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La Mamounia

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Palace Hotels: La Mamounia, Morocco
Marrakesh - Snake Charmer
The Way To Mecca, In A Drawer
Drinks at the Churchill Bar
Palace of pleasure
Wander the luxurious gardens at La Mamounia
A Little Bit of Fabulous
Paradise Found
Palace Hotels: La Mamounia, Morocco
Marrakesh - Snake Charmer
The Way To Mecca, In A Drawer
Drinks at the Churchill Bar
Palace of pleasure
Wander the luxurious gardens at La Mamounia
A Little Bit of Fabulous
Paradise Found
Palace Hotels: La Mamounia, Morocco
Star designer Jacques Garcia recently restored La Mamounia’s grandeur, updating rooms with painted wooden doors, hand-carved ceilings, and a blend of art deco and Moorish antiques. In the surrounding park, bougainvillea and roses grow wild in a grove of olive trees.

La Mamounia, Avenue Bab Jdid, Marrakech, 212/(0) 524-388-600. From $755. mamounia.com. This story appeared in the July/August 2011 issue.  

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Marrakesh - Snake Charmer
If you get too close they will try to get you to pay for any pictures you take. Very shady. I snapped this one on the sly.
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The Way To Mecca, In A Drawer
La Mamounia is a gorgeous hotel, filled with intricate mosaics and rich with history. When we got to our room, I opened every door and drawer. When I opened the bedside table drawer, I didn't really expect to see a Gideon Bible but I didn't expect to see an orange leather arrow glued to the drawer, pointing the way towards Mecca. I guess a hotel's bedside table drawer is where every culture leaves religious markings.
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Drinks at the Churchill Bar
Initially skeptical of the costly renovation of La Mamounia I was delightfully surprised at the beautiful and elegant outcome. Truly an experience not to miss on a visit to Marrakech, an early evening drink at the Churchill Bar is a decadence to indulge in.
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Palace of pleasure

Ravishing and regal, La Mamounia hotel is set in royal gardens, styled with Moorish opulence, and as sensuous as a seraglio. Aware that its guests (Winston Churchill was a fan) expect the best, the legendary den of decadence recruited luxury-lifestyle luminaries including Jacques Garcia and Olivia Giacobetti for its recent refurbishment, and world-class chefs to captain its restaurants.

La Mamounia’s immaculate marble and mosaic spa is an opulent setting for a treatment, all ornate ceilings and arched columns. Shiseido products sit alongside the hotel’s signature unguents: black soap, Ghassoul clay, Argan oil, rose water and orange blossom water. Pick from three hammams, nine treatment rooms, six outdoor massage cabins, an indoor pool, and a hair salon headed up by Jean-Michel Faretra.
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Wander the luxurious gardens at La Mamounia
One of the most luxurious hotels in the world opens its bar and gardens to the public during particular hours of the day. A welcome respite from the frenetic pace of the medina, the lush and manicured gardens feature olive, palm and flowering bougainvillea trees. The air is filled with birdsong. Have a drink or a tea in the bar or terrace before wandering the 200-year-old gardens that were presented as a wedding gift to Prince Moulay Mamoun by his father, King Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah.
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A Little Bit of Fabulous
La Mamounia Hotel is a magnificent display of Moroccan luxury and grandeur. The ornate tiles, luscious gardens, and plush furnishings ooze romance. From the massive outdoor pool to the world-class spa, this oasis in Marrakech is so fabulous it almost feels like fiction.

It's real-life guests have ranged from Winston Churchill to the Rolling Stones, and yes, it would be wonderful to join the list of pampered people who have stayed at this North African palace, but the nightly rates are formidable.

On my solo journey through Marrakech, I discovered a great way to experience the lavish amenities without spending my savings: I sat by pool, ordered a cold glass of white wine, and was provided with three hours of complimentary internet connection. Sitting amid climbing bougainvilleas and listening to the giggles of carefree kids, I touched base with friends and relatives back home.

Some day I intend to wheel my suitcase into La Mamounia and settle in for a good, long stay - but I can at least say I've tasted a bit of what Churchill called, "the most lovely spot in the whole world."
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Paradise Found
The great English garden designer, Russell Page, credited Islamic architects with establishing the idea of a garden as, “a place of rest… for listening to the song of birds and the plashing of water, and for enjoying the scents of jasmine and rose and orange.” When the staff at Marrakech’s La Mamounia light the hotel’s 1,200 red-and-white lanterns, his point becomes apparent. The crowds and camels of the city’s vast open-air market, the Jemaa el-Fnaa, begin to feel distant and it is possible to rediscover a sense of repose, increasingly rare when email follows you to even the most distant lands. As night descends on the courtyards and gardens of La Mamounia, return to a time when evenings provided a chance to rest and reflect on the day.

To experience La Mamounia, visit http://bit.ly/1uhioBn
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El Moukef, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco