Nobu Hotel Marrakech, in the leafy, upscale neighbourhood of Hivernage, is a charismatic seductress. Of course it comes with Nobu’s hallmark Japanese-Peruvian restaurant, but resists resting on its world-renowned-dining laurels. Take its sumptuous suites – spacious and balconied – all of which curate a heady mix of heritage and modern decor peaking with the penthouse grandeur of the gargantuan Nobu Suite. If size impresses you, you’ll be blown away by the 2,000-square-metres Pearl Spa, too – amongst Nobu’s largest to date –, centred around a mosaic-tiled subterranean pool. Crowning it all is a beach-club style rooftop garden, with a circular pool deck and panoramic terrace, where international DJs come to spin.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm, but flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £346.49 (MAD4,420), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of MAD49.50 per person per night on check-in.
Rates include breakfast.
Common areas are accessible to disabled guests; suites, however, are not adapted for wheelchair use.
At the hotel
Roof terrace, three pools, multiple bars and dining spaces, free WiFi. In rooms: satellite TV, steamers, high-thread count linens and down pillows, free bottled water, Nespresso coffee machines and free tea-making kit, and Natura Bissé bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Deluxe One Bedroom Suites are all-rounders with a separate living room – and their marble bathrooms, kitted out with twin sinks and separate bath/shower, are heaven sent after a day exploring the Medina. Those seeking even more square footage to spread out should book into one of the Miyabi Suites. Topping the podium, the Nobu Suite is a two-bedroom penthouse with a wraparound verandah.
Three’s company – choose from the lobby-level unheated, outdoor pool, which opens from 8am to 7pm; the mosaic-tiled, moodily-lit, subterranean spa pool (which clocks in and out at the same time), or the heated rooftop pool, overseen by a lifeguard (open from 9am to 7pm).
Head sub terra to discover Nobu Hotel Marrakech’s labyrinthine spa. The Pearl Spa is open daily from 10am until 10pm and is open to day visitors as well as hotel guests. The lantern-dotted spa comprises 14 treatment suites (including a private spa suite with an exclusive lounge, sauna, spa bath and steam room), a moodily-lit mosaic-tiled heated pool, Jacuzzi, hammam – with a steam bath and sauna – and a curtained-off relaxation area. Book a signature Nobu treatment, such as the stress-relieving Nobu Zen massage or get heart rates up at the small fitness gym, fitted with TechnoGym equipment. Opt-in to a studio class or PT session and after you sweat sesh, reward yourself at the beauty centre which is rigged with various pamper stations, spanning hair to nails.
Demure coverage (long sleeves, floaty trousers) for days spent browsing souks and squares, and stylish, floor-skimming dresses for memorable nights back at base.
Nobu spa treatments are available in your room as well as in the lanter-lit basement. If the hotel seems familiar, you may recognise it from its past incarnation as the Pearl Marrakech.
Welcome. Larger suites easily accommodate families and babysitting can be arranged from £15–£30 an hour.
Little Smiths of all ages are welcome; infants stay free, and five- to 11-year-olds are charged as children.
The Deluxe One Bedroom Suite can accommodate two adults and one child. Larger families should check in to one of the Miyabi Suites or the palatial Nobu Suite.
There’s no kids’ club but you’re in a central spot for finding your own entertainment en famille out and about in Marrakech.
The surrounding area is awash with distractions and delights for kids of all ages. Depending on age range, head out beyond the city’s limits to go hot-air ballooning or quad biking across the dunes.
All three of the hotel’s pools are child friendly, when accompanied by an adult. The spa pool isn’t supervised by a lifeguard, but the others are.
The Rooftop Garden’s kids’ menu spans burgers and fries to chicken Milanese. If opting for in-room dining, the kids breakfast includes cereals, fresh fruits, cheesy scrambled eggs with chicken sausages, chocolate-chip pancakes, washed down with either hot milk or hot chocolate.
Reception can arrange a babysitter; hourly rates are between £15 and £30.
Head to the roof for an outdoor table set in an urban garden.
Cooling linens and cooler pumps.
There’s a trinity of eateries to choose from. Namesake Nobu presents its signature dishes – shout out to long-standing favourites: black cod miso, rock shrimp tempura and yellowtail sashimi – alongside an extensive selection of cocktails. Linger over your favourite Japanese-Peruvian cuisine in wood-clad surroundings from 7pm till midnight every day. The Bar and Lounge, which are located just off the main Nobu restaurant, plate up light bites and pour out handcrafted cocktails in a low-key space dominated by chic tangerine sofas. With a bohemian beach-club feel that wouldn’t look out of place in Bali, the Rooftop Garden restaurant comes with 360-degree views (clock the Atlas Mountains from a height) and is open for brunch, lunch, or dinner – its menu of Mediterranean-meets-Moroccan cuisine overseen by chef Youssef Jabri. The Lobby Lounge – a space anchored by a dramatic Japanese Bonsai tree in the soaring atrium-lobby – is a good choice for all-day dining with an international menu to appease all; you can have breakfast here or in your suite.
Shake (and stir) it up at Rooftop Garden (open from noon until 1am), where international DJs provide a hopping backing track to sundowners on the circular terrace. The Lobby-Lounge bar is open from 9am until midnight; stop by for a chilled glass of Schieferkopf and a gawk at the lobby lounge’s bountiful bonsai. Alternatively, escape the midday heat at Nobu Bar and Lounge, just off the main Nobu restaurant, reserving your spot on the tangerine-hued sofas with a signature, handcrafted cocktail.
Things wrap up at 1am if you’re at the Rooftop Garden, midnight if you’re munching black miso cod at Nobu.
Enjoy Nobu’s trademark flavours from the comfort of your suite during kitchen hours. If you’re peckish outside of these hours, the hotel’s ‘anytime menu’ is served from 11pm-7am.
Nobu Hotel Marrakech is in the well-to-do Hivernage district, a 20-minute walk from Djemma El Fna square.
Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK) is a 10- to 15-minute drive from the hotel – the concierge can arrange transfers for a fee of around MAD300 one-way.
Marrakech train station is a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Private transfers can be arranged from MAD300 one-way.
Pull up in front of the entrance and the valet will take care of the rest. The hotel has a private, open-air carpark which is monitored around the clock.
Worth getting out of bed for
Head out into the winding Red City and explore its many colourful souks, spellbinding palaces, and other cultural delights. The souks in the Medina are a good launching point. Anything from lamps to Berber rugs to candied fruits is on hand to tempt you to part with your dirhams; a pitstop at the spice market is a feast for the senses. Garden ‘couture’ awaits at Jardin Majorelle, the cobalt-hued former home of Yves Saint Laurent, and follow with a spree at any number of boutiques – add Heritage Berber, 33 Rue Majorelle, and the YSL bookshop, all on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, to your list. Visits to Djemaa el Fna Square and the Bahia Palace, both under a 10-minute taxi ride from the hotel are almost-compulsory cultural highlights. The 14th-century, Unesco Madrasa Ben Youssef, a historic Islamic school, is an architectural wonder of red sandstone, arched galleries, carved stucco and ornate Moroccan tiling.. Venture beyond the city to take in the Palm Grove area – the Agafay desert is a popular spot for sunset camel rides and quad bike treks, or even dinner under the stars. Other favoured day trips include Atlas Mountain tours – a 90-minute drive from the hotel – best enjoyed via hot-air balloon, and coastal excursions to Essaouira.
Low-lit Palais Jad Mahal is a blend of styles and flavours: the menu encompasses Thai, Moroccan and French influences. Grilled lamb chops marinated in barbecue sauce, or royal couscous (combining lamb, chicken, merguez and kefta) come with a theatrical side of acrobats, fire-eaters and belly dancers; live music follows from 11.30pm. Red-toned and gilded Koya Restaurant & Lounge on Avenue Echouhada plates up Asian-fusion cuisine and is known to put on quite the show. For something a little more low-key, head to the plant-laden rooftop of Le Foundouk, where tremendous tagines come with evocative skyline views.
Stop for a juice at open-air Le Jardin. Upstairs offers more substantial fare, so choose a table in the green-tiled, plant-filled courtyard for quick refuels (and rerouting if you’ve been without WiFi in the Medina for a while). A plate of fresh fruit with honey and mint or a ramekin’s worth of orange-blossom crème brulée is just the ticket. The warm invitation is to ‘Take a break from the souk’ at the pink-washed Café Des Épices, (open till late),where interiors by Anne Fevier encourage you to sit a while amidst suspended wicker lanterns and round wooden tables Order a Green Energy (avocado, orange and dates) blend for a boost before heading back out into the thick of it.
Night owls – flock to energetic Babouchka for after-hours escapades; here, the dress code is open, and the music on blast is globetrotting pop. At cabaret-style Le Lotus Club, the restaurant transforms into a nightclub after dinner (and a show) – and is conveniently right around the corner from Nobu Hotel Marrakech.
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 Moroccan hotel in jewel-toned Marrakech and unpacked their Berber rugs and leather babouches, a full account of their Medina-skirting break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Nobu Hotel Marrakech…
The Red City’s fashionable ‘Golden Triangle’, in the city’s Hivernage district, is a fitting locale for equally geometric Nobu Hotel Marrakech (the group’s first African foray). The drum-shaped boutique hotel (formerly the Pearl) is a heady mix of heritage and modernity. In the lobby, a Bonsai tree centrepiece makes quite the first impression while you sip on welcome drinks (either cocktails or mint tea) – and it’s not the only head-turner…. All quarters are classified as ‘suites’ (with balconies or terraces). The Nobu Suite is the most impressive and expansive, sleeping up to six. Ride the gold-fronted lift back down to Nobu Restaurant (there’s a special entrance for hotel guests) to enjoy Nobu classics of yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño and miso black cod, opting for seats by the open kitchen. Post-dinner, pull up a chair under the pergola and order some sake for the table. The rooftop garden, ringed by a circular pool deck and 360-degree panoramic terrace is a hotel-topping showstopper (amped up with local and international DJs). Providing healthy competition to rooftop dips, the Pearl Spa’s subterranean pool offers guests a more intimate paddle, at the heart of a sprawling 2,000-square-metre wellness space, amongst Nobu’s largest to date.