Winston Churchill once remarked that “Marrakech is simply the nicest place on Earth to spend an afternoon.” Find yourself wandering amidst the manicured olive groves and rose bushes of Mandarin Oriental Marrakech and you’ll almost certainly agree.
Dubbed the “Paris of the Sahara” by the city’s biggest wartime fan, there’s nowhere quite as divine to soak up Marrakech’s exotic charm than at Mandarin Oriental.
Planning your packing? You can look forward to a walk-in wardrobe with enough space to move in plus a handy steamer to get your silks looking sleek. Crumpled resortwear never was a good look.
THE PACKING EDIT
The Ultimate Oasis
Sprawling across 10 acres against a backdrop of snow-capped Atlas Mountains, Mandarin Oriental Marrakech is quite the desert oasis. Sounds cliché we know, but the sheer space dedicated to water and blooming gardens at this boutique resort is quite extraordinary. A mere 5 minutes from the Medina, you might expect a subtle air of market madness, but what you’ll really find here is a serene, stylish sanctuary to reconnect with the simple natural wonders of the great outdoors. Think sweet birdsong, the perfume of over 100,000 roses and the soul-soothing sound of palms swaying in the breeze.
If you can handle the sun, take a bike ride through the hotel’s verdant grounds past the orange and almond trees to take it all in by day. Or after dark when the heat subsides, a post-dinner wander along the resort’s waterside paths is nothing short of magical.
Illuminated by countless candles and lanterns, you’ll relish a welcome sense of peace in cool calm contrast to the hectic cultural adventures you’ll be having beyond the walls of the resort.
Pool Villa Perfection
An ultra-modern, monochrome and very Mandarin take on the riad, Pool Villas are the chicest vacation pads in town. Old-world wooden doors that somehow hold back the heat open into breezy courtyards where the Feng Shui is on point and the contemporary spin on Berber décor creates a sophisticated sense of place. Around the central private pool – an amenity you won’t want to do without in the desert – you’ll find plenty of spaces to chill, dine and tan. Our favourite? Undoubtedly the oh-so-Instagrammable lantern-lit daybed, tucked away in a curtained alcove festooned with tens of embroidered cream cushions.
The Pool Villa’s interiors, encased behind sliding glass doors that blend the inside with the out, are nothing short of impressive either. A raised, teched-up bedroom opens out directly to a private jacuzzi making morning – or midnight – dips a must, while a spacious living room complete with perfectly ripe peaches and plums plus a little assortment of rose-infused traditional treats makes the perfect spot for late-night chats.
But what really takes these Pool Villas to another level are their bathrooms. An unlikely vacation highlight you might be thinking, but with round bathtubs as large as plunge pools and showers that double as steam rooms for you to enjoy your own hammam, you might just end up spending more leisure time in them than expected.
Days at Mandarin Oriental Marrakech start on a delicious note with regionally-inspired breakfast spreads that’ll have you jumping out of bed. Local cheeses pair perfectly with thick organic honeys; olive tapenades, homemade hummus and sundried tomatoes compliment a fine selection of freshly baked breads, while pistachio financiers, figs and dates hit the spot for all those with a sweet tooth… Of course, if your breakfast isn’t complete without eggs or French toast, you’ll find the to-order classics too.
Feast on This
Lunchtime at the Pool Garden sees a selection of Mediterranean and international light bites and seafood served up waterside under the shade of beautiful bougainvillea filled pergolas, while dinner offers a wider choice of dining options. In the mood for some generous portions? Feast on mouth-watering tagines and jewelled couscous at the Moroccan Mes’lalla. As for those with perma-Asian cravings, don’t despair – this is the Mandarin Oriental after all.
In a nod to the group’s oriental origins, you can get your fix at the Cantonese, Hakkasan-operated Ling Ling, an evening hotspot for the who’s who of Marrakech.
Whether you’re new to the Red City or a frequent riad-dweller, at Mandarin Oriental Marrakech you’ll have access to some one of a kind experiences that you won’t easily find at other hotels. First time visiting the Medina? A speedy hotel shuttle will ferry you there and back. Visited before? No worries – you can still immerse yourself in the iconic Moroccan marketplace on a Mandarin kaftan-making tour that’s almost made for femmes, while other experiences include breakfast in a hot air balloon. Of course, there’s everything to see and do at the resort too – think traditional hammams at the spa, a program of daily yoga and fitness classes, and even a petting zoo.