A Historic Oasis of Luxury
When Truman Capote advised, “Before you go to Marrakech, make sure you say goodbye to all your friends and draw your savings from the bank,” he must have been booked at La Mamounia. It is one of Morocco’s (and North Africa’s) most special hotels, the jewel in the crown of her many exotic hostelries.
Built in the 1920s on the revered site of a sultan’s palace within the ancient walls of the old city, it is a curious mix of Art Deco and traditional Moroccan. The original gardens, laid out in the 16th century, are still maintained—32 aromatic acres of orange, lemon, and banana trees, palms, mimosas, roses, jasmine, and ancient garden walls covered with bougainvillea.
If you really have drawn your savings from the bank, you might stay in Winston Churchill’s favorite suite, facing the city and its mosques. Dedicated to the great statesman, it is decorated with some of Churchill’s oil paintings of these very gardens. But if you want to feel like the pasha whose palace once stood here, request the Moroccan Suite for the full effect of the exotic local atmosphere.
Whatever room you choose, dine at Le Marocain, the hotel’s traditional restaurant and one of the best in the city, perhaps the country. The open-air terrace lets in the sound of the fountains and birds, while the scent from the garden mingles with the spices on your plate.