since 2009

Morocco’s true luxury – a day at La Mamounia

You’re looking to book a private tour around Morocco and wondering where you could pamper yourself and shed off the sand of the Sahara? Sharon Stone stayed here. And the Rolling Stones. Back in the day it was Winston Churchill’s favorite hotel. There is harldy a more romantic site in Marrakech than these gardens when the afternoon turns to dusk, here, among the hundreds of well- manicured olive, lemon, pine and orange trees. In a way, being here, is like you have suddenly been sucked out from the white noise of the surrounding medina and its traffic madness and transported into an oasis without ever leaving the city.  Even the nearby Jemaa El Fna and its permanent tumult become abstract. It is 4 PM and the only unpleasant part is having to leave. It has been a splendid day here at La Mamounia, that included swimming in the outdoors pool, having a fabulous lunch and enjoying a massage in what has been voted the ‘Best spa in the world’ by Conde Nast Traveler magazine’s readers. 

{ Read: Honeymooning in Morocco }

DPP 290009It had all started at 10 AM when I presented myself in front of the main entrance of the hotel- no sneakers, shorts or flip flops allowed here. Good, I wasn’t wearing any… After a brief check, I was shown to the entrance door. The doorbells by the entrance resembled more to extras in a fantasia show, before they mount their horses, start racing and shoot their rifles into the air. Their traditional cape and sarwel are impeccably ironed and clean.
Once through the door, it takes a while to get used to the obscurity inside. The very affable Guest Relations manager shows me the way to the Spa where one of the spa attendees delivers me a bathrobe, swimming shorts and sandals and shows me to the changing room. After fiddling around trying to understand how the digit lock of the cupboard works, I finally make my way to the pool outside, not before getting lost on the way a couple of times. Not that I would mind. mamounia spa pool
mamounia indoors pool

The indoors pool seems to come out of a 1001 nights tale, with its golden columns, turquoise pool and intricate zellige. But it’s a sunny day outside and even if we’re in January, you can easily get your tan right around the vast heated outdoors pool. At this time of day, only a few guests are lounging around busy spraying their sun lotions and browsing magazines. 

{ Read: How to fly private from Marrakech to the Sahara dunes }

cocktail by the pool at la mamouniala mamounia pool view
To my relief, the waiters around the pool area are quite fluent in English so I don’t need to use my French or pretend I speak Italian. Half an hour later I’m enjoying a coffee and immersing myself into the relaxed ambiance. The square-shaped pool is inviting and maintained at a permanent 28 Celsius ( 82 Fahrenheit) temperature. Before long, it’s already noon and I have to head back to the 27000 square foot spa which is pretty much my idea of a tribute to a seraglio. I could gomassage at la mamounia
for the ‘Hammam Evasion’ steam bath and body scrub where Shiseido and MarocMaroc luxury body line range is generously expensed. But I still prefer the social event which is visiting a local Marrakchi hammam with my Moroccan friends. So instead, I opt for the signature ‘Massage Mamounia’. After a succession of obscure rooms and passage ways, I am introduced to a room where the dim light is just right and the music subtle. Imamounia spa receptionmamounia jacuzzi
riad at la mamouniaswear I could never make my way back by myself out of here. Hassan, my masseur, starts working his magic, not before asking me if the hand’s pressure is right. His less than excellent mastering of English is compensated by identifying every muscle in my body and putting it right into its place. After all, this is what I really care about. Back to the changing room, I am now headed to the Italian restaurant.
No sign of pizza on the menu here. Don Alfonso is a Michelin chef and the menu is imaginative to say the least. To start with, I am confronted with a choice of four different Italian bread types, that come with a little bowl of locally sourced olive oil. After the gnocchi and their cherry tomato crust, the lamb chops and their mustard sauce must be the most tender I’ve ever had. For desert, I decide to avoid the ubiquitous tiramisu  la mamounia french restaurant
italian bar at la mamouniaand settle for chocolate cake and Sicily – pistachio ice cream – quite the right marriage. The waiters are wearing impeccable aubergine uniforms and their service is professional yet not stiff. This must be among the best restaurants in Marrakech, and there are a few.  I had so far I resist the temptation of another coffee and whisk off to the gardens, the major attraction of this place. Twice the size of Majorelle Gardens bar the tourist buses, they resemble closely to the Alcazar gardens in Seville. Then again, you could argue, the two cities share common past, the glorious 12th century.
The story of the Mamounia begins though much later, in the 18th century with the Alaouite Sultan Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah, who used to offer a domain as a wedding gift to each of his sons. Thus the four names- Abdessalam, Mamoun, Moussa, and Hassan became the eponymous gardens they received from their father. These arsats ( gardens) still exist nowadays but only Arsat Al Mamoun thadshopping patio at la mamouniamoroccan restaurant at la mamounia
belonged to prince Mamoun became famous and inspired the name of La Mamounia. It is said that the latter was used as a place of celebration for the nzaha ( a kind of garden party held by the wealthy, popular throughout Morocco at the time). The magnificence of this legacy enchants the present visitor both with its 20 acres ( 8 hectars) of gardens and its particular flora. Two centuries later, within 37 acres ( 15 hectars) grounds, the hotel opens its doorsgardens of la mamounia

and soon achieves international fame. Throughout the years, the hotel was never able to accommodate all the customers who desired to lodge here. Until the late 30s, the hotel housed fifty rooms, it was then enlarged in 1946 to reach a hundred units and refurbished successively in 1950, 1953, 1986 and finally in 2006 to reopen 29 September 2009 with 210 rooms and suites. Before the Second World War, Europeans and Americans were bringing their furniture for their long stays and each of them refurbished the apartments according to their taste and habits.

{ Read: House of Dreams, romance and opulence between Marrakech and the Sahara}

We still speak wistfully of the time when men put on their tuxedos and where the ladies covered with in exquisite jewelry, wore long evening dresses. Winston Churchill had established his winter quarters at the hotel. He used to go from balcony to balcony to watch the sun trying to better capture and reproduce the colors on his canvases. He also told Franklin Roosevelt about Marrakech in 1943: “This is one of the most beautiful places in the world,” and invited the American president to discover it for himself. It is also said that General de Gaulle also spent a night once and the hotel manager was forced to have a special bed made for the rather tall French man. Over the years, the reputation of La Mamounia attracted the attention of French and American filmmakers. Alfred Hitchcock reputedly filmed here ‘The man who knew too much’. The Rolling Stones stayed in 1968. Other guests included Jean Paul Gaulthier, Nelson Mandela, Tom Cruise or Elton John.

DPP 290013DPP 290004


Back to present, I’m currently walking past the hotel’s gate and five minutes later I embrace the anarchy, as someone eloquently once put it,  as I walk on the Jemaa El Fna square. It’s evening now and the place is bustling with acrobats, story tellers, witch doctors, musicians, food stalls, henna tattoo artists and the occasional charlatan. And then, behind me, La Grande Dame with its turn- of- the- century grandeur and reserved demeanor, reminding me once again that Morocco is a land of contrasts. 

DPP 290016DPP 290019

Sun Trails is proud to exclusively offer a day pass to the most iconic hotel in Marrakech. Holders of the pass will be able to enjoy the stunning facilities of the hotel, whether that is taking a dip into the indoor or outdoor swimming pool, playing a game of tennis, working out in the fitness pavilion or simply fall in love again in one of Morocco’s most romantic gardens.

The pass also includes the difficult choice between a luxurious ‘Hammam Evasion’ steam bath and body scrub treatment or the signature ‘Massage Mamounia’, each comprising one hour of unadulterated relaxation. To conclude, the pass also includes a a la carte lunch at either ‘Le Francais par Jean Pierre Vigato’ or ‘L’Italien par Don Alfonso’, both Michelin star restaurants. 

A day pass at La Mamounia is offered as an optional extra when booking one of our private tours of Morocco.You can also read our article on other things to do in Marrakech

Interested in other luxurious or unique experiences around Morocco ? Flying out to the Sahara dunes in a 3 seater plane to have lunch or spend the night in a luxury tent ?  Drop us an email at


Sun Trails
Based on 25 reviews
powered by Google
Zach TobinZach Tobin
22:16 29 Jan 23
Traveling alone internationally with a 7-year-old for the first time had me a bit nervous, but Sun Trails made our week-long visit to Morocco a flawless and unforgettable experience (we toured the south of the country). Daoud was an exceptional driver through all sorts of terrain while also being so kind, patient, and personable to my daughter and me. The accommodations, food, and activities throughout were excellent in terms of value. I would recommend Sun Trails to anyone who is looking to have an incredible time in Morocco.
gosia lukomskagosia lukomska
13:46 29 Jan 23
We had the trip of a lifetime with Cristian's company. We feel like we made life long friends with his amazing guides who are knowledgeable, kind, and excellent at their profession. The hotels that he chose were boutique gems and our itinerary was so well executed. We even had some surprise desert picnics! The attention to detail and level of customer service surpassed our expectations. I would highly recommend anyone visiting Morocco to do so with this company.
Henri OrmusHenri Ormus
19:43 15 Jan 23
We had a great off-the-beaten-track experience with our guides Majid, Daoud, Leila and rest of the crew. The whole trip was well organized and our wishes were handled with care. Our group of adventurers got some very real local experience. We had too many interesting experiences to describe but of course the Western Sahara desert hike was superb (but I would recommend definitely 3 days instead of 2 days what we did) but actually the best was the hike in the deserty mountains with staying overnight in large tent carried by donkey... beautiful landscapes, very different actually, over the hills and through the valleys and dried-out rivers. One evening dinner was a goat bought from local nomads once arrived at the camping site. End of the hike was beautiful pools of water to swim in. Thank you Sun-Trails crew, it was great! Henri from Estonia
Rob MRob M
22:51 27 Dec 22
I highly recommend Sun Trails for your Morocco adventure. Our guide, Mustafa, was top notch and an incredibly fun and knowledgeable person for our 6-day journey from Marrakesh to Fes (via Merzouga). Sun Trails has some fantastic vehicles that can get you through the toughest terrain (including through sand dunes). The staff seem to know someone or something cool to see (or something delicious to eat) in just about every town on your journey. We felt safe and secure with our wonderful guide and friend. Yes, a private tour with Sun Trails is going to cost a bit more than the ones you may stumble across online. But trust me when I say you get what you pay for with Sun Trails. I’ve already recommended them several times to friends and strangers.
Kristi HarmarKristi Harmar
08:09 03 May 22
I wish I could give this review more than 5 stars. We are doing a world tour - and this trip with Suntrails (with Daoud as our guide) is by far the highlight of the entire trip. We did a 4 day tour to the Erg Chigaga dunes in the Sahara and it was incredible. The accommodations, sights and car were great but what made this trip so amazing for us was our guide, Daoud. In order to see the things we wanted, we had several long days in the car and we did the trip with 2 small children (2 and 5). Daoud was fantastic with our kids - playing with them and entertaining them and the kids are still asking me to see him 2 months later.We decided on the "dreamer" level of accommodation with an upgrade to a luxury tent for the night in the Sahara. I deliberated a lot about which level/price point to choose but what we chose was perfect. The tagines were amazing and the riads were beautiful. Cristian took care (and a lot of emails) to help me include everything I requested out of this trip: camel riding, adventure off the beaten track, hiking to a kasbah, etc. Our guide, Daoud even walked to the next closest desert camp to find us a sand board one morning.I could go on and on about this experience but I will just say that I have recommended it to anyone I have spoken to about Morocco. I never repeat trips but I am planning a future trip to come back to Morocco just to do another trip with Suntrails to explore more of the country off the beaten track.


Want to catch our special rates ? Travel with us this summer and enjoy up to 20 % discount on our rates. Offer available from 1 July to 31 August. Send your enquiry using #summerspecial