Hotel of the week: Es Saadi Marrakech Resort, Marrakech in Morocco
An opulent resort set in 20 acres of palms, banana trees, roses, bougainvillea and bird-song, the Es Saadi Marrakech Resort is an oasis of Moroccan splendour in the heart of Marrakech’s Golden Triangle. Looking out onto the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, near the bustling souks and Jemaa El Fnaa square, this majestic palace offers 92 suites and 10 private luxury villas dotted around the gardens, as well as 8 Ksars (two-storey Berber-style cottages well suited to families) surrounding the pool. Their 2400 square metre lagoon-swimming pool is the largest in the city, with an immersed palm tree and an island bar taking centre stage.
Es Saadi, meaning “Le Bienheureux” or “The happy one”, was created in 1966 by owner and founder Jean Bauchet, who developed Paris’ famed Moulin Rouge. Originally home to the iconic “Casino de Marrakech”, Es Saadi began life as a casino, followed by a hotel and the addition of a Moroccan-style palace. This fashionable and historical destination has played host to Princess Margaret, Leo DiCaprio, Pierre Balmain and The Rolling Stones. Each detail feels authentic. Guests are invited to wander down blooming garden paths to relish lagoon-style pools replete with ancient Roman columns, or through the Palace’s Assyrian lounge with its winged horses and Swarovski crystal-tipped red velvet sofas – all the time soaking in the grandeur and glory of old world Moroccan style.
Meandering through arched corridors lit by enormous lace-like lanterns, here guests will be delighted to discover some of Marrakech’s most chic accommodation along with an astonishing array of facilities: a casino, two heated outdoor pools, an indoor pool, tennis courts, eight restaurants, five bars a fitness studio and beauty salon along with an on-site nightclub. And after a day in the city’s dusty souks, nothing compares to the Es Saadi’s indulgent spa in which to relax – it was designed and built around a 100-year-old eucalyptus tree. The 3000sqm Palace Spa built over three floors is home to Oriental Thermae, a range of traditional and contemporary treatments and the proud host to the only Dior Institute outside Paris. The spa also welcomes guests with its marbled Moroccan Hamman’s, natural herb saunas and a large hydrotherapy pool.
Breakfast and lunch can be wiled away at the poolside restaurant which serves a generous buffet followed by modern Mediterranean food, while upstairs, La Cour des Lions has finely carved cupolas set above well-dressed tables offering delectable Moroccan cuisine. In L’Épicurien, the adjacent lounge bar that attracts locals and tourists alike, you can expect late-night dining under large chandeliers. The casino’s club, Theatro, once graced by Josephine Baker, today plays host to top DJ’s from around the world. From the gastronomic excesses of L’Épicurien and La Cour des Lions to informal pool-side snacks, and menus ranging through French, Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine, there’s truly something for everyone. In total, the resort also hosts a Moroccan Dinner Show with traditional music and dancing every Wednesday and Friday night.
Each of the 10 private Villas are perched elegantly in their own beautiful exotic gardens, and are spacious, light and dressed in smartly with Oriental architecture. And each of the individually designed villas offers something unique. The Berber villa, made from ochre clay in the traditional Berber style, is hung with handicrafts and opens onto a lovely secluded garden, while villa Favourite has sumptuously carved ceilings, a Murano glass table and lights. The Maharaja’s villa has a wall filled with bronze deities collected from India. Each villa also comes with its own gardens, heated swimming pool, electric cart and private butler.
It was here that we first watched Tom Hiddlestone transfix British audiences as The Night Manager- the palace interiors stood in as the luxury Cairo hotel in the 2016 BBC adaptation of John Le Carre’s novel. And although named as Cairo, the grand hotel where the British actor’s character manned the concierge’s desk is not in Egypt at all, but was in fact the magnificent Es Saadi Resort.
A resort designed for all ages, children will love the beautiful gardens, indoor and outdoor play areas, swimming pools and Kid’s Club (ages four to 12), which is open from 9am to 8pm at the weekend and every day during the school holidays.
The Es Saadi is set in the Golden Triangle of Marrakech, built among 20 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens is only a short stroll from the bustling souks and Jemaa El Fnaa square, creating a perfect oasis to escape the crowds, whilst still being in the heart of the action. The Palace Hotel is a luxurious haven, and after a hectic day in the Medina there is no better place to unwind and take a moment to savour the memories and glory of this remarkable destination.
Junior suites start from £455 per night. Villas start at £781 a night. Buffet breakfast, Wi-Fi and Airport transfers included.
Address: Rue Ibrahim El Mazini, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
Phone: +212 5243-37400