CHECK IT OUT MANDARIN ORIENTAL, MARRAKECH
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.