possibilities. Beauty, charm, nature, exoticism—it is no surprise that Marrakech is one of TripAdvisor’s top ten destinations for 2019.
The Menara Gardens © Richard Waite
“These intimate locations offer soothing interludes far from prying eyes for a new generation of travellers infatuated with Marrakech.”
WHERE TO STAY
The Selman is reminiscent of an Arabian or North African palace, with 55 rooms and suites and five private villas. The owner, Abdeslam Bennani Smires, is an accomplished equestrian who breeds Arabian thoroughbreds. Every Sunday, the restaurant Le Pavillon hosts one of the finest brunches in Marrakech, culminating in a horse show created by equestrian artist Sadek El Bahjaoui.
View of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, Selman
Dar El Sadaka
Dar El Sadaka is an exceptional villa where modern art meets luxury. Each of the villa’s seven suites and rooms houses beautifully unconventional architectural creations and giant sculptures of animals such as a giraffe, a dog, a camel and a sheep. These delightful creations are the work of the villa’s owner, visual artist Jean-François Fourtou.
The Giraffes Suite, Dar El Sadaka
Four Seasons Resort Marrakech
Located in the Hivernage district, the Four Seasons Resort Marrakech has 141 rooms and 27 suites with balconies or terraces overlooking the Atlas Mountains or the Menara gardens. The architecture echoes the colours of the medina and extends over 16 hectares bordered by luxuriant gardens, pools and ornamental ponds.
Opened last March in the heart of the Palmeraie, this new Relais & Châteaux hotel has 28 suites, including six private pavilions. It is the result of a partnership between Aram Ohanian, the businessman behind Club Jad Mahal—one of the hottest spots in the Red City—and his wife, Adriana Ohanian Karembeu.
Subdued contemporary decor by Gil Dez , Palais Ronsard © Philippe Doignon
The Mandarin Oriental hotel group’s eponymous first establishment in North Africa is nestled amidst 20 hectares of olive groves and gardens with 100,000 fragrant roses. The luxury resort has 54 private villas with architecture reminiscent of intimate riads. Its modern, elegant decor with subtle Berber influences pays tribute to its rich Moroccan heritage.
Terrace with private pool, Mandarin Oriental
Sir Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot is located in the heart of Atlas Berber country. This retreat is the very essence of luxury, where days are spent relaxing at the spa, savouring poolside meals or strolling through local communities to soak up the cultural richness of the High Atlas Mountains. The upscale boutique hotel with 27 rooms, suites and tents is located at the foot of Djebel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.
The luxury hote l of British businessman Sir Richard Branson, Kasbah Tamadot
La Mamounia is without a doubt the most glamorous hotel in Marrakech and one of the most beautiful places in the world. A getaway to this iconic and internationally renowned destination is a must. Not only is the hotel rich in history, it is also the only one in Morocco to make Condé Nast Traveler’s 2019 Gold List. Its prestigious suites offer a panoramic view of the legendary gardens and the Atlas Mountains. It is a magical destination for a culinary adventure; its L’Italien and Le Français restaurants will delight your senses, and Le Marocain is not to be missed!
Main entrance of La Mamounia
Steeped in Eastern wellness, the city is home to spas to soothe the traveller’s soul.
Selman’s Chenot Vitality area offers Biolight detoxes that allow the body to rediscover its biological rhythm and balance.
Built on three levels around a hundred-year-old eucalyptus tree, the 3,000 m2
spa at Es Saadi Palace offers a detoxifying hydrotherapy circuit with a hammam, hot tub and herb-scented sauna.
The Maison de la photographie in the heart of the medina exhibits an archive collection and an exceptional selection of photographs taken in Morocco.
The Majorelle Garden and its Berber Museum, located in the former studio of painter Jacques Majorelle, are an ode to Berber culture.
The Musée Yves Saint Laurent brings together some 5,000 works dedicated to the artist’s work and to literature, poetry, history or Berber culture.
The Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) is a museum showcases contemporary African artists.
For those who want to experience the magic of the desert in luxury bivouacs a few kilometres from the doors of Marrakech, Agafay Desert Luxury Camp and Scarabeo Camp offer memorable excursions.
- Ling Ling at the Mandarin Oriental
- Le Foundouk in the heart of the medina
- La Grande table Marocaine at the Royal Mansour
- The Grand Café de la Poste
- La Maison Arabe
- The Nomad rooftop bar
- The Beldi Country Club
- Max & Jan
- Boutique El Fenn
- The boutique at the Royal Mansour
- 33 Majorelle
- Chabi Chic Medina
- Rugs by Soufiane Zarib
- Comptoir Darna
- Palais Jad Mahal
- Bo & Zin
Text: Judith Ritchie
Main photo: The Four Seasons Resort Marrakech © Anthony Parkinson