Palais Ronsard occupies a prettily polished 1930s mansion in Marrakech’s Palmeraie with modern-meets-art-deco interior design by architect Gil Dez – a clear fan of elaborate hanging lanterns, potted plants and Italian and Morrocan objets d’art. It has two gourmet restaurants – one uses ingredients sourced from the hotel’s beautifully manicured gardens – a sprawling, sunsoaked pool (you’ll have your own too, if you book a Pavilion) and a decadent spa with classic hammam treatments. Fancy a bit of buzz? The medina is only a short spin away.
Get this when you book through us:
One hammam experience and a glass of wine each during lunch or dinner (champagne for GoldSmiths); GoldSmiths also get a 30-minute massage each
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from $431.10 (€391), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €16.50 per person per night on check-out and an additional government tax of €33.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast; French or Moroccan Continental breakfast is available for MA$280 a person and dishes from the à la carte menu start at MA$110.
Golf sessions, tennis lessons and personal training can be arranged on request.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, spa, fitness room, vegetable gardens. In rooms: TV with Apple TV, Nespresso coffee machine, minibar, free bottled water and Guerlain bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Pavilion and Grand Pavilions are separate from the main building and each has its own private pool and lounge terraces overlooking the gardens.
The long outdoor pool sits pretty in the gardens, with a pergola-shaded bar at one end. It’s heated and flanked by rows of paired-up sunloungers. Under-12s are not permitted in the pool.
Petite Le Ronsard spa has two treatment rooms – one kitted out for couples – and a hammam. Choose from classic hammam scrubs, stress-melting massages and youth-giving facials. Fresh fruits, nuts and herbal teas are on offer in between or after treatments.
Bring your retro swimwear for poolside lounging and flowing cover ups and buttery-soft sandals for leisurely breakfasting in style.
Wheelchair users may be able to navigate the hotel’s common areas, but there are no dedicated accessible rooms.
The hotel only accepts babies under 24 months and children over 12 years.
Ingredients used in the restaurant are sourced from farmers or the hotel’s gardens (which are watered with grey water and plumped with compost). All outdoor lights are powered by solar panels and there’s a staff shuttle to minimise the carbon footprint of commutes. (There’s also a bee-keeping project underway.)
In Le Jardin d’Hiver, snag a table on the terrace for a side of garden views; in winter months, make a beeline for a table by the fireplace. We like the tables with veg-garden views at Le Verger du Poète.
Smart casual in Le Jardin d’Hiver (no shorts), but you can keep it poetically breezy at Le Verger du Poète.
Gourmet restaurant Le Jardin d’Hiver is decadently cosy, with a beautiful fireplace, a generous helping of artwork, tassels lights and plump seating. Helmed by Chef Alexandre Thomas, under the watchful eye of chef Xavier Mathieu, it had an international menu flavoured by Mediterranean influences. Start with citrusy crab cannelloni, debate between bouillabaisse and salt-crusted sea bass and save room for desserts of grapefruit pavlova or ice cream-topped chocolate fondant.Le Jardin d’Hiver is also open for daily breakfeasts, er, breakfasts, of homemade breads, Moroccan pancakes, fruit salad, yoghurt and honey, eggs-many-ways, freshly squeezed juices and Traditional Moroccan mint tea, rich coffees and perfectly sweet hot chocolates. Le Verger du Poète dishes out leisurely lunches of prettily plated seasonal produce – all plucked from the hotel grounds and local farms – under greenery-strewn pergolas.
Dive into a drink surrounded by the deep colours and rich velvets of the lounge bar – it’s to your right as you walk through the main doors. And for mood lighting? A chandelier, naturally. Rather remain permanently poolside? You can also order drinks from the pergola-shaded bar. How refreshing.
Le Jardin d’Hiver is open for breakfast (7am to 10.30am) and dinner (7.30pm to 11pm); Le Verger du Poète serves from noon to 3pm.
The hotel is located in Marrakech’s Palmeraie, about 15 minutes by car from the medina.
Marrakech Menara airport is 35 minutes away by car; transfers by private limo or van can be arranged from MA$700 each way.
Trains from Casablanca, Fez, Tangier and Rabat pull into ONCF Marrakech station, 15 minutes by car from the hotel. Transfers by private limo or van can be arranged from MA$350 each way.
From airport or train station, follow the way to the Palmgrove, then follow the Palais Ronsard signs; there’s free valet parking at the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
Have a long leisurely lunch at Le Verger du Poète after soaking up the sun, catlike, on the poolside loungers. Escape to the shade in the afternoon with a serene stroll around the hotel’s gardens.
And when it’s time to explore further, the Palmeraie is pleasantly separate – but tantalisingly close – to the hustle and bustle of the medina, so it’s effortlessly easy to dive into relaxation at Palais Ronsard, then hop over to explore the medina when the mood strikes. Fancy a spot of shopping? Chabi Chic is stocked with modern ceramics, geometric jewellery and sweetly scented candles – jasmine, orange blossom and orange cedar. Popham Design Showroom & Workshop, open by appointment only, is the place to go if you’re in the market for beautiful Moroccan tiles. Palais Ronsard-inspired home-improvement project, anyone?
Culture buffs can take a photographic tour through Moroccan history at Maison de la Photographie, home to a hefty collection of documents and pictures – including a rare set of 800 glass plates on the High Atlas – that span from 1870 to 1960.
It can draw quite the crowd (and rightfully so), so be among the first early risers to arrive at Le Jardin Majorelle & Yves Saint Laurent museum and book a combi ticket - if you head into the museum first, you’ll be able to skip the queue into the gardens.
You’ll be well taken care of in the breakfast department at Palais Ronsard, but if you feel like mixing up your morning meal, make your way to the medina’s Café des Épices (75 Derb Rahba Lakdima) for Moroccan crepes, omelettes, spiced coffees and herbal teas. Its baked goodies – pistachio brownies, almond tarts and traditional pastries – makes it a good bet for a mid-morning or afternoon tea break too. Book a table in advance for lunch at La Famille (34 Derb Jdid), where you can escape the midday heat with a pumpkin-and-date-topped pizzeta or quinoa bowl in the shaded courtyard. For modern mezze and a fresh spin on classic Morrocan fare, head to dinner at Nomad (1 Derb Aarjane). Have a sweet tooth? You’ll be set with a slice of cardamom-and-ginger-spiced orange cake and locally made sorbets and ice creams (try a scoop of the olive oil and orange zest or the sweet pumpkin and saffron). Nomad’s sister restaurant Le Jardin(32 Souk Jeld Sidi Abdelaziz) also serves up salads, brochettes and honey-drizzled fig tarts. Celebrating something? You’ll want a table on the greenery-dotted rooftop at Le Foundouk (Rue Souk el Fassi) so you can gaze over the city’s rooftops as the stars start to twinkle. Nibble on fluffy brioche with goat cheese and zaatar, then share a plate of Moroccan pastilla with chicken and almonds or tuck into a classic tagine. For dessert? Crème brûlée with saffron or a plate of Moroccan pastries for two.
Moody Kechmara (3 Rue de la Liberté) shakes up classic cocktails in its low-lit bar; listen up for the record of the week as you admire the artwork (of both the on-the-wall and in-your-glass varieties).
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 boutique hotel in Morocco and unpacked their hand-painted tiles and loose leaf mint tea, a full account of their North African break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Palais Ronsard in Marrakech…
If you find yourself humming ‘I know I’m gonna like it here’ as your car trundles down the drive through the manicured gardens to Palais Ronsard’s glamorous double-doored entrance, you’ll be in good company. You’ll be greeted at a discreet reception desk of the grand entrance hall and led to your sprawling suite – either in the main art-deco building or a standalone pavilion. You can’t go wrong with either choice, as long as you’re in favour of the ornate; all are impeccably decorated in an elaborate blend of Morroccan and Italian style. You may be tempted to flumph down immediately into your room’s invitingly cloudlike bed, but we recommend checking out the palm-framed pool, the spa’s classic hammam treatments and the two gourmet restaurants. You’ll won’t want to miss a thing.
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