Villa des Orangers
After a day of exploring and shopping, it’s a pleasure to pass through the wooden doors of this Relais & Chateaux hotel (near the Koutoubia Mosque and souks) and into a world of fragrant orange trees, poolside loungers, and fresh mint tea served on shaded terraces. Housed in a 1930s-era riad with three swimming pools, Villa des Orangers features 27 elegant rooms and suites, complete with decor like hand-painted tiles, latticed woodwork, arched doorways, and carved mantles as well as modern conveniences like air-conditioning, Nespresso machines, and smart TVs. As at all Relais & Chateaux properties, food is a priority here. Days begin with a generous breakfast of local cheeses and homemade jams, and end with a refined Mediterranean-meets-Moroccan dinner, which can be enjoyed al fresco or by one of the indoor fireplaces. Guests can also look forward to a five-room spa, known for its traditional Moroccan hamman ritual perfumed with roses and orange blossoms.
By Sandra Ramani, AFAR Contributor
Villa des Orangers
It was midnight on a full moon in Marrakesh. After a late flight from Barcelona and transferring from Casablanca, the driver pulls over on a very busy, unremarkable street, next to a gas station, an LP gas depot and about the world’s most frenetic bus stop and taxi stand, drivers wailing and waving, engines gunning. Everyone looked to be in charge. The van stopped in the middle of the street and the door swung open. A nondescript wood door lay before me; no sign, no grand entrance, just two guys in muted brown tunics. “This is it?” I asked. “It’s Marrakesh, there’s always a surprise behind the doors. You will be surprised.” I ducked low beneath the carved wood apse of the doorway and instantly I got it. I was in a long hall lit with lanterns, flame light flicking off the cool walls. Bunches of roses, all pink and orange, were in pots along the walls, in alcoves, arranged on the front desk, their scent hit me like a cool shower. This was it. I’ve never seen a hotel so beautifully and meticulously decorated, in such an understated and elegant way. Carved colonnades, muted colors, deep, rich tile. Impeccable service. Dozens of outdoor rooms within rooms; a quiet palace inside these great walls. It’s not cheap, but for the money, I can think of no other place I’ve stayed that felt like you were getting every penny of it. It sits within the Medina, so you can walk anywhere, but come back and have your own cool retreat to regenerate with some mint tea.
By Dan Fogarty
6 Rue Sidi Mimoun، Place Ben Tachfine، Marrakech 40000, Morocco