Unlike the recent trend of ever more ostentation in Marrakech’s five star hotels, the Mandarin Oriental, Marrakesh – Morocco’s luxury doesn’t shout, it whispers.

With the Atlas Mountains as a backdrop and a series of serene ponds as a centrepiece, Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech lies nestled in 20 hectares of olive groves and landscaped gardens, beautifully scented with jasmine, night-blooming cestrum and over 100,000 fragrant roses. Only 10 minutes from the city’s famous Medina, this elegant, contemporary resort feels a world away in terms of serenity, with just 54 luxurious villas and 9 spacious suites, a world-class spa and excellent dining.

The  villas and central hub nestle unobtrusively in a fully mature garden that undulates like a dunefield and is planted loosely with feathery grasses and punctuated by centuries-old olive trees.

Inside there is a similarly strong, but subtle sense of place. Material texture, symmetry and visual drama combine the geometric influences from Berber arts and crafts with an Arabo-Andalusian sense of scale and symmetry.

ACCOMMODATION

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In total there are 54 villas, seven first-floor suites and two spa suites. All of them have private pools and acres of space. The signature villas (either 3,000 or 4,500 sq ft) are designed as mini riads around enclosed courtyards each with an infinity pool in black zellij tiling. Four-poster loungers, sofa seating, a fireplace, dining area and a fully equipped kitchen make the outdoor space as utile as the interiors.

The latter are furnished in MO’s signature palette of cream and mahogany and carry throughout Berber motifs in the handwoven rugs, textured tadelakt and latticework screens modelled on moucharabieh. And it isn’t just the glossy high finish or the retractable TV at the base of the bed that impress; smaller details such as the automated shutter system, a shoe cleaning kit and an extravagantly stocked mini-bar reveal a care for client comfort that often gets lost in the hoopla.

DINING

Breakfast is a buffet in the Salon Berbère overlooking large mirror-like pools that seem to draw the sky earthwards and soak the skirts of pretty weeping willows. Hopscotch your way across the water to the Pool Garden where you can graze on organic, vegetarian lunches. Fine-dining dinners come courtesy of Bocuse-trained chef, Meryem Cherkaoui, who’s blazed a trail with her modern Moroccan cuisine all the way from the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris.

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WELLNESS & SPA

With a design inspired by the historic cathedrals and mosques of Andalucia, the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech is a temple of wellbeing dedicated to health, holistic healing and rejuvenation.

With high arched ceilings, long corridors built from red brick and a stunning sun-drenched ornamental pool leading off reception, the spa’s design is one of the most beautiful in Marrakech, providing the perfect backdrop to our long list of treatments and therapies.

Spread over 1,800 metres squared, the spa has six treatment rooms, including two suites, all with private gardens where guests can relax, and some with vitality baths, outside treatment areas and one dedicated Thai treatment suite. In addition, there are two luxurious Moroccan hammams, a hairdresser and a beauty salon featuring both manicure and pedicure stations.

Having been greeted by your therapist at reception, your shoes will be swapped for spa sandals, symbolising the beginning of your journey. Your therapist will then show you to your spa suite, where, following a short consultation, your treatment will begin.

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Following your treatment, you will then be invited to enjoy the tranquil surroundings of your suite’s private walled garden or relaxation area, ensuring a suitably relaxing end to your time.

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