Destination Guides Travel & Leisure

Return to Marrakech: Extraordinary Hotels and Restaurants to Enjoy

With Morocco open once again to international travelers, now is the time to look at the most exceptional places to stay and dine in Marrakech

Following on-and-off closures throughout the pandemic, Morocco reopened its air borders for fully vaccinated travelers this February, making it possible for visitors to return to Marrakech with proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test.

Marrakech’s all-year-round near-perfect climate contributes to this destination’s widespread appeal—Alex Peto, Kensington Luxury Properties

This easing of restrictions was then followed later that month by the Ministry of Tourism’s announcement of a one-billion-dirham ($102 million) program to boost tourism and assist tourism businesses affected by the dramatic decrease in visitors over the past couple of years.

According to Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate Alex Peto of Kensington Luxury Properties, it’s the “all-year-round near-perfect climate” that contributes to this destination’s widespread appeal, along with the benefit of short direct flights from most European cities. There’s also an increasing number of direct flights from North America, South America, and the Middle East.

Palm trees with low pink building behind
Moroccan craftmanship and contemporary design intermingle at La Mamounia to create an elegant setting. There are 135 rooms and 71 suites, three riads on offer, plus a swimming pool, spa, and restaurants.

In Marrakech, these factors heighten the attraction of a city celebrated for its atmospheric medina, historic souks, meandering gardens, and ornate palaces—not to mention the thriving gastronomic and arts scenes.

From palatial resorts set within sprawling gardens to boutique hideaways taking over riads of the medina, the best of this city’s hotels provide unbridled luxury amid breathtaking surroundings.

Several of these stylish retreats also now benefit from the completion of developments untaken throughout periods of lockdown, giving returning guests an enhanced experience during their stay. Read on to discover Marrakech’s most mesmerizing luxury hotels, along with the city’s top fine-dining restaurants.

Pure Luxury at Royal Mansour

Ornate white spa, Royal Mansour, Marrakech
Designed as a sanctuary devoted to your senses, the Royal Mansour Marrakech Spa creates an enchanted world. The lacing of the iron walls is designed in the purest Moorish style, and there are three floors to explore offering many treatments.

Among the city’s most prominent palace hotels, Royal Mansour is located within the walls of the old city and made up of sophisticated riads connected by shaded courtyards and a network of pathways leading through gardens filled with orange trees.

The complex’s palatial main buildings provide the setting for the hotel’s sumptuous restaurants and an all-white spa taking design inspiration from an ornate birdcage.

“Royal Mansour is pure luxury,” says Peto. “Its restaurant Le Jardin is my favourite place for a delicious outdoor lunch in the garden.” During the pandemic, the hotel expanded its gardens by almost three acres (1.2 ha), adding a treetop private dining venue and an artist’s studio to the outdoor space.

Beautiful, Historic La Mamounia

Luxurious restaurant setting with candle light and a view of the garden at night
There are four restaurants to try at La Mamounia. Pictured is L’Italien par Jean-Georges, headed by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The menu offers the great classics of Italian cuisine, with the vegetables grown in the hotel’s garden.

A favourite among those in search of lavish style, La Mamounia draws on an illustrious history, having been built in the 1920s by French architects Henri Prost and Antoine Marchisio and later welcoming famous guests from Winston Churchill to Elton John.

It now benefits from the recent completion of a property-wide renovation by Jouin Manku. This update included the reimagination of the hotel’s resplendent public areas and the addition of two new restaurants, which are overseen by internationally renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, as well as a new underground wine venue and cinema.

“La Mamounia is the grande dame of Marrakech,” says Peto. “It has 12 acres (5 ha) of beautiful gardens and it’s full of history.”

Prepare to be Pampered at Amanjena

External shot of pool at Amenjena, Marrakech
Inspired by the rose-hued buildings of old Marrakech, Amanjena is close to the Red City, set in its own expanse of gardens with views of the mountains. Many of the accommodation options include private swimming pools.

Amanjena has beautiful Moroccan architecture and it’s a place where one can totally unwind and be pampered—Alex Peto, Kensington Luxury Properties

Aman’s Moroccan retreat, Amanjena, lies within its own expansive gardens, just outside the city, with a dramatic backdrop provided by the Atlas Mountains. Architect Ed Tuttle designed the property to pair inspiration taken from the traditional architecture of a Moorish palace with the pared-back aesthetic Aman has become known for.

Guests are accommodated in inviting pavilions and maisons with courtyard gardens, and in some cases with private pools. The resort experience is completed with Moroccan dining and an extensive wellness offering. “Amanjena has beautiful Moroccan architecture and it’s a place where one can totally unwind and be pampered,” says Peto.

Palatial Splendor at The Oberoi, Marrakech

Elevated swimming pool overlooking gardens with the Atlas Mountains in the background
The Oberoi, Marrakech is nestled in Mediterranean orchards featuring orange and olive trees. Its landscaped gardens are adorned with water features, including two swimming pools. There’s a spa too. Courtesy: Alan Keohane

Opened at the end of 2019, The Oberoi, Marrakech is still among the newest hotels to discover. The impressive resort, which is located just outside the city, combines Moroccan and Andalusian architectural styles to evoke the look and feel of a traditional Moroccan palace complete with domes, arches, and tall pillars decorated with intricate ceramic tiling and carvings.

The main building is centred around an inner courtyard, which looks out over the resort’s Alhambra-inspired Grand Canal and the olive tree-filled gardens, and mountains beyond. The resort’s three restaurants, boutique, pool, and spa are joined by individual villas with walled gardens and private pools.

Dar Yacout’s Traditional Moroccan Food

Of Marrakech’s top restaurants, Peto recommends Dar Yacout, a celebrated dining spot, with the design of late American interior designer Bill Willis, affording views over the medina and Koutoubia Mosque. “Dar Yacout is an institution in Marrakech,” says Peto. “It’s a must-visit for a real Moroccan experience.”

Indoor and outdoor space decorated in the traditional Moroccan style is the setting for meals of highly traditional Moroccan gastronomy.

Dining table overlooked by large oil painting of a figure
L’Hôtel Marrakech emphasizes its use of fresh local produce, attentive service, and comfortable, relaxed surroundings. Guests can choose from a variety of flavorsome salads, delicately spiced vegetable dishes, and slow-cooked tagines. Courtesy: Andrew Montgomery

L’Hôtel Marrakech’s Moroccan Cooking with an Italian Twist

This luxury riad hotel by Jasper Conran is a renowned spot in the medina for its dining offering as well as accommodation. Food lovers come to this stylish hideaway for the restaurant’s take on traditional Moroccan home cooking with an Italian approach. In the Dining Room, which welcomes non-residents as well as hotel guests, menus focusing on fresh local produce include tagines and Moroccan salads.

On the Market

Covered seating area looking onto gardens and swimming pool
Located in the most prestigious domain of the Red City, Villa Dana boasts seven bedrooms, each with their own bathroom, and all benefiting from a secret and private garden.

This Moroccan-style villa is enveloped in nature owing to its expansive gardens and terraces. The property features south-facing living rooms overlooking the 50-meter (164 ft) pool, a second pool, and tennis court. There’s also a wine cellar, library, sauna, gym, media room, and private equestrian centre, as well as covered parking for 10 cars. In particular, the villa is set apart by its design pairing traditional Moroccan splendor with comfort and modern living.

A large room with high ceilings featuring two sofas and a big window
This lavish property is home to several living rooms, a library, spa, and hammam. The grounds include a large pool with a pool house and a tennis court.

The splendid palace is located on five acres (2 ha) of land facing the Atlas Mountains in Marrakech’s exclusive Palmeraie district. The nine-bedroom property takes inspiration from the Alhambra palace in Granada for its palatial design integrating arches, pillared walkways around a courtyard, and ornate design detail.

Banner image: The Oberoi, Marrakech. Courtesy: Alan Keohane, for Oberoi