When people ask me what it’s like to visit Royal Mansour in Marrakech, I simply respond, “there is no way for me to tell you what it’s like, really. It’s as if it exists in its own time and space, one that is magical and full of charm.” So I might as well admit that’s why it’s near impossible to try and officially “review” such an establishment. Some things just have to be seen and experienced for themselves. Royal Mansour is one of those places. I can, of course, do my best to share my thoughts, feelings and pictures from any adventure I have there. But, it comes with a disclosure in that you must know my words will never capture one tenth of how special this place really is.
In May, I drove through the larger than life gates of Royal Mansour for the second time. For this visit, I had been asked to return to showcase a new offering that the hotel was rolling out for guests. In true, lets-spoil-the-guests-to-death style, Royal Mansour was rolling out a special package that could be booked offering three wishes for those in residence. The idea is to see the best Marrakech, and the hotel, have to offer, in the most luxurious way possible. I don’t think any amount of staring at the itinerary could have prepared me for what was about to happen.
For three days, we strapped ourselves in for the ride of a lifetime. We were packing in a week’s worth of adventure into 72 hours and our list of “to dos” read like the dream holiday. While there is a whole list of things to choose from, for your wishes, we had to narrow it down to three for the weekend. That was the brief, after all. So, I chose a cocooning day in the spa, breakfast in a hot air balloon and a behind the scenes experience with the chefs, with dinner, in the award winning onsite Moroccan restaurant.
The whole experience actually began in the airport upon arrival (and I’ll just say at this point, if you’d rather experience this whole weekend on video, I did share the whole thing on IGTV). When we arrived in Marrakech, we were whisked through security with a fast track service and met at the exit by a handsome man in a Royal Mansour uniform, who knew exactly who we were and was quick to take our luggage. The poor man didn’t know what he was in for with my bag. It might have only been 72 hours, but I brought nearly every dress I had in my closet for the occasion. It wasn’t more than three minutes before we were seated in a gold Bentley, air condition blazing and cold waters in hand. Fifteen minutes later we were in an open air courtyard being given the keys to our Riad in one of the most beautiful hotel receptions that exists on this earth.
There are 53 private three-storey Riads at Royal Mansour and each one feels as palatial as the next. We made our way through the pink walkways of the hotel and finally discovered a Riad that left us literally speechless. We opened the door to an open courtyard, complete with fountain and scented with incense. We were quick to explore the Riad, from the ground floor reception to the rooftop pool and everything in between. Endless moments were spent examining the smallest details, from the woodwork around the bed to the way in which each set of curtains was perfectly folded open. Nothing in the Riad is without a story or a history of craftsmanship. This is the finest Morocco has to offer in beautiful detail.
Now, I want to talk a bit more about our experience living out our three wishes at Royal Mansour. Upon arrival, in our ground floor sitting area, there was an ornate sterling silver lamp. If you’re thinking Genie and three wishes, you’re on the right path. Inside the lamp was a guide to what wishes we could choose. I’ve told you what our selection was, and I can confirm that the magical Royal Mansour Genie delivered on each and every one and more. So, let’s kick off, by day.
After we’d finished unpacking in the Riad, we took a quick dip to relax up in our rooftop pool. The pool was the perfect temperature to fight the heat wave taking place outside. We soaked up every ounce of sun, as anyone in the UK will remember that May was not the best month for weather back in London. We knew the rest of the trip was going to be a whirlwind, so we took a moment to decompress from the flight and prepare ourselves for what lay ahead. Twenty minutes later, we were out of our suits and into Le Jardin for lunch. I’ll let the pictures do the talking here. We ate so much. I can remember sitting there, feeling as if I were in heaven as course after course arrived. I think the chef got a little too carried away showcasing some of his favourite dishes, but we ate every bite, determined to send back only clean plates. It was a hard job, but someone had to do it.
After lunch, it was off to the spa for our cocooning afternoon. For me, this meant nearly five hours of being pampered. You read that correctly – five hours! While the man was having a massage, I was in for a hair treatment, a Hammam, massage, pedicure and blowdry. That seems like a lot, but in a 26,000 square foot spa, that’s only scratching the surface of what’s on offer. I couldn’t photograph everything, as the spa, as you know, is a mainly personal and phone free experience. But, I can say I felt like I went into the spa feeling as if I was barely alive from the week I’d had in London. I came out feeling like a shiny new penny. My toes done, back straightened out, body scrubbed and moisturised from top to toe and hair bouncing left and right, I was a new woman. But, Royal Mansour wasn’t content with just letting us cocoon in a spa for the day. They decided to surprise us with an afternoon tea to end all teas. In a private gazebo in the garden, they had live music, two attendants and a table full of food, all laid for just the two of us. It was surreal.
As the sun set over Marrakech, we sat with full tummies, lightly sunned skin and a view of beautiful gardens around us. If it wasn’t a pinch me moment, I don’t know what is.
Here’s a look at day one, from start to finish:
Visiting the Spa:
We’re up bright and early for what has to be one of my favourite wishes, looking back. This was breakfast in the sky, at sunrise, with a view over the Atlas Mountains. The experience requires a 4:30am pickup from the hotel. That, my friends, is no easy wake up time. But, we made it happen, because we knew this would be the experience of a lifetime. We were driven out to literally the middle of nowhere, where a tent had been setup, for guests to grab coffee before their balloon ride high into the sky. As dozens of people piled into their various balloons, we were led to the largest balloon basket and told it was all ours. It would be just the two of us, with a pilot and an attendant to serve us breakfast, in a balloon that is meant for ten people. I would expect nothing less from a Royal Mansour experience. This isn’t your average wish. This is a wish that could only be delivered, in this way, by Royal Mansour. As our balloon rose into the chilly morning air, a table was laid with coffee, eggs, pastries and more. It was so quiet, you could swear you were flying on your own, high above Morocco, just soaring like a bird. I could hear my own heart beat as we continued to rise, feeling a little nervous that all I had below me, separating me from the ground, was a bit of wicker basket. But, just as quickly as it began, it was all over. We landed in a field, full of sheep. And as the ground crew swooped in to pick us up, kids ran out into the field to see who had landed near their house. Apparently the last people to land in this balloon were Will Smith and then Salma Hayek. I think they were a tad disappointed to discover we weren’t celebs.
We returned to the hotel around 9am and decided to indulge a bit and spent the early morning and afternoon by the main pool in the hotel. We rocked up, expecting to find two loungers that we could spread towels over and use as our own, only to find the hotel had other plans. We were given a pavilion for the day. What’s a pool pavilion you ask? Well, at the Royal Mansour, it might as well be a five star luxury hotel room. It’s a building that sits just in front of the pool, with a living room, a full bathroom, a window seat, full entertainment system, outdoor dining table and two sun loungers. To say we made the most of this situation is an understatement. We were in and out of the pool, in and out of the pavilion, and then, ultimately, sound asleep on our sun loungers. Early to rise, early to bed. But that wasn’t the end of our day.
That evening, we made our way to Le Grand Table Marocaine in the hotel, one of Morocco’s most highly acclaimed restaurants. We dressed in our finest and braced ourselves for more delicious delicacies. The night delivered, in spades. With each course, the sommelier paired local Moroccan wines that had us rethinking our whole collection at home. The main course was a leg of slow roasted lamb that was, we have since decided, the best dish we’ve ever had. And the grand finish, traditional Moroccan mint tea served in the courtyard after the meal, was the perfect end to the day, showcasing the hotel’s dedication to unparalleled service, entertainment and dedication to teaching guests about local culture.
Here’s a look at day two:
The Pool Pavilion at Royal Mansour:
Now, for day three, after all three wishes had been granted, all we were left with was breakfast and a quick goodbye, before flying back to London. Although I can’t really say, “all we were left with,” as even a breakfast at Royal Mansour feels like a ceremony of sorts. We sat in Le Table, as birds serenaded the arrival our lattes and the cool morning breeze offered relief from the baking sun. Perfect lattes were served, alongside a warm bread basket that had me begging for mercy. After eggs royale and more, we took one last stroll around the property, taking in every corner, every archway and every single piece of plant life. We wanted to fit as much as we could into our memories. I knew that two mornings later, waking up to the hustle and bustle of London Town, I would want the Royal Mansour’s peace and serenity to flashback upon.
Here’s a look at our final day:
It all ended too soon and we both agreed that next time we’d be back as guests, with a week’s stay in front of us. In short, a weekend just isn’t long enough. If you’re going to book in, go for the week. It’s the only way to get the full experience and the full destress period we all need when going on holiday.
For now, I’ll just say there is no place on earth like Royal Mansour. From arrival to departure, you are treated like the royalty that owns the hotel (did I forget to mention this is the King of Morocco’s hotel?).
Bottom line here: Check into the Royal Mansour if you’re looking for decadence on a level you’ve never experienced before and do ask them about granting your three wishes. It turns a stay here into a grand adventure!
For more information visit Royal Mansour.