Mandarin Oriental Marrakech

If it’s good enough for Idris Elba, it’s good enough for us! The Hollywood star apparently recently tied the knot in this swanky resort with a star studded ‘all white’ party.

Because I’m already a fan of the Mandarin Oriental brand, a trip to Marrakesh to discover that 20 hectares resort was never going to be a tough gig!

Getting there proved a little trickier with a nightmarish seven hour delayed flight with RyanAir. I won’t go into the details, but needless to say we were pretty happy to have arrived, and a little sad to have lost a day’s worth of life in an airport instead of being in this glorious place…

Arriving at our Pool Villa, even the kids were blown away. Seven-year-old Lennox couldn’t quite believe his luck as he opened the majestic looking solid, overs-sized wooden door that give onto the indoor pool patio. White sofas, sunbeds and cabanas give the indoor courtyard a really glamorous look and of course, what’s not to love about a mini villa with its own pool?

One of 54, our villa is so chic it hurts. The central black tiled pool is super sleek, and it doesn’t’ take long for the juniors to find out there’s a Jacuzzi there too. Squeals of delight all around!

The entire place oozes sophistication, from the white sofas’ shimmering golden trim, to the long low-slung chimney ideal for a few flames on cold nights and giant Aladdin inspired lanterns. There’s even an outdoor kitchen with beautiful Moroccan fittings, tea pots, trays with intricate metalwork, a marble sink and local decorative dishes – as well as the usual Nespresso machine should we need a caffeine fix.

It’s extremely instagram-able. I love the tumbling white and fuschia Bougainvillea, the stylish daybed and the Berber embroidered patterns, not to mention the long white curtains flowing in the breeze.

The small gardens that run along the outer villa is separated by a wooden lattice panel, adding to the exotic feel. There’s a definite Asian Mandarin Oriental sleekness with an authentic Moroccan vibe which continues throughout the entire property.

In the bathroom we are amazed to find a giant round tub amidst acres of grey marble. Twin sinks are carved out of a giant stone slab, while light fixtures hang off a natural rope. The Grapefruit and Rosemary aroma in the room is bewitching and reminds me of long ago travels to Thailand.

Attention to detail is everywhere – all the goodies and trimmings in the bathroom are presented in dainty mother of pearl boxes, and the towels aren’t just any towels – cute pom-poms adorn on each corner, while the dressing gowns also have the extra Moroccan touch: triangular hoods and pom-poms!

Another surprise lays in store – a Hammam style steam shower with all the gear you need for a full ritual steam session, including black soap and scrub gloves. The works!

There’s a giant dressing room, so I clearly should have packed more! Less is more does not compute here. Even the freebie slippers are adorable with triangular ends like the famous local ‘babouches’ shoes.

The bedroom is plush as you’d expect: a giant bed, the softest sheets and a James Bond worthy TV that disappears down into the bed’s footer thanks to a remote’s button. The kids are duly impressed. The soft donkey toy in my daughter’s bed also wins points with her.

It’s been a very long day so we head out to dine at the Moroccan Mes’Lalla

Restaurant sitting out under the Arabian style tents overlooking the water features and the gardens. We indulge in a Marrakchi beef stew that’s been cooked for seven hours (the entire time we sat in the airport!) and skip desert because it’s getting dark and definitely past bedtime.

The atmosphere is quite magical. The stars are out and our kids are delighted to run around free in the resort. I realise once again how lovely it is to take your kids to a beautifully manicured space where everything is safe. There’s no traffic aside from the old golf cart and even better, each villa comes with its own bikes to get around.

After vanquishing a swarm of mosquitoes, we crack open the very welcome welcome champagne. The air is balmy and fragrant, the Ruinart is cold and delicious. The kids are fast asleep. It’s blissful.

Breakfast is a beautiful buffet with everything you can dream of: amazing pastries, chocolate muffins, cereal of all types, cold cuts, cheeses, yogurts and smoothies. We also order my personal hotel breakfast favourite: eggs benedict!

Cycling through the resort, we realise just how huge the place is. It goes on forever, offering plenty of opportunities to explore and for Lennox to try out his cycling skills.

Everywhere you turn there’s another picture opportunity. Everything is oversize and therefore highly picture-friendly. The flora is stunning. Oversize cactus, swaying palm trees, exotic blooms I have no idea how to describe, banana trees and pretty rose gardens – it all really drives home the fact that you’re somewhere very far away from home.

We take the kids on a ride and discover the petting farm! There’s a donkey, turkeys, chickens, sheep and a cat called Mandarine. Across the way, the Kid’s Club is running a pottery class, which is an unlikely and happy coincidence as it’s one of my son’s passions. He even gets a turn on a proper potter’s wheel. The next day, my daughter gets to try her hand at making cookies in the hotel’s kitchen, complete with chef hat. Quite the cool experiences!

The Pool Garden is the ideal spot for a quick snack poolside – so we stop by for a Burrata salad and huge club sandwich. The setting is quite idyllic and although we have to check out already we’re chuffed at all we’ve packed in in a few days.  The kids love the grand 576sqm outdoor heated pool with its many levels and steps – no end of entertainment riding a giant blow up peacock or pineapple!

My favourite bit was probably the visit to the 1800sqm Spa Madandarin Oriental

Spa for a relaxing back massage in the most serene and glamorous of settings – I may even have drifted off to sleep while Hasnan’s magic hands did their thing…

Although it seems a shame to sleep through even a minute of our stay here, it’s hard not to give in to the relaxing vibe. Then again I imagine that’s the whole point of checking in here so – mission accomplished!

Rates for Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech start from EUR 850 per riad per night. For more information, or to make a booking, please call +212 5 24 29 88 88 or visit

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