There are supposedly two ways to see Marrakech - to spend weeks working your way from the red city of Marrakech, up to the white house Casablanca, then Fes, Chefchaouen and the Sahara desert; second to that is to stay at a luxury resort. Both are experiences of their own, but my time was limited to two nights and so the option of living within the Moroccan décor was of preference.
Of course, limiting yourself to a hotel while on holiday could only portray a sense of a lazy traveller with an egotistic unwillingness to experience what you're 'meant to be experiencing. Though things change and tables turn at the Royal Mansour - a place where reality, to me, often has to be questioned. I've even had to split my visit into several posts just to make sure I am able to write about the entire experience. This part will be the more informative part.
The hotel was constructed at the commands of King Mohammed VI of Morocco to showcase the Moroccan know-how. The royal treatment experience began at the footstep you take as you land at the Marrakech airport, with no exaggeration. Prior to passport control, the staff of the Royal Mansour would already be smartly dressed and smiling in their uniform to escort you through the fast track for swift baggage control and exit. Within minutes, the bags are in the trunk and passports returned to you. The no-hassle experience is repeated in reverse upon leaving the hotel.
A short car journey transports you back in time and a different world - your eyes will feast upon the lush greens, camels and the orange-red 12th century gates that bring you into the medina. The Royal Mansour is located in the heart of Marrakech and is nestled in a secret path without any signs but two suited guards. It later became clear that the entrance was at the end of the secret path, constructed similarly to the famous Bab el Khemis. The staff of the hotel lined up neatly by the lobby entrance to welcome you like royalty and a representative gave a quick tour. Whilst on my way to the riad, the first thing I was told was that the Royal Mansour was designed like a medina - an old Moroccan city complete with riads, palm tree squares and gardens filled with aromatic lemon trees.
There are no hotel rooms at the Royal Mansour. With 53 individual riads, they are categorised into exclusive and exceptional riads; each with its own distinct character and modelled on a traditional Moroccan house. The two-bedroom privilege riad I stayed in is stretched over 3 floors. The ground floor is complete with an entrance hall, a courtyard, a sitting area, living room, dining room, study, bar and a guest toilet. The first floor houses two en-suites, each with a king-sized bed, rain shower and walk-in wardrobe. There is a seating area that separates the two rooms. Another flight of stairs, or elevator if you request for a room that has one, brings you to the terrace which circles a square glass roof that brings natural lighting into the whole house. The area is complete with a lounge tent, plunge pool, sun deck and dining area (how does breakfast overlooking Marrakech sound?).
To be continued... #tbc