We had booked rooms at Amanjena for mid-June, already the low season, just a a month or two before the scorching heat that sometimes tops 50C in August. As such, resorts in Marrakech were less full than at peak periods of the year, and we managed to get a wonderful deal at this most luxurious of hotels. For the price of a less fancy room, we were upgraded to a humongous pool suite, enjoyed all of our meals as part of the package and had airport transfers and other goodies for free. Even at Aman, you can get a good deal (nearly 50% off what you would pay for the same experience at other times of the year) if you’re lucky. It was by no means cheap, but we got the royal treatment for less. :) Many had warned us of the extremely hot temperatures in Morocco at this time of year, but again we were very fortunate, and our first three days in Marrakech couldn’t have been any better — 60’sF when we got up in the morning, heating up to the low 80’s during the mid-afternoon. Clear blue skies, relatively low humidity, nice breezes. Perfect weather.
The suites/pavillions at Amanjena are all similar except for the largest suites with multiple bedrooms. What differentiates many of the suites are their location, and size of their gardens, pavillions and private pools. Our Pavilion Piscine, one of 8 in the hotel, featured its own 25 square meter (heated if necessary) pool, four chaise longues for sunbathing, spacious gardens/planted areas, several citrus trees, clipped bougainvilla vines, etc.
Beyond the seven foot perimeter wall was an extensive olive grove.
Chaise longues were always supplied with lots of towels, and three straw hats were placed for us outdoors in case we needed to shield the rays of the sun.
An outdoor gazebo had extensive lounging areas and wide cushions where you could read a book, take a nap, or just daydream… A table and chairs were the perfect setting for room service breakfasts or a meal any other time of the day.
Our own small zellij fountain recessed into the floors with terra cotta tiles was just outside the siding glass doors. You could turn off the fountain with a switch in case you didn’t appreciate the constant gurgle of water.
The room itself was under a fairly massive dome, plastered and colored a salmon rose.
There is an upholstered chaise longue, a table with some chairs, a desk, fireplace, mini-bar and an utterly confusing satellite tv set with hundreds of channels, but impossible to operate. That’s okay since we rarely watch television anyway (the Teen figured it out for her purposes, however).
The bathroom was ENORMOUS. Two dressing areas at opposite ends with extensive hanger space, drawers, and a ledge for all of one’s suitcases. A shower area that could fit 6 at the same time, if you were so inclined, with a nearly floor to ceiling glass window looking out on a medium sized orange tree which happened to be groaning with orange fruit, just weeks from maturity. There is just something so wonderful about bathing in natural light, and at night, outdoor lighting made the view even more appealing…
One of two sinks and giant mirrors which were all over the bathrooms, the better to catch sneak peaks of your growing fat deposits in usually “hidden” parts of your body. :(
The bathtub was fitted with extra large water pipes, so it filled up at 4x the speed of a nomal hotel bathtub. It looked out on more orange trees, as did the toilet area with its own window.
In the evening, the room transforms itself into a spectacular space, with lighting and color playing a large role in the transformation from daytime to night time. But more than the physical size of the suite, what really sets this hotel apart from other ho-hum properties is their wonderful attention to details.
First, not a mini-vase with one or three roses, instead, at the desk area, a large wooden vase filled with some 4 dozen or more roses, in the nearly identical salmon/pink hue of the room’s walls. They were incredibly fresh and wonderfully fragrant. In the evening, they were lit from above and provided a gentle perfume to the entire room.
Bedside lamps were decorative in nature, and cast a glow from their hundreds of little holes punched into metal of some sort. I would normally be put off by such a poor source of bedside reading light, but another switch revealed halogen lighting from above, perfect to read the fine print on the paperback novels we had brought along for the trip…
On arrival, a huge silver-plated tray had several containers of munchies, some fresh pistachios, unsalted almonds, luscious dates and sugared and sesame seed coated nuts. A bottle of a highly recommended local wine and some glasses were most appreciated. A hand written note from management welcomed us back to Amanresorts…
The mini-bar featured a Nespresso machine and various flavors of coffee, some scotch, gin and other drinks in the fridge. A lemon (how thoughtful), a zester, tabasco and other makings of cocktails… I don’t know how they did it, but there was ALWAYS a bucketful of ice in the room during our stay, and we never saw them add the ice…
Instead of a mixed fruit basket, several fragrant oranges from local farms were placed on an elevated plated, covered with a cloth presumably to ward off bugs during the day when one’s doors were wide open to the garden and pool area.
The fireplace, which we didn’t use as it wasn’t cold enough to justify lighting it, was set with what looked like large chunks of olive wood. And long matches were placed at the ready, as were a wax/solid fuel starter to get the fire going without much kindling.
All of us were given suede babouches, in the right sizes, so we could pad around the room and outdoors and keep our feet warm. You could take them home at the end of the stay if you desired. Wonderful native carpets were all over the bathroom and bedroom.
In the dressing area, each guest was provided with a local basket with leather handles, a comfortable robe and an umbrella.
Beside each sink were burl wood containers for tissues and cotton buds, as well as a wonderful selection of soaps, lotions and other bathroom necessities.
Mundane hotel safes were hidden behind mirrored sliding glass panels in the dressing area.
Besides the suede babouches, we were each provided with size appropriate dark green flip-flops from havanianas with a little “A” logo as if you really needed double-branded tsinelas. :)
No dainty little sachets which are next to impossible to open with wet fingers in the shower or bath, but large containers for shampoo, conditioner and bath salts beside the bath and in the shower. Perfect for the vision impaired and so big you would be shameless to take them home in your luggage. :)
The outdoor fountain had several roses floating in it, but ours seemed to have a leak, as it emptied out after a day and required constant refilling.
Near the pool were several citrus trees with what definitely looked like large calamondin (kalamansi) or close relative on steroids. The certainly smelled like kalamansi when I scratched the skin, but I couldn’t be sure. If you sat on the chaise longue at this part of the garden, you would get occasional wafts of citrus flower which are really nice and fresh smelling.
I got up early on our second day at the resort, and sat in 60F weather in the outdoor gazebo and took this photo of the drapes that you can pull shut on the gazebo in case it gets too bright or hot during the day. It was one of those moments where one has the time and leisure to reflect about anything at all, and I was grateful for the chance to experience this wonderful hotel, and interesting country…
Even the iridescent tiles in the pool were worthy of a photo, they were like scales of a fish and looked different from every angle.
A little later that morning, groggy with jetlag but forced up so we could make our scheduled trip to the Atlas mountains, the Teen sat at breakfast in a pleasant fog, rubbed her eyes, and happily confirmed that this wasn’t all just a dream, right? :)
As if this wasn’t enough attention to detail, just before our departure, the hotel provided a wonderful bottle of argan oil in a wooden box as a parting gift. They also had beautiful personalized leather luggage tags attached to our suitcases on the morning of our departure. Now that’s pretty impressive, if you ask me.