Discover Royal Mansour Marrakech

A Moroccan Marvel


Saudi Gazette

Of all Arab countries, it is Morocco that fits the fantasy of Scheherazade and Arabian Nights the closest. It is a city of underground thoroughfares, ancient architecture and secret walled gardens that speak volumes about a history that was real and has become over time the stuff of legend, telling us stories that will outlive us.

The Royal Mansour Marrakech is the stuff of legend made real. Huge hand-carved palatial pastel green doors of what turned out to be a medina (city) on its own swung open as the car pulls into the hotel driveway, where a warm welcome awaits you on the doorsteps of its stupefying lobby entrance.

Classical Moorish architecture with a marbled fountain, chiseled bronze, intricately carved horseshoe arches, wood paneling and traditional paintings; imagination spreads its wings across this outlandish setting.

Once have bathed in the colors, you think maybe this is the grand finale; the most lavish feature and then you along with your delusions are picked up and walked to your riad, a traditional Moroccan house with a courtyard. “Not room,” you are reminded because the Royal Mansour Marrakech only has riads, 53 of them.

A riad is the quintessential of all Arabic accommodations. A small walled garden, divided into quarters and often with a central fountain with a private apartment or house opening onto it.

Your personal butler will also hand you a map of the hotel, which you discover is necessary to walk through eight acres of alleys, courtyards, fountains and gardens with trees of olives, oranges and pomegranates over the course of your stay. Set amongst open gardens that turn into alluring alleyways with water streams and pools, you are easily lost in wonderland, trying to go much deeper but only consciously consumed by wanderlust. Then you reach your riad and things take an interesting turn.

The carved pastel green door against the red walls symbolic to the Red City, Marrakech, swing open to a courtyard with a serene water fountain which really only symbolized the beginning of a luxurious 1500 square feet living space spread that spreads over three storeys. The ground floor has a kitchenette, majlis, living room sharing a TV lounge over looking the courtyard, writing desk, dining corner, all around the chimney. A narrow staircase decked with hand carved stones takes you upstairs to a beautiful bedroom suite, adorned with bespoke furniture, artisan walls and decorated with fine fabrics from floor to ceiling. A marbled bathroom

with a bathtub and rain-shower, in addition to a fully fitted walk-in wardrobe with radical skin products anticipate your arrival.

But this is not it. We haven’t even been to the best part yet. Another flight of stairs takes you into the open spacious terrace with a private sundeck, a plunge pool and a shady lounge tent, perfect for breakfast pictures in the morning. But here is the thing, every moment and every sight is ‘instagrammable’ in fact, ‘no filter’ will be a regular feature and you won’t be able to stop yourself from clicking even the minutest details of furniture.

The overwhelming desire of discovering the unknown takes you on a tour of the riad, until you find yourself where you started, at the courtyard entrance and that is when it hits. Stranded in what seemed then like a chimney entrance, I glanced up to find open skies as my ceiling. Traditional palaces tend to have enclosed or impressive ceilings but there was something magical about finding the unexpected, with birds having conversations perched on carved arches with each other.

Built like a tower or a chimney that opens up into the sky, the three-story riad is a marvel of architecture, beauty in every stone, on every step, upon every hook. If you have ever gaped at a movie set on screen, then this is that times a hundred. Beautiful sets for emperors are made of this. This is no exaggeration because the property does in fact belong to the King, so it has to be fit for one.

Which brings us to the next-most-interesting-fact. Each floor has a back door through which your butler or room service arrives. “They never use the front door, nor will you ever see them around the hotel property,” Sarra Essail at The Royal Mansour Marrakech told us during a secret tour of the hotel.

On this whimsical journey, we discovered there was a world just like this, but underneath our feet. Apparently the underground pathways were constructed before the hotel was. Once the base was completed, the hotel was built on top of this underground city and when they say you won’t ever see hotel staff around, they are not lying. In fact you won’t even know when they come to your room sometimes.

Your luggage is brought up and stored quietly; your meals are placed when you want them, where you want them. A traditional Moroccan breakfast will magically appear on the terrace, just like your bags arrived in your riad a day before. You may feel like you are part of the 1001 Nights tales as 500 staff

members use a complex labyrinth underground of tunnels to secretly serve you throughout the day and night.

Incredible attention to detail may startle you initially until you start enjoying the invisible mystics. But once you have experienced this art of service, the next hotel you visit is going to have to beat some unrealistic riad’s sky-high expectations.

While we are on the topic of hospitality, we must acknowledge the most unique cuisine in the world belongs to Morocco. The Royal Mansour Marrakech is also home to some of the most stimulating restaurants under the supervision of Yannick Alléno, the Michelin starred Parisian Chef.

La Grande Table Marocaine is a world-class Moroccan fine dining restaurant with traditional dishes and setting, while La Grande Table Française serves extraordinary French food in a romantic candle light setting.

Other restaurant outlets in the hotel are equally impressive and offer different cuisines. The hotel’s award-winning spa is a gorgeous white-marbled, architectural sensation with carved doors from panels to ceilings that is home to holistic body treatments including an expert pedicurist, hammam, a Chanel station dedicated to skin care and make up and a large indoor poor.

Kids have their own club and a diverse set of activities that may make your day look boring in comparison. Designed to ensure every desire is looked after, suffice it to say that the hotel has created a special place for itself, far out of reach of the ordinary. For hoteliers who think being a five-star hotel is an accomplishment, think again because once you get through the gates of Royal Mansour Marrakech, it will never be the same again.

The destination is as important as the journey and that is why you should choose Emirates. If you are stopping over in Dubai first, which is always a good idea, all business-class passengers can book a complimentary pick-up chauffeur-drive service from any address and relax at the world-class, phenomenal airport lounge that provides everything including showers, arcade games and a health hub.

The A380-800 aircraft has an unusual design, where seats that can transform into beds, in each row are configured in a different position, alternating to create a private cocoon for each passenger. With a console and luggage cabin by your side, you have lots of space to keep your things without getting up to use the overhead locker.

For those who struggle with and can’t sleep on long flights, given the journey from Dubai can take up to eight hours and even longer from Saudi Arabia, we have good news. The airline’s ‘ICE’ entertainment system offers 2,500 channels of entertainment along with Wi-Fi on-board. One of the best features of the A380is the on-board lounge, where you can hang out, stretch your legs and enjoy complementary canapés for as long as you want.

Friends can gather together for drinks and conversation or read a book with a cup of coffee and enjoy the ambiance of a lounge up in the air. World-class chefs whip up traditional and top quality food with a selection of breads and drinks and by the time you are done it is time to go. You can also speed through immigration at most airports with a fast-track card when you fly Business. Basically, they’ve got you covered, from A to Z.

Royal Mansour Marrakech Offers

Exclusive Yves Saint Laurent Package

To celebrate the opening of the YSL Museum in Marrakech, the Royal Mansour offers a two-night stay in a Superior Riad, a dinner at La Grande Table Marocaine and complimentary access to Jardin Majorelle and the YSL museum. An exclusive guided visit of the Villa Oasis, home of Pierre Bergé and YSL, and a guided tour of the museum can also be organized separately for a donation of 24 000 MAD for the benefit of the Foundation YSL.