In the heart of one of the world’s most exotic cities lies an estate that redefines the gold standard of Andalusian opulence. Built into the medieval walls of Marrakech, with fifty three luxurious riads spread out amid hectares of manicured gardens, the Mansour is a medina within the medina, and a palace among the riad-style hotels.
The Royal Mansour was comissioned by Morroco’s king and His Highness did not trouble his self with matters of a less-important nature… like the project’s budget. Instead he employed hundreds of artisans over three years, with one aim: to create the most lavish hotel of them all.
The “most lavish” goal, in context of the sometimes extravagant Arab designs is not one we’d normally want to see realised (just look at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, beautiful on the outside, gaudy inside) but at the Royal Mansour we were in for a delightful surprise.
From the moment we entered through the spectacular bronze-plated gates we were discovering that the exquisite décor at the Mansour never ventures into the realm of poor taste or showiness. From striking silks to ornate handcrafted tiles, and from intricate woodwork to antique furniture—this place is a fabulous exercise in refined luxury.
Riads and Tunnels
Our accommodation was an opulent, three-storey house with a courtyard and a rooftop plunge pool. Created with meticulous attention to detail, it had mosaic details, hand-carved doors, floors laid with glazed tiles, and intricately carved plasterwork.
This was no different to what other guests get: the hotel does not simply offer guest rooms but, exclusively, whole riads—Morrocan townhouses so emblematic of the Moroccan medina.
Set in clusters, the riads form a small medina, mirroring the actual medieval heart of Marrakech—with one important distinction: the tranquil surroundings of the hotel stand in a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of life outside the walls.
This is underscored by an ingenious feature: the whole complex has an underground tunnel system, designed for Monsour’s gracious staff to remain unseen until they discretely appear through the guest’s riad service doors.
Monument to Serenity
The real centrepiece of the hotel is the beautiful lobby courtyard. Surrounded by sumptuous rooms and lounges with silk-covered walls and hand-painted arched doorways, the courtyard dazzles with beautiful lacework, patterns, arabesques. This is where the Royal Mansour hotel design showcases its symphony of symmetry and exquisite décor in a truly iconic way.
There is plenty more to gape at and adore at the hotel. No room is the same, no mosaic repeated, and every piece of furniture oozes quality and expensive chic.
Within the hotel gardens, a glazed pavilion encircled by a moat contains the massive spa facility. The spa has an indoor and outdoor pool, wellness centre and hammam, and the lobby is a masterpiece. White sheets of intricate lacework envelop its airy space, creating a stunning, birdcage-like atrium. Delicate aromas of rose, sweet almond and orange flower permeate its tranquil cavity.
Art on a Plate
There are three restaurants at the hotel: The all-day La Table with outside seating by the pool, and two dinner venues tended by white-gloved staff, La Grande Table Française and La Grande Table Marocaine. They are located on two sides of a blue-themed courtyard, of which the massive columns and walls are all lined with beautiful hand-crafted tiles.
We dined at the La Grande Table Marocaine. Inventive combinations, unique flavours, all beautifully prepared—the dishes we tried were all creative variations on the Moroccan cuisine, and true masterpieces of culinary art.
From breathtaking craftsmanship to culinary delights, rarely we visit a hotel that celebrates the country’s heritage in quite so exquisite a way. Checking out after only two nights, we had but one wish on our minds: to visit again and stay here much, much longer.