Morocco reopened its borders on Monday, February 7, welcoming international travelers for the first time this year. As flights to and from the country resume, Morocco’s diverse landscape – from Essouira’s seaside escape and the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert to Marrakech’s ‘Red City’ – offers enticing escapes for all types of travelers. Begin in Marrakech, a gateway into Moroccan culture, celebrating local craftmanship, Moorish architecture, verdant gardens, and vibrant spices.
Owned by the King of Morocco, Royal Mansour Marrakech has long been the destination for travelers seeking privacy within the medina walls while also enjoying quick access to the region’s cultural icons from the Majorelle Gardens and Jemaa el-Fnaa to the Atlas Mountains. Guests are welcomed with an open-air courtyard, over seven acres of lush gardens, and 53 private multi-story riads dotted along petal-pink pathways.
A Global Wellness Destination
What’s New: The three-story, 27,000-square-foot Royal Mansour Spa is reason enough to visit the palatial estate. Expanding as a global wellness destination, Royal Mansour now offers multi-day wellness retreats. Available as three-, five-, seven- or 14-day retreats, guests can choose between the Rebalance, Rejuvenation, and Immunity Boost programs – with the goal of improving both mental and physical health. Each program is completely customizable and offers a 360-degree approach with treatments, nutrition (eating healthy but well at the property’s three restaurants led by Michelin-starred chefs), and activities including culinary masterclasses and Pilates. In addition to the full-board retreats, the property also built and designated a new artist’s studio, Atelier d’Artiste, housed in a glass-paneled greenhouse, to host art therapy sessions including painting, modeling, pottery, and calligraphy, each beginning with a guided meditation.
Don’t Miss: The signature treatment, the hammam. Essential to the authentic Moroccan spa experience, the hammam begins in a humid room on a slab of heated marble with a black soap scrub. This ritual, rich in symbolism, soothes, regenerates and reinvigorates the soul through the experience of profound relaxation. Scrubbed and massaged, cleansed and purified, the skin regains radiance and softness, and is ready to benefit from further treatments. Personalized hammam treatments represent a return to Morocco’s roots – clay for the energizing wrap comes from the Atlas Mountains; roses from the Kalaast Megouna are used in the regenerating wrap; and saffron is a key ingredient in the glow wrap.
A Duo of Michelin-Starred Chefs
What’s New: Royal Mansour debuted an elevated private dining space in 2021, located 14 feet above the property’s expanded gardens. Aptly titled The Nest, the 430-square-foot open-air dining space is an extension of Le Jardin, featuring a Mediterranean and Asian-fusion menu by Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno. The Nest offers a hidden sanctuary for up to eight guests, ideal for group dinners or micro-weddings, nestled within the lemon and palm trees with uninterrupted views over Marrakech and the Koutoubia Mosque’s Atlas tower. Each dining experience is completely customizable as the team works with guests to finalize curated playlists, floral arrangements, and exclusive menus.
Don’t Miss: Royal Mansour’s dining destinations flourish under two Michelin-starred chefs. For a taste of Italy in Marrakech, Sesamo debuted in December 2019, an Italian dining concept orchestrated by noted Chef Massimiliano Alajmo, the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin stars (at age 28). Combining his Italian roots and locally sourced Moroccan ingredients, he has crafted new dishes, including garlic and red pepper spaghetti with vegetables from Royal Mansour’s gardens and a signature Open Sesame dessert – an almond nougat sphere filled saffron, neroli and almond foam in a passion fruit sauce. The next stop is La Grande Table Marocaine, which is widely regarded as the best Moroccan restaurant in the country, by Yannick Alléno. Sh’hiwates, seafood pastillas, seven-vegetable couscous and Amlou ice cream are among the new interpretations of Moroccan cuisine, all of which are deeply rooted in tradition.
Experiences in the Red City
Exclusive Access: Royal Mansour offers exclusive access to lesser-known destinations in Marrakech. Not open to the public, guests of Royal Mansour are granted access to acclaimed French perfumer Serge Lutens’ 2.5-acre Marrakech home and laboratory. Built by combining 60 riads, the space took over 35 years to design with its intricately carved ceilings, locally inspired stained-glass windows and seemingly endless succession of plush sitting rooms. No photos are allowed inside making this a trip guests truly need to see to believe. Royal Mansour can also arrange the ultimate date night at Dar El Sadaka, French visual artist Jean-Francois Fourtou’s villa known for its mind-bending upside-down house, with a private dinner lit by 1,001 candles in the estate’s gardens.
Don’t Miss: Put Phaidon’s latest book Studio KO: Yves Saint Laurent Museum Marrakech down and explore the museum in person with complimentary tickets when booking a stay at Royal Mansour. The hotel can also arrange for private tours and meals in Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge’s home, Villa Oasis. Then, head out of the city to the Atlas Mountains to meet with the local Berber communities and enjoy a hot air balloon ride or opt for an overnight excursion in the Chigaga dunes, considered by many to be the largest and still untouched dunes in Morocco.
How To Get There
There are currently direct flights from Washington D.C., New York, and Montreal to Casablanca. Travelers can then opt for a quick connecting flight into Marrakech or arrange a private car transfer with Royal Mansour – outfitted with complimentary WIFI for the two-hour drive. The arrival is seamless as guests of the hotel are greeted as they step off the plane and guided through the airport, assisting with customs and side-stepping any long lines.
All travelers must present proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test administered within 48 hours of boarding the final flight to Morocco. There are no testing requirements for children under six years of age. Children between six and 18 years old must present a negative PCR test administered within 48 hours of boarding the plane.