My daughter likes the finer things in life and with several events leading up to her wedding I wasn’t surprised with her choice of destination for her hen party. She booked three nights for herself and her friends at Les Deux Tours in Marrakech. When she sent me a picture of their hotel I was very envious but continued with the job at hand to manage the caterers, event planners, florists and of course the 400 guest list.
The big event went without a hitch but I was exhausted so what better way to recover than spending a few days at, you’ve guessed it, Les Deux Tours in Marrakech!
Having left a rather pleasant London in the early hours, we were at our hotel in time for lunch and sipping Mojitos by the pool.
This beautiful hotel situated in the Palmeraie is about 20 minutes’ drive from the centre of Marrakech and our home for the next four days. The hotel was designed with an organic, natural and welcoming ambiance by one of the most influential architects in Morocco, Charles Boccara.
The gardens are mature with palms, orange and olive trees, bougainvillea and scented flowers at every corner. We found secluded spots – even four poster beds scattered around the gardens for guests to enjoy the relaxing ambience of this beautiful space.
The hotel has 36 rooms, comprising 12 classic rooms, 12 junior suites, 7 premium suites and 5 pool suites. The hotel also houses two bars, one with an open terrace overlooking the gardens, and two restaurants, including a Michelin-starred chef.
Our junior suite was nice and cosy, with high ceilings, my favourite style bathtub and a delightful private courtyard.
After a relaxing day at the hotel, it was time to do some sightseeing. We had agreed that on this break, we would do a couple of the best sights and everyone had recommended one of the most visited sites in Morocco – The Jardin Majorelle and the Medina.
The Jardin Majorelle is definitely a must-see for anyone who appreciates fashion, art and nature. Brief history lesson if you are not familiar: the garden was designed by French artist Jacques Majorelle, who bought the property in 1931 and spent 40 years of passion and dedication to create this enchanting garden in the heart of the “Ochre City”. Years later, it was purchased and revived by designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé. They lived there, drawing inspiration from the garden retreat and continuously adding new species of flowers and plants.
When YSL passed away in 2008, his ashes were scattered at the Jardin Majorelle and a memorial was built there in his name.
The garden has been open to the public since 1947 and is open every day of the year. Cost is 70 Dhs for the gardens and 30 Dhs for the museum.
Our next stop was to step back in time where ancient architecture and traditional culture still adorn the streets. Even someone like my husband with the keenest sense of direction got us lost in the twisting, turning maze of streets in the Medina which is just unbelievable.
Terracotta houses and shops filled with tourists, vendors, cars, scooters, donkeys, camels and just about anything you can imagine.
In between the sounds of human and motorized traffic, you’ll hear the call to prayer as it is issued from the surrounding four mosques, as well as the 800 year old mosque nearby.
We could see the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque and as it’s still an active place of worship, non-Muslims may not enter so we got a good view of the exterior by walking around either side.
The minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech’s most famous symbol – built in a traditional Almohad style and topped with four copper globes – is visible from near and far. It’s not really that high (77 metres), but thanks to local topography and a local ordinance that forbids any other building in the Medina to be higher than a palm tree, it towers majestically over its surroundings.
There’s so much going on in the souks that it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed. We avoided the snake charmers, monkey handlers and the endless guessing game of where we were from. Background – Born and brought up in Tanzania, my husband in Kenya, both now living in London but Indian in origin.
I wanted to buy everything I saw, from kaftans to slippers and lamps to tagines. Please do haggle, unlike my husband who is terrible at bartering.
The Djemma el-Fna is surrounded by cafés where you can watch the street theatre going on. Every evening they fire up a feast in the square and serve the latest street food from grills and steaming cauldrons. We decided for sizzling aubergine, and chicken tagine with caramelised pumpkin.
After spending most of the day walking around in the sweltering heat, my husband and I were both exhausted and decided to head back to our Oasis.
Tomorrow was another day and our lovely daughter’s had booked a couples hamam, scrub and massage for us. This was going to be our first experience and we were really looking forward to it.
Les Deux Tours is home to one of the best spas in the region, which offers a traditional hamam experience alongside other treatments. The hamam, the Ottoman version of the thermal spa, is an aesthetic enclosed space dedicated to treating and beautifying the body.
We were met by a lovely French speaking attendant (she spoke no English and I could just about understand her – thank god I went to French lessons at school!) to change into disposable underwear and led us to a lovely room. We chuckled like school kids and did as we were told.
The attendant sloshed warm water over us from a bucket, after which she lathered us with black soap scrub made from eucalyptus and bitter oranges. We sat for ten minutes on a hot slabs of tiles and she then came and poured water over us. This was followed by a milky substance and left alone for another ten minutes.
So far very relaxing, but then the attendant took us individually to a long slab to lie down, put on a loofah glove and began to vigorously scrub off all our dead skin. It’s a bit like being sandpapered; your pores won’t know what’s hit them! Finally, we were coated with ghassoul (a natural mineral clay mined from the Atlas Mountains) and had our hair washed, before getting sloshed again from the bucket.
Finally, we went to tranquil bathtub where were had a further 15 minutes of relaxation before putting on our robes and heading to the terrace for some Moroccan tea. Bliss.
From top to bottom, Les Deux Tours is the perfect place to relax and indulge oneself in all the sumptuous delights Marrakech has to offer.
The colours, the sounds, the Arabic influence and Berber culture will have me coming back for more as we have barely scratched the surface of wonderful Marrakech!
Les Deux Tours
Circuit de la Palmeraie