Marrakech is less than 4-hours away, but the ‘Red City’ might as well be on a different planet. Maybe even in a different era. Yet this is no medieval fantasy for tourists, but a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s still very much living and breathing. Especially in the souks where savvy traders coax you to barter over hand-knotted wool rugs. And especially in Djemâa el Fna Square where musicians and snake charmers underscore the fact that the city is still home to more than a million people. Yet it is possible to step back from it all when you’re ready.
Hidden behind the high walls are exclusive riads which are testimony to Moroccan hospitality and artistry. Mosques, tombs and palaces are reminders of the city’s Islamic culture, whilst the awe-inspiring Atlas Mountains are a delightful contrast to all that city madness. Although there’s nothing quite like a coastal resort for a breath of fresh Moroccan air. When you’re in the mood to relax why not escape to the seaside, the quality of the hotels in Oualidia and the Doukkala well worth the detour.
This urban resort stands on the edge of a 27-hole golf course, just outside the walls of the ancient city. But as its design reflects ancient Berber houses and its lawns resemble the 12th century Menara Gardens, you’ll never have any difficulty remembering where you are.
A 45-minute drive outside Marrakech, Sir Richard Branson’s rose-tinted retreat is all about the serenity of the Atlas Mountains. You’ll be hard pressed to discover anywhere quite as spellbinding as this fairytale getaway which still overflows with antiques picked up from the Orient and Middle East.
La Sultana is a full-blown assault on the senses, its precious woods, gleaming copper and fascinating artefacts all spot on in a five-star boutique hotel lying right in the heart of the Medina. Indeed this ochre-coloured ‘Small Luxury Hotel of the World’ really allows you to live and breathe North Africa.
An equally authentic experience awaits you at La Sultana Oualidia - but this time it’s not a bustling medieval medina but a peaceful and quite magical lagoon that will be at the forefront of your thoughts throughout your stay. This 11-room retreat on Morocco’s Atlantic coast only opened in 2007 and is the result of two years’ painstaking work by master craftsmen.
The Four Seasons Resort Marrakech is a short stroll from the ancient ramparts of the Medina and close to the Menara Gardens, its rose-hued walls enclosing a 40-acre oasis of Moorish gardens of arcades, courtyards and fountains. Light and luxurious, contemporary and comfortable, it’s the perfect place from which to explore exotic Marrakech.
Royal Mansour redefines the gold standard of luxury hotels around the world. Hidden away amidst 3.5 hectares of manicured gardens behind Marrakech’s ancient walls, it also boasts spectacular architecture that is more in keeping with a 16th century palace than a brand an urban getaway.
A Relais & Châteaux hideaway simply oozing local colour and charm. Originally a 1930s house owned by a wealthy judge, it’s now been extended, updated and refreshed, yet none of the original ambience has been forfeited – the walls are still covered with tadelakt, the courtyards still fragranced with orange trees and the welcome still as warm as you’d get in a private home.
Namaskar is a greeting that means ‘The spirit in me respects the spirit in you’ which encapsulates the spirit of Palais Namaskar. This luxury hotel in Marrakech fuses exotic Eastern-inspired architecture with contemporary Feng Shui principles to create an elegantly extravagant personal space with exceptional views of mountains, lakes and scented gardens.
Described by The Wall Street Journal as a dream like retreat, The Fellah, just outside Marrakech within view of the Atlas Mountains, is a cultural oasis. Vibrant, imaginative, fabulously stylish and ultra cool; an exciting fusion of design and tradition, culture and comfort for both couples and families alike.
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