History La Mamounia
La Mamounia - the pearl of Morocco.

La Mamounia

With La Mamounia reopened in Morocoo, the legendary Mena House in Egypt and Reid's Hotel on Madeira have one more comrade in arms on the North African front. The grand old hotel of Morocco, La Mamounia in Marrakesh, is finally back following an extensive, long overdue and often postponed restoration that was led by acclaimed interior designer Jacques Garcia.
Didier Picquot is now at the helm of the legend of North Africa. It first opened in 1923. Sir Winston Churchill recalled La Mamounia as, “the most lovely spot in the whole world” when inviting Franklin D. Roosevelt to visit him in his favourite place, and Alfred Hitchcock chose La Mamounia as the site to film The Man Who Knew Too Much with James Stewart and Doris Day. Others that have followed include luminaries, such as Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Princess Caroline of Monaco Nelson Mandela, Jacques Chirac, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, Tom Cruise, Yves Saint Laurent and Julio Iglesias. The list is long and inside the hotel lives a prized guestbook, chronicling the guests’ emotional reactions to the magic of La Mamounia and their love of Marrakech.
For decades it’s been regarded as one of the most desirable hotels in the world, the new La Mamounia will hopefully exceed expectations and will feature a 27,000 sq foot La Mamounia Spa; three signature restaurants headed by two Michelin Star chefs, Alfonso Iaccarino of the famed Don Alfonso 1890 in Sant’ Agata, Italy and Jean-Pierre Vigato, owner of Apicius in Paris, France; a vegetable garden to ensure only the freshest ingredients; a pool restaurant; five bars; and 20 acres of historic gardens noted for its ancient olive groves and wide array of flora. Jacques Garcia has perfected La Mamounia as a tranquil haven in the heart of the imperial city.
By recreating the luxurious mood of the oriental palaces, Garcia’s trademark style offers the perfect accompaniment to the impressive and powerful Moorish architecture, abundant at La Mamounia. Situated on the edge of the walls of the old city of Marrakech, La Mamounia is named after its legendary 200-year-old gardens, originally given as an 18th century wedding gift to Prince Moulay Mamoun by his father, King Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah. Since the hotel originally opened La Mamounia has been symbolic of traditional Moroccan hospitality and a classic example of the great age of grand hotels.
Opened in 1923 and located in the very heart of Marrakech, La Mamounia is set amid idyllic gardens that are almost three hundred years old and surrounded by the city's 12th century ochre-colored ramparts.     For 80 years, La Mamounia has emphasized the great traditions of Moroccan hospitality. We are considered a classic example of the great age of grand hotels of the 1930's, a unique blend of Art Deco and Moorish design.     Conceived in 1922 with one hundred rooms, La Mamounia was enlarged in 1946, 1950 and 1953. In 1986 we undertook a massive, nine-month re-creation, bringing us to today's level of magnificence. In 2000 and 2001, every guest room was updated and redesigned - combining a true Moroccan ambiance with every 21st-century convenience.     La Mamounia's name derives from our gardens, known three centuries ago as "Arset el Mamoun," named for Prince Moulay Mamoun, son of Sultan Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah, ruler of Marrakech in the 18th century.     Here in the heart of this Imperial city, royalty, connoisseurs and celebrities gather at the legend called "La Mamounia" to relax in an atmosphere that combines history with enchantment and luxury. "It is the most lovely spot in the whole world". So said Winston Churchill to Franklin D. Roosevelt about Marrakech in 1943. The Prime Minister had persuaded the President to visit his favourite haunt after the Casablanca Conference. He made his remark while they gazed at one of the beautiful sunsets for which the city is famous, a sunset which tinted the distant, snow-capped peaks of the atlas Mountains velvet red. Such scenes inspired Churchill to take up his paintbrush. During the Second World War he only round time to paint one picture and it was done on this occasion in Marrakech. He chose to stay at the luxurious Hotel La Mamounia not least because the views from the room were incomparably "Lovely". La Mamounia takes its name from the surrounding gardens, which were once called the "Arset Al Mamoun". Two centuries old, these gardens, usually referred to as a park, have a history of their own. The Park once belonged to the Prince Moulay Mamoun, the fourth son of Sultan Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah who reigned in the 18th century. It was customary for the Sultan to offer his sons, as a wedding gift, a house and garden located outside the Kasbah. For his marriage present, Moulay Mamoun received the park, which has since always carried his name. It is said that the prince used to hold extraordinary garden parties in his park. The magnificent garden remaining from such royal revelry adds to the pleasure of present-day guests, as much by its size (nearly 20 acres) as by its unusual flora. Designed in 1922 by architects Prost and Marchisio, the hotel La Mamounia managed to combine the Moroccan architectural tradition with the very latest in Art Deco design and decoration. The hotel originally had 100 rooms, but was expanded in 1946, 1950 and 1953 to include nearly 200 rooms. In 1986, a vast renovation programme took place to create the look of today's La Mamounia. A larger and wider main entrance was constructed, incorporating the traditional elements of Moroccan architecture: columns, arches and painted wooden doors, The porch dating from the 1920's has remained intact and opens into the 1920's style "Salon of Honour". The salon has also remained the same with the exception of a large chimney added during renovation which accentuates the room's ceremonial character. Today this entrance is used when welcoming guests of honour. Throughout the year, from the four corners of the globe, visitors come and go at the hotel La Mamounia. Before the Second World War, those who came from Europe and America even brought their own furniture so that the guest could still enjoy. The exotic surrounding while feeling "at home" in his room. Longtime employees at the hotel still tell stories about the stately dinners for which the men dressed in top hats and tails and the women, bedecked with exquisite jewels, wore long evening gowns.
Charlie Chaplin, Omar Sharif, Ronald Reagan, Caroline of Monaco, Prince Naruhito and Nelson Mandela, Hillary Clinton, Kofi Annan, Theodor Roosevelt, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Princess Alexandra and Angus Olgivy, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Prince Naruhito of Japon, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tuttu, Johnny Halliday, Elton John, Vanessa Paradis and Sacha Distel, Omar Sharif, Charles Aznavour, Joan Collins, Elliot Gould, Ted Danson and Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Curtis, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Christopher Lee, Charlton Heston and Silvester Stallone, Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, FDR
Churchill would wander the balcony, following the sun on its daily route in order to render the colour of his painting as real as possible. Several of his painting of La Mamounia's gardens hang in the Churchill museum in England. A British serviceman, 2nd Lt. Harley W. Rhodehamel, remembers from 1943: "An added attraction was our access to the Officers' Club in the Hotel La Mamounia, a grand and famous hotel, then at least, of the world. Interestingly, as we only later discovered, Churchill was in Marrakech at this same time discussing planes for Overland, the code word, of course, for the invasion of Europe. Churchill had been in North Africa for some time following the Teheran Conference during which time he developed pneumonia and as a result a flight plan from Carthage to Marrakech was designed for his flight so as not to fly over 6000 feet. The weather was supposed to be clear but as black clouds gathered it became apparent that flying an intricate pattern to keep under 6000 feet was dangerous. Churchill ordered his plane to fly over the mountains and donned an oxygen mask. All went well but an escort plane not informed of Churchill's change in plans adhered to the original flight plan and had a very severe and dangerous flight through the various gorges and passes, reminiscent of our approach to Marrakech."

Robert J. Berge

171 rooms + 57 suites + 3 villas Rooms
Churchill Suite, Orient Express Suite, Nuptial Suite au Baldaquin, The Menzeh Suite, La Palmeraie (THE PALM GROVE)
Maroccan /Italian/ International/Grill
Gymnasium, Tennis, Squash, Billard, Pingpong, Swimming pool
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Our Select Member Hotel

La Mamounia
Country: Morocco
City: Marrakech
Opening date: 1923

Note from the Host

General Manager Didier Picquot


Avenue Bab Jdid
40 040 Morocco, Marrakech

Tel: +212 524 388600
Fax: +212 524 444 660

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