WHERE IS IT? About 15 minutes from the international airport and 20 minutes from the famous medina with its winding souk markets, this resort is proud of its secluded position away from the frenetic city. The resort is home to the chic Fairmont hotel as well as Fairmont-branded private residences owned by people from around the world. With its own golf club, this is the only resort in the area to have an onsite golf course. A shuttle bus transfers guests to the medina upon request.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Once past the entrance gates, guests drive through a quiet neighborhood of private residences to reach the main reception building. Moroccan art and design are the hotel’s pride and joy delivering a local experience even for those that choose to remain on property. Decorative lamps, trickling fountains and locally designed furnishings intertwine with more contemporary pieces for a beautiful juxtaposition of styles.
Through large windows, arrivals get their first glimpse at the largest swimming pool in Morocco with its various islands and tree-shrouded corners. The snow-covered Atlas Mountains in the background frame the resort perfectly and showcase the desert-mountain landscape of the area. You’d never know this were a desert landscape from the sound of chirping birds flying through manicured gardens with colorful flowers and palm, olive and orange trees thoughout.
The accommodation buildings are spread among the various gardens making the property feel more like a small village rather than one large hotel. The staff aim to please and speak excellent English among other languages. With an international guest list composed of French, British and American travelers among others, the signature Fairmont touches are well-appreciated. These include pool staff who set up towels and offer bottled water, turndown service each evening, and the popular Accor Live Limitless (ALL) loyalty program that lets guests accrue points that can be redeemed for cash discounts.
ROOM FACILITIES Guest rooms continue the Moroccan theme with elements of Mauritian art also in the mix (the resort was once a Beachcomber-branded property, based in the Indian Ocean island). Beautiful area rugs cover tiled floors with exotic design pieces lining the walls. The bedding is incredibly soft and plus with oversized pillows and lovely duvets. Power and USB outlets are on either side of the bed, and large bottles of water are replenished daily (important in this arid climate). Work desks add more power outlets and prove the resort’s focus on not just leisure visitors, but also the business, meeting and incentive market.
Bathrooms are enormous, each with a soaking tub and rainfall shower stocked with rose-scented Le Labo toiletries. Walk-in closets provide plenty of storage space plus makeup areas and safes. Robes and slippers are luxurious Fairmont touches.
Rooms are divided between deluxe rooms facing the gardens and Atlas Mountains, junior suites with similar views and separate living areas, and larger deluxe and family suites. Five Presidential Suites with enormous mountain-view terraces supplement the ten villas with kitchens, living areas, hammams and private pools.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS By the pool, L’Olivier serves Mediterranean fare while Le Caravane offers international dishes including a few Moroccan specialties. A new menu is on the cusp of being introduced. This is also where breakfast is served, which guests can enjoy on the terrace or indoors. The service staff at the resort is second to none and navigates various international palates and requests with aplomb. Al Ain serves Arabic food for dinner in a beautiful space decorated with colorful Zellij tiles, and the country club has its own restaurant for members and guests.
Two bars handle the majority of the beverage orders with everything from signature Moroccan tea poured high from authentic pots to a hearty cocktail, beer and Moroccan (and international) wine list. Poolside service is yet another guest favorite. Many of the ingredients for the resort’s menus come from its own organic garden.
LEISURE FACILITIES The infinity-edge pool measures more than 20,000 square feet with bridges crisscrossing it, and is the prime gathering spot for guests. An 18-hole golf course is a major draw for locals, expats and hotel visitors. It was designed by American architect Cabell B. Robinson. An impressive fitness facility offers modern workout equipment, yoga studio, squash and tennis courts and a separate swimming pool. At the country club, yet another pool awaits in the secluded gardens, and the men’s and women’s changing rooms are popular for their Moroccan interior design.
The spa is a decadent oasis tucked into its own corner of the resort. Designed like a riad, the skylight provides beautiful sunshine on the quiet, indoor pool while guests walk through the garden-shrouded building in robes and slippers. Traditional hammam rituals, massage and beauty treatments, and beauty salon services are all available. These are especially popular when groups are in-house, and the Moroccan touches from locally made argan oil used in treatments to the mint tea and traditional almond sweets post-treatment are lovely.
A kids club offers parents the chance to get out and explore while young visitors enjoy educational activities. They have a small playground, pool, tennis courts and kitchen for cooking lessons among other activities. They can also visit the hotel’s farm animals.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES Wireless internet works well, including by the pool. The new ballroom is helping the resort attract even more group business, and numerous meeting room setups are available. Popular for weddings and social functions, the resort staff can organize al fresco receptions (including at the resort’s farm) and a variety of cultural activities like pottery classes or involving guests in the property’s own olive pressing to make olive oil. The hotel can also arrange entertainment from the local villages for special music and dance performances.
VERDICT A true oasis in the desert, this Fairmont resort is a winner in Marrakech and pairs well with a visit to the new Fairmont Taghazout Bay beach resort farther south.
PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS The Cabell B. Robinson-designed golf course and club, and the largest hotel swimming pool in the country
HOW MANY ROOMS? 134 guestrooms, suites and villas
CONTACT Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech, BP 2470 Km 12 Route d’Amizmiz, Marrakech, Morocco, Phone +212 524 48 78 00, fairmont.com/marrakech
Photo credit: Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech