Villa des Orangers

Marrakech, Morocco Book from DH4,400

A luxurious and central riad hotel with fine food, an indulgent spa, and an ample garden centering around a sleek pool
As with most Marrakech hotels, the entrance to the 5-star Villa des Orangers is unassuming, to say the least. Who would guess that, off a road swarming with carts and bicycles, this inconspicuous yet ornate carved door would lead to a haven of peace and luxurious style? But it does, and that is what makes Marrakech special.

The 'city of two souls' is adept at combining earthy simplicity with a generous dose of sensual delights, and the Villa has more than its fair share of the latter. The sweet scent of orange blossom fills the air, a lofty inner courtyard’s only sound is the soft gurgling of a pretty water fountain, and then there’s the spectacular garden. A fragrant mix of palms and fruit trees onto which many of the palatial bedrooms gaze. Around every corner, lattices of such delicate plasterwork that in a low blood sugar moment one fancies they are made of icing. And centre stage, the large oasis-like pool, fringed by flawless cream cushioned loungers - a Marrakech rarity, especially when you’re just a moment’s walk from Djemaa el Fna. Perfect for a Marrakech minibreak; throw yourselves into the theatre of the city then return to utter peace and tranquillity.

Highs

  • The lavish size, furnishings and tranquillity of the bedrooms, most of which have tubs and showers, and private terraces
  • The tempting spa, with myriad treatments, expert staff and a huge hammam... oh, and there's a second pool on the rooftop, too
  • While many a dinner should be taken in the city's main square, don’t miss the hotel restaurant's Med-fusion cuisine - quality produce, refined presentation and a great wine list await
  • Consistently excellent service and facilities, plus rates that include light lunches, laundry and airport transfers in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle
  • The best of both worlds, all the luxury of a Palmeraie hotel but in an incredibly convenient city centre location

Lows

  • It's brilliantly central and cars can drop you right outside the hotel door, but the road outside the hotel isn't the prettiest - expect garages, repair stalls and lots hustle and bustle
  • As with much of Marrakech there is some risk of mosque noise, but it's part of the experience and we hardly noticed
  • It's not cheap, but you get some good extras included
  • Not recommended for under 12s due to the calm, adult atmosphere and lack of family-oriented facilities

Best time to go

The Villa is open year round, although the July and August heat Marrakech hard work. The cool, clear weather makes winter a good time to come - a Christmas shopping spree, for example! Bear in mind when Ramadan is...

Our top tips

We loved taking breakfast on our private terrace, service was impeccable and everything was beautifully laid out under the shade of our parasol - there was even a scroll with summary of the day's world news.

Great for...

City Style
Foodie
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 27 + 1 private riad
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Over 12s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room: Junior Suite

Rooms

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.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • DVD player (on request)
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Plunge pool
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

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.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Cooking classes
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Restaurant
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore the many and varied delights of Marrakech, from gardens (Jardin Majorelle) to the many palaces (El Bahia Palace) and mosques (Koutoubia Mosque's, the tallest building in Marrakech)
  • Shopping is a national pastime, and Marrakech’s souks are only a short walk away - official guides can be arranged but getting ever so slightly lost is part of the fun
  • Engross yourself in the all-singing, all-dancing, fire-eating, snake-charming, food-vending madness of Djemaa el Fna, just 500m away
  • Pull up a lounger and relax, then lap the large heated courtyard pool or cool off in the bracing rooftop pool
  • Spend the afternoon in the hotel’s Nuxe Spa, choose from a wide range of massage treatments (including couples massages) or indulge in the traditional hammam experience
  • Enjoy a sunset caleche ride (horse and carriage) around the city's famously pink city walls
  • Take a road trip. The hotel can arrange bespoke excursions to the Atlas Mountains, the southern deserts or the Atlantic Coast
  • Play golf at one of the various 18-hole courses 10-15 minutes away

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being

Kids

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.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

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

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Rates for Villa des Orangers