Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech

Posted in Projects on 7 December, 2015

Architect Pascal Desprez along with interior designers Gilles & Boissier have celebrated the rich Moroccan heritage through subtle Berber reference to create The Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech. Hamish Kilburn writes…

Snow-capped Atlas Mountains form a spectacular backdrop at the Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech. Surrounded by fruitful gardens filled with olive trees and more than 100,000 fragrant roses, the hotel marks the debut of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in Africa.

It offers seven well-appointed suites of between 135-210 square metres that are complete with heated plunge pools and exceptional views of undisturbed Mountains. “The earth and sand were the major influences,” says interior designer Dorothée Boissier. “Along with the colours of the street and traditional Berber women’s clothing. The sand colour of the stonework combined with the large expanses of dominant green from the lush vegetation makes for a true dialogue and fluidity between the exterior architecture and the surrounding nature, while the pools give the illusion of an oasis in this ‘living desert.”

54 private villas of between 280-440 square metres include one or two bedrooms, a pool, hot tub and outdoor shower. Surrounded by a private garden, the cosy spaces are clean and uncomplicated. Boissier explains, “The villas are havens of peace, simplicity, privacy and comfort, with tadelakt plastered walls etched with Berber motifs.” Paying homage to local craftsmanship, the ceramic dining tables have been produced in The Red City itself, by the manufacturer Ceramic Loun, whose workshops in town are open to visitors.

For guests looking to totally switch off, Two Infinity Pool Suites of 290 square metres feature an 18-metre long heated infinity pool. Also focusing heavily on the outdoor space, the suites include a large private courtyard. Sitting adjacent to the spa, the suites promise a rejuvenating experience for both body and mind.

Inspired from the architecture of cathedrals and historical mosques in Andalusia, the spa engenders a cool and soothing atmosphere with corridor arches that wind through and seem to go on forever. With a total area of 1,800 square metres, it has six treatment rooms, two luxurious Moroccan hammams and a modern fitness centre. The overall effect lends a warm and elegant ambiance where the layout and design has been created around the five elements and play with all five senses.

Continuing the theme of creating a chic, relaxed and a natural atmosphere, the restaurants and bars provide subtle contemporary reminders of Moroccan crafts: floors of black and white mosaics; handcrafted wooden features; shelves embellished with antiques from nearby souks; walls adorned with traditional warm H’ssira straw mats incorporating subtle Berber motifs. A row of columns inspired by Arabo-Andalusian architecture runs down the restaurant, which is separated from the neighbouring Salon Berbere by high, crenelated doors, again referencing the arches of the old mosque of Cordora.

All Mandarin Oriental hotels are encouraged to find its own unique fan to reflect the individuality of each property. Celebrated designer, Zineb Joundy, imagined the fan of the Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech, while Maison Duvelleroy constructed it. Joundy took her inspiration from the grey and white tones of the hotel, with saffron highlights. The piece sits in the lobby where it welcomes guests in and bids farewell to those leaving their unforgettable experience.

Fact box

Owner: Park Palmeraie S.A.
Operator: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
Architecture: Pascal Desprez
Interior designers: Gilles & Boissier

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