Diego Travel

Marrakech

Luxury Hotel Guide for Your Morrocan Vacation
MARIA DIEGO

Morocco lies in the North Western part of Africa, its name meaning Land of God. Its main industry is agriculture, and with a climate similar to California, everything from olive trees to figs to citrus is grown in abundance. Morocco is home to 56 million people and of those, about half live in the country side in small villages. It’s a diverse country where you have everything from beach resorts on the coast, to desert camps in the Sahara, to Ryads in countryside and to luxury hotels in Marrakech and everything in between.

Fez was the first Medina of Morocco and used to be the capital, but Casablanca has since become the capital and is the industrial and financial capital of the country. This guide will cover Marrakech, which in my opinion is the heart of Morocco and should be the focal point of your trip.

Marrakech is an ancient city in the center of Morocco and has plenty of options for luxury resorts with grand pools, spas, delicious food and impeccable service. Beyond relaxing at your resort, there is a lot to do not only in the city of Marrakech that includes history, culture. If staying over a few days, there are also many amazing places to discover on a day trip excursion.

Perfect For: Families | Destination Weddings | Luxury Honeymoon | Couples Groups | Multi-Generational Families | Incentive Trips | Corporate Groups | Adventure Seekers

Getting to Marrakech

Getting to Morocco

Marrakech used to have non-stop flight options from major US hubs, but because of the pandemic, flights are somewhat limited and connect through either Cassablanca or Europe. We connected through Madrid Barajas International Airport to Marrakech. Hopefully, a non-stop option to Marrakech will be introduced in the near future. For domestic options, flights can also be somewhat limited to certain days of the week, especially when visiting the smaller towns, so it is best to work with a travel advisor like me who takes care of all the logistical details..

Marrakech

Moroccan Spices

Marrakech Luxury Travel Guide

What to do in Marrakech

The Medina

The old city, also referred to as the Medina, is the walled in section of Marrakech filled with the market (the souk), two notable resorts built by the Moroccan royalty, La Mamounia and Royal Mansour, as well as many plazas, shops, restaurants, museums and private riads. In Moroccan culture, most homes look exactly the same from the outside, as they don’t care to share their status on the exterior of the home. Once you step inside, it can either be simple or extravagant. A great way to experience this is to visit Majorelle Gardens next to the Ives Saint Laurent’s museum. The Medina is the heart of Marrakech, and where the hustle and bustle is.

Souk Marrakech Morocco
Moroccan Spices
The Souk

Within the Medina lies the Souk, which is the marketplace where you can find everything from handcrafts to food, spices, jewelry, and shoes. The Souk also has sections, one area for the metalworkers, while another area is for leather. It’s helpful to go with a local guide to quickly lead you in the right direction and to the right vendor, as it’s easy to get sucked in and not find your way out, and it can be quite chaotic, with motorcycles and carts constantly running through. We traveled with our three kids and my mom, and we each gripped tightly to a little hand. One of my favorite stops in the Souk was to a pharmacy/herbalist, where the shop owner explained how to tell the difference between quality Argan oil and imitation Argan oil, and showed us ancient Moroccan remedies for ailments.

Shopping

The vibrantly colorful city of Marrakech has long been a source of inspiration for fashion designers like Yves Saint Laurent.  Today, along with his famous museum, you can find his fashion boutiques around the city along with other well-known designer brands and smaller up-and-coming labels such as Topolina a French couture pattern maker who made Morocco her home to highlight its bold and bright colors and incredible textiles through fashion.  While we were in Marrakech, we hit Pacha Gallery, on the hunt for antique doors and custom lighting for a residential project we are working on back home. For natural herbs and health remedies, don’t miss Herboriste la Sagesse, where they’ll mesmerize you with a very quick and impressive overview of every potion available.  Finally, don’t forget to visit the shops inside La Mamounia, featuring a perfect blend of fashion with Moroccan sweets and treats that you can bring home as gifts.

Marrakech Shopping
Atlas Mountains Morocco
The Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains are divided into three areas – the High Atlas, Mid- Atlas and the Anti-Atlas in the South. Beginning about one hour outside of Marrakech, it is worthwhile to explore the Atlas Mountains to experience the countryside of Morocco. There are many villages  and valleys that are worth a visit and when you plan your trip with Diego Travel, we will make recommendations based on the routing and logistics of your trip to experience the Atlas with a a day tour or immerse yourself in a multi-day itinerary.

The Coast

The two coastal towns that worth visiting as a day trip from Marrakech are Tagazhout, to the southwest, and Essouria to the west. These coastal hubs come alive in the summer with European travelers but are worth a day visit any time of the year. Tagazhout is lined with beach resorts and is a famous surfing destination, while Essouaria is a charming walled coastal town.

Essaouira
AIT-BEN-HADDOU
Ait-Ben-Haddou
One of my favorite experiences from our trip to Morocco was our visit the Unesco World Heritage site of Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou. A 3.5 hour drive through the Atlas Mountains from Marrakech where we experienced the Morrocan countriside and take a peek into the Berber tribes that live in the Atlas Mountains. Ait-Ben-Haddou is an incredible example of traditional Morrocan architecture and an unforgetable sight that has been used a s backdrop in many hollywood films including Gladiator, the Mummy and Babel as well as one of the backdrops for Game of Thrones. While it is posible to do a day trip from Marrakech, I highly suggest an overnight trip combining it with a visit to Ouzarate and Skoura, the land of 1,001 casbahs and staying at the 19th-century Kasbah turned luxury boutique hotel of Dar Ahlam for an unforgetable experience.
Diego Travel Marrakech Luxury Hotel Guide

Where to Stay in Marrakech

Marrakech is home to as many luxury hotels and resorts as you would find in a destination like Paris, France. In fact, the British and French are Morocco’s top markets in tourism, behind Americans. There were so many amazing resorts in Marrakech, it was hard to decide where to stay, but I’m happy to report that I was able to stay at and visit most of the below options. While each is unique, there is something for everyone, and it is my job to speak with you and determine the right fit based on your style, travel tastes, and needs. I’m also including an option in the Atlas Mountains, Dar Ahlam, which I highly recommend. And while we didn’t get to see it, Kasbah Tamadot, Richard Branson’s luxury villa at the base of the Atlas Mountains and just one hour outside of Marrakech, is worthy of a stay.

Oberoi Marrakech

The Oberoi Marrakech

This 28-acre estate with 84 rooms is set just 25 minutes outside of Marrakech, on an estate filled with olive trees and soaring emerald cypress trees that line extensive fountains and pools. The service at The Oberoi in Marrakech is what set it apart and was beyond exceptional, so much so that I was nearly crying when we had to leave. Owned in part by a local aluminum family and in part by the Oberoi

family, the property was built over 3 years with no expense spared. 200 artisans took years to hand carve the wood and stone domed ceiling of the lobby, and the property is complete with several restaurants, a huge spa, a kids club, a teen club, and even a vloggers room equipped with as many outlets and high powered wifi connection. I could envision myself staying here for a full week, to just disconnect, read good books, and enjoy the property with day trips into the center of Marrakech.

Book with Diego Travel to Receive the Following Virtuoso Amenities:

  • Complimentary one category upgrade upon arrival or at time of booking, based on availability
  • Daily Continental breakfast for up to two people per bedroom
  • Welcome note and amenity
  • Priority Early Check-In/Late Check-Out
  • VIP Status
  • Complimentary 50-minute massage for up to two guests
  • Diego Travel Welcome Box when Using the Travel Planning Service

Diego Travel Recommends Oberoi Marrakech For: Honeymooners | Destination Weddings | Couples Groups | Multi- Generational Families | Anniversary Trips | Families | Incentive Groups

Royal Mansour

Royal Mansour

We arrived to the grand entry of Royal Mansour, where guards stand in regal uniforms as if their guarding the true royal palace. Entering into the courtyard will have your eyes unable to settle, as there is so much going on everywhere. The palace was built in 2010 by the king, as no expense was spared to make it as grand as possible. While I had an appointment for a site inspection (full disclosure: we didn’t sleep here), we waited for about 10 minutes until we were greeted. Not the warm and personable welcome that we received at other properties, and overall, that was the feeling I had here.
There are 53 riads in total, all offering total privacy, in large part to the underground tunnels built for the property so that staff remain out of sight from the guests. The staff are discreet, and tend to not speak unless spoken to, make less eye contact, and are generally there ready

to serve but not over-imposing. The scene here was to see and be seen, and the guests dressed to the nines.
The resort has 4 restaurants, excluding The Nest, which is a private area that can be specially set up for dinner, accommodating from 2-10 guests. There are 2 pools – an enormous outdoor one with pool cabanas that can be rented, and an indoor pool at the spa. The kids club serves children ages 4-10 and they can provide nanny service for younger kids.
Aside from the multi-bedroom riads with full kitchens and private rooftop pools that would be perfect for groups or larger families, my favorite part of this property were the gardens. In my opinion, Royal Mansour has the most beautiful gardens in all of Marrakech. While you’ll see long lines waiting to get into the YSL museum and gardens, this garden was much more beautiful and worth at least a lunch reservation in order to go and see them. They were built in 2020 when the curfew imposed due to the pandemic, inspired the king to build an area of the property where guests could continue enjoy the outdoors beyond the curfew.

Book with Diego Travel to Receive the Following Virtuoso Amenities:

  •  Upgrade upon arrival, subject to availability (from Superior 1 BR to Premiere 1 BR)
  • Daily full breakfast for up to two people per bedroom, provided via room service
  • $100 USD Food & Beverage Credit
  • Complimentary Round-Trip Private Airport Transfers
  • Priority Early Check-In/Late Check-Out
  • VIP Status
  • Diego Travel Welcome Box when Using the Travel Planning Service

Diego Travel Recommends Royal Mansour: Honeymooners | Spa-Focused Trips | Multi-Generational Families | Families wanting Kids Club | Incentive Groups

La Mamounia

La Mamounia

La Mamounia is the nickname for the prince who was gifted this property by his father, the king. La Mamounia is conveniently located next door to Royal Mansour, and inside of the walled Medina in the old city. If you’re looking for a central location, an ambience of chic well-

traveled Europeans, a selection of fine dining and shopping options in the common areas, than La Mamounia would be an excellent choice. It definitely has the “in-the-know” vibe with high-brow shops like Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior mixed with elegant boutiques carrying local designer wares you won’t find anywhere else. All the restaurants were renovated in 2020, and I loved the pale pink and jungle green hues combined with brass decor in one. The grounds have beautiful gardens, which you can walk freely, even if you are just dining in one of the restaurants. However, unless you are a guest of the hotel, you cannot access the impressive hotel pool and cabanas, which are heavily guarded with security, as is most of the property.
While I only toured the suites and the presidential La Mamounia Suite, the actual 2-bedroom apartment for the prince himself, the rooms are spacious, airy and well appointed without feeling stuffy and pretentious. It is an older hotel, but rooms and grounds are maintained impeccably, and definitely have the royal feel.
The hotel has a small spa, but no kids club or kid-friendly amenities. However, if you don’t need those amenities, my kids enjoyed running around the grounds and would have had no issue with a short stay here. However, it is less of a family-friendly resort than many other options in Morocco. The hotel can arrange for babysitting services, but again, there are really no facilities to entertain the kids.
Insider Tip: Reserve a sushi dinner followed by a private movie screening in their secret cinema. This bespoke experience can be enjoyed by any hotel guest with advanced reservations, but most people don’t even know that the opportunity exists.


Book with Diego Travel to Receive the Following Virtuoso Amenities:
• Upgrade upon arrival, subject to availability (for suites, upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability)
• Daily full breakfast for up to two people per bedroom
• $100 USD Food & Beverage Credit
• Priority Early Check-In/Late Check-Out
• VIP Status
• Diego Travel Welcome Box when Using theTravel Planning Service 

Diego Travel Recommends La Mamounia Marrakech For:
Honeymooners | Groups of Friends | Anniversary Trip | Mother/Daughter Shopping Trips | Incentive Groups | Destination Wedding

La Villa des Orangers

Villa des Orangers

We started off the trip at this luxury boutique Relais & Chateaux property and I immediately fell in love. One of the few options inside of the walled Medina, a stay at Villa des Orangers feels like you’re walking into someone’s very elegant private home. After a very long and delayed journey to arrive to Marrakech, the staff welcomed us in a seated area, as we were served the best mint tea of our trip while we filled out paperwork. It was late at night at the full moon was glowing through the tree branches, lighting up the courtyard and over the pristine lap pool. Once that brief welcome was complete, they welcomed us into what felt like a living room, with the fire lit and dinner immediately served around a coffee table, the perfect set up for tired and hungry kids.
Each room at Villa des Orangers is uniquely appointed, and we were staying in two bi-level suites that were perfect for our large family. They were decorated with antiques, and every detail from the handrails to the lighting to bathtub were simply stunning. From a design standpoint, Villa des Orangers might have been my favorite just because it felt so homey and is centrally located right in the heart of the Medina. I have a preference for these boutique-style hotels over the grand opulence of some larger brand-name 5 star hotels. However, as a caveat, the building is ancient, so there were some quirks to the building that might not be perceived as luxurious to many travelers.

Book with Diego Travel to Receive the Following Virtuoso Amenities:
• Upgrade to next room category, based upon availability at check-in
• 100 USD hotel credit per room, per stay (2 night minimum, valid towards incidentals)
• Guaranteed 2pm late check-out
• Complimentary welcome drink per guest, per stay

• VIP Status
• Diego Travel Welcome Box when Using the Travel Planning Service

Diego Travel Recommends Villa des Orangers For: Honeymooners | Groups of Friends | Anniversary Trip | Mother/Daughter Shopping Trips | Small Groups

Amanjena, Morocco

Amanjena

I was very excited to stay at Amanjena, as Aman Hotels are always at the top of my list when it comes to guaranteed luxury and over-the-top service. Amanjena did not disappoint, and has the wow factor that would make any trip extra special. The grounds are stunning, with expansive pools and fountains throughout. The entrance has two lobbies on either side, with a bar on one side and restaurants on the other. The food was incredible, and for our first dinner, there was a trio of musicians playing traditional Moroccan music while we dined under the high glass-domed ceilings in a candlelit room that could not have been more romantic. Well, had we removed our three tired kids, it might have been.
The 40 villas on property are stunning and offer lavish accommodations with incredible amenities. What is included here sets Aman properties apart from your typical hotel stay – from welcome amenities to nightly treats placed on your pillow. There are only 4 room categories at Amanjena, with the first three all having the exact same floor plan with the differentiating factor being the outdoor space. You can consult with me on season you’ll be there to determine best fit.
On property there are two pools, one adults-only and one family- friendly. To be honest, the family-friendly pool felt like an after-thought, stuck behind the spa building and next to the golf course, in a way that doesn’t seem like it would be enjoyable. From what I was told, most families will stay in the 2-bedroom villas, the Alhambra Suite, that have a full-size private pool in their own “backyard,” which makes a lot more sense.
The spa is small but offers an extensive menu of treatments, and the separate men’s and women’s hammers offer different masks that you can apply as a complimentary service during your stay. While there’s not a ton to do, per se, at Amanjena, they do offer a small selection of kids activities such as calligraphy, story time, and a cooking class, and can arrange for nearby camel rides. While Amanjena does have families that stay here, especially during the peak seasons of December and April, the majority of travelers here are couples seeking privacy, romance and a nice getaway from major European cities.


Book with Diego Travel to Receive the Following Virtuoso Amenities:
• Upgrade upon arrival, subject to availability
• Daily continental breakfast for two guests per bedroom
• $100 USD Food & Beverage Credit
• Priority Early Check-In/Late Check-Out
• VIP Status
• Diego Travel Welcome Box when Using the Travel Planning Service

Diego Travel Recommends Amanjena For: Honeymooners | Groups of Friends | Anniversary Trip | Parents Traveling with Older Children | Small Groups

Mandarin Oriental Marrakech

Mandarin Oriental Marrakech

The sleek and modern Mandarin Oriental Marrakech was designed by the same designer responsible for the Baccarat Hotel in New York City and the newly redesigned Mandarin Oriental in Madrid. The property is best known for its open air gardens and two golf courses, and comes with many accommodation options with villas that are perfect for families.

The hotel is often site to high-profile events such as runway shows for Moncler and Yves Saint Laurent.


Book with Diego Travel to Receive the Following Virtuoso Amenities:
• Upgrade upon arrival, subject to availability (for suites, upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability)
• Daily full breakfast for up to two people per bedroom
• $100 USD Food & Beverage Credit
• Priority Early Check-In/Late Check-Out
• VIP Status
• Diego Travel Welcome Box when Using the Travel Planning Service 

Diego Travel Recommends Mandarin Oriental Marrakech For:
Honeymooners | Groups of Friends | Anniversary Trip | Mother/Daughter Shopping Trips | Incentive Groups | Destination Wedding

A Few of My Favorite Things

Marrakech

Combining Ancient Culture with Luxury Accommodations

We loved learning about ancient Moorish culture and visiting the Dar el Bacha Museum of the Confluences before wandering through the narrow streets of the Souk. We also loved driving through the Atlas Mountains and seeing how the Berbers live and visiting the Unesco World Heritage site of Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, in Ouarzazate Provence.

The Service

Morocco is a destination where you get a lot of value and high level of service for a fraction of what it would cost in Europe. Service, food, shopping and culture were all phenomenal. If you have questions about which property to choose or how to plan your trip, you can fill out our Trip Design Form to get started and we will reach out with more information!

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