Amanjena means ‘peaceful paradise’, and boy did they nail the brief with this one. This is an epic set piece of a hotel, with a dash of cinema in the pink clay walls topped with minty embellishments, and there’s an infinitely pleasing symmetry to the angles and curves of the precise, palace-style arrangement. The kitchens’ refined dishes, from Moroccan to Italian to Japanese, are presented with painstaking care, every morsel a mouthful to brag about to envious friends back home. And you’ll struggle to find fault with the impeccable service, on hand 24 hours a day to cosset even the most exacting residents. Hit the pool, the clay courts, the hammam, the daybed beneath your gazebo – whatever peaceful paradise means to you.
Midday, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £736.57 (€821), including tax at 20 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €5.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include an à la carte breakfast, which you can enjoy in the restaurant or by the pool and olive grove. There’s an additional charge to have it served in your room.
Designer Ed Tuttle (the name behind Amankila in Bali and Amanbagh in India) is responsible for Amanjena’s striking angles and curves, and rose-hued walls of washed clay that pop so satisfyingly against the blue sky backdrop.
At the hotel
13 acres of neat grounds, two clay tennis courts, olive grove with golf course and Atlas-mountain views. Free WiFi, bikes to borrow. In rooms: sound system, fireplace, minibar, espresso machine, tea-making facilities, Aman bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Even in the smallest of suites, we were starting to see ourselves as Moroccan royalty in the face of all the candle lanterns, polished marble and zellij tiling. Each guest space is like a private villa, generous on space and meeting the same sky-high interior design standards as the rest of the complex. If you twisted our arms for an overall winner, we’d recommend the Maisons, particularly for longer stays. These two-bedroom residences with capacious bathrooms, private heated pools, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and superb gardens give you all the lounging and dining space you could need – and then some. Do ask a member of staff to light the fires of an evening for a little extra visual magic.
The main outdoor heated pool is in a picturesque courtyard bordered by two pillared walkways. There’s also a dedicated children’s pool for little Smiths to splash about in.
The spa has four treatment rooms, where you can take your pick from a menu of facials, scrubs, wraps, massages and mani pedis, plus two Moroccan-style hammams. There’s a gazebo for guided yoga sessions, two clay tennis courts and a well-equipped gym. The hotel can organise private personal training sessions on your behalf. Alternatively, you can book onto the Rest Easy Anti-Stress Experience, made up of a yoga class, hammam session, deep-tissue massage, and argan hair treatment and head massage.
Your slinkiest, and we mean your very finest, swimsuit. In fact, buy a new one right now.
You can enjoy your treatments in your room for an additional fee. All of the suites, except the Maison and Maison Jardin category, are wheelchair accessible.
Amanjena welcomes little people with open arms, offering a range of fun activities and a dedicated pool.
Babies and up.
Some of the pavilions and maisons can be made into interconnecting complexes to house larger groups or families, and baby cots and baths can be provided in rooms. Up to two extra kids’ beds can be added in the maisons.
There’s a kids’ club offering activities like donkey rides, calligraphy workshops, tennis or golf lessons.
In summer, the hotel puts a large tent up by the olive grove courtyard, which is used for kids’ activities and shade for hanging out in the day.
There’s a heated children’s pool on site that’s great for preschooler Smiths to splash about in.
Highchairs are available in the restaurant for meal times.
You can book a babysitter or nanny with 24 hours’ notice for an additional fee.
The restaurant and bar use local, seasonal ingredients to craft their changing menus. Guests are incentivised to avoid changing linens and towels daily – if you reuse them, the hotel says thank you by way of a donation to a local charity, either focusing on environmental protection or supporting the local community. Amanjena is a supporter of the local Jarjeer donkey sanctuary, a home for retired donkeys and mules, and invites guests to feed the animals and learn about their care. The hotel also supports local children’s charity, Les Enfants de L’Atlas. Guests are invited to meet the orphans living here and be a part of their education, either by sharing stories in English or French, making one-off donations or sponsoring a child long term.
Top table at the Moroccan restaurant is a side table with a good view of the musicians. At Nama, take a table facing the shimmering pool waters – it’s especially romantic lit up at night.
The Moroccan Restaurant is slightly more formal, so feel free to add your wardrobe bells and whistles, gold-toned jewellery and sparkliest pumps. For Nama, you can’t go wrong with a flowing silhouette for glamorous poolside billowing in the night breeze.
There are two main restaurants at Amanjena. Open every Monday to Saturday evening from 7pm, the Moroccan Restaurant serves (surprise, surprise) mostly Moroccan cuisine, made using traditional Berber methods and with a hint of Middle Eastern and Andalusian influence. There’s also a full Italian dinner menu. You’ll want to try the selection of briouates (Moroccan samosa-like parcels stuffed with cheeses, fish or meat) and the chicken tagine with baby potatoes, olives and candied lemon. From the Italian menu, go for risotto with squid ink and peas or linguine with langoustines and tomato.
Nama is the hotel’s Japanese restaurant overlooking the pool. From Wednesday to Sunday you can watch the chefs at work at the robata grill and sushi counter preparing fresh fish delivered daily from Essaouira. Don’t miss the Kaisen Don (marinated fish served on steamed sushi rice) and the Yaki Zakana (charcoal-grilled fish of the day with spinach, asparagus and teriyaki glaze).
There’s also the less formal option of top-quality, wood-fired pizzas fresh from the outdoor oven, plus grills and salads served in the shade of the ancient olive grove from midday to 5.30pm.
In the bar area, complete with graceful arches, pillars and tall flickering candles, you can not only try house drinks mixed with Moroccan herbs and fruit, but also take a cocktail masterclass should you wish to turn mixologist. We recommend the Atlas Breeze (vodka, lemon, orange blossom, almond and cinnamon) or the Desert Fashioned (argan oil-infused bourbon with dates). You can order light dishes here too, such as fish croquettes, arancini, bruschette and California rolls.
There’s a 24-hour room service menu offering Moroccan and international dishes to enjoy in the quiet of your quarters.
Amanjena resides in the sun-baked outskirts of Marrakech, Morocco.
Marrakech Menara Airport is around 20 minutes’ drive away. You get a free return airport transfer with your stay at the hotel. Additional transfers, for example if you have guests arriving at different times, cost 540 dirhams for a car and 780 dirhams for a minivan.
Marrakech train station is around 20 minutes’ drive away. Hotel transfers are available.
There’s a private car park on site with valet service.
Worth getting out of bed for
The expertly delivered spa treatments at Amanjena, including massages and facials, are top tier, and tennis lovers will appreciate the two clay courts. The technically challenging 27-hole course at Amelkis golf club is just moments away, and there’s also the course at Royal Golf Marrakech, set within lush gardens. Families can take a carriage ride courtesy of resident donkey Tarik, or join a family calligraphy session.
If you can be tempted off the stunning grounds of Amanjena, try a hike into the Atlas mountains for lunch with a local family. You can navigate the Agafay sand dunes on a 35-kilometre e-bike tour or see the Red City big sights and hidden gems from a sidecar on a special Marrakech motorbike tour. Or you might prefer a simple stroll around the magnificent city souks.
For lunch, check out Le Jardin, a green-tiled former riad serving up fresh favourites like cheese briouates, lentil salad and chicken tagine. For dinner, you could go for Royal Couscous or Tom Yam-marinated Wood-Grilled Chicken in the enchanting, candlelit Comptoir Darna. Or you could reserve a private dining room at Dar Yacoutand sample its tried and trusted set menu of traditional Moroccan cooking, including salads, tagines and Moroccan pastries to finish.
The rooftop bar at the El Fenn hotel is a local favourite spot for a glass of something cold and refreshing with a view of the Koutoubia Mosque. Equally nice is the rooftop terrace of restaurant-bar Le Foundouk.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this opulent hotel on the outskirts of the Red City and unpacked their souk-sourced terracotta and silver, a full account of their perfectly palatial stay will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Amanjena in Marrakech…
Thirteen spellbinding acres of grounds, largely garden and grove, greet you at the Amanjena complex. It’s interspersed with bewitchingly serene features, from the supersized water bassin to the ‘Maisons’ with their private pools and exquisitely arranged gardens. Inside it’s all tall pillars and sweeping drapes, romantic fountains and polished marble, filigree lanterns and hand-woven rugs – indulgent in feel without overstepping into glitz and garishness. We loved the purposeful blending of outside and inside: the gratifying peeps past adeptly bunched drapes into pavilion interiors, and tempting glimpses outwards onto sun-brightened palms and be-columned walkways. The whole handsome lot comes with its own hypnotic backing track of traditional Moroccan instruments or the cooling babble of water tumbling from fountains. Chapeau, Aman.