Soak up Winter Sun in an Exotic Paradise
November 21, 2016
When thinking about where to escape the dreary English weather this winter, what could be better than an opulent resort set in 20 acres of palms, banana trees, roses, bougainvilleas and bird-song, 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 Djemaa el F’na square, this majestic Es Saadi Gardens & Resort 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. We loved their 2400 square metre lagoon-swimming pool which is the largest in the city, with an immersed palm tree and an island bar taking centre stage.
Unsurprisingly there is a storied history here. Es Saadi, which means “le Bienheureux” or “The happy one”, and was created in 1966 by owner and founder Jean Bauchet, famed for developing Paris’ iconic Moulin Rouge. Originally home to the celebrated “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. And 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, we were 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 is built over three floors and is home to the utterly soothing Oriental Thermae, a range of traditional and contemporary treatments. Es Saadi is also the proud host to the only Dior Institute outside Paris – think ultra glam and incredibly pampering. The spa also welcomes guests with its marbled Moroccan hammams, natural herb saunas and an inviting and 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 Epicurien, the adjacent lounge bar that attracts locals and tourists alike, plan on 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 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 stunning 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 Djemaa el F’na 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. A double room in the hotel starts at £100 a night in low season. A junior suite in the Palace starts at £455 a night in low season. Villas start at £781 a night. Buffet breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi. Double rooms from £180 in low season; rising to £860 in high. Breakfast included. Airport transfers included for junior and executive suites. Free Wi-Fi.
Written by Ashley Pearson