In the same way that we North Americans pop off to Mexico or the Caribbean, folks here in France find Morocco an easy, exotic and relatively inexpensive getaway. So I like to keep up with the hotel goings-on down there. And this week there's an exciting opening: Delano. It launches on Friday, September 21, and it's the first outpost of the wildly popular, Philippe Starck-designed hotel of the same name in Miami Beach. While other American-born boutique brands, such as W Hotels, have expanded worldwide and countless hoteliers have knocked off the distinctive all-white Delano look, the New York-based Morgan’s Hotel Group (MHG), has had just the one original Delano...until now.
The Delano Marrakech represents a joint venture between MHG and the Hivernage Collection. The new 73-suite hotel sits in the heart of the Hivernage district (also home to the Four Seasons and Le Meridien) and was designed by top French architect/designer Jacques Garcia. Garcia, as you stylish people certainly know, did the Hotel Costes and Royal Monceau in Paris, and more recently re-did the Mamounia (Marrakech) and the Danieli (Venice). In Paris alone there are 20-plus chic hotels and restaurants associated with his name while his private clients include the likes of the Sultan of Brunei.
The Delano Marrakech has a Baroque interior combining precious marbles, draped velvet, and rare fabrics. The lobby boasts hand-carved detailing, a central rotunda and a retractable roof while guestrooms feature Moroccan lighting, painted headboards, city panoramas overlooking the Koutobia Mosque and Juliet balconies. The hotel has a 20,000-square-foot spa, three pools and several bars and lounges. A ''carefully curated'' selection of boutiques on the ground level include Louis Vuitton, La Perla, Missoni women’s collection and Tamengo jewelry.
And just as the Delano Miami had, for many years, retained high-profile French chef Claude Troisgros to oversee its food, the new hotel has not one but two internationally known, Michelin-starred chefs in charge of its restaurants: Michel Rostang (for the two French concepts) and Giancarlo Morelli for the Italian.
Rostang, who holds two Michelin stars at his namesake restaurant in Paris, is operating the all-day Gallerie, with a a classic-and-modern French menu, and the gastronomic French restaurant called Bon R. (Signing on Michelin-starred French chefs to oversee hotel food in Marrakech is definitely a trend...and I'm sure we'll be seeing more of it.) To handle the day to day cooking at the elegant 96-seat Bon R, Rostang chose Alexander Visciano and moved him down from Rostang Paris.
Morelli’s restaurant Pomiroeu, meanwhile, was designed to ‘’a slice of old school Italian glamour to Marrakech.’’ When Morelli is back at his one-star Pomiroeu in Milan, Fabio Moriconi, who has worked with him for seven years, will be in charge.
Delano's executive chef is Foued Amri, who came over from the Four Seasons Marrakech and was cooking at La Mamounia before that. The hotel's general manger/director is Aziz Bendriss, who was last working at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park.
Morgans Hotel Group was founded by Ian Schrager, with the opening of Morgans Hotel on Madison Avenue in New York, in 1984. The Royalton and The Paramount followed. The Delano on Miami Beach opened in 1995, after a total re-do of a 1947 art deco hotel, also called The Delano. MHG went public in 2006 and now owns or operates 13 properties worldwide, with signed deals for ten new hotels under the Delano, Mondrian and Hudson brands. The target is to have open ten Delanos, five Hudsons, and ten to 15 Mondrians by 2020. Meanwhile the next Delano is slated to open in Las Vegas before year’s end, followed by the Delano Moscow in 2015.
Rates at Delano Marrakech begin at $330/€251 and special packages are available. For more info or to book, click here or call 800-606-6090 (U.S.) or 00 800 4969 1770 (International).
Photos: A rendering of the Delano and a guestroom.