Ksar Char Bagh

Marrakech, Morocco Book from Eur390

Reviewed by Laila Ram
Stunning private palace inspired by 14th century Moorish architecture and 21st century minimalism - spa, restaurant and magical grounds
After heading into the desert scrubland of the Palmeraie, driving down a bumpy dirt track, pushing past a large gate, and walking up a long garden path, you're not sure what to expect. An imposing tower with a silver door looms above you... open the door and you enter an entrancing fairytale of fountains and flowers. This is not your ordinary hotel; Ksar Char Bagh is a palace. But not one that emerged out of thin air. It took 3 years of design planning plus the hard labour of 200 men working daily for 15 months to turn Nicole and Patrick LeVillair’s incredible vision into a concrete and exquisite creation.

Set in 4 hectares of Persian-style gardens, with water and streams criss-crossing to symbolise the rivers of paradise, Ksar Char Bagh is close to heaven on earth. Luxurious suites more closely resemble apartments, plus there's a billiard room, a library, a cigar room, a huge vaulted marble hamman, a tennis court, a show-stopping pool, and an exceptionally discreet staff of 45 (including a talented French chef), who will move heaven and earth to arrange anything you want.

Highs

  • Being just outside the city affords a lot more space, 5 acres to be exact, and the palm-lined pool is irresistible - we spent a whole afternoon lounging and swimming during out 2014 revisit
  • Grand proportions, stunning architecture and the attention to detail is phenomenal. Every single object, piece of furniture and furnishing has been designed by the owners
  • You're surrounded by the soothing sound of water and birdsong, creating an enchanting Arabian Nights atmosphere
  • The spacious suites balance simplicity and sumptuousness, all have private outdoor space and some have pools

Lows

  • To stay in this palace certainly doesn't come cheap. Only breakfast is included in the room price and the extras can really mount up
  • This is where the rich and famous come to get away from it all, so don't expect a very social atmosphere. It's tranquil, private and very discreet
  • Marrakech's city centre is a 15-minute drive away, but the hotel has its own air-conditioned cars to get you there
  • A popular venue for groups and celebrations. Great, unless you're the only ones not in on the party - ask about other guests when booking

Best time to go

Marrakech is baking in the summer months of July and August, when a dry but relentless heat beats down on the city. The best times to visit are spring and autumn. By the end of October the evenings are cold, although the midday sun is still warm enough to bask in. The weather in winter, from November to March, ranges from cold and rainy to sunny, but days are often warm enough to sit outside.

Our top tips

Take breakfast or dinner on your private terrace at least once during your stay - it's incredibly peaceful and at night the stars are mesmerizing.

Great for...

Honeymoon
Spa
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Luxury Hotel
  • 14 suites
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • Over 8s welcome
  • Closed: 1 Aug 2016 - 31 Aug 2016
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Tennis Court
  • Snooker Table
  • Petanque court
  • Billiard room
Room: La Tour

Rooms

The enormous suites are located off the central courtyard with its magnificent fountain. Each has a living area with a fireplace, a bedroom with a kingsize bed, a bathroom with a shower and a bath, a dressing room and a large private terrace or garden. Some also have private swimming pools. The high vaulted ceilings, marble floors and tadelakt walls in colours ranging from pale and burnished beige to soft yellow ochre make these suites feel cool, spacious and very private. The antique rugs, doors and artifices, the walk-in wardrobe, the hidden TV, DVD/CD player and minibar, the hand-made furnishings and drapes, the fresh flower arrangements (only fresh white and red roses are used) and the perfumed candles are just some of the details that make each room utterly enchanting.

In the large ensuite bathrooms, it is a true delight to lie in the sunken marble bath looking through the wooden shutters out over the gardens. Walk-in monsoon showers, rose petals, soft robes and hand-made toiletries are what one would expect of life in a palace.

There are 2 larger spaces: La Tour and the Apartment. They’re similar to the suites, but they have 2 living rooms each and their own private pools (as do 2 of the Large Harim Suites). Terraces have tents with traditional rugs and cushions from which to feast on the views of the palm grove, and La Tour has panoramic vistas to the distant Atlas Mountains.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The French chef (who trained under Joel Robuchon, Alain Ducasse and Pierre Hermé) prepares a blend of traditional French and Moroccan cuisine, as well as specialities which are unique to Ksar Char Bagh and have a modern twist. Many of the fresh ingredients and herbs come straight from the vegetable garden and the hotel makes its own jams and olive oil.

Breakfast can be a private affair served in your suite or out on your private terrace or garden, or you can dine by the pool or in the light-filled restaurant area. Alternate French, English or Moroccan delights are served. Await to be surprised by French croissants with fruit preserves, English pastries with pear confit or Moroccan flat bread with marmalade, honey and clementines.

A 3-course fixed menu lunch is offered by the pool, in the dining room or anywhere else you should want. We were served confit of vegetables in ravioli, followed by roast monkfish with saffron and a cold pear soup with verbena sherbet. Simple snacks are also available throughout the day for those who don't fancy a full blown lunch and every Saturday the hotel prepares a Moroccan lunch at its farm using specialties made on-site.

Dinner is served in the restaurant overlooking the pool, or in-room if you prefer. The menu continues in the same vein as the lunch, light French dishes of elegant pastas, rich meat dishes and fresh fish. Alternatively, the hotel can arrange transfers into the city for authentic Moroccan cuisine - ask for restaurant recommendations.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

    Marrakech Medina is less than a 15-minute drive away, however, the main point of staying at Ksar Char Bagh is to just luxuriate in the tranquillity and utter luxuriousness of your surroundings
  • Plunge into the huge swimming pool or soak in the private one of your room (if staying in the Apartment, La Tour or a Large Harim Suite with pool)...
  • ...Otherwise, simply sleep, dream and relax on your beautiful private terrace or garden
  • Experience a traditional hammam and a relaxing massage
  • Have a tennis lesson on one of the courts nestled in the olive groves
  • Have tea, traditional Moroccan biscuits and other specialties served out in The Ruin, romantically hidden at the back of the garden
  • Go horse-riding or play golf at one of the 3 nearby golf courses (all within a 15 minute drive)
  • Enjoy a game of billiards or petanque, and perhaps a cigar, at the end of a perfect day

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Billiards
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Petanque
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

Suitable for children aged over 8 years; this is a very luxurious and peaceful hideaway, as such we wouldn't recommend it for families.

Family friendly accommodation:

The Large Harim Suites, the Apartment and La Tour can all accommodate extra beds.

Kid Friendly: Large Harim Suite

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
8/
Food
8/
Service
10/
Value
9/
Overall

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Rates for Ksar Char Bagh