Royal Mansour Marrakech
If you’re looking to be pampered like the sultans of old then Royal Mansour is the hotel for you. Owned and designed by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, the hotel was conceived as a city within a city – and could certainly pass for one. Here you’ll stay not in a mere room but in one of 53 private riads – the smallest of which has three floors – set in two and a half hectares of manicured Moorish gardens. Yet it’s all just steps from the heart of the medina and the Jemaa El Fna.
Each private riad is like a palace unto itself, with on-call butlers, open-air courtyards (with a canopy that automatically unfurls if rain is detected), dazzling bedrooms with silk-covered walls, and a private roof terrace with a fireplace and heated plunge pool.
Should you wish to leave your riad you’ll find the rest of the hotel is no less extravagant. The three-storey spa, with its famous birdcage-like entrance, is the perfect place to indulge after a busy day of sightseeing. The fragrant grounds are a pleasure to stroll in and feature an organic vegetable garden used by the hotel chefs, a glass artist’s studio designed for art therapy, and a large swimming pool with seven pavilions that can be rented as day rooms. The new Cooking School offers guests the opportunity to hone their culinary skills.
Dining, too, is of the very highest standard with four exceptional restaurants. Fine-dining La Grand Table Marocaine and La Grande Brasserie are overseen by Helene Darroze. Le Jardin, an outdoor restaurant opens to the gardens and the pool serving Asian-inspired dishes, sushi and delicately flavoured grilled sharing plates while Sesamo offers authentic Italian cuisine and is spearheaded by Italian chef Massimiliano Alajmo, the youngest chef in the world to win three Michelin stars.