Monday, November 30, 2009

The Rebirth of Mamounia

The legendary Mamounia Hotel re-opened in Marrakesh last month following an extensive three-year €120-million restoration by French architect and interior designer Jacques Garcia. The powerful Moorish architecture is unchanged but Garcia's signatures--strong use of light, color and theatrical perspective--are evident throughout. The hotel now looks like the gorgeous Oriental palace it once was.
Built in 1923, "Mamou" has hosted a global roster of the rich and famous; Winston Churchill declared it “the most lovely spot in the whole world” and regularly used it as his winter quarters. His granddaughter is still said to be a regular visitor.
In its newest incarnation, Mamounia has two restaurants headed by Michelin star chefs: L’Italien (run by Alfonso Iaccarino of Don Alfonso 1890 in Sant’ Agata, Italy) and Le Francais (headed by Jean-Pierre Vigato of Apicius, Paris). A third restaurant, Le Marocain, is set in a modern Moroccan pavilion within the hotel’s lush gardens. Mamounia’s exec chef is Fabrice Lasnon, former exec chef at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski in Berlin: the GM is Didier Picquot, from Lyford Cay Members Club in the Bahamas.
The gardens, noted for their ancient olive groves and wide array of flora, cover almost 20 acres and date to the 18th century when they were given to the Prince as a wedding gift.
Rounding out the amenities are a pool and pool restaurant, five bars, a fitness pavillion, tennis
and a 27,000-sq.-ft. spa where you can indulge in 80 different treatments.
La Mamounia has 136 rooms, 71 suites and three Riads, each with three bedrooms and private pool. Rates begin at €512.
To get there: Ryan Air flies from Marseille to Marrakech. Easy Jet flies from Paris and Lyon to Marrakech. Royal Air Maroc flies from Paris direct to Marrakech and from Marseilles to Marrakech, via Casablanca. Transavia flies from Paris to Marrakesh.


  1. If this is where you were talking about going to, I would love to accompany you. Sounds like an awesome renovation and great chefs involved.

  2. Hello Julie, this looks like a beautiful hotel, exactly the right sort of place I'd like to stay.

    I was trying to follow the link to email you but just got the AOL homepage - I am thinking of doing a post referencing Christmas in Provence in the next couple of days and I wondered whether you had any photos I might be able to display, with full credit of course. Thanks!

  3. I would have loved to be invited for the grand opening of this fabulous palace