CHECK IT OUT MAN­DARIN ORI­EN­TAL, MAR­RAKECH

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

THE Man­darin Ori­en­tal, Mar­rakech, open­ing in June, will be a ho­tel in a gar­den, sit­u­ated on 20 land­scaped hectares, the air sweet­ened by 100,000 rose bushes, the guests’ pri­vate court­yards draped in bougainvil­lea and dot­ted with olive trees.

Within walk­ing dis­tance of the Royal Golf Club and a five-minute drive from the Me­d­ina, the ho­tel will fea­ture 54 pri­vate walled vil­las, each with its own gar­den, pool, al­fresco dining area and hot tub; and nine suites claim­ing ter­race views of the snow­capped At­las Moun­tains.

French de­sign­ers Pa­trick Gilles and Dorothee Boissier have de­vel­oped a se­ries of con­tem­po­rary re­treats where clean lines are en­hanced by sub­tle Ber­ber and Span­ish Ara­bic in­flu­ences.

The one or two-bed­room vil­las are laid out like tra­di­tional ri­ads sur­round­ing a court­yard gar­den and each fea­tures a luxury bath­room fit­ted with a large cir­cu­lar tub and a shower with in-built ham­mam (steam bath); there’s an­other shower in the gar­den. The nine suites have their own rooftop plunge pools; the two sig­na­ture suites have their own spa treat­ment room and in­fin­ity lap pool.

Sump­tu­ous linens and bathrobes are cour­tesy of La Mai­son de Blanc; bath­room ameni­ties are by Nec­tarome (a per­fumery and gar­den at the foot of the At­las Moun­tains); cof­fee is by Ne­spresso and there’s com­pli­men­tary Wi-Fi for up to six de­vices.

DON’T MISS: An af­ter­noon in the day spa, 1800sq m of pure in­dul­gence in in­te­ri­ors in­spired by the cathe­drals of An­dalu­sia. Fa­cil­i­ties in­clude two ham­mams, out­door treat­ment ar­eas, a yoga stu­dio, top-of-the­line fit­ness cen­tre and in­door pool.

DINING IN: Ex­ec­u­tive chef Meryem Cherkaoui will bring her re­fined fare to the fine dining Mes’Lalla lo­cated in the ho­tel’s grand lobby riad. Moroc­can­born, French-trained and hav­ing worked at the Ho­tel de Cril­lon in Paris, Cherkaoui sources in­gredi- ents from lo­cal sup­pli­ers and brings French tech­niques to Moroc­can dishes. Try her lamb ke­bab, the shred­ded meat cooked for seven hours with saf­fron, gar­lic, onion con­fit and Magh­dour spices. The ho­tel also has a pool­side restau­rant, and Le Sa­lon Berbere is per­fect for bub­bles and mezze.

DINING OUT: Mas­ter the art of the tagine dish. Spend the day with a re­sort chef, shop­ping for pro­duce in the Me­d­ina be­fore pre­par­ing your own lunch.

ASK THE CONCIERGE: horse-drawn car­riage.

Book a tour of the old city in a

CHECK­ING IN: Rooms from 750 ($1030) in­clud­ing break­fast. More: man­dari­nori­en­tal.com.

ALSO TRY: One & Only The Palm, Dubai; The Chedi Mus­cat, Oman; Alila Vil­las Uluwatu, Bali.

CHRISTINE McCABE

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