If the idea of wafting about in a colourful caftan as the sun sets over palm studded desert appeals, then do as Talitha Getty did and make for Marrakech. A city steeped in culture and history – where private indulgence sidles up alongside authentic local experience – it’s a city that satisfies both the curious adventurer and the spa addict.
Luxury hotels are a dime a dozen in Marrakech – so here are 5 of the best:
Designed entirely on feng-shui principals, this is possibly the most relaxing hotel on earth. Balinese inspired gardens, calming water pools and jasmine-filled air immediately set the tone on arrival. The comfort-driven, modern interior design, fine-dining and rooftop cocktail bar will go on to impress the most style savvy urbanites. Part of Oekter’s Masterpiece Collection, this was one of the world’s most exciting hotel openings of 2012.
The jewel of the Palmeraie gold resort complex, this hotel has the advantage of being a quiet haven set in lush gardens with a dazzling assortment of restaurants and bars within easy reach. Designed with Moroccan flair – colourful décor, but never gaudy – the bedrooms are supremely comfortable and steps away from a large elegant pool.
Horse-lovers need look no further: the owner of this hotel, Abdeslam Bennani Smirés, shares your passion. Pure Arab horses are allowed to roam the grounds here, purely for aesthetic pleasure (other trekking horses are available to ride at the stables). Jacques Garcia (of cool Hotel Costes fame) is both designer and architect of this clever concept hotel that opened in 2012.
No expense was spared when present reigning King Mohammed commissioned this out-of-this-world hotel. Created to look like a traditional medina with 52 three-story private riads, it’s akin to a picture-perfect Hollywood set. With views to die for and materials that beggar belief, this is a sensory experience for a true aesthete.
This celebrated Grand Dame revealed a very nifty face-lift in 2009, courtesy of Jacques Garcia (an architect/designer clearly in hot demand in Marrakech). Theatrical, opulent & decadent, the property famous for counting Winston Churchill among its fans is now establishing a fresh coterie – and the new Shiseido spa is part of its appeal.
Stepahnie Plentl is author of A Hedonists Guide to Toronto.