La Mamounia Legendary palace hotel in Marrakesh to close for renovation

So often, luxury hotels lack a sense of place. Not so at La Mamounia, which oozes Marrakech from its every bohemian nook and cranny. Granted, the hotel has a head start, given its unrivalled position within the city's medina walls, along with its rich,1920s history. But it hasn’t rested on its legendary laurels or its location and a hefty refurb by French interiors guru Jacques Garcia in 2009 welcomed in some wonderful updates and additions.

The magic starts in the atmospheric lobby lounge, where new arrivals are ushered to grand sofas and settled in with almond milk and dates. It’s the perfect spot to start eyeing up fellow guests, with lighting just moody enough to go unnoticed as kaftans and couture sweep past marble fountains, trailed by bellboys, immaculate in long robes and fez.

La Mamounia Hotel

La Mamounia Legendary palace hotel in Marrakesh to close for renovation

The bedrooms have the same rich, Moorish style as the lobby – with plenty of Moroccan detailing, from vibrant mosaic tiling to intricately carved wooden doors and regal ruby velvet sofas. Deluxe rooms also have vast pastel pink and green terraces, where bird song and the distant call to prayer provide an exotic soundtrack and the Atlas mountains linger in the distance.

Outside, 17 acres of lush gardens offer welcome respite from the chaos that sits just beyond the hotel gates. What better way to wind down after a hectic day’s haggling in the souk than with some fresh air amidst cactus beds, rose bushes and orange trees? Tourists visit from outside the hotel too, although rarely will you be jostling for space as you may well be at the famed Jardin Majorelle across town.

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Alternatively, the hotel spa awaits, with its lantern-lit maze of treatment rooms, steamy hammams and decorative pools. For swimmers, there’s an elegant indoor pool, and of course, a substantial outdoor option for those who’d prefer to soak up that scorching Moroccan sun as they go. 

By night, hotel guests are spoilt for choice with four restaurants and yet more bars. Le Marocain, with its intimate riad-style, live local music and Moroccan cuisine, is arguably the best of the bunch. The pigeon pastilla here is a favourite – along with the tagines, all made using vegetables and herbs from the hotel gardens. Afterwards, it’s onwards to the heady L’Italien bar – where exotic cocktails (and even cigarettes) are offered up to a late night crowd.