Rue Abou Abbas el Sebti, Marrakech, Morocco
- Recommended for:
- Business travellers, Culture vultures, Foodies, Honeymooners, Mature travellers, Celebrity spotting, Design and architecture, Escaping the crowds, Romance, Special occasions
Best for Luxury - Expert review of Royal Mansour
Have you ever wondered what you’d do if you could build a house and literally not have to think about the budget? Well that’s what happened when King Mohammed VI dreamed up the Royal Mansour – the most opulent of Marrakech’s hotels, which opened last summer. The idea of the Mansour was to create a top international hotel that showcases the best of contemporary Moroccan craftsmanship. The result, which took a cast of 1,500 workers over three-and-a-half years to create, more than meets the brief.
The sheer luxury of the project can take the breath away: take, for example, the ability to flood part of the entrance hall and create an internal pool at the flick of a switch – or the elaborate nether-world of underground passageways through which staff transport themselves (on golf carts) unseen, between rooms. But it’s the sheer exuberance and execution of the design, overseen by French agency 3bis, that really excites. Plasterwork carved as if by angels… a backlit silverwork ceiling that brings to mind the most elegant of William Morris wallpapers…mosaics so perfect a super-computer couldn’t have laid the tiles more accurately. With every turn you see something that in the wrong hands could have ended up overly classical or horribly glitzy, but has in fact been marshalled into a thoroughly modern reflection of Morocco’s traditions and forward-facing attitude.
Royal Mansour is in a south-west corner of the medina, near the Koutoubia Mosque; off Avenue Mohammed V – the nearest medina gate is Bab Sidi Ghrib; although to be honest once you’re inside you probably won’t want to leave.
Guests at the Royal Mansour don’t rent rooms, they rent one of 53 riads in the hotel’s very own mini-medina (the smallest have one bedroom and cover 140 square metres…the biggest, 2,000 square metres). The riads have private pools; those with two bedrooms or more come with an elevator and butler service. All mod cons come as standard, including roofs which close automatically if a sensor spots rain.
There are lounges, restaurants, bars, a cigar room, a library with a telescope and ceiling that opens to the sky – plus the huge spa centre.
There are two restaurants overseen by Yannick Alléno, who brought three Michelin stars to Le Meurice in Paris – one serving Moroccan cuisine and the other French. There is also a lobby dining area open all day for hotel guests. There is a health food restaurant in the spa, a cocktail lounge and a piano bar overlooking the gardens.
The huge spa, architecturally akin to a massive white bird-cage forged from metal and glass, has endless treatment rooms, two swimming pools and a hammam with hot, mild and cold rooms created with combinations of light, steam and water. There are also top-class fitness and gym facilities, as well as massage and beauty rooms - including Chanel’s first ever spa treatment partnership.
With more than 500 staff on the books, there are about 10 staff members per riad. As in all the best hotels, every single staff member you meet is charm personified and treats everyone like royalty – not just the ones who really are.
Very wealthy people!
More information on Royal Mansour:
- Rue Abou Abbas el Sebti, Marrakech, Morocco
- Fitness Centre, High-Speed Internet, Restaurant, Room Service, Swimming Pool