Marrakech: Where to Stay
The latest hotel arrivals extend Marrakech’s geographic parameters well beyond the Medina — the city’s walled historic center — northeast into the former date groves of the resortlike Palmeraie and south toward the desert foothills of the Atlas Mountains. They also expand the city’s aesthetic offerings, adding diverse and distinctive contemporary sensibilities to the Moroccan classics. One’s just right for you.
Delano Marrakech: For the Nightlife Crowd
Exuding a see-and-be-seen sense of cool, this 71-room spot opened last October just beyond the Medina’s walls. The folks behind Spain’s ultrachic Marbella Club oversee its rooftop bar, and a subterranean nightclub, coming next year; while Michelin-starred Italian chef Giancarlo Morelli heads up one of its restaurants. French designer Jacques Garcia scaled back his usually extra-sumptuous Old-World style, adding his telltale fringe and velvets to sleeker surfaces that jibe well with the hotel’s intriguing exterior architecture: The cylindrical building’s metal facade, cut with circular openings of various sizes, puts a unique spin on the traditional perforated-metal lanterns you see all over the city. From $290. 800-606-6090; delanomarrakech.com
Room to request: a Prestige Suite. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the iconic Koutoubia Mosque.
The Fellah: For the Culturally Minded
This 18-month-old hotel’s two-story, adobe-style buildings — with 69 Moroccan-mod rooms and suites and three stand-alone villas — encircle a landscape planted with a lush mix of desert flora. Envisioning his property as a cultural crossroads, Fellah’s Swiss owner hosts artists-in-residence and periodic academic symposia here, and he built an on-site library. With the spa and restaurant, he imported his passion for Thailand. From $200. 011-212-619-699-590; fellah-hotel.com
Room to request: a mountain-view Superior. The top-floor setting and large terrace offer the best vistas of the Atlas Mountains.
Four Seasons Marrakech: For Families
Although this 2-year-old, 40-acre walled resort lies just outside the historic center, it feels miles away. Its 141 Moroccan-tinged rooms surround restaurants and bars, a large spa, and two expansive pools — one for adults, one for families. Kids’ clubs entertain children ages 4 to 12. From $432. 800-819-5053; fourseasons.com/marrakech
Room to request: an Executive Suite, with a garden or mountain view. A second bathroom and separate living area work well for families.
La Mamounia: For Those Who Love a Historic Icon
With its 200-plus rooms, this beauty stands apart as the only full-service, high-end hotel of any real size within the Medina walls. But this iconic 90-year-old urban resort, which emerged from a $157 million redo in late 2009, has much more to recommend it: four top-flight restaurants; a 27,000-square-foot spa; an expansive Murano glass-tiled outdoor pool; a 20-acre garden; and Paris-meets-Morocco decor by Jacques Garcia. From $786. 011-212-524-388-600; mamounia.com
Room to request: the two-bedroom Majorelle Signature Suite. Its cyan-blue walls and detailed mosaics capture the romance of the city’s Majorelle Garden.
Palais Namaskar: For Contemporary Connoisseurs
The Namaskar opened last year as the newest gem from the prestigious Oetker Collection of hotels. Designer Imaad Rahmouni, a former Philippe Starck acolyte, arrayed its 41 rooms and suites, pool villas, and stand-alone “palaces” on a 12-acre Palmeraie campus, nine miles northeast of the Medina. With its gilded onion domes, Rajasthan-inspired arches, and contemporary and Deco decor, the Namaskar can feel slightly more Indo-European than Moroccan, but it makes a great escape from the city nonetheless. From $770. 800-745-8883; palaisnamaskar.com
Room to request: a Pool Suite. Each of these suites has nearly 2,000 square feet of outdoor space, with a surprisingly large private heated swimming pool.
Royal Mansour: For Privacy Seekers
Morocco’s king created this 3-year-old beauty — the only new-build hotel inside the Medina walls in decades — showing off intricate local craftsmanship in 53 decadently appointed, multilevel, residential-style suites. The restaurants, including a French spot from Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno, rate among the city’s best. From $1,875. 011-212-529-808-080; royalmansour.com
Room to request: a one-bedroom riad with a semisecret garden. The extra outdoor space goes beyond the stone courtyard and rooftop terrace standard with accommodations here.
Selman Marrakech: For Equestrian Aficionados
Lying about five miles southwest of the Medina, this coolly seductive, year-old property celebrates the purebred Arabian horses its owners raise here. Jacques Garcia designed it, combining his signature boudoir-noir style with Moroccan mosaics, metal lanterns, carved wood, and plasterwork. All 56 rooms have balconies, many overlooking the 260-foot-long pool and mountains beyond. In between, a stable and paddock cosset championship stallions. (They’re not for guests, but the hotel can arrange rides on other steeds.) A final draw: the holistic spa by detox master Henri Chenot. From $530. 011-212-524-459-600; selman-marrakech.com
Room to reserve: an Atlas Junior Suite. You get more space than the standard rooms, and the mountain vistas are significantly better than in desert-facing rooms.
Taj Palace Marrakech: For India Enthusiasts
True to the brand’s origins, the February opening of the Taj brings South-Asian style to the Palmeraie, with Indian cuisine, high-Raj aesthetic elements, and a forthcoming Ayurvedic-infused spa, all mixed in with more Moroccan moments. Most impressive is the resort’s scale: Its campus covers some 140 acres; the Murano glass chandelier in the two-story atrium hangs down 72 feet from the ceiling; the spa spreads over nearly 40,000 square feet; and even the most basic of its 161 rooms measures twice the size of the area’s other luxury hotels’ rooms. From $540. 866-969-1825; tajhotels.com
Room to request: a Mountain-View Luxury Suite. Not only do you get 1,600 square feet of living space, but also a private terrace or two.
And on the Desert Horizon …
Baglioni Marrakech: Developers plan to debut this property next summer, on 30-plus acres southwest of the Medina just past the Selman. The molto-mod, Italian-inflected boutique hotel will have 80 rooms and a nearly 20,000-square-foot spa from the Asia-based Six Senses brand. 011-44-845-459-6350; baglionihotels.com
The Hammam: Something You Must Try
When locals talk about going to the spa, they’re referring to the hammam, a sort of Turkish bath not to be missed. You’ll first soak in steam, then get rubbed down with various muds, soaps, and salves — all of which leave you feeling and looking shiny and new. Locals go to semipublic baths, but the city’s top hotels have created grand marble-and-mosaic-clad spaces that luxe up the rejuvenating experience.