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The Weekender: Marrakech

Our publisher journeys to Marrakech for a whirlwind weekend.

Scenes from Marrakech (c) David Leppan

My paternal family have been in Africa for over 200 years and I’m always happy to venture back to bustling, colourful cities and even more so to vast open spaces. A hop to Morocco for a magical party hosted by my dear friends Boutique Souk took me back to Marrakech. As event planners of note I knew this was going to be a remarkable celebration with many of my favourite people I knew from Ibiza flying in for it. This was not one to be missed.

Mandarin Oriental Marrakech is that perfect combination of sprawling Africa and Asian aesthetics. I am a lover of symmetry and couldn’t have been happier in this oasis. Hotels rise and fall on how good their pillows are, and Mandarin Oriental Marrakech is at the top of the pillow pile. The villa I was in was enormous, incredibly tastefully done, beyond serene, and, truthfully, I had no desire to leave other than at dawn to walk around the gardens. I did venture into their spa and the serenity across this property continues there too. I’d graciously been met on arrival by Marcel Thoma, general manager, although I’ll admit to being less than my usual bubbly self after having partied the night away thanks to Fred & Rosena Charmoy of Boutique Souk at their fabulous new farmhouse.

As a seasoned hotelier he recognised my needs and immediately had me whisked away to the comfort and quiet of the villa long before normal check-in time. I am indebted to him and his team. And I am a fan.

Scenes from Marrakech (c) David Leppan

One of the best meals I had was at Le Palace, Avenue Echouhada, Marrakech 40000, Morocco. A group of friends, mostly from the island, gathered on Sunday evening to celebrate Raquel Sanchez’s birthday. The ambience was elegant and vibey, the food excellent, as was the service. Add to this magical combination a talented restaurateur, Nordine Fakir, and a wonderful group of people and it’s bound to be memorable.

The best shopping discovery on this trip was Moro, Rue Yves St Laurent, Majorelle 40000, Morocco. This wonderful concept store is fashionable and fun and such a sensory delight. But there is more. A little bistro with delicious food, perfect for a light lunch, and there’s a small hotel too. A very cool hotspot.

Scenes from Marrakech (c) David Leppan

No trip to Marrakech is complete without at least a night at The Royal Mansour, one of the world’s most unique properties. Having stayed here a couple of times I knew what was in store for me and yet it still takes my breath away each time. Made up of an array of the most perfect riads in the most perfect of medinas, one strolls through this tranquil space with only the sound of birds and fountains. Each riad or villa is laid out over several floors, and many have a private pool on the roof terrace. This property is testament to what Morocco and its artisans are capable of. The walk-in dressing rooms are like jewellery boxes, the fountain in one’s private courtyard providing a sense of peace and a tray of local pastries can only lead you astray. I’ve thought long and hard about comparable properties and can think of none. It is a hotel fit for the guests of a King.

I left Kech with so many treasured memories from just a single weekend but a stand out moment was at 4am-ish as we as a group departed the Boutique Souk Farmhouse, looking up at the night sky to see a shower of shooting stars. The Red City has gone through a massive transformation over the 20 years I’ve known it and it continues to surprise and delight.