“The magnificence of modernity and the best of tradition.”
The history of La Mamounia goes back to the 18th century when the Alaouite Sultan Mohammed Ben Abdallah offers a sumptuous orchard of 13 hectares to his son as a wedding gift. The son later transforms the orchard into a leisure venue for outstanding garden parties.
A happy marriage
Two centuries later, the Moroccan Railway Company decides to build a hotel on the site, which possesses an exceptional flora. The French architects Henri Prost and Antoine Marchisio design a structure that combines the ancestral codes of Moroccan architecture with the Art-deco style. La Mamounia is born from the union between the comfort of the West and the splendour of the East. A unique building where traditional Zellij tiles and Berber tapestries mingle with Art-deco furniture.
“The initial design of their project already matched the expectation of escapism that the foreign tourist, already familiar with Oriental literature and exotic reveries, was hoping to find in those places”, said the poet and writer, Khireddine Mourad.
A haven for aesthetes
La Mamounia welcomes the finest minds, and the palace is permeated with the history of those who frequented it. Winston Churchill used to take up residence in winter to revitalise himself. Once he arrived at La Mamounia, he traded his suit and his figure as a statesman for that of an artist, without surrendering his customary cigar. He went from one balcony to another in pursuit of the sun, to reproduce that distinctive light in his watercolour paintings. In a letter to his wife, Churchill wrote “It is a marvellous place, one of the best hotels I have ever visited”. His love of the Palace has entitled him to lend his name to the hotel bar that he used to visit, as well as to one of the most emblematic suites.
A grand Arabo-Andalusian Lady
Following a major renovation, with the participation of the painter Jacques Majorelle, La Mamounia is extended and now offers around a hundred rooms.
An icon for Marrakesh
The reputation and celebrity of Marrakesh and La Mamounia appealed to leading figures from the cinema industry who travelled here to film classic movies such as The Man Who Knew Too Much by Alfred Hitchcock. Several scenes were shot at the hotel, and Hitchcock’s venue hastened the arrival of stars from around the globe.
Since the 1950s, personalities from French cinema and the Hollywood elite have all visited La Mamounia – Charlie Chaplin, Marcello Mastroianni, Claude Lelouch, Francis Ford Coppola and many other famous names from the filmmaking industry have visited for a peaceful retreat. Politicians are also frequent visitors of the Palace. Franklin Roosevelt stayed here on Churchill’s recommendations, while the General Charles de Gaulle was seduced by La Mamounia for a one-night stay during which the director ordered a custom-made bed to accommodate his height.
In the 1960’s
A longing for the East
Marrakesh is in full bloom, she perfumes, glows and whispers. French writers take up residence in Morocco and come to satisfy their thirst for the Orient. The painter Jacques Majorelle settled in Marrakesh from 1931 to 1962 in a house surrounded by a fabulous botanical garden, Yves Saint-Laurent’s final resting place. La Mamounia is an institution adopted from its debuts by the European elite who, over time, have shaped its legend. Many Europeans and Americans even chose to move in with their own furniture for long-term stays.
A love story with artists
When Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint-Laurent moved to Marrakesh in 1966, they chose to settle at La Mamounia before acquiring their secondary residence. After that, the designer would occasionally return to the calm of La Mamounia to find peace.
A oasis of calm that gives free rein to creativity
The bohemian jet set from the 1970’s chose Marrakesh as a second home and the most iconic rock bands of the time stayed at La Mamounia. The Rolling Stones took their vacation here in 1968, while Paul McCartney composed the song Mamunia in 1973.
A lavish resurrection
Renovated several times since the 1950s, La Mamounia was revamped by Jacques Garcia from 2006 to 2009. The architect offers the palace unprecedented views over a palm grove and a millenary olive grove and reworks the light using the chiaroscuro effect. Garcia is devoted to regrounding La Mamounia in its historical heritage of Arabo-Andalusian architecture. To do this, he relies on Moroccan artists and craftsmen, specialists of the Berber arts and local traditions.
A wildly sensual experience
As a veritable sanctuary dedicated to beauty and wellness, the Spa at La Mamounia was awarded the title of “Best Spa” for 5 successive years (2010 to 2015) by the prestigious American magazine Spa Finder.
In memory of Winston Churchill, its emblematic guest, La Mamounia organised an exhibition of his paintings, revealing Churchill’s works for the first time ever in Morocco (most of them had never left England) alongside paintings from the Moroccan artist Hassan El Glaoui.
Owing to its attentive and warm service and the gentle way of life that it affords its guests, La Mamounia was voted “Best Hotel” in the Middle East and Africa in 2018, by the prestigious magazine Condé Nast Traveller.
La Mamounia, revamped
After several months of renovation under the supervision of the architectural firm Jouin Manku, La Mamounia reopens its doors, more resplendent than ever. Entirely redesigned, the Palace restaurants welcome two distinguished Chefs – Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Pierre Hermé – whose creations are now served on every menu at La Mamounia.