Thursday, April 2, 2015

A FAIRYTALE IN MARRAKECH

Guest blogger Jacita Bengts writes about a magical hotel in Marrakech. Royal Palm is a rather new and full-on charmer in the exotic rose-tinted city...

“Like a fairytale”



That was my comment when I posted my first picture from Hotel Royal Palm, Marrakech. The iPhone snapshot was of the terrace of our Senior Suite - 126 sqm of pure sophistication - our home away from home during our prolonged weekend getaway.

The colors, the materials, the scenery, the scented air – I felt like I had been transported to a completely different world – and time. During the first hour or so, we walked around in awe, touching the furniture and wood, admiring the little details and breathing in the cool but fresh air on our terrace.


We took dozens of pictures of our beautiful suite; each corner of it to be exact, wanting to capture it all before we moved anything out of its place.






My friend had visited Marrakech before, and told me that on a clear day we would have a fantastic view of the Atlas Mountains, which at that moment were still shrouded in heavy mist. Our view was onto the beautifully designed pool area and landscaped garden filled with ancient olive trees and further away, the ideally located golf courts which already have a reputation of being Morocco’s finest.





During the coming days, we set out to explore the hotel facilities on our own, admiring, above all, the majestic architecture and local designs, which were always present – but never overwhelming. A statement piece here; another there. Just like the very pleasant scent in the air of the main building. I never was able to figure out what it was, and perhaps that adds to the magic. It just felt, like everything else, simply perfect.




In addition we were treated to a thorough site inspection, allowing us to see all types of suites, as well as getting a glimpse of the spacious and inviting villas, with their own pool area surrounded by a small garden, outdoor grill and even your own private hammam. What more could one wish for? 







Still, there was more – the exquisite Spa by Clarins – all light and airy, with luxurious materials, heated and cool pools, a hammam and sauna. With more time on our hands, some of it would definitely have been spent here - the well-equipped gym on two levels, offering personalized training sessions; a heated semi-Olympic pool; and an AMAZING kids club with clever details from small chefs outfits for cooking classes, life-size wooden sheep covered with white or black sheepskin, to miniature live turtles in the garden from which you can access miniature tennis courts and a soccer field.



Shopping and exploring

During our second day we opted for an afternoon in the city, and found the hotel shuttle a really convenient and comfortable option. We departed at noon, were dropped off by the famous Koutoubia Mosque – the perfect landmark also for the return pick-up.




We visited numerous small shops in the area of the main market square, Djmaa El-Fna, relaxed over drinks in the lush garden of legendary La Mamounia, and returned to the Royal Palm some five hours later, happy to find it such a tranquil oasis after the captivating but incredibly busy city. 




If you have no desire – or time - to leave the premises during your stay, the main building houses several nice shops with local specialties and beautiful Royal Palm-products.

Dining




Le Caravane gourmet restaurant – and the main restaurant of Royal Palm Marrakech - deserves its own paragraph. We were so impressed by our dining experience on our first evening that we chose to dine here every single night. The international menu was varied with enough options even for a longer stay, the dishes were served beautifully and the food tasted divine. As did the Moroccan wine we chose to enjoy with our meals. Still what impressed us the most, was the level of service. It is difficult to explain exactly what makes La Caravane dining unforgettable, but I will give it a try: the warm welcome at the entrance, ensuring we were seated exactly according to our wishes, the offering of a separate small table for our purses, finalizing the dishes table-side, constant but unobtrusive attention from start to end, and all this in a magical setting, with Moroccan lamps and lanterns flickering in the dark night outside the large, 4 metre high windows – can you visualize this?






Needless to say, the breakfast enjoyed in the same restaurant also left nothing to desire. I feasted on fresh fruits and dates and crisp bread and cheeses and capers and small Moroccan pancakes served with a delicious honey syrup. There were in fact so many choices that we never got as far as to taste the hot dishes. 


On our third and last full day, the day felt warm enough for relaxing poolside with a good read and music, and enjoying a delicious fresh lunch salad at the L’Olivier, offering an excellent view of the pool area, gardens and Atlas Mountains.



Winning combination

Hotel Royal Palm has set out to be the ultimate luxury resort of Marrakech. From what I could see and experience during our short stay, they are well on their way with a winning combination of contemporary and traditional.

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