Hidden away in the Medina of Marrakech lies a place almost too beautiful to be real. You may lose your way trying to find it, but the destination is certainly worth whatever arduous journey is required. For in Marrakech lies a hotel unlike any other in the world – the Royal Mansour. And, commissioned by the owner – King Mohammed VI – the hotel certainly lives up to its regal namesake. As a Royal Mansour wedding photographer, having the opportunity to spend a week staying in one of the hotel’s decadent private riads was an absolute dream come true.
Just steps away from the famous Jemaa El Fna square beats the lies the Royal Mansour palace, offering travelers the unique concept of a medina within a medina. The moment you arrive through the palatial gate in your chauffeured Bently or Range Rover it is clear that you have arrived somewhere special. Each area of the Royal Mansour has been designed to intuitively take guests on a sensory journey and is filled with one-of-a-kind handcrafted details.
The palace is designed like the medina, with winding paths leading through almost two acres of exquisite Moroccan gardens. As the hotel encourages rest and relaxation, part of the fun every day was getting lost amongst the endless rows of orange trees and fountains, as every time we seemed to stumble upon an enclave even more beautiful than the last. In the center of the jardin lies the poolside oasis where we would unwind after a morning of shopping in the souks.
One of the aspects that makes the Royal Mansour unique is that it only offers one accommodation option – private villas, or Moroccan Riads. The fifty-three independent riads (ranging from one to four bedrooms) all feature a four-story space with private garden courtyards and rooftop pools. A true celebration of Moroccan craftsmanship, the riads are utterly luxe while still remaining cozy and inviting. We enjoyed private rooftop dinners under the stars next to the wood-burning fireplace that was lit at a moment’s notice by the attendant. With sophisticated lounges, shaded patios, exquisite bathrooms, terraces with a view of the Atlas Mountains, multiple fireplaces, and round-the-clock butler service – staying in a Royal Mansour riad is an absolute bucket list-worthy experience.
A bastion of gastronomical excellence, the Royal Mansour has four incredible restaurants that are led by the famous French Chef Yannick Alléno. The hotel’s premiere restaurant, La Grande Table Marocaine, offers an unforgettable sensory experience that puts a fresh spin on the flavors of Morocco. Breakfast is served every day at La Table, an elegant restaurant under the arabesques with a beautiful garden terrace. For casual meals, Le Jardin offers poolside dining with vibrant Asian and Mediterranean-influenced cuisine based. Last, but certainly not least, the hotel recently opened Sesamo – a decadent Italian restaurant led by Michelin-star chef Massimiliano Alajmo, referred to by many food critics as “the Mozart of Italian cuisine. For drinks, the Royal Mansour has a plethora of sophisticated bars with live music, roaring fireplaces, and delicious cocktails.
The hammam remains an integral part of Moroccan culture, and the Royal Mansour Spa is in a class of its own. The moment one enters the spa through the citrus garden they are transported to a different world centered around bubbling fountains and white Moorish lace walls. If you have never enjoyed a Moroccan hammam before it is a must, and the space is truly almost too beautiful to believe. I also opted for a massage and facial, both of which were sublime.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the service of the Royal Mansour. At the property, truly no request is too much, and they were supremely helpful in assisting us with booking hard-to-snag dining reservations, hiring us the best private guides to lead us through the souks, and recommending the best places to see, shop, and eat in Marrakech. On the last night of our stay I wanted to have a fire on our rooftop. Moments after making the request, two attendants came to not only build the fire but pour me fresh mint tea and build me an outdoor bed complete with feather blankets and down pillows. I fell asleep by the fire under the stars – a perfect way to end the perfect trip to Marrakech.
To see more of our Moroccan adventures:
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Photos by Royal Mansour Wedding Photographer Molly Carr Photography