“A luxurious and central riad hotel with fine food, an indulgent spa, and an ample garden centering around a sleek pool”
Rooms have been given an earthy, almost colonial, twist on the traditional North African style so prevalent in Marrakech riads. Dark cedarwood closets and solid carved tables anchor a natural palette of taupes, charcoals and white - think dark coffee marbled with fresh cream. The hotel’s signature orange blossom scent is matched by strategically placed fruit, and every room is expansive enough to accommodate sprawling sofas and a queensize (or twin) bed. On the subject of beds, they’re extremely comfortable, as are the thick kilims and courtesy babouches.
Designed as a sanctuary from the bustling city, every room looks onto an inner courtyard or garden, and most have a private terrace or balcony - you really are in your own little world here. The only exceptions are the Deluxe Rooms and Junior Suites, which instead of a terrace have direct access to a quiet communal courtyard, hidden away from the main thoroughfares. Convenience has also been considered. Every room has a plasma TV, a music system, free WiFi and effective air-conditioning.
We stayed in a Large Suite with terrace and relished the outside space, as well as the ample lounge area - the Suite with terrace is just as appealing. Bathrooms are always impressive with enormous mirrors and twin basins, but it’s worth trying to get one with both bathtub and shower, if you can. Honeymooners will love the Master Suites which have particularly decadent décor and feel more like mini-apartments than hotel rooms. Spread over 2 floors, you’ll get a large lounge with fireplace, and separate first-floor bedroom with walk-in wardrobe, balcony and romantic adjoining bathroom.
Tucked away at the back of the walled garden, double-height arches and carved doors lead through to Villa des Orangers’ most luxurious offering, a 2-bedroom Private Riad complete with alfresco courtyard lounge and a tempting plunge pool. Ornate tiling lines the outdoor space while the lounge is dominated by a caramel sofa and fireplace. Upstairs the 2 bedrooms (double or twin) each have a large ensuite bathroom and share access to a pretty terrace overlooking the hotel garden.
With so many authentic Moroccan eateries nearby, including the famous night stalls of Djemaa el Fna, it’s refreshing to find something a little different within the walls of Villa des Orangers. Here, the evening menu takes a more Mediterranean slant, with lights seafood starters like spider crab salad with celeriac and apple, and sophisticated mains of roasted lamb noisette with aubergine and tomato cake. Both heavenly, and both served with a flourish from beneath a silver cloche. In fact, the service remained outstanding throughout our meal; don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations either, the staff know their wine. To finish off, we shared a light, sweet and ever-so-slightly indulgent strawberry cream dessert, topped with sweet biscuit and infused with Jasmine.
Breakfast can be taken almost anywhere in the hotel, from the tranquil shaded courtyard to the tree-covered poolside dining tables, though many guests opt to the take it in their room, particularly if they have a private terrace. We chose to do just that, specifying our menu and time the night before. Our spoils arrived on the dot, with the breads still hot, and everything was promptly laid out on a crisp white table cloth by the efficient and smiling staff. A leisurely morning of paper-reading and view-gazing ensued over the tasty selection of high-quality tea, fragrant coffee, fresh traditional Moroccan breads, jams and creamy yoghurts - and rest assured the menu encompassed much more, from cooked eggs to fresh fruit salad.
Unusually, a simple light lunch is also included in the room rate. Served between 12-3pm daily (again, you can choose the setting), it was a welcome refresher when we arrived at the hotel, tired and dusty from a long journey through the Atlas Mountains. The offerings are simple, but satisfying: omelettes, a club sandwich, salad and pasta. Plus, there’s always mint tea, pastries and iced drinks to break up a busy day of sunbathing by the pool.
Villa des Orangers is not recommended for children under 12 years, as there is little in the way of facilities and the atmosphere is that of a tranquil, adult retreat. That said, extra beds can be provided Duplex Junior Suite and Master Suite (extra charge), and the Private Riad has 2 bedrooms which can be made up as doubles or twins.
Teens (over 12)