When I was little I played princess like all the other little girls. However, even back then my princess dreams were of more exotic nature than Snow White & Co. I wore harem pants and ankle bracelets, danced in imaginary temples and snuck through hidden corridors to meet a prince clad in a blue turban. My dreams didn’t care about countries, knew no borders between reality and fantasy, and had no political agenda.
I wore hammered silver bracelets my dad had brought my mum from his travels, a veil from the carnival section of the toystore and a gold sequenced poncho from my sister’s closet. Royal tigers were my friends, henna adorned my little hands, and the princes were smart enough to bring me pasta instead of red roses in order to win my heart. I grew up not dreaming of becoming Princess Diana but to live in a palace that smelled of incense, where I could pretend ice skate on marble floors and listen to indoor fountains, seeing the stars over my head after a day full of adventures.
It would take me almost 30 years to make this dream a reality. Take that, Sleeping Beauty!
Royal Mansour – the luxury hotel, Marrakech
Marrakech offers so many great accommodation options that even the Princess and the Pea would find a bed to her liking here. Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all? If there was ever a luxury hotel in Marrakech fit for a king and worthy of the title fairest of them all it would be the Royal Mansour. For starters, it actually belongs to the king which I think is the closest I and other wannabe princesses can ever get to sleeping in a palace.
I arrive not in a carriage but in a highly unroyal (but very fun) fashion: in an old, raggedy tuk-tuk. Tuk-tuks are relatively new to Marrakech, but while they are definitely not the safest for long distance drives, I think they are the most fun. Needless to say, though, they are not very chic so we raise a few eyebrows as we approach that gate of the Royal Mansour, one of the top hotels in Marrakech My driver is unphased by the questions of the security guards and I assure them that indeed, Princess Annika is checking in for the night, dusty Converse and all.
All the gates resemble the gates of the Moroccan imperial cities and this one is modeled after the Bab el Khemis, offering luck, health and prosperity to whoever walks through it.
I can barely believe my luck that I am allowed into such a luxurious hotel. Everybody politely ignores my dusty feet and I am greeted with warm smiles everywhere. I am feeling quite royal already and the ‘lobby’ is everything my childhood dreams were made of: a water fountain, marble floors, birds chirping and above me the blue Morrocan sky which I know will turn into a starry ceiling in a few hours.
From here I am led through Royal Mansour’s very own medina, because of course, the ultimate luxury hotel, Marrakech will provide their own. While it cannot be compared to the bustling, lively streets of the red city, it doesn’t lack charm and it is all mine – my very own little kingdom and one of the best places to stay in Marrakech!
Some secrets are for whispering, it says on their website and I try to listen as I make my way to my room. After all, that’s what I came for – undercover princess trying to dish some secrets of this very elusive place. But for now, all I hear is more water fountains and the wind in the crowns of the tall palm trees. The noises of the city are kept out by the high walls, some of which are even part of the original Marrakech city walls. I can’t even whisper amongst such splendor, for once I lack words.
Just like a real princess, I don’t get a room, I get rooms. Or better said a whole riad fit for the ultimate luxury hotel in Marrakech. While 140m2 is small compared to the rest of the riads, to me and my little suitcase it feels huge.
A courtyard with yet another fountain, a lounge, chilled white wine and obviously my very own stationary await downstairs.
On the first floor the bed- and bathroom, I do a quick pillow count – 11 in total which makes the Royal Mansour the undefeated leader. An alcove with dark wood paneling and a vanity would be perfect for some Rapunzel moments if my hair was anywhere long enough. And the bathroom is of course covered in white marble and robe, slippers, and a scrunchy await. The latter makes me laugh, not even these stylish walls can make a scrunchy fashionable.
Up on the roof my own private plunge pool. Secluded enough to run around naked, take a morning dip or enjoy the stars at night in front of a fireplace.
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Needless to say, there is staff at this luxury hotel, Marrakech to light this fire and cater to any other of my whims. All done with access via hidden corridors, just as I imaged it should be. However, in these fantasies, I would usually follow those dark and hidden corridors and either find a prince or a monster at the end of them. Here I find neither. The service doors are firmly locked, no secret explorations for me. I am disappointed but luckily I have a hammam booked to distract me. Also, I realize that I don’t have many whims. I request my fireplace lit while I’m at dinner and ask for more ice for my wine. Other than that I can’t think of anything, after all, I don’t own any glass slippers to clean and there are no peas to sort or mirrors to polish.
However, the one thing I can’t do on my own is give myself a proper hammam. I am not Moroccan enough quite yet. So I head to the very iconic spa of the Royal Mansour hotel. If you know any view of the hotel, you may know this one…
Walking inside it reminds me even more of the palace of the Childlike Empress from Neverending Story. Everything is white and almost sparkling, serene, quiet, an oasis within an oasis. My therapist leads me into the hammam room and a warm marble bed awaits. As per usual, after a year of no hammam, I shed quite a bit of skin, somehow making me very embarrassed in these beautiful rooms and light of the very peachy skin of my therapist. After being covered in argan, honey, orange flowers, and other lovely smells I am led to the lounge. This is basically a dorm room for princesses and I get my own little alcove bed, secluded by silk curtains. And then come the petit four with gold covered pistachios. By now I think I’m dreaming and I really don’t want to wake up.
Dinner is a lavish affair and I do what any reasonable person would do amongst such splendor – I people watch. Many tourists, some better behaved than others, but unfortunately, no stars in sight. Finally at 9pm an interesting looking family of five walks in. He is wearing jeans and a t-shirt, she is fully covered by a black veil. Monsieur, I ask the Maitre d’ to come closer, are they famous? He looks at me with a little smile. Madame, everybody is famous here! Pah, now he is being too discreet for my liking! But then again, he just implied that I am famous too so I am not complaining but quietly eat more petit four with gold covered pistachios which found their way onto my plate.
Read more: Where to find the best Marrakech Food.
After dinner I sit next to my fire place which the
house elves staff has lit for me, writing a letter to my dad on my personalized stationary. It seems misplaced to watch the Bachelor in my palace. It also doesn’t seem appropriate to wear my slippers to bed though I really want to. I do however call down to reception the next morning and ask if I can keep them. I may and it makes me happy. They are comfy and very soft – exactly what a princess in real life needs. Girls, glass slippers are definitely overrated!
I leave as I came in my Converse. My new slippers are safely tucked away in my suitcase, where I will keep them safe for next time when I have the opportunity to be princess for a night.
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