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Go Behind the Scenes of the Greatest Lodge in Marrakech, Morocco

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When my Moroccan-born companion and I made a decision to go on trip collectively to his dwelling nation, he volunteered to tackle the Fez leg of the journey if I’d manage our time in Marrakech. Instantly, I used to be fearful: How would I, an American, have the ability to organize a soothing and indulgent expertise for a neighborhood in Marrakech, a metropolis I’d solely been to as soon as? Seems I had nothing to fret about. Once we pulled up the lengthy, shaded driveway of the Royal Mansour hotel, we may each really feel the strain from the airplane journey instantly leaving our our bodies. This was what trip was alleged to really feel like.

Owned by the King of Morocco himself, the five-star Royal Mansour lodge is—by far—one of the best lodge I’ve ever stayed at. To start out, there aren’t rooms, there are riads—every visitor will get a three-story home to themselves, full with a number of indoor and outside residing areas, 1.5 bogs, and a bed room the dimensions of my New York Metropolis house. The roof is the place the true magic occurs, although: a lined terrace is the proper place to drink Moroccan mint tea earlier than taking a dip within the personal rooftop plunge pool.

Priced at about $1,000 to $1,500 per night time, staying at Royal Mansour prices sufficient that it needs to be a as soon as in a lifetime expertise—and it’s. The lodge caters to well-heeled vacationers with champagne style and a champagne finances—look no additional than its collaborations with Goyard and Christian Louboutin for proof.

ELLE.com sat down with Basic Supervisor Jean-Claude Messant, previously of Paris’ beloved Hôtel de Crillon, to speak in regards to the storied property.


What made you determine to take in your position at Royal Mansour?

I assume I moved down right here for the lodge. Would I’ve moved right here to run one other lodge? In all probability not. I made a number of inquiries. I came visiting, and the day I got here, I noticed these two gates, these two monumental gates, open for me. And I stated to my spouse, “That is me. That is my lodge.” I didn’t go inside, I used to be simply outdoors—I knew simply from outdoors.

What feeling are you hoping to evoke in company once they first arrive right here? What would you like them to assume or to really feel?

To me, the sense of arrival is essential, and I might decide a lodge in truly one minute. After I get right into a foyer, I do know…I haven’t been to the bed room but, however I do know, I can really feel, I can sense that I’m going to love it or not. And so the arrival, the welcome, the smile, the good day, the setup, the design of the foyer, the structure of the foyer, to me, that’s essential.

What I like is coming to your lodge with, “Wow.” And I keep in mind a number of years in the past for the primary time I stayed on the Ritz in Paris, and I used to be out of my automotive standing outdoors of the gates, and I felt, “Wow.” And to me, that was extra necessary than the rest. Normally once you verify in, you simply need to go to your room. However when company arrive to the Royal Mansour, they’re fairly completely happy to attend a bit bit, uncover, stroll round, as a result of [there are] so many stuff you need to have a look at, contact, all of the senses. The waters and the music.

The personal terrace set for dinner.

Royal Mansour

For the previous couple of years we’ve been coping with COVID, which has significantly impacted the journey business. I’m curious how these years have been for you as a lodge and as a lodge supervisor.

We shut down the lodge in March 2020, and the lodge was on the prime, business-wise and quality-wise. We have been anticipating a unprecedented 2020. We shut down inside two days; we managed to get all people out safely. And I used to be fortunate to have the ability to constitution a airplane for my final 50 company. So in a short time I went into struggle mode: get all people from the workers out and again dwelling. Over 600 folks left for Paris. So, inside two or three days, we went from a particularly busy lodge with plenty of motion and emotion to nothing.

I stayed in Marrakech. And inside 5 days of staying dwelling, I obtained bored. So I got here again to the lodge, after which, little by little, we began to focus, primary, on the workers. My concern was my folks and the workers and taking care of them, and speaking. So I turned a TV presenter, and God is aware of what number of movies we did, however I needed to have the ability to have a hyperlink with them.

Then I began a YouTube sequence, Diaries of a Confined Palace. We had one visitor staying with us nonstop, and sooner or later she despatched me a message, and it was the diary of a confined visitor. She instructed me what she did that day and the day earlier than, and I stated, “Hey, that’s an excellent thought. I’m going to do the identical.” And it labored rather well.

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The lodge collaborates with luxurious manufacturers and curates picks for the Royal Mansour store. I observed the Goyard bag particularly, however the clerk stated it’s been offered out because the day it went on sale.

Sure, we solely have one left within the secure.

Within the secure?

As a memento for His Majesty. Goyard stated, “We’ll produce 50 for you,” and we offered them at $5,000 every.

I like all of the uniforms right here, too. They’re so lovely, so high- high quality. Did you companion with a selected designer to make them? How did they arrive about?

Properly, all the standard Moroccan uniforms are made in Morocco by a designer named Albert Oiknine. They should really feel good of their uniforms. It’s the query of: how do you present them with one thing that’s sensible, however straightforward to take care of, good, and feels good? You are feeling that you just’re completely happy to place it on.

Who’re a few of the company that you just’re proudest to have served?

What I’m going to let you know would possibly shock you. It’s not the wealthy and well-known—it’s those who both got here for an important day or it was, for them, the journey of a lifetime.

We did a marriage about 4 years in the past, and a gentleman got here in and stated, “I wish to manage a particular wedding ceremony ceremony.” I stated, “Positive, what number of will you be?” “Simply two of us.” He stated, “My fiancée is 61; I’m 65. We’ve been collectively for 30 years.”

She was his PA; when he retired, he requested her to get married. He stated, “I don’t need to invite anybody, as a result of I would like it to be a really particular second for me and my spouse. And okay, there is no such thing as a restrict to what I’ll spend on meals and all the things else.” However, he clarified, “I would like her to really feel like she’s very particular, like she’s a princess.” And we truly spent fairly a bit of cash on entertaining, the music, ornament, and the trail from the arrival to the venue…yeah. That’s why I do that job.


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