An authentic reflection of Moroccan art and lifestyle, the Royal Mansour in Marrakech is a unique experience for those seeking a unique experience, palace built by the HM King Mohammed VI and independently run and operated. Royal Mansour provides a rare opportunity for the most discerning travellers to experience a royal palace where privacy and ultimate service are brought to another level. That is why, I have found it impossible to compare the Royal Mansour with another local hotel, least with another Moroccan style hotel.
Thousands of Moroccan craftsmen, using the highest quality local and imported materials have recreated a royal palace, where guests can enjoy an genuine regal experience. From the entrance, I was stunned by the grand bronze gate, which opens up to the most delicate and elegant medina. Shimmering Moroccan tiles, Italian marble, Murano chandeliers, wooden painted ceilings and intricately carved corniches adorn the medina area, which is too sophisticated to be called a lobby. Passing through the medina at different times of the day, I realized the multiple facets and the magic lighting can instill.
Situated in the heart of old Marrakech, amidst a lavish estate bordering the beautiful public park of the city, the Royal Mansour features 53 riads, ranging from one bedroom to three bedrooms, all painted in a distinct pastel terracota colour. The meticulous design authentically replicates the classic forms of the raditional medina, with buildings, squares and gardens interspersed with intricate winding paths covering 3.5 hectares, entirely surrounded by its own five-metre wall, one side being the existing ancient city wall.
Upon entering my riad (a one bedroom superior riad) I discovered a delightful courtyard with a fountain leading to a large living room. Attention to detail is second to none, the living room equipped with a majestic fireplace and a large mirror above. A beautiful fresh white flowers bouquet would add to the warmth of the room which abunds in hand made Moroccan furniture, silk wall paper, overall a very welcoming, cosy and comfortable space. The residential feel is then completed by the bedroom on the first floor, with a huge king size bed that would gather the envy of any major international luxury hotel chain. Despite the very tall ceiling, the bedroom retains a very warm feel.
The royal treat is then to be found in the full marble bathroom, entirely covered with pink marble – there is a a large bathtub (organic bath oils are provided) and a separate shower. To understand the level of regal pampering, one would only need to explore the amenities, which I have never found in any other luxury hotel in the world – with separate sets for ladies (nail polish remover, face cleanser, hand cream, body lotion, comb) and gentlemen (shaving kit, comb, body lotion, hair mask). All bathroom amenities are provided by Maroc Maroc, a French based cosmetics company using Moroccan ingredients such as pure argan oil, almond oil and Moroccan roses. Thick, plush towels and bathrobes complete the exquisit experience of the bathroom.
On the third level of my riad, I was amazed to find a roof terrace with its sun deck, private pool and a working chimney – for ultimate relaxation or simply an original place for in room dining. I even used the table and chairs on the roof top to catch up on some work.
When it comes to service, Royal Mansour excels at every level – very discreet, yet always intuitive, genuine and heartfelt. Speaking to some of the staff, I could see the pride in their eyes and the huge appreciation and privilige to be able to work for a hotel owned and run by the Royal family. To provide the utmost in privacy, there is an expertly conceived system of corridors which allows staff to arrive directly to each riad without guests even feeling their presence. A 24 hour butler is available for each riad and access can be made directly at each level of the riad, depending on the request of the guest. Technology is also of utmost importance, the living room and bedroom being equipped with touch control panels for air-conditioning, lighting and do not disturb.
My stay was too short to experience one of the two fine dining restaurants of the hotel, the menus of which are conceived and supervised by internationally renowned Michelin starred Chef Yannick Alléno. The Chimney Lounge, the Cigar Lounge and the Library are not only an ideal place for reading and relaxing but also the perfect venues for conducting business or official meetings, the Royal Mansour being a preferred choice for foreign dignitaries and royalties visiting Marrakech. As for the design of these lounges, I find it impossible to up into words.
The SPA is yet another amazing experience at the Royal Mansour, not only because of its sheer size, spread over four floors but the original design and decorative details in each treatment room. Some of the SPA suites have their private terraces and small pools for relaxation. The SPA features exclusive body treatments with entirely organic beauty products by Dr.Hauschka as well as treatments with Sisley and marocMaroc. The SPA at Le Royal Mansour has the very first make up and cosmetics room branded Chanel. Hammam, fitness and pilates complete the SPA experience at Le Royal Mansour. This time, I only had a tour of facilities but next time, I shall make sure to experience one of the treatments.
Exceptional details: the hotel has its own custom made scent, which can be felt throughout the entire hotel (there are no plans to share the scent with the guests); glass covered and air-conditioned outdoor swimming pool, shoe shine service by French luxury shoemaker J.M. Weston; a collection of books on Marrakech, including art and design hard cover catalogues; all staff in the Food & Beverage outlets wear impeccable white gloves; the medina has a dedicated jewellery and watches room, with a limited edition Van Cleef Arpels watch, made especially for the Royal Mansour; the retail area in the SPA which looks like an ancient library also has a dedicated lounge area where guests are offered the experience the signature drink of the SPA.
Room for improvement: welcome experience and the check-in process (was rather slow and staff seemed quite confused); the wi-fi internet has very poor signal especially with the riads (extra routers could be installed); gardeners would better work at night, otherwise, I have come accross spread earth on many occasions in the gardens, on the connecting pathways.
Many royal families own hotels but I have never encoutered a hotel to be independently run and moreover, at such a high standard of luxury. Money can buy anything, but taste, elegance and attention to detail derive from one’s personality.
My respects for the King of Morocco on this exceptional achievement !
Oliver Petcu in Marrakech
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