Why Go: The sheer amount of space provided to each guest at Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech merits staying the 10-minute drive from the city’s historic medina. Opened in October, the 50-acre expanse offers 54 villas and nine suites (from about $850). The word villa is no hyperbole here, as spacious living rooms and bedrooms open onto walled gardens with outdoor living rooms, daybeds, swimming pools, and hot tubs. Among the nine suites, seven access their own rooftop plunge pools, and unobstructed views overlook the distant Atlas Mountains.

 What to Expect: Reflecting ponds and swimming pools beautifully populate this desert oasis landscaped with countless gardens that include 100,000 rosebushes. Flat-roofed buildings typical of the region’s Moorish architecture stand just taller than the surrounding young palm trees. Like the villas, suites at the Spa at Mandarin Oriental open to enclosed gardens for outdoor treatments. Turkish baths can be taken in either of the two hammams. For a traditional Moroccan feast, try La Salon Berbère overlooking the two main swimming pools and the mountains beyond. Mes’Lalla takes a more contemporary approach to local fare, while the Pool Garden focuses on lighter dishes prepared using local produce.
  • Mandarin Oriental’s first outpost in Africa is a true spectacle, where a double-height lobby is adorned withzellige tiles, and 50 acres of olive groves and gardens are set against a backdrop of snow-capped Atlas peaks. The hotel’s villas borrow from traditional riad style, with Berber motifs and private courtyards. In the Mes’Lalla restaurant, Morocco’s celebrated chef Meryem Cherkaoui takes traditional local cuisine to awe-inspiring new levels.
  • A short drive from the medina, the Mandarin Oriental is a lush oasis of groves and gardens whose fragrant flora includes 100,000 rosebushes. 
  • Each of the 54 villas and nine suites has a private swimming pool; interiors are adorned with handwoven rugs, latticework accents, and tadelakt plasterwork.
  • Mes’Lalla’s contemporary reinventions of indigenous local dishes might include slow-cooked lamb in pear confit; more traditional Moroccan fare is served poolside at Le Salon Berbère.
  • Hammam and Berber-inspired therapies are highlights at the nearly 20,000-square-foot spa, where six treatment rooms overlook a private garden.

Originally posted: Morocco

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