On arrival to Marrakech, once clearing the really quirky little airport, we were whisked away to the Sofitel in Marrakech. We were greeted by the manager and shown around the location. There are actually two hotels here, which are joined together; there’s the Palais Imperial and then the Lounge & Spa. The Palais appeared to be geared more for luxury business travel as opposed to the Lounge and Spa hotel, dedicated to relaxing you to within an inch of your life. I have to say that both hotels are stunning and every attention has been paid to its own respective details. Each hotel has its own unique fragrance that travels with you throughout the rooms and the hallways; the Palais was mint and the Spa & Lounge was Orange Blossom, this gave the whole experience an extra sensory dimension.
The inside of the Palais welcomes you with red Moroccan roses displayed at every point with a large central flowing water feature with a metal sculpture of a Moroccan water carrier who we were told was the most important vendor at Moroccan markets in times gone by. We were served beautiful sweet mint tea and sweet Moroccan and French canapés. Just like the canapés, the whole design of both locations had strong elements of both the French heritage of the company, and of rich, local Moroccan design. Many of the rooms were either in Moroccan design with large wooden doors and cushioned seating alcoves, or in a more French, rococo-esque style, with whites and silvers running through gorgeously, delicate soft furnishings and yieldingly lavish pale carpets. All rooms are stunningly air conditioned with full control panels, which for hot Moroccan days and equally cool nights is a warmly welcomed feature. A full and very reasonably priced mini bar is available in all rooms with a selection of soft drinks, waters, wines and snacks, as well as a full room service with some beautiful dishes on offer.
All rooms have a full bathroom, with some having separate showers and some having showers over the baths. The lower priced rooms have L’Occitane Verbena products in the bathrooms, which I have to say, as I said in my last post, are beautiful; the higher priced rooms and suites have Hermes Eau d'Orange Verte which compliment the hotel and surroundings wonderfully.
The Spa / Lounge
The Spa / Lounge hotel has equally beautiful rooms, with stunning surroundings, but as the name gives away, there is a fabulous spa and beauty wing, being instrumental to the destination. There are a whole host of treatments and experiences on offer from a comprehensive gym kitted out with the latest Techno Gym equipment, to a beauty salon offering hair treatments, manicures, pedicures as well as relaxing pool, spa and hammam.
The products on offer in the Spa are an eclectic mix of Cinq Mondes, L'Occitane and Wella to name a few, as well as a selection of locally sourced Moroccan beauty treats. Rather than offering a simple menu of wellness treatments, you are invited to sit with a wellness expert who will talk to you about what you’re hoping to achieve, and how you want to feel afterwards. The whole environment is cool and calming with beautifully cushioned sofas and seating areas for you to recline in. Even though there is wall to wall splendour, it isn’t at all pretentious and intimidating, in fact quite the opposite, luring you to slip your shoes off and just chill.
Food & Drink
After our grand tour, we sat down to a beautiful lunch. Well I say sat down; there was a wonderful hot, freshly prepared buffet within the restaurant, serving salads, meats, sides, all served fresh by a team of chefs and servers stationed at every section. The wait staff, actually all the staff at the hotels are unbelievable friendly; it seems no one can do enough for you and I really want to commend them and their excellent customer service training programme that I was told was standard throughout the company. I love it. As I mentioned about the Spa, the hotel’s grand design, location and size has the potential to be quite intimidating, but the staff, services and set up make it so warm and friendly.
Finally, the outdoor and leisure areas were magnificent, two pools, one designed for leisurely swims and the other being larger with a Jacuzzi, fountains and all sorts, it was incredibly inviting, there wasn't much stopping me from jumping in fully clothed. There was a whole array of cabanas, hammocks and deck chairs, situated by the pool as well as in more secluded garden areas if you aren’t a poolside fan. There’s a beautiful herb garden in-between the restaurant and leisure areas that gives of a gorgeous fresh aroma of lovely herbiness that is used in all the cooking as well as a plethora of beautiful plants, flower gardens and palm trees.
Bar & Lounge
There's also a bar/lounge area, fabulously decorated, with private booths, graduated seating and an intimately situated stage that we were told has played host to acts such as The Black Eyed Peas, Guetta and many others, it sounds like a good night!
We didn’t stay over for the night at this location as after a few hours we were whisked off to Essaouira where we spent the rest of the trip, but I know if I get chance to go back to Marrakech, I’ll definitely be checking myself in.