Marrakech’s residential area, L’Hivernage, is also home to several international hotels - and the Sofitel is one of the best. A blend of Moorish magnificence and French flair, the five-star resort particularly suits families thanks to its facilities, separate children’s pool and (unrivalled among the big hotels) proximity to Marrakech’s old town and chief sights. To top it all off, there’s a lovely garden area and spectacular views of the frosted Atlas Mountains.
There are 139 rooms and suites, each in red and amber hues, and each with private balconies or terraces, as well as air-conditioning, internet sockets and satellite TVs.
In addition to two pools (a main one and a kids’ one), there’s the So Spa, providing Oriental-style treatments and massage, a fitness centre, a sauna, another heated pool and a Dessange Paris beauty salon. The Sofitel also claims an equally impressive array of food and drink venues including gourmet cuisine in L’Orangerie and (our favourite, obviously) Le Lawrence, a low-lit piano bar that serves cocktails and wine to the tune of gentle jazz music.
An opulent, languid ambience exists here: it comes from the orange trees; from all the polished marble and the arches with amethyst blooms; and from the many cushion-heavy sunbeds, trickling fountains and romantic, candlelit corners.