Marrakech may find it difficult to ever fully shake off its boho tag - forever synonymous with Talitha Getty, and tales of Sixties debauchery, but for a new league of super-rich, Marrakech is opening up as an attractive, short-haul luxury destination.
The Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma
With the Manadarin Oriental scheduled to open its latest luxury resort - the Jnan Rahma - in early 2011, Marrakech's hotel scene is going through a process of transformation. Those familiar with the Mandarin Oriental's other establishments will know to expect the same level of opulence and attention to detail - but with a 1001 Nights twist, set under the dramatic landscape of the Atlas Mountains. Even in its half-ready state, the Mandarin was infamously used as a substitute Abu Dhabi location for the last Sex and the City film.
Perhaps operating in a league of its own is the Royal Mansour - a new resort which opened this summer, that is relying on word of mouth over traditional marketing strategies - discretion being something of a buzz word at this new concept.
The idea for the resort was conceived by the King of Morocco, and the aim of the Mansour is to offer optimum service, beyond all expectation; from being met off the runway by your driver, to staying in your own private raid complete with personal butler, roof terrace and plunge pool. The hotel has been entirely crafted by hand, using the absolute finest of local materials. With an opulent spa, three restaurants, a cocktail bar, jazz lounge, library, cigar room and over 500 staff to serve your every whim, there's nothing they haven't thought of.
And then there's La Mamounia - the grand dame of Marrakech's 5-star hotels, and a favourite of the passing glitterati, including once-upon-a-time, Winston Churchill. A massive re-design and star-studded relaunch in 2009 has paid off, with the hotel completely restored to its former glory. Its palm tree-lined pool, breakfast terrace, tennis courts and gourmet restaurants mean you never have to even leave the compounds of the landscaped gardens, bypassing Marrakech's well-trodden hippy trail.