December 03 2009
A new Mandarin Oriental hotel in Marrakech, the Jnan Rahma (first picture; doubles from £583), is to open in spring 2010. Occupying a 53-hectare estate in La Palmeraie, the 150,000 date-palm grove a 20-minute drive north-east of the Medina, it is essentially a resort with an immense spa (www.mandarinoriental.com). But, unlike most hotels in this more rural part of town, it also plans to have a funduk (Arabic for inn) in the heart of the Medina, somewhere that guests can seek respite from the hustle of the souk. Its chief appeal, however, promises to be its design, a melting pot of Asian styles, Ottoman, Mughal, as well as Moroccan, conceived by the American painter turned architect, Stuart Church, whom the writer William Burroughs called “the last of the Orientalists” when they knew each other in Tangier.
Also new in Morocco, 90km south of Casablanca on the coast at El Jadida, Mazagan (second picture) is Kerzner International’s new development of modern villas, a creation of the Moroccan architect Jamal Lamiri Alaoui, with a five-storey hotel at its heart, as well as a casino and a Gary Player links-style golf course(www.mazaganbeachresort.com).