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Amanjena, Marrakech: a peaceful paradise at the edge of the Atlas mountains

Amanjena (Aman)
Amanjena (Aman)

Perched serenely just outside of the dusty chaos of Marrakech, Amanjena is an orange blossom-scented mirage.

The colours become calmer, the birds chirp louder and the pace is pleasingly glacial. Dip in and out of the souks and snake charmers of the city as you please, knowing an oasis awaits. That’s not to say you can’t party — if you have the cash. The night before we arrived the resort had been bought-out for a money-is-no-object wedding. The entertainment? Well, that was provided by 50 Cent. David Beckham also famously hired it out for his 40th birthday.

Amanjena is an oasis on the outskirts of Marrakech (Aman)
Amanjena is an oasis on the outskirts of Marrakech (Aman)

Where? 

Twenty minutes from both the airport and the medina. Taxis will cost 200 dirham (about £15) each way. Amanjena is in well-heeled company with the Mandarin Oriental across the road. Anyone who’s been to Marrakech before will tell you how important it is to be able to retreat from the frenetic, polluted city. On clear days the snow-capped Atlas Mountains soar in the background.

Style 

Designed by the Aman group’s beloved architect Ed Tuttle (who also conjured up the vision for another of its grand dames, Amanbagh in Rajasthan), Amanjena is a Moorish pink palace. With marble columns, countless smooth reflection pools and washed clay walls, the scent of orange blossom and jasmine fills the air. It is perhaps the best-smelling hotel I’ve ever stayed in.

You could hear a pin drop at the main pool which is at the centre of the ‘action’, sandwiched serenely between the spa, gym and the Japanese restaurant (also the scene of breakfast, which is excellent).

Set in 13 acres, amenities are close and yet somehow you often feel like the only guest in the hotel — or the queen of your very own palace.

The view as you arrive at Aman (Aman)
The view as you arrive at Aman (Aman)

Which room?

Rooms? Pah! Aman call them Pavilions and once you’ve stayed at an Aman you’re pretty much ruined for life. Book a Pavilions Piscine for an extra-large terrace, majestic gazebo, sun loungers (with handy sun hats) and a private pool. Ours looked over the adjoining lush Amelkis golf club with views of the Atlas Mountains.

Mini palaces, the bedroom roof is dramatically domed with dark wood, Berber rugs, the most exquisite chaise lounge and at the centre: a heavenly king-sized bed. The his and her’s bathrooms are expansive, dusky pink and peaceful, complete with leather Berber slippers and traditional hooded kaftans. There is an open fire which staff will light on colder evenings.

We spent a lot of time reading and snoozing on our private terrace and didn’t hear a peep — except for the sound of the bell as room service delivered another glass of chilled rosé.

Inside one of the resort’s Pavilions (Aman)
Inside one of the resort’s Pavilions (Aman)

Food & drink

The a la carte breakfast served by the pool is exceptional. Pick a freshly squeezed juice, smoothie or an immune-boosting shot for an early morning health kick before tucking into plates of anything from chilled orange blossom yoghurt with dates to traditional Moroccan pancakes (msemen) served with honey and argan oil, as well as the usual Western suspects. There is an extra charge to have food served to your room.

Dinner can be at the Japanese restaurant, Nama, which serves izakaya-style sharing plates or the more popular main restaurant (on our visit at least) which is an interesting hybrid of Moroccan and Italian. Cloudlike candlelit booths are hidden under scalloped arches facing the olive trees in the centre and the gentle local musicians who strum away discreetly. A romantic spot, more than one table was scattered with hundreds of pounds worth of red rose petals when we were there.

Don’t skip a pre-dinner drink in the cosy bar where they light a fire on colder nights or at one of the tables by the beautiful reflection pool with just the singing cicadas for company. Non-drinkers should know they do excellent mocktails.

The Moroccan / Italian restaurant (Aman)
The Moroccan / Italian restaurant (Aman)

Extracurricular 

Aman does very good spas. The space at Amanjena is small but perfectly formed with expert therapists and a hamman. The more active could make use of the resort’s free bikes, play golf at the neighbouring 27-hole or take on a game of clay court tennis. The resort also has a range of activities to book, from dining excursions to the Afagay desert to hot air balloon rides — always a magical experience.

Marrakech is 20 minutes away with its shopping, dining (I always make a beeline to El Fenn for lunch on its sun-soaked rooftop) and people-watching.

A word about the service, which is faultless. Attentive but not cloying, you feel alone in the resort and yet when you need someone they appear before the thought even forms. My sister, who I was travelling with, broke a button on a dress and within minutes a helpful member of staff arrived at our Pavilion to sew it back on. And there is a free laundry service which I wish more hotels would offer. There is nothing quite like getting back home to London with a case full of freshly laundered clothes.

A marble bathroom at Amanjena (Aman)
A marble bathroom at Amanjena (Aman)

Best for…

Couples — whether lovers or friends. This is a supremely quiet, restful resort perfect for a spring or autumn blast of sunshine.

Details 

cazenove+loyd, curators of luxury travel, can create the perfect tailor-made trip to suit your needs. A seven night stay in Morocco, including four nights at Amanjena, return transfers and city tours costs from £5,000 (excluding international flights).

For inspiration or to request a bespoke set-jetting itinerary to be curated by one of cazenove+loyd’s Destination Experts visit cazloyd.com or call 020 7384 2332