I think we have established my love for Marrakech by now. The city feels like home and still manages to get me silly excited every time I arrive. The sounds and the sights excite me and so do the smells – spicy, exotic, and legally intoxicating. This time was no different. That was until I flew over the Moroccan countryside in a hot air balloon and it reminded me how much I love the Moroccan landscape outside of the towns.
Staying at the Royal Palm Marrakech
So I wasn’t too unhappy when I made my way out of Marrakech after two short nights. The luxurious Royal Palm Marrakech, 30 minutes away from the city, had invited me to spend a few nights with them and I was keen! The first time I had been there was during the opening party for Pure and boy, can they throw a party! There were 12.000 candles and a designated candle lighter, fireworks, camels, endless macarons, and champagne. It was a party to remember. With that background I was equally thrilled to stay there but also a bit concerned – how could regular hotel life live up to such night to remember?!
One of the nicest thing about the Royal Palm Marrakech is its location. When people ask me where to stay in Marrakech I always sigh because the options are endless and there is something for each taste and budget. Many hotels in the Marrakech medina are rather boutique hotels or luxury riads and while I love this, sometimes you want a bit more space and greenery. For that heading out of the city is a must.
Luckily the Royal Palm is just half an hour outside of town and they have a free shuttle. We were off to a good start when my shuttle found me wandering along the Koutoubia Mosque parking. Have I mentioned that I am quite paranoid when it comes to transport? I triple check everything and still get nervous when a fancy hotel says they are going to send a shuttle to fetch me. And with that paranoia firmly in place I called the concierge – Where did I have to be? How would I find my shuttle? I had barely put down my phone when a guy came running after me – Madame! Madame! Needless to say, I ignored him firmly. After all, this is Marrakech and the times some random guy runs after you shouting Madame! Madame! are countless. You learn to ignore them. Madame Annika! Madame Annika stopped in her tracks and gladly gave up her suitcase to the driver who had by now been running after me for a few hundred meters. Didn’t I see the car with a sign reading Royal Palm Marrakech? No, I had not since I was expecting a shuttle bus, not a fancy SUV.
From there on it was smooth sailing and I had already gotten my first glimpse at what makes the Royal Palm Marrakech so special – the most friendly and efficient service I have ever encountered. Honestly, sometimes luxury hotels make me feel really inadequate. I feel like I always manage to arrive with a stain on my shirt or flood the bathroom while having a bath or lock myself in my suite on accident. Don’t ask! So while I know that I’m technically a grown woman, I still feel like a little girl playing the grown-up and usually the staff doesn’t help to make me feel any better.
And also, the staff in fancy hotels can be snootier than the snootiest guests. Not so here. The staff at the Royal Palm Marrakech incredibly friendly and dare I say fun? A lot of them were quite young, which may have helped, but I truly felt it was the Moroccan hospitality that shone through. My favorite was one of the barmen who almost agreed to serve me red wine in a pineapple and fed me salmon tartare snacks as dinner. If that isn’t hospitality without judgement I don’t know what is. More on the pineapples later…
My room was a Palm Suite. They only have suites, because why could I ever stay in a hotel with regular rooms? It is just not so fun to lock yourself into a room that is not a suite. Mine was very close to the main building. A bit too close to my liking as this meant I couldn’t take advantage of being driven around in little golf carts. As I get antsy and tend to move around a lot, it was probably for the better so I didn’t have to annoy the staff to shuttle be back and forth. But they were sweet enough to offer anyhow when I encountered one on the way to the lobby.
The best thing about my suite was the view. I am a sucker for this absurd combination of palm trees and the snowcapped Atlas Mountain peaks in the back. How is that even possible? It looked like photoshop. Mind you, these mountains always look a bit surreal from anywhere. Sometimes they seem to hover over the city.
The second best thing was the pillows with the correct ratio for sleeping and decoration: 8 for sleeping and 2 for decoration and yes, I believe that is a new record. I slept like a log with croaking frogs and crickets in front of my balcony. There were some mozzies too (because I don’t like aircon and left the doors open) but my blanket was so big, they couldn’t find me.
Other than sleep, I worked and I swam. I really did! Remember this post? This is the pool I had in mind when I wrote it. Honestly, it takes ten minutes – swimming – to circle it once. If you are more a laps kind of person, they have another pool in the gym. Both were heated, spacious and pretty much as good as a pool gets. Even if you don’t come during summer, take your costume!
I also had one of the best massages at their Clarins spa and decided that spa treatments definitely count as workouts. Or they should. For the rest of the time, I stayed in bed. I have said time and time again, that I get my best work done in bed. I truly do (written from yet another bed!). Surrounded by pillow friends, I finally finished a project I have been working on for a while and which I can hopefully reveal soon – honestly, I have yet to work on something more exciting!
And of course, I also ate. A lot. Never try to go on a diet in Morocco, it simply won’t work. Alas, I seem to be the only one because I was yet again in a Moroccan hotel room with a scale. Why, oh why? I didn’t touch it and decided instead to write a Moroccan food post. I will tell you all about the night I ate three (!!) tagines, so if you are as keen on food, read below:
I must admit it was one of the few times traveling alone when I felt a bit lonely. I don’t know if it was the fact that on my last visit I flirted with David de Rothschild next to one of the bonfires (at least I flirted, I think he was just being polite) or the fact that there were so many candles and fireplaces everywhere or that James, the pianist was playing romantic tunes. Luckily before it got too bad James was joined by a guest who wanted to turn her French chanson singer fantasies into reality and started La Vie en Rose. Now, call me a tough critic, but I think if you want to sing for a room full of strangers who didn’t ask you to, you should, at least, know the words. You should not be standing next to pianist and stare on your phone screen. Bright screens reflecting in the piano really take away from the cozy atmosphere. But maybe I am just envious. I thought it was cheesy to ask him to play As Time Goes By which I thought would be a given for any pianist in Morocco, but she just beat me to it. As it was, my romantic lonely mood was gone after listening to her and I went back to munching on my salmon tartare snacks and dreaming about the pineapples.
I discovered them on the first night and became completely obsessed because how beautiful are those?! If you can ever consider a pineapple-shaped vessel beautiful. The barman was nice enough to arrange this for me so I could take a picture and even showed me the drink inside, called a Goodbye something that is like a Mai Tai only in blue (and disgusting looking thanks to some Curacao). I really wanted one. The pineapple that is, not the drink. I even hinted a lot on social media how much I liked them and was eventually told that no, unfortunately, I couldn’t have one because they only have four. And they sleep as a team next to each other behind the bar counter.
If a pineapple was my favorite thing about the Royal Palm, the views came just a short second. And this window. I mean, have you ever?! In hindsight, I don’t know why I didn’t just set up shop in the lobby to work. Oh yeah, because no 10 pillows! But still – that view! I asked Amine, the lovely sales manager, how often they clean this window and he told me once a month. I am actually not sure if that is a lot. How often does one clean windows if you are not me? I think I cleaned mine once a year tops when I had a flat, but I don’t think that is normal. However, I was very aware that window cleaning literally involves a stuntman here so I didn’t dare touch it when I took these pictures. Mind you, I could have stood here for hours if it wasn’t for the gardener. I think he felt a bit watched and so eventually I waved and packed up.
With all these amazing things going for it, the Royal Palm had to have at least one downside to it. I very quickly discovered that there were no kittens. Why hotels in Morocco not all come with resident cats I don’t know. People were allowed to smoke in the bar and I don’t see how having a cat or two around can be worse. Even for people who don’t like cats, suck it up, I didn’t like the smell of smoke. Next time I will bring my own. So in case, you agree and feel that cats in Morocco are a must, get yourself one in Marrakech before you come out here.
The Royal Palm Marrakech is for you if…
- You are a golfer and want to golf in a beautiful, photoshopped/ surreal landscape and then sit with your golf buddies around the fireplace and retell the stories of each Birdie and Hole in one. Dad, I’m looking at you!
- Also, if you just like fireplaces and smores but rather crawl into a king size bed instead of a tent afterwards.
- You are a family and your kids like swimming. Also, if you are rich enough to bring your nanny with. Because apparently going on holiday with your children and the nanny is a thing. After all nanny needs a holiday too! (Excuse my sarcasm, but that concept honestly boggles my mind. Mind you, if I had a child and a full time nanny, maybe I would do the same, who knows…I’m trying my hardest here not to judge!)
- You love a mix of Moroccan and modern architecture and the best service all around.
- If you need a country getaway from Marrakech to enjoy panoramic views while sipping on a blue cocktail out of a pineapple. By the way – does anybody know where I can buy one online?
The hotel is now part of the Fairmont group called Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech, however, back in the day it was part of the Beachcomber family. If you want to book a room now, you can do so here.
Thank you, Royal Palm for inviting me, for feeding me and for massaging my head! A special thanks to your wonderful barman (whose name I, unfortunately, didn’t ask), your lovely breakfast staff and your pianist – play it, James, play it one more time!
Needless to say, opinions are my own. I mean have you ever read a hotel review that raved about pineapples and declared that missing kittens are a problem for a hotel??
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