Situated in the city’s lush Palmeraie, Les Deux Tours in Marrakech is a stylish boutique resort of traditional-style, tartari-ceilinged villas, sitting in some of the loveliest gardens in Morocco. With a hammam, some incredibly chic bars and two top-class restaurants, it’s the sort of place you could lose days in.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of French Crémant (sparkling wine) and treats from the pastry chefs; Smiths staying two nights will get a picnic basket for two instead
The hotel has 41 rooms, including four Pool Suites, one Jacuzzi Suite, one Premium Suites and 13 Junior Suites.
Noon, though this is flexible according to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £155.76 (€180), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.60 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include a generous buffet breakfast with pastries, cheeses, cold cuts and Moroccan pancakes.
Les Deux Tours is proud of its eco credentials. It has been built with local building materials, all vegetables served in the restaurant are grown on site (with absolutely no chemical assistance) and it provides only 100 per cent natural bath and body products in its villas. Airport transfers with the hotel are €18 each way (daytime); €25 in the evening.
At the hotel
Heated outdoor pool, spa and hammam, library and free WiFi, in-room spa treatments on request. In rooms: flatscreen TV, air-conditioning, minibar with free bottled water, 100% natural Nectarome bath products.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms have an original feature, whether it’s a tartari ceiling, bejmat tiles, a stone fireplace or a carved ceiling, or restored antique Moroccan furnishing. We love them all but, if pushed, we’d go for the suites, which come with hand-carved wooden frescoes at the head of the bed.
The odd-shaped heated pool (open daily from 10am to 8pm) is surrounded by lush lawns and a terrace, upon which attentive staff serve drinks, snacks and meals throughout the day. There are two other plunge pools located in different parts of the property.
Though the spa is small with just two treatment rooms, there's a range of therapies to choose from. Choose from an in-room menu of massages, facials and couple treatments or opt a detoxifying session in the hotel's hammam.
Bring a sketchbook. There are so many beautiful patterns and Arabic designs competing for your attention that you’ll want to record them somehow.
You can lose hours in the hotel’s neverending gardens – they’re a bit like having your own park right on the doorstep. There are even a few iron four-poster beds dotted around, upon which you can recline.
Kids of any age are welcome. Cots and extra beds can be provided at no cost for the under fours, €45 a night for four to eleven year olds and €75 a night for over-12s. Children's menus are available and babysitting can be arranged for MAD50 per hour.
Kids of any age are welcome at Les Deux Tours, and babysitting and children’s menus are both available. Cots and extra beds (for 20 per cent of the room cost) can be provided.
Children of all ages (although be aware that some room types have a few internal steps, and floors are uncarpeted – it can be a little tough on cruisers and toddlers).
The Premium Suites are the most family-friendly. They come with a private sitting area that can also double as a connecting room if you also rent a Junior Suite. They come with a fridge, extra beds and plenty of inflatable armbands for the pool.
There is no dedicated nursery at the hotel.
Children will love all the animals – a dog, a donkey, a peacock, fish, turtles and frogs – that roam Les Deux Tours’ grounds.
The main outdoor pool has a shallow end, and is overseen by a lifeguard from 8am till 6pm.
Kids are welcome in the restaurant at any time, and a special children’s menu is provided. Highchairs, packed lunches and milk-heating facilities are all provided.
The hotel can arrange a babysitter for a fee of MAD50 an hour, plus transportation costs (MAD100 each way in the evenings, otherwise free while the hotel's staff shuttle is running) . Try to book at least one day in advance.
Any diner sitting on one of the terrace tables, gazing out over the park-like gardens, will be more than happy with their position.
Summer evening chic: floaty dresses and linen shirts.
The hotel's chef has a way with seafood, and a commitment to locally sourced produce: highlights of the Moroccan- and Mediterranean-influenced menu include produce grown in the hotel's own garden. The hotel also has a relaxed open-air eatery, Pergola, by the pool serving a seasonal barbecue buffet and a light healthy lunch menu.
The hotel bar is an intimate space with an open terrace overlooking the gardens.
Dinner can be ordered until 10.30pm, while drinks are poured in the bars right up to the point when the last guest decides to go to bed.
A full menu of food and drinks is available from 12.30pm till 4pm and then from 7:30pm to 10pm.
Ensconced in three hectares of Andalusian gardens, Les Deux Tours sits among the verdant groves of Marrakech's Palmeraie area, eight kilometres east of the city.
Marrakech Menara is six kilometres from the city centre, with direct flights to London, Paris and and other major European cities. The hotel can organise one-way transfers (€18 during the day, €25 at night). Private transfers can also be arranged.
The Moroccan state railway, ONCF, runs inexpensive (but limited) services to Marrakech from Casablanca, Fez and Tangier. Look for TCR (Train Climatisé Rapide) trains to guarantee air-conditioning in summer. The hotel can arrange the 10-minute transfer from the station for guests (expect to pay around €9).
Driving in Marrakech can be horn-filled and hectic, but if you insist, hire a car from the Avis desk at the airport. The hotel is situated just off the N8 highway, which links the city with Fez. Guests can use its 24-hour guarded car park for free.
Worth getting out of bed for
Before you head into the sense-startling hustle and bustle of Marrakech's city centre, take a time out and unwind at the hotel – an open-air massage in the hotel's terracotta-hued outdoor spa treatment room, laze in eucalyptus-scented steam in the hammam or recline on the open-air four-poster bed by the pool. When you're fully rejuventaed ask the hotel to arrange a game of golf, horse riding through the picturesque Palmeraie surrounds, a tennis tournament or a full-speed race around a go-kart track. Central Marrakech is a 10-minute drive from the hotel, Unravel the myriad stalls and alleyways of Jemaa el Fna's souks by enlisting the help of personal shopper (the hotel can arrange this for you), who will help you to keep your cool when an overenthusiastic vendor is accesorising your outfit with a snake, and who'll help you to find the real gems among piles of decorative lanterns and pointy-toed babouches. When you're done with spending your dirhams, take a breather in the majestic and Moorish Museum of Marrakech, where intricate calligraphic patterns have been woven into royal raiment, glazed on to fine china and beaten into exquisite jewellery; there's also a room-spanning chandelier that could double up as a second miniature palace. The Yves Saint Laurent Museum pays deference to the designer who made Marrakech his home and saved the lush and lavish Jardin Majorelle from development. And, to see Morocco's up-and-coming creatives, stop at the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (aka MACAAL).
Le Blokk is a sultry retro restaurant a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Here, tables are arranged around a scarlet-lit stage where fedora-sporting singers belt out swing numbers – an excellent accompinament to the menu, which has Moroccan, Thai, French and Japanese dishes, and some molecular gastronomy to up the epicurean ante. When in Marrakech, stop off for lunch at Chez Chegrouni (+212 246 547 615), a laid-back souk-side eatery which serves tagines, salads and soups for a fabulously small sum.
Just south of the Medina, Kosybar serves up Moroccan and Mediterranean dishes alongside expertly prepared Japanese fare. Inside it lives up to its name, but more elbow space can be found on the roof terrace where city views and shaded tables create the ideal setting for dipping into the impressive wine list.
Hip luxury hotel – and Winston Churchill's favoured Moroccan drinking den – La Mamounia has several stand-out bars which will make a cab ride there and back worthwhile. We love the low-lit cherry-red decor and the hint of leopard print in Bar Italien, where live music accompanies the maestro mixologists classic concoctions on most evenings. Dress to the nines and bag a table at Comptoir for an OTT evening of belly dancing, cocktails and mingling with well-heeled Marrakchis.
Picture the scene: it’s the late Eighties, Charles Bocarra, king of Mod Maroc Tadalakt’d Architecture leaps out his leather chair, throws his glass of Perrier at the wall and screams ‘I’m going to build a hotel with four-poster beds in the garden – to hell with the consequences.’ Cut to 20 years later and you’ll find me lying in one of those beds, grinning like a Moroccan mountain goat, surveying the three-acre gardens of Les Deux Tours. You’ll also notice I’m dripping with sweat like only a man in a four-poster bed in 45-degree heat can. But to hell with it – Charles had a vision, and who am I to stand in the way?
I’d never been to Marrakech. Tell somebody that these days and normally they’ll gasp as if you’ve just told them you’re married to a swan. Everybody’s been to Morocco. In fact, they haven’t just been, they’ve brought half of it back to England with them. You can’t move in London without banging your head on a Moroccan lamp. Les Deux Tours looks exactly how I imagined a Marrakchi retreat to look like. It’s a bit like a film set, with spiralling, swirling architecture caressing the jasmine and orange trees. And this is an especially welcoming sight after an escape that began in Gatwick. If the tattooed nans and piercing screams of kids with piercings didn’t break us, the hidden costs on our low-cost flight almost did. I wouldn’t be surprised if they introduce a scheme where you’re charged 50p for every vowel used onboard. Tssrs. Enough ranting about airlines (that’s got me into enough trouble in the past), I’m sure there was a point to all this – ah yes! The journey was so awful we needed Les Deux Tours to get us over it.
We were met at the airport with a car – no hidden costs. The spluttering, horn-honking outskirts of Marrakech soon dissolved into a dusty, goat-bleating blur of dirt-tracks and grinning villagers. Just when we began to think we’d got in the wrong taxi at the airport and the friendly driver was in fact going to bury us alive in the desert, we reached the impressive gates of Les Deux Tours. I’m trying not to use the word oasis as it’s a bit of a cliché, but it is tropical paradise in the middle of nothing but sand, so I’d be mad not to.
As we walked through the flower-filled gardens to our accommodation, all we could hear was the creaking and shuffling of animals, and the occasional slap of amphibious skin against water as a toad belly flopped off a lily. We had our own little riad with stone walls, a bathtub in the room and an open fireplace. I banged my head on a Moroccan lamp on the way through the door, which made me a little homesick. There were rose petals sprinkled on our bed, which was the size of a regulation badminton court. Yes, it’s romantic, but I can assure you any mood was killed when after a burst of over-enthusiasm Mrs Smith had to watch me standing naked in front of a mirror peeling off hundreds of pale pink petals like a posh lizard shedding its skin.
Built 20 years ago by the Tunisian architect, and still owned by his family, Les Deux Tours is a blend of Andalucian-style villas and traditional Moroccan design. As we’d arrived in darkness, we were excited about getting a proper look at this breathtaking hotel on our way to breakfast. A traditional Moroccan spread of pineapple, figs, plums, bread and milk was a fitting temptation. And not just for us. Mrs Smith is one of those people that is able to sit there like an I’m A Celebrity contestant while insects crawl all over her. Opening her second pot of strong-smelling jam, she didn’t hesitate to inform me that it was my incessant flapping that was attracting the swarm of bees, and nothing else.
Fast forward through a day of glorious poolside lazing and find us again pondering our next meal. While I’m sure dinner in situ is amazing thanks to Michelin-starred chef David Frémondière’s wondrous creations, the pull of the medina proved irresistible. We were led through the souk by a chain of people until enough tips had us sat on Le Foundouk’s rooftop. It was brilliant – excellent contemporary Moroccan food and also having the Arabic call to prayer echoing off our tagine pot. Only snag to our evening: I wore shorts. Trying to enter a Moroccan bar in something knee-length was like trying to visit Buckingham Palace wearing a waistcoat made out of explosives and alarm clocks. We tried several places but after more cries of ‘pantalons!’ by men laughing at my shins, we finally gave up. We barely had energy to get back to our regulation badminton court bed, let alone get the shuttlecock out.
To be honest, there’s no real need to leave Les Deux Tours. Why spend a day being hassled in the souk when you can slither out of bed into your own pool, lounge around in an outdoor four-poster bed, eat lunch in the pagoda and drink gin at the bar? You don’t even really have to talk to anybody else. The only other people you’ll see are couples where it’s courteous to give the international gesture of ‘how nice is this place, eh?’ (For the uninitiated, it’s a thumbs-up while gesturing at your surrounds, showing your teeth; thinking about it, maybe that’s why nobody spoke to us. If you think you might have seen us, we were the couple half covered in bees.)
So if you’re looking for a quiet, secluded getaway, head to Les Deux Tours immediately. Away from the hurly burly of the medina’s shops and bars, its intention is to unwind every muscle in your body. It’s pure serenity. As well as its huge pool, tropical gardens and delicious food, what prevents this luxury hotel from being a generic romantic hideaway is the stunning architecture constantly reminding you that you’re in North Africa. There’s also an air of ‘what happens in Les Deux Tours, stays in Les Deux Tours’, which I loved. I could imagine checking in with a horse dressed in Lycra and the staff politely shaking its hoof, leading us both to our room and them discretely popping the do not disturb sign on the door. But if you think you did see that couple, no, that wasn’t us.