An Iconic Hotel and a King’s Palace in Marrakesh

JimDunn - Marrakesh - ManspurSpa

IT IS ONE thing to be fortunate enough to stay for a short break at one of the world’s leading and iconic hotels, La Mamounia in Marrakesh as I did last week but it is a life changing experience….truly…to find yourself, after that stupendous interlude, to be whisked around the corner to the latest creation by the country’s young King, a very modern Monarch, The Royal Mansour Hotel.

The King, of course has Palaces all over Morocco in all the main cities….Rabat, Casablanca… but this Palace, in the tourist hub of Marrakesh is a short walk to that exotic main square Djemaa al-Fna where every night from darkness the stage is set for a most bizarre experience, tops them all. From early evening the square is the gathering place for hundreds of locals and tourists alike, the locals wanting to sell you food, fruit and vegetables, tourist tat, clothes or play you traditional music or wrap a snake around your neck if you are so inclined and us tourists in turn just want to absorb in great quantities this promenade of boundless energy with its dancers, acrobats and general money grabbers.  This Square is one the best tourism experiences you could ever have.

At the sanctuary that is The Royal Mansour away from this chaos, you don’t have a room….you have a home, a Riad, a traditional Moroccan townhouse with drawing room, bedroom, roof terrace and pool, plus all the essentials like fabulous bathrooms with just the correct amount of ‘bling’ and the essential coffee making machine. But… hey…. room service is available 24 hours a day from your Butler and your every wish is delivered so why waste time making coffee yourself? Even the internet signal which really mattered to friends with me was spot on.

All deliveries, breakfast etc., arrive through a system of tunnels straight to the floor of the Riad you are on so nothing as common as having to go to the main door in your dressing gown and dishevelled hair. And believe me breakfast in the sun up on the roof terrace with that gorgeous smell of orange blossom wafting by over the rooftops of Marrakesh and the occasional Meuzzin calling the faithful to Prayer is a must. The Riads come in one to 4 bedrooms so bring some friends.

The King uses the The Royal Mansour as an overflow for his guests from his main Marrakesh Palace nearby but when he doesn’t need the rooms this Palace operates as an out of this world hotel.

Highlight? Well there is no ‘highlight’…it is all one big outrageously beautiful and marvellous tribute to Moroccan craftsmanship as can be seen from the photographs. Thousands of talented men and women toiled to produce workmanship and decoration that is a privilege to view.

Back at La Mamounia I was at home. I have been there many times but this visit followed a multi-million refurbishment and it shows. Again Moroccan craftsmanship is on show in the latticework, painting and fabrics. All is sparklingly fresh and smells gorgeously of dates and oranges.

From my room I looked down on 16 acres of pristine gardens and a massive pool…..palm trees swayed in the breeze and there again was that exotic smell of orange blossom…..and there also in the distance was the majestic Atlas Mountain range topped with snow at this time of the year. Just an hour’s drive away and I could be skiing. And that is as likely as me speaking Chinese fluently.


Built in 1923, La Mamounia, where Winston Churchill stayed and would have had a full floor for his guests and staff, during his post-War trips to Marrakesh to paint and write, has been re-decorated by top French designer, Jacques Garcia. It’s a huge success. Not too over the top artisanal as to look ‘Disneyfied’ but enough to remind one that you are in Morocco and you are viewing the very best of their tradesman’s work.

Everyone has been to Marrakesh….from Sting to Jimmie Hendrix and everyone in between so it is time you went.


Written by: Jim Dunn 
JIM DUNN is a writer and PR advisor to the Travel and Leisure industries.
He has written two books. A ‘how to’ book on Successful PR and a memoir “Very Private and Public Relations”. His story of growing up in Scotland in the 1960s and creating a hugely successful PR organisation in London; the book is available now in bookshops or on line.
He lives in Malta, Majorca and London.



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