Checking In: La Mamounia Marrakech
I read somewhere that Winston Churchill called La Mamounia Hotel, “the most lovely spot in the whole world.” Churchill and I had a very similar experience, especially considering I had the privilege of staying in the same suite he spent many months in, decades ago. The 5-star hotel’s plush decor combined with the hand-carved architecture, insanely tasty restaurants, green gardens spanning 24 acres and a gorgeous spa to top it all off — La Mamounia Hotel is definitely close to paradise.
ALL ABOUT LA MAMOUNIA
La Mamounia Hotel has been in existence since the 1920’s, built in the midst of the “grand hotel” era — the time and place creating a cool mix of Art Deco design and a more classic Moroccan style. The hotel’s gardens have been around even longer, dating back to the 18th century when they were given to the Prince of Morocco as a wedding gift from his father, the Sultan.
The royal origin makes complete sense given its decadent atmosphere.
After about a ten minute drive from the airport, my boyfriend and I stepped into La Mamounia. We were immediately escorted to enormous plush couches and graciously given fresh almond milk and dates! The hotel manager welcomed us warmly as we sunk in and bathed in the red cushions — from then on, the luxury was endless.
Room 300, The Churchill Suite — As soon as I walked in, I was hit with all the Moroccan vibes. Ornate, detailed couches, carved wood and stone, everything romantically lit and red-wine in color. The table in the front room even gave us a warm, Moroccan welcome with an assortment of fruit, roses, dates and champagne. Churchill’s opinion of the hotel was absolutely accurate. The hotel gave him homage in thanks for his praise, his name written in Arabic above the bedroom’s headboard.
The suite’s layout — one bedroom, two bathrooms, two closets, two living rooms and a balcony overlooking the plush green garden outside.
The food is definitely consisted with the hotel’s high standards. With four restaurants, amazing cuisine, diverse options and a Sunday brunch to die for, you can almost feel a little overwhelmed. We had so much to do in Marrakech and too little time, so I only had the chance to eat at two of the restaurants — Le Marocain and Bar Italien.
Le Marocain — An à la carte restaurant combining Moroccan classics with modern interpretations. It’s widely considered to be one of the best restaurants in Marrakech, both for its food and atmosphere (they have live Moroccan music!), and I have to agree. I ordered the vegetable tagine, my favorite meal of the entire trip.
Bar Italien — Known for their Sunday brunch, there were so many options it was hard to choose! The kitchen has its own garden, so there are plenty of fresh veggies along with seafood, salads and tagines. I chose a sushi plate, paired with a shrimp soup — tasty and fresh, though my heart had been stolen earlier at Le Marocain!
What’s luxury with out a Spa — At La Mamounia’s Spa, I indulged in my first traditional hammam and body scrub. Moroccan’s regularly take part in large communal hot baths, called hammams. Friends and families gather and chat, gossip and generally socialize. However, La Mamounia’s Spa is far more secluded and serene.
I spent ten minutes in the hammam, sweating all those toxins out, and enjoying the calming atmosphere. After some meditation, the spa specialist took me into a soothing, dark room. I lowered myself onto a square black stone and let the scrub begin. The specialist was wonderful and comforting, although she definitely got close and personal! After the scrub, she hosed me down, completing the cleanse. I completed my personal refresh with a well done blow-dry at the hair salon. I left calm, collected and ready for more Marrakech adventures!
Before my visit, I had dreamed of experiencing Marrakech and its luxurious hotels, but the quality and service at La Mamounia exceeded all expectations. Seriously, an-all-around WOW!
Also, big thanks to Alan Keohane for photographing me around Marrakech.