When the King—any King--opens a hotel, you don’t exactly expect a Travelodge, Days Inn or Formule 1. Yet even by royal standards, the Royal Mansour is a beauty.
The King in this case is His Majesty the King Mohamed VI of Morocco and the hotel, the Royal Mansour in Marakech, was developed to be one of the world’s finest. It opened in July, with 53 individual riads, three restaurants and a 27,000-square-foot spa, all spread over eight acres. Built into the ancient city walls, the Royal Mansour was meant to re-create a historical medina, with Andalusian-style courtyards, winding alleyways, and spectacular water displays. The art throughout is from both popular and up-and-coming Moroccan artists.
And since no ordinary chef would do for King M6, as he’s known, Michelin three-star chef Yannick Alléno of Le Meurice in Paris was lured into being the “advisor chef.” Alléno will stay on at the Meurice but will travel back and forth to Marrakech, leaving chef Jerôme Videau (previously of the Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg) in charge while he’s away. The hotel’s general manager Jean Pierre Chaumard was at the Royal Palm (on Mauritius) for 20 years.
The pampering begins the moment you step off your plane. A staff member greets you at the airport, serves drinks while your passport formalities are being sorted out and then whisks you off to the hotel in a Mercedes, free of charge.
The Royal Mansour has some serious competition of course, most notably the legendary La Mamounia, reopened in September 2009 after a three year $160-million redo.
Rates at the Royal Mansour, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, begin at 1500€ per night. For info, click here or here. Or, you can email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (Marrakech phone) 1 + 212 (0)529 80 80 80. RyanAir and Royal Air Maroc both fly between Marseille and Marrakech; Royal Air Maroc flies to Morocco from Nice, Montpellier and Toulouse as well.