The Es Saadi Hotel – Moroccan authenticity and unadulterated Luxury
January 9, 2018
The Es Saadi name originated from the word “le bienheureux”, translated as the blissful one, during the time where Marrakech was the capital of Morocco.
The Es Saadi Hotel was originally created in 1966 by Jean Bauchet, shortly after the Casino de Marrakech was built in 1952, being the first Casino in Africa. It quickly became a top destination for worldwide travellers.
Then, as now, Marrakech was the place to escape the European winter and the chic area became known as ‘Hivernage’. In the height of the swinging 60’s the hotel played host to Princess Margaret, Pierre Balmain and The Rolling Stones who were enticed by the family atmosphere which prevails today.
The Es Saadi has been passed down through three generations of the Bauchet family and today Jean Bauchet’s grandson, Jean-Alexandre Bauchet-Bouhlal and his wife Caroline lead the management of the resort. Es Saadi has 150 rooms including 15 suites, and between 2006 and 2008 The Palace with 84 luxury suites and 10 private villas were added to the Es Saadi Marrakech Resort. In the gardens there are 8 Ksars, which are Berber-style two story houses, and a 2400 metre swimming pool which is the largest in the city. The Es Saadi Marrakech Resort has six restaurants, three spas including a Dior Institut, the Casino de Marrakech and the TheatrO Nightclub which opened in 2003 and was the first nightclub to open in Morocco.
The Es Saadi Marrakech Resort is built among 20 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens in the heart of Marrakech, 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 city. The Es Saadi is a haven, and after a hectic day in the Medina the gardens planted with palm, banana and orange trees can only make you relax, with sun loungers surrounded by roses and bougainvilleas. The views from The Es Saadi of the majestic Atlas Mountains are truly breathtaking, a sight no visitor can ever tire of.
The family are keen supporters of local artists and the hotel has a large collection of modern moroccan art with over 400 pieces of art including paintings, sculptures and frescoes from a range of established artists and young, emerging local talent.
The entrance to the Hotel has a wide lobby extending into the tropical gardens which open onto the pool. The overall design has kept the original feeling of refined elegance and style of the 1950’s and 60’s. All the rooms and suites have been entirely renovated and are both comfortable and authentically Moroccan with sculpted wooden furniture, Moroccan silks, local colour palettes and hand-woven carpets.The pool here was built around a large palm tree which then became the logo of the Es Saadi Marrakech Resort.
The Bauchet-Bouhlal philosophy behind the Palace and the villas was to support local and authentic design because the family want to maintain the spirit of a city steeped in culture, heritage and tradition. Working with the masters of their trade they have created an homage to the best of Morocco.
The Es Saadi Palace was built by Moroccan architect, Aziz Lamghari, who studied at l’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and has 84 suites and 8 Ksars, which are two story Berber-inspired villas. The Oriental architecture and design of The Es Saadi Palace is based on the ancient Palaces of Marrakech and the property is lined with fountains and guarded by imposing bronze horses.
The lobby is 17 meters high with a 12 meter wide cupola which is decorated with ornate sculpted plaster – a Moroccan craft known as ‘Gebs’ , creating an immediate impression of grandeur and style. In the centre there is an octagonal pool made of white marble in the shape of rose petals with bubbling water jets. The embrace of the white marble entrance still gives arriving guests at the Palace the feeling of tranquility and freshness as it did all those years ago.
The Assyrian Salon
Elisabeth Bauchet-Bouhlal fell in love with a mosaic of Sumer, depicting two winged horses which she saw at the Hotel Drouot the famous auction house in Paris.
The Grand Salon Jean Bauchet, named after the hotel’s founder, is a 520 meter space which can be used for events such as private events such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, concerts and has 12 meeting rooms. The technical equipment was specially created for the hotel by the team behind the Beijing Opera and has top of the range lighting, fixture systems and sound system.
The 2400 sqm pool at the Palace is the largest in Marrakech. It boasts an elegant curved outline and footbridges lead over the pool to a central sunken bar surrounded by terraces overlooking the pool, where the hotel serves light lunches, sunset dinners or sundowners from underneath large calico umbrellas.
The Suites at the Palace
The Palace has a variety of suites including Superior Deluxe Suites, Deluxe Duplex Suites and Corner Suites and are between 70 and 150 meters. They are divided over two wings: the ‘Menara’ and the ‘Koutoubia’ respectively.
All of the suites have private terraces which overlook the gardens and the swimming pool with stunning views of the Atlas Mountains in the distance. Each one is individually designed with their own colour scheme and furniture. The rooms are furnished with beautiful Moroccan chests, carpets and benches piled-up high with bright cushions. The marble bathrooms are walled with ‘tadelakt’ plaster and equipped with oval baths and separate showers.
Corner Suites, Deluxe and Superior
These elegant suites, have either one or two terraces which look out onto the panoramic views of the Atlas mountains. The suites have comfortable sitting room areas, an office facility and private dining room. Each suite has totally different decor, one being more oriental in feel and the second being more contemporary with a black and white scheme throughout.
The Tsars Villas
The eight Ksars villas are two-storey Berber style villas, arranged in pairs on the estate by the pool. On the ground floor there is a Moroccan design sitting room and large bedroom with en-suite bathroom. Upstairs there is another apartment with bathroom and a private sun terrace. Taking two villas together is ideal for families or a group of friends.
The Es Saadi Villas
There are ten Es Saadi villas grouped in a circle around but each one is totally private and has its own pool. The villas were designed to blend in with the beautiful landscape surrounding them. Each is built in its own style but with the common theme of Middle Eastern culture running through each one. They range from 1,200 to 2,150 square feet and decorated individually with rich fabrics and stunning local art craft work.
The villas have a large central lobby, a master bedroom with dressing room and large, en suite bathroom with a shower and jacuzzi. Some villas have a second bedroom with adjoining bathroom. Each villa is equipped with state of the art technology including flat screen televisions, DVD players and wifi throughout. There is great attention to detail in every villa with hand embroidered bed linen especially created for the hotel and each villa has its own dedicated Butler to look after guests requirements.
This is a tribute to ancient Rome, and the villa is decorated in the style of their elegant houses with a clever use of columns, arches, porticoes and busts. In the centre of the villa is a square terrace leading to the pool & jacuzzi outside, directly from the bathroom. Keeping the theme, the pool is also surrounded by four Roman columns and clusters of pale grey olive trees.
Trees from the private garden, surround this villa and the colour scheme is a variety of shades of blue. It has an imposing entrance and a stunning carved roof while the floor is decorated with enamel tiles. The blue walls are hung with polished silver framed mirrors. Small mosque-style lamps of blue and silver glass adorn the property, and two iconic Judas trees stand majestically by the poolside.
This large, square villa has a traditional rustic exterior which contrasts with its spacious and elegant interior. It has a stunning ceiling decorated with traditional folkloristic patterns hand embroidered fabrics made by Berbers in the Atlas mountains, are used to decorate the interiors. There is an ancient front door in carved wood and hand painted wooden shutters.
The Interior of this villa is painted emerald green with the doors and windows being Moghul in design. The majesty of the villa is enhanced by the high ceiling in the sitting room with a magnificent crafted copper balustrade which rises to the top floor. Two frescoes from ‘Les Beaux Arts’ in Paris evoke the fantastic era of the Maharajas when they were carried from place to place on their thrones.
This is a two bedroom Spanish/Moroccan style villa boasting an imposing carved door typical of this type of moroccan architecture. The villa has a Berber-style pool house and the exteriors are a typical ochre colour which recalls the colours of the Moroccan desert sands. The pool is just a step away from this stunning villa.
Villa of 1001 Nights
This villa is truly sumptuous and has traditional Moroccan beehive motives moulded to the exterior. The villa has an immense stone cupola which is lit from within, creating a magical effect from inside. There is a open fireplace with a green and blue mosaic chimney, the furniture is Syrian and the textiles neutral; overall a deliciously decadent atmosphere. The stunning Syrian bed is dark wood impeccably inlaid with mother of pearl.
This villa is for the romantic with four hand-sculpted cupolas and ten columns, which all frame the two living rooms – one is Moroccan with huge cushions, the other more western in style and built around a fireplace. Favorite is a truly authentic oriental palace with a plaster lacework dome and Murano chandeliers. The bed is a grand four-poster with a fine linen canopy and to complete the romantic style, the shape of the pool has been made as a heart-shape to surround a palm tree which was already in situ.
The warmth and sensuality of damask fill the Sultane villa, creating an atmosphere of calm and tranquility, enhanced by the midnight blue tones of the swimming pool and the myriad shades of green in the garden. This villa has a very intimate feeling – above the bed is a single cupola exquisitely hand-sculpted in ‘gebs’ and an open fireplace invites one to curl up and enjoy the red and gold colors of this intimate setting. Outside the traditional Donkane is just perfection for a relaxing afternoon nap in the 500 square meter garden full of trees and exotic plants.
Old style Hollywood glamour is the theme here and the villa is a tribute to the 1920’s when Hollywood stars first began to visit, in the “belles annees de Marrakech”. The decor is monochrome and the bed picks up the circular theme of the villa. An important monochrome fresco stands above the marble fireplace in the sitting-room, which Art Deco in style, inspired by Ruhlmann, the master art deco furniture designer.
ARTS AT THE ES SAADI MARRAKECH RESORT
The Bauchet-Bouhlal family have always been keen art collectors, particularly so Madame Bauchet-Bouhlal who has shown Moroccan-creators a new art-scene, and they can now emerge onto the world market, and are recognized internationally. When The Es Saadi opened in 1966 it created more space to add to their important collection. More recently when the Palace and the villas opened there was further opportunity to continue the collection and now this numbers more than 400 pieces including figural and abstract painting, large sculptures and frescoes from a range of young emerging artists and renowned Moroccan talent reflecting the diversity and culture of modern Morocco.
For the lobby, the celebrated ceramic artist, Kamal Lahbabi from Fez, was invited to create artworks for The Palace. Lahbabi was inspired by a 12 century Persian poet named Saadi who wrote the immortal ‘Gardens of Roses’ , ‘Five Senses and the Sixth’, ‘The Lions of the Atlas’ and ‘The Arrival of the poet Saadi in Marrakech’. Kamal Lahbabi draws upon Moroccan traditions as well as his own personal vision. In the immaculately white rotunda of the Palace, overlooking the lobby there is an imposing, stands an 11 meter high painting by Fatima Hassan, telling the story of Moroccan life and culture, depicted on a magnificent ceramic tableau.
The soul of The Palace is in the art collection which are all around the property; in the gardens and in the suites. There is an important triptych depicting Moroccan scenes of life by Said Qodaid in the Executive Suite, and signature abstract paintings by Abdellah Sadouk and Ahmed Ben Ismail in the Deluxe Corner Suite. In 2014, Elizabeth Bauchet Bouhlah’s was decorated for her pioneering entreprise as an Officer de l’Ordre du Wissam Alaouite, by HRH King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
ART OF LIVING AND GASTRONOMY
Es Saadi is committed to use locally sourced produce in all of its dining establishments. The resort uses organic produce from the private farm of ‘Le Bled’ in the Ourika Valley which grows a variety of vegetables and fruit to supply the hotels restaurants. All the fresh breads, pastries and chocolates are all made locally.
As always the family remain true to their philosophy of keeping with Moroccan tradition and local customs while also embracing their French heritage; the menus are always fresh and innovative.
ES SAADI RESTAURANTS
At The Es Saadi Marrakech Resort there are many areas to enjoy the surroundings and to sample the many varied styles of cuisine and these restaurants are to be found either at The Hotel Es Saadi or The Palace.
The Restaurant Gastronomique
This restaurant opened in the early 1960’s and was an immediate success and remains one of the best loved restaurants in the city. The menu features French classics and retains the tradition of preparing some dishes flambéd at the table, with fresh vegetables from the kitchen garden. Traditional dishes are also served daily, reflecting the best of Moroccan cuisine in a cosy setting.
“Autour de la Piscine”: the pleasure of fresh food
This restaurant is next to the swimming pool at the Es Saadi Hotel, with tables are placed in the shadows of the palms trees. The food is light and salads are always made with market-fresh produce, and healthy sandwiches and desserts are served during the day in this relaxed and informal setting of the hotel. The bar here also serves freshly made crèpes, waffles and ice cream – ideal for all: family and children.
“Jardin d’Hiver”: delicious breakfasts in the gardens
This Winter Garden has seating on the shaded terrace which overlooks the beautiful manicured gardens. The buffet serves both Moroccan and international specialities with local fruit, freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice, Moroccan crèpes and omelettes, as well as homemade breads, jams and pastries all fresh from the oven, served with a wide variety of tea and coffee.
The Es Saadi Palace Restaurants
“Lagon & Jardin”: Brasserie by the lagoon pool
This light filled, spacious restaurant faces onto a large terrace and serves seasonal, mediterranean cuisine using fresh, organic ingredients. There is a SLOW (Sustainable, Local, Organic and Wellness) menu which includes low calorie suggestions as well as gluten-intolerance alternatives. The terrace has spectacular views of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains.
“La Cours des Lions”: Traditional, creative Moroccan cuisine
This restaurant is on the Penthouse of the Palace and has breathtaking views of the gardens of the Es Saadi, the city lights and the Atlas Mountains beyond. The chef, Youness M’Gani serves a delicate traditional Moroccan cuisine, where creative recipes subtly integrate local scents and flowers. The architectural style of the restaurant is Andalusian-Arabic with sculpted plaster as delicate as lace decorating the walls. There are two terraces and a stylish sitting room to relax in and enjoy a cocktail before dinner.
L’Epicurien: Bistro style
At the heart of the Casino L’Epicurien serves great cocktails in an informal lounge atmosphere with a live band and DJ from Wednesdays until Sundays from 11pm until 3am. This elegant lounge bar and restaurant has a great ambience created by crystal chandeliers, mahogany woodwork, comfortable Chesterfield sofas and great art. Classic and contemporary cocktails are served and food can be great salads, roasted fish or a delicious barbeque, all can be eaten either inside or on the terrace among the illuminated palm trees.
The Bar Egyptian is in the Palace and has live music, drinks and cigars and has the ambience that 19th century painters used to depict Egypt.
The Island Bar is also in The Palace and is in the centre of the lagoon pool.The intimate atmosphere of The Piano Bar in the Hotel Es has a lovely vibe to relax with a drink.
The Casino de Marrakech
Built in 1952 this is the first casino in Africa. It was entirely renovated in 2003 but kept its original facade evoking the classic films of the 50’s. It has state of the art machines and gaming tables and the restaurant and bar are very popular. The Casino is well known for its high stake poker tournaments and The International Texas Hold’Em Tournament of Marrakech attracts top level players from around the world. It is also the only casino outside the United States that welcomes the World Poker Tournament which started in Las Vegas in 1970.
Adjoining the casino is TheatrO which has become the ‘in’ spot in Marrakech. The original cabaret theatre played host to to such legendary artists as Maurice Chevalier and Josephine Baker. It was totally renovated in 2003 and now attracts world renowned DJ’s. TheatrO also puts on shows, hosts gala events and is also available for private parties.
Traditional Moroccan Show
Beneath an Oriental canopy guests enter a different world to sample delicious Moroccan delicacies by candlelight, whilst watching acrobats and dancers and listening to musicians from the vast south of the country.
The Es Saadi has one of the largest private parks in Marrakech which is the perfect place for their Kids Club. There are indoor and outdoor play area as well as a range of exciting activities. How about traditional Moroccan dancing, Olympiads, jewellery making or tennis and ping-pong to name but a few of the activities provided. At Christmas children can learn to bake cakes and at egg hunt at Easter. Parents can leave their children knowing that they are in very capable hands, confident that their children will have the time of their lives.
Es Saadi Palace Spa
The Palace opened its Spa in December 2010 to provide a haven for the senses in luxurious surroundings which make it the perfect place to revitalise both body and mind.
The specific areas in the Spa are the Oriental Thermae (a registered trademark), Total Wellness, and the Dior Institute – which is one of two in the world.
Nature and life are in perfect balance at the Spa, and this importance is marked by the 100 year old eucalyptus tree which has been retained and build around, symbolizing renewal and transformation. The spa is a perfect mix of pure tradition as well as the latest technical advances. The spa’s majestic proportions were inspired by Oriental palaces and made from natural materials including zellige, natural tadelakt, marble, mosaics and finely crafted stuccos. There is a deep blue swimming pool, shaded terraces on the roof-tops and private hammams behind secret doors through which guests are taken to a world where scents and colours will carry you away from the worries of every-day life.
The wellness treatments are conducted from a three-room Moroccan hammam, which counts a hydrotherapy treatment system with streams and bubbles, as well as Indian and Japanese treatment and an Oriental Thermae. The spa has aromatherapy treatments using the famous Micheline Arcier products, a variety of massages, an open air jacuzzi and beauty rituals inspired by the best Oriental traditions. There is also a Phyto hair-salon and many other treats to nourish body and soul. In the heart of the spa there is a world famous Dior Institute, one of two in the world, with expert face and body treatments as well as professional make-up services and products.
Overall the spa has 24 treatment rooms spread over three floors and has been designed as a space where sky, earth, water, and the clear Marrakech light all come together to create a harmonious retreat.
A surprising and sensuous new detoxifying programme has been created here with treatments alternating between heat and cold to rejuvenate tired and stressed bodies. A marble fountain and the scent of herbs are the finishing touches of the Thermae experience.
Moroccan Hammams and Oriental rituals
Inspired by ancient Oriental traditions in stunning eastern decor, the spa hammams have typical mosaic zellige fountains and stuccoed cupolas where guests can experience intense relaxation in the heat of a bath which is the ideal place in keeping with the age-old Moroccan ancestral ritual. The Marrakech hammam has a black soap exfoliating treatment and the Fez ghassoul earth wrap, which is the ultimate treatment to primp and polish to get the softest skin. Other Oriental rituals include The Brides Face Beauty, the La Sultane de Saba rose and honey treatment, and the Body Beauty Preparation with Oriental essential oils including amber, sandalwood, rose and orange blossom.
On the second floor of the Spa there is a large 1,000 sqm terrace with magnificent views over the city walls and the Atlas Mountains beyond. It is the perfect place to enjoy an outdoor massage, have a yoga lesson, relax in the jacuzzi or solarium or just have a fresh juice at the smoothie bar and hide from the bustle of the city.
The Spa Suite
For the ultimate in pampering the Spa Suite is a private space to enjoy treatments with VIP service. This is a spa within the Es Saadi spa and has a private hammam, twin baths for balneotherapy, a room to relax in by an open fire, a library and herbal tea room. This is the place for to achieve perfect relaxation whether alone or with a small group of friends.
The Dior Institut, one of 2 in the world
On the first floor the Dior Institut decor is totally unique to the Es Saadi, and is both elegant and extremely refined. The Institut is renowned for its expertise in anti-ageing care through bespoke skin and body treatments. The Institut is faithful to the House of Dior’s tradition and offers its well known make-up expertise. The Institut with it own private terrace here in Marrakech, is one of three in the world, with its counterparts at the Plaza Athenee in Paris.
The Partner Brands at the Spa
The 24 treatment rooms have a wide range of treatments which have been developed in partner- ship with brands carefully chosen for their expertise and the quality of their products. La Sultane de Saba is renowned for its oriental treatments, Micheline Arcier for its pure aromatherapy and Thali-sens for its marine cosmetics with soothing and relaxing powers. PHYTO has top quality hair products and there is a PHYTO hairdressing salon.
There are also a Hair Studio, a Barber Shop, a manicure and pedicure service, fitness room and weights gym with cardio vascular machines, a Power Plate fitness studio, Kinesis, Pilates, Yoga as well as a stylish boutique.
The Oriental Spa at Es Saadi
This spa is beside the swimming pool and the entrance is through a classically carved Moroccan door. It opened in 2002 and was the first spa in Marrakech and has a traditional hammam, sauna, beauty care and massages using natural oils in treatment rooms which open out onto the gardens. All the products used come from the rich resources of Morocco: rosewater, orange flower, ‘rassoul’ from Fez, henna and argan oil.
Oriental Care at the Hotel Es Saadi
This spa uses local products and offers moisturising massages with argan oil, meditative massages and oriental manicures and pedicures. Here guests can have the ultimate in Moroccan pampering; a hammam followed by a black soap scrub treatment using the essence of orange flowers which is followed by a Moorish bath perfumed with essential oils.
Es Saadi Marrakech Resort and the Environment
The Bauchet-Bouhlal family are very aware of the importance of respecting nature’s gifts and have made every effort to develop a responsible policy concerning the local environment. For fifteen years the restaurants have been supplied with produce grown on the family’s organic farm ‘Le Bled’ in the Ourika Valley. By using natural fertilisers, a drop by drop irrigation system and a water treatment plant, the gardens keep flourishing, while discreet solar panels provide the hotel with hot water all year round. Recycled paper and ink are also used throughout the hotel.
In true Es Saadi style the beauty products used for traditional treatments in The Palace Spa are also made to respect their ethics, using natural herbs and oils exclusively made for Es Saadi – instilled with traditional Moroccan scents such as bitter orange, rose and argan oil.