La Mamounia – Marrakesh, Morocco
On some days during the three years it took to restore Marrakech’s undisputed grandedame hotel, more than 1,000 craftsmen were at work on the site. Parisian designer Jacques Garcia, entrusted with returning the 1923 property to its former glory, sought out the city’s most talented painters and wood carvers. The craftsmen he chose laid millions of hand-cut tiles, pieced together wood-marquetry walls, carved ornate designs into plaster columns and forged hundreds of handmade lanterns. Thanks to them, the palace is once again a vibrant celebration of the city’s past, present and future, displaying Moroccan style, complete with intricate patterns and arabesques based on Berber and Arab-Andalusian traditions.
A stay at La Mamounia is a visual experience, with plays of light between indoor and outdoor spaces, and beautifully contrasting colours, such as the zellige tilework in Majorelle blue, green and orange. It is also a tactile experience, with the flowing lines of arabesque sculptures, the textured and velvety smooth fabrics, and the gentle warmth of wood, as well as the subtle, enchanting presence of water in the hotel’s fountains and ponds – a beautiful symbol of life.
The hotel also offers delights for the nose, with fragrances of jasmine, orange blossom, cedar and powerful leather. Last but not least, there are delicacies for the palate, such as almond milk and dates, which are served to welcome guests to the hotel in keeping with the Moroccan tradition of hospitality.
A powerful experience for all the senses.
Treat yourself to a wonderful sensory experience. The Spa at La Mamounia offers guests an unforgettable journey into the senses. Walk up the Majorelle blue stairs and follow the dreamy glow of the Oriental lighting. A vast space devoted to wellness, with massages, body treatments and a hairdressing salon. Not to mention the legendary outdoor pool where you can relax and unwind in the warm water.
Inspired by an intoxicating blend of Moroccan and Eastern culture, the 27,000-sq-ft Spa La Mamounia beautifully fuses the traditional with the modern. Over 80 treatments are offered, including a full line of face and body therapies using products by Amala and marocMaroc, and manicures and pedicures by La Ric; signatures include a luxe version of the traditional Hammam ritual. The Spa features a large indoor heated pool, Jacuzzi, 10-treatment rooms, 6 outdoor massage cabins, 2-gyms, 2-Hammans and a spa suite.
Over 80 treatments are offered, including a full line of face and body therapies using products by Amala and marocMaroc, and manicures and pedicures by La Ric; signatures include a luxe version of the traditional Hammam ritual. The Spa features a large indoor heated pool, Jacuzzi, 10-treatment rooms, 6 outdoor massage cabins, 2-gyms, 2-Hammans and a spa suite.
You might also be interested in:
Prepare for your senses to be slapped. Marrakesh’s heady sights and sounds will dazzle, frazzle and enchant. Put on your babouches and dive right in.
Faith & Culture
You’ll understand how religion permeates the rhythms of daily life when you hear the sonorous call to prayer echo out from the mosques. As an old imperial capital, Marrakesh is home to some beautiful examples of Islamic architecture, most impressively the Ali ben Youssef Medersa and the Koutoubia minaret. The city also holds on to a heritage of the other religious communities that once helped it become a vibrant caravan town. Head to the old Jewish district of the mellah to visit the Lazama Synagogue and the Miaâra Jewish cemetery to gain a greater understanding of Marrakesh’s cosmopolitan past.
Bahia Palace and the Dar Si Said are a riot of tilework and intricate floral painted-wood ceilings, the Saadian Tombs are enriched by an opulent bounty of marble, while the Musée de Mouassine and Musée de Marrakech are a showcase of swirling stucco and carved-wood design. And if you choose to bed down for a night in a riad, you’ll be able to sleep amid some of this splendour too. Marrakesh is a city steeped in ancient artistry that continues to thrive, kept alive by the modern craftspeople of the souqs and the contemporary art and design scene of the ville nouvelle.
Think of the medina’s souqs as a shopping mall, but laid out according to a labyrinthine medieval-era plan. Whether you want to spice up your pantry with North African flavours or buy a carpet to add Moroccan-wow to your house, this magpie’s nest of treasures is manna for shop-til-you-drop fanatics.
The main market streets are Souq Semmarine and Souq el-Kebir. If you see something you really like there, fine – but understand prices will be higher. Smaller souqs and souqs dedicated to artisan workshops such as Souq Haddadine (Blacksmith’s Souq), where you can buy direct from the producer, generally have the best deals.
Got your map ready? Well, it’s probably of little use to you here. Wrapped within the 19 kilometres of powder-pink pisé ramparts, the medina is Marrakesh’s show-stopping sight of crowded souqs, where sheep carcasses swing from hooks next door to twinkling lamps, and narrow, doodling ochre-dusted lanes lead to nowhere. The main artery into this mazy muddle is the vast square of Djemaa el-Fna, where it’s carnival night every night. Stroll between snail-vendors, soothsayers, acrobats and conjurers, musicians and slapstick acting troupes to discover the old city’s frenetic pulse. The party doesn’t end until the lights go out.