The most visited city in the kingdom of Morocco, Marrakech has a mesmerizing effect. British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill called it “the loveliest spot in the world,” and fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent proclaimed, “Marrakech introduced me to color.” Today this modern metropolis of wide boulevards, luxury resorts and a beautiful new airport beckons visitors to discover the old and new.
Marrakech is an ancient walled city of pink ramparts punctuated by the towering 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque minaret. A tour of the city is an eye-popping experience of opposites. Donkey carts share the road with Ferraris. Shoppers will find caftans and couture. Jet-setters flock to glamorous nightclubs, while the UNESCO-listed medina, Jemaa El Fna Square, is literally jumping with acrobats, snake charmers, trained monkeys and Berber musicians.
But it’s what’s beyond a set of unassuming wooden doors in the twisting maze of the marketplace or behind a plain exterior wall along a busy street where the city’s true heart reveals itself. Step inside to find a riad, a traditional dwelling with trickling fountains in a quiet courtyard, intricately tiled interiors from floor to ceiling, and steps that lead to rooftop gardens and views of the city below.
The design of the Royal Mansour Marrakech Hotel includes 53 private riad residences ranging from one to four bedrooms. Commissioned by King Mohammed VI himself, each impressive riad is royalty ready with three stories of elegant custom-made furnishings, state of the art touch screen technology as well as rooftop plunge pools and fireplaces. This showplace property took more than 1,000 craftsmen three years to complete with serenity and beauty at every mosaic-tiled turn. Olive trees and date palms lead the way to the swimming pool and an award-winning spa.
Restaurants at the Royal Mansour feature a fabulous introduction to the best of traditional Moroccan cuisine such as flavorful slow-cooked tagines as well as contemporary dishes featuring Mediterranean seafood. Don’t miss sampling the wines of Morocco, especially when chosen by one of the hotel’s knowledgeable sommeliers. And no matter what time of day, end your meal with a soothing cup of Moroccan mint tea.
Another regal touch for guests is the exclusive access the Royal Mansour grants to private experiences in Marrakech, including a thrilling vintage motorcycle sidecar tour to the meticulously curated home of perfumer Serge Lutens; the fantastical gardens of Dar El Sadaka; and entrance to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent (known as the YSL museum).
One of the newest attractions in Marrakech, the YSL Museum, showcases key pieces from the couturier’s vibrant design collections and is next to the Jardin Majorelle, a must-see botanical garden restored by Saint Laurent.