Updated on April 22, 2023
*It’s no surprise that Royal Mansour was chosen for the first season of Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby which you can see here. A free episode clip is here.
Elegant and beautiful. Mysterious and still. Oh, Resplendent Respite.
When I accepted an invitation to visit the Royal Mansour, I didn’t realize I’d be entering a sumptuous city handmade on command. King Mohammed VI commissioned over 1000 artists from Marrakech, Fez, Meknes, and Essaouira to use the finest materials in crafting the showcase of Moroccan splendor which opened in 2010. Here guests are guided ot to rooms but to fifty-three regal riads. With one to four bedrooms, the three-story mansions boast butlers and rooftop pools.
Hidden behind the 13th-century walls of the Marrakech medina, Royal Mansour was fashioned after the medinas of all the imperial cities of Morocco with its courtyards, winding streets, and great gates. Cedar, metal, and sculptured plaster construct an entrance like the famous “Bab el Khemis” (Thursday Gate) promising happiness, wealth, and prosperity. Inside is North African, Spanish, and Portuguese traditional Moorish architecture.
Here every desire is anticipated. A white-gloved hand offers a straw on a china tray for fresh-squeezed orange juice. A plush robe is lifted from my shoulders, then hung on a hook to prepare me for the hammam. As if with a sixth sense, staff appeared when needed and discreetly disappeared to allow me to roam the riad and relax for hours in the spa.
Most impressive, they protect the privacy of their guests. Unlike some in the service industry who use VIP labels to create a place “to see and be seen,” Royal Mansour offers a hidden haven for government officials, diplomats, and celebrities. The large staff including 24-hour maid service, valets, and cleaners move surreptitiously through underground passageways so the world above is kept quiet. The goal is for guests to feel they are the only ones there unless they wish to interact in public areas, such as the restaurants under the supervision of Yannick Alléno. Last month the legendary Parisian chef won 3 stars in the 2015 Michelin Guide.
Alléno says his objective for La Grande Table Marocaine is “to give the Moroccan cuisine, already great by itself, a new dimension.” And of La Grande Table Française, under the same roof, he offers “a creative, structured, sensitive and modern cuisine. The menu was created in accordance with local raw materials using leading Moroccan products such as spider crab, Moroccan black truffles, lobster, or veal.”
You can have your own royal wedding here as well as experience many other events. Royal Mansour loves children so there are many options for parents. And resident or not on the property, you can learn at signature workshops open to the public.
I was invited to Royal Mansour three times to take Beauty Breaks for the Soul. I played Monet and studied my subject — a masterpiece —in the morning, noon, and night light while touring, lingering at La Table for breakfast with a friend, and enjoying a hammam. Each time I entered, attentive, amiable staff members welcomed me. Each time I left every sense felt energized.
Birds, fountains, basins, and breezes. Hot marble. Cold marble. Steam rooms, cool pools, and sheets.
Trees dripping olives, lemons, and pomegranates. Gardens of roses, gardenias, jasmine, and rosemary.
Follow me and experience Royal Mansour…
One big reason I moved to Marrakech was for warmth, and I don’t just mean the sunny skies. I grew up in a culture of Southern hospitality. In Nashville, like many, I take pleasure greeting friends with a hug or kiss and serving guests on fine china under my magnolia tree.
Here Moroccans greet one another with kisses on each cheek. Waiters don’t rush you from the table by bringing the check. They wait for you to ask for it because they don’t want to intrude whether you are socializing with friends or family or traveling solo. Moroccans observe tea time as do the British but with a French- flare- for- fancy as they pour the hot mint brew from silver pots into decorative glasses. Though
Thank you, Royal Mansour, for your hospitality and exotic brand of charm. Readers, as always, opinions here are my own.