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Morocco’s La Mamounia packs intrigue and mystique into an art deco setting. The hotel opened in 1923 as a winter haven for French diplomats and transformed into a hot spot for royalty, movie stars and other international celebrities. In fact, Architectural Digest has celebrated it as one of the most historically significant hotels in the world.

Positioned in the heart of Marrakesh, the 17-acre gated estate is flanked by liveried guards. The lobby is a visual experience of contrasting colors, tiled walls, silk-draped ceilings, and fountains filled with roses. Guest check-in occurs individually in a great hall on red velvet sofas where the staff presents a tray with dates, almond milk and hot towels, keeping with the Moroccan tradition of hospitality. Bellboys in long robes and fezzes tend to luggage. Ever present is a fragrant bouquet of amber, cedar, jasmine and orange blossoms.

Photography provided by La Mamounia

There are 135 guest rooms, 71 suites and three traditional riads onsite. All have individual personalities, boasting French furnishings, intricate Moroccan tiles and well-appointed bathrooms. The suites here are elegant Moorish apartments with patio doors opening onto gardens featuring views of the Atlas Mountains and sounds of songbirds and the occasional distant Islamic call to prayer.

The property has all the amenities one would expect from a luxury resort, including swimming pools, tennis courts, a fitness center and a luxe spa. The signature wellness experience is the Hammam Evasion: a body scrub that starts with steam followed by a sequence of local concoctions like almond milk, amber honey, black soap and ghassoul mud from the Atlas Mountains followed by exfoliation and a series of rinses.

La Mamounia has four acclaimed restaurants led by Le Marocain, an intimate riad-style eatery where local cuisine is served on sharing platters against a backdrop of live music. L’Italien offers contemporary Italian fare with seasonal ingredients plucked from the hotel’s organic vegetable garden. Le Pavillon de la Piscine sits adjacent to the grand outdoor pool and is the place to be for Sunday brunch. Le Bar Churchill, with its leopard-print seating and vintage photography of jazz legends, is a classic cocktail lounge honoring prized former guest Winston Churchill. And La Mamounia is collaborating with chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten on two new culinary concepts.

The hotel’s concierge team presents a book of signature experiences and handily creates custom itineraries, including city tours and day trips to the Atlas Mountains. Just a short walk away is the souk, an Arabian marketplace with more than 7,000 shops and stalls peddling lamps, rugs, antiques, slippers, leather goods, spices and more. La Mamounia can arrange certified guides to help guests negotiate and navigate the labyrinth-like maze of the medina.

There are few worldly destinations as magical and mesmerizing as the North African city of Marrakesh. La Mamounia is a bohemian fountain of luxury that fulfills every Moroccan fantasy. 

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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