Morocco marches to its own beat. Visitors find themselves switching between the chaotic pace of the medina in Marrakech, the vastness of the Sahara Desert and the soft sandy beaches that cover over 1000 miles of coastline.
Located in Hivernage between the medina and the new town is Mövenpick Hotel Mansour Eddahbi. The newly refurbished hotel allows visitors to walk in the footsteps of the most renowned member of the Saadian dynasty, Ahmad al-Mansour. The calm but extravagant atmosphere of the hotel mirrors the Sultan’s goal of creating an oasis in Marrakech.
Mansour means victorious, but the Sultan also went by the nickname ‘Eddahabi’ (The Golden One). He is famed for his cunning diplomatic skills during the power struggle over the Mediterranean but also for overseeing the complete transformation of Marrakech into one of the grandest cities of the 16th Century.
The entrance to the hotel is certainly one fit for a Sultan. A decorative pool that sprouts palm trees greet visitors as they are welcomed by staff at the door.
The hotel’s dramatic décor resonates with the style of Eddahabi; gold, giant bird cages hold metallic falcons, the birds kept by the Sultan for sport. A monumental chandelier depicting a drop of water hangs from the high-ceilinged lobby, another representation of the Sultan’s oasis vision.
Mixing traditional culture with the new, the hotel also welcomes artwork from various artists, including local Moroccan street artist, Hicham Bellaghzal. His tags can be spotted all over the hotel.
The hotel closed in 2013 and went under a three-year renovation project before reopening in 2016. Boasting 503 rooms, the buildings are all named after the Sultan’s sons apart from a new building that is named after his mother.
All rooms either have a balcony or open up onto a terrace, giving guests direct access to the outer grounds. Robes, slippers and coffee and tea making facilities create a comforting environment to relax.
Moroccan culture, architecture and decor are an imaginative blend of African, Arab and Mediterranean style and this never really leaves the hotel, but the rooms do prioritize functionality over opulence.
That being said, the Penthouse Suite does not hold back on its dazzling Arabian design. Guests can relax in their own infinity pool while they enjoy panoramic views of the oasis gardens and beyond.
Inside there are two bedrooms, one with a large king-sized bed that has white linens with bronze borders. The other is a twin bedroom ideal for children and both rooms come with a separate bathroom.
The living room is spacious and open. Traditionally, all Moroccan living rooms are designed like this to be able to host family and friends. Adorned with grand designs inspired by Saadian art, The Penthouse offers a place of privacy and relaxation to enjoy the red city. If requested, a 24-hour butler can be arranged.
There are five restaurants throughout the hotel. The Saray is where the guests enjoy the largest amount of choice from the breakfast buffet.
Tuck into authentic Moroccan cuisine as well as a vast array of international food. A highlight for many is M’smmen, traditional Moroccan pancakes. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy breakfast both indoors and outdoors surrounded by the hotel’s iconic palm trees.
For lunch, guests can opt for quick snacks relaxing by the pool or indulge in the most popular Moroccan street food at Dada’s Diner.
For dinner, the new Urban Brasserie comes highly recommended. Tables lit by candlelight and bold red chandeliers offer a more intimate dining experience. A favorite is certainly the Tajine dishes which are central to Moroccan cuisine. The dish is slow-cooked at low temperatures, resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce.
It’s also worth noting a popular tradition that has emerged at the hotel; their daily chocolate hour which happens near the main lobby. Trays of Moroccan pastries, chocolates and tea are on offer to try.
The glittering blue pools in the sun surrounded by green gardens and flowers offer the perfect place to unwind. However, complete tranquillity can be found at the award-winning Ô de Rose Spa. There are eight treatment rooms that offer a number of different massages and a traditional Moroccan hammam.
A hammam ritual is a purifying process involving a number of authentic Moroccan products such as Argan Oil, Beldi Black Soap and Rhassoul Mud to complete an overall experience of wellbeing.
Afterward, your skin is rejuvenated and is often complimented with a relaxing massage. Guests are encouraged to take advantage of the facilities which include a jacuzzi, sauna, gym and hair salon.
Fountains throughout the spa are filled with rose petals, making them a popular spot for perfect Instagram photos.
The location is well placed for guests wanting to visit the city’s main attractions. Only a five-minute taxi ride away is the main gateway to the old city and the popular Jemaa El-Fna Square. For full-on Marrakech experience, the medina is where you should spend most of your time.
The ancient souks of the medina tell the story of 1,000 years of transformation of the Islamic world, much of which can be credited to Ahmad al-Mansour. The aromatic scents, sounds and sights of the medina change with each new alley explored.
The treasures that Ahmad al-Mansour brought to Marrakech are still evident across the whole city and the hotel itself.