At a Glance
The Royal Mansour’s regal ambience is befitting of its owner and creator, the King of Morocco. Grand archways, coffered ceilings, intricate tiles and mosaics, embroidered fabrics, impressive artwork: everything here feels designed to showcase the quality of the artistry of the local craftsmanship. The scale of the property is equally stunning; the king’s personal passion project is composed of multi-story riads that together feel like they make up their own medina, complete with restaurants, bars, courtyards, landscaped grounds and a beautiful pool. Privacy and peace are paramount here, so much so that staff members travel around the property via underground tunnels to ensure the utmost discretion. This is the hotel for Marrakech visitors who will truly appreciate the sense that they are guests of the Moroccan royal family—because they are.
**The Standout: **The Prestige Riads, with their own rooftop plunge pools and hammams **Don't Miss: **The workshops on subjects from art therapy to mixology to patisserie making
- The spectacular spa and lovely pool area
- The gourmet Moroccan restaurant, La Grande Table Marocain, overseen by Michelin-three-star chef Yannick Alleno
- The spacious guest villas that imbue the sense of living in a traditional riad
Le Royal Mansour covers more than twenty acres and is a showpiece of Moroccan craftsmanship. Hundreds of local artisans worked on the intricate interiors, which contain sculpted silver ceilings, pink-gold mirrored walls and mother-of-pearl inlays. The idea was to create a medina-like space, with guests checking into their ownriads. Many may find the 5:1 staff-to-guest ratio and service considerations like underground tunnels and secret elevator access to each room overwhelming, but these details are meant to provide the utmost comfort and ease to guests. And it certainly delivers.
Located around the corner from La Mamounia in a vast park within the city walls, the Royal Mansour houses all of its guests in 53 riads, ranging from one to four bedrooms. You arrive at the hotel via an olive tree-lined drive to an impressive courtyard. On one side is La Grande Table Marocain, the gourmet Moroccan restaurant overseen by lauded chef Yannick Alleno and widely considered among the best on the African continent. Adjacent is the main building which contains the reception, bar, La Table restaurant and boutique. A fabulously tiled courtyard with fountains and flowing curtains evokes a Moorish palace. The hotel has also added a beautiful and peaceful swimming pool, surrounded by bungalows. SESAMO, an Italian restaurant, opened in late 2019. But the conceit behind the hotel was not to host guests in a palace but instead in traditional Moroccan houses or riads, so they could get a sense of how Moroccans live in the medina.
The pathways leading away from the main buildings are not open with views but narrow and surrounded on all sides with riad walls. In keeping with traditional riads, the structures are built around central courtyards with rooms on different floors. The main salon occupies the first floor and the aesthetic is opulent: silk and velvet upholstery, inlaid wood tables, intricately carved moldings. Up a flight of marble stairs a carved wooden door leads into the bedroom, where again the design detail is dizzying. So while it may be a bit garish when you add the layers of extravagance together, the workmanship is remarkable. The coffered ceilings are carved and painted; silk upholstery, painted wainscoting and carved latticework cover the walls. The leather bureau has embroidered panels on the drawers and intricate brass pulls. The pillows are of the finest thread count, and the decorative silk pillows bear embroidery and beadwork.
Even the marble in the bathroom is elaborately etched and inlaid with motifs and the glass around the shower is set with inlays of silver to create latticework. Every detail makes you think of how many hands went into creating such artistic work. Once you get past the inconvenience and unfamiliarity of the rooms being on different floors, you actually feel the appeal of living in ariad. With a terrace on the top floor (complete with loungers and a plunge pool) and a kitchen on the first floor, you may be climbing stairs frequently but you are immersed in a different and traditional Moroccan house.
And thanks to the incredible service (each two-bedroom riad and higher comes with a butler), guests feel like royalty. The staff is rarely seen since an entire underground network of tunnels was built for service, but they work magic at impressive speed, fulfilling requests—be it for a fire to be lit or a meal to be delivered—in record time.
Note: Travelers with mobility issues must request one of the riads with an elevator at the time of booking (the riads are on two and three levels, with all bedrooms on the second floor).
Who Should Stay
Those looking for discretion and privacy in an atmosphere of impeccable elegance, as well as those with no budget considerations—single rooms begin at close to $2,000 a night during high season.
Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley