Marrakech Part Five >>> Peaceful Paradise at Amanjena >>> A Fortress of Solitude
Amanjena simply means peaceful paradise. An oasis of palms, olive trees, and Moorish architecture, the property is just outside the ancient Moroccan city of Marrakech on the southern road to Ouarzazate, the gateway to the Sahara Desert, as it was pointed out by our driver. Marrakech Menara Airport is just 20 minutes away, which makes Amanjena the ideal weekend getaway.
The Atlas Mountains claim the Marrakech horizon and for miles all you can see are palms and the occasional other hotel or golfing complex. I arrived at Amanjena for one last night in Marrakech following stays at El Fenn, La Sultana, Palais Namaskar and the Four Seasons. Amanjena was to be the cherry on top of an already magical week away. As we swept through the two sets of security gates to the entrance we were invited to experience Amanjena’s Moroccan afternoon tea whilst we were checked in for our stay.
The most tranquil retreat, Amanjena reflects the region’s Moorish heritage in every graceful arch, stone courtyard and rose petal-strewn fountain, the sundrenched red walls and reflective pools pay homage to North Africa’s stark beauty and its rich history. Amanjena is serenity personified, void of any chaos, you can spend every day at your own pace. Design wise think rose and green hues. Green is a predominant colour in the oasis of Marrakech, representing the colour of Islam, paradise, and royalty. Its lawns and vines, the emerald-clay roofs, Moroccan marble fountains and the glazed tiles you’ll see inside the Souks and hotel pavilions.
After arriving at our first Pavillion, we were swiftly upgraded across the property into the most jaw-droppingly beautiful Pool Pavilion because of an air conditioning blip in our allocated Pavillion. What a dream. Amanjena features 18 rose-toned Pavilions, six Pavilions Bassin, eight Pavilions Piscine, six two-storey Maisons and the two-bedroom Al-Hamra Maison.
The 32 air-conditioned Pavilions lie beneath their own graceful Venetian domes, and the pale peach coloured walls feature a tadlekt finish (polished plaster), a treatment originally reserved for waterproofing hammam walls. Under the dome is a king-size bed and a wood-burning fireplace. A daybed and a desk finished in Moroccan leather, as well as a cherry-wood chair offer all you need considering what you’ll find on your terrace.
Ouarzazate green marble finishes the bathroom with its stepped and columned bathtub, twin vanities, twin dressing areas and separate shower and toilet. Berber carpets are scattered about the zellij -tiled floors, with gifts from the hotel for us guests by way of his and hers Amanjena Havaianas, a Moroccan basket for us girls, and his and hers sun hats laid out for us on the loungers by the pool.
We arrived to a huge bouquet of roses in the exact hue of the colour of the walls….
Sliding glass and cedar doors lead to each Pavilion garden courtyard. We had our own heated pools inside a completely private courtyard. Each courtyard features a large lounging sofa area flanked by black lanterns as well as Zellij fountains recessed into the terracotta-tiled floors. There is also a little outdoor dining area if you want breakfast or dinner in private.
Our Courtyard (yes, I know…) Honeymoon central…
In all the excitement we needed to explore the property. Plus it was lunchtime so it would’ve been rude not to try out the restaurant by the pool. Taking a walk past the hotel two-storey Library. All the books, magazines, newspapers, and DVDs you could have wanted, and in every language.
Down to the pool…
Amanjena’s 33-metre heated outdoor swimming pool is finished in glittering green tiles of écaille de poisson-cut zellij. You can see the shallow pool to the right, and the restaurant in front. Picture perfect. During the day we enjoyed the menu from the Thai restaurant which overlooks the pool on the back wall below.
After an afternoon siesta back in our Pavillion I headed out to watch the sunset and capture the property in the early evening light.
We visited during the low season but there were still a handful of families and couples mingling around to say hello to. We all did the acknowledging head dipping / isn’t this place ridiculous kind of look to each other. What a lucky girl I was I thought, as I took myself off for a glass of wine on the lawn. Admittedly clutching my laptop, in a vein attempt to update the world on my week past.
The walkway from the entrance of the hotel to the centre of the property.
Although we decided to have dinner that evening outside, I still made sure to dip my head into the restaurant. The one above is open just for dinner and specialises in authentic Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine. Soft lighting lends warmth to the generously-proportioned room, which features a beautiful onyx fountain surrounded by olive trees.
Arched moucharabieh wood screens decorate the upper reaches of the onyx pillars it was explained to me, and the honey tinted plâtre ciselé walls are chiseled with Berber designs, similar to our room at La Sultana. Banquettes and tables line the walls. During the summer months, dinner seating is moved outdoors, which was where we sat that evening.
How beautiful to sit here, and listen to this wonderful musician. I felt like I was in paradise…
We enjoyed a beautiful dinner, note the clip on torches for the menu. Brilliant.
Back to our sofas for some mint tea before bed time, a day well spent I think. We still had all day tomorrow, and I was excited to wake early and go for another explore…
Good morning from our Pool Pavillion
Note the 2 sunken nooks in the pool for some pool time reading, heaven…
After a week of trying all the different hotel breakfasts, I was happy to settle for a traditional continental breakfast with some wonderfully strong coffee to start the day off right. Followed by a few laps in the main pool and a cycle around the surrounding golf course (make sure you go out on the hotel bikes, we had a great time), we had a few hours to relax before the Amanjena Cruiser chauffeured us back to Marrakech Menara Airport in just under 20 minutes. Infact I had such a wonderful time I’ve already scheduled another weekend in Marrakech in October.
Also something to note, if you do want to head out to Amanjena for the weekend, be assured that the hotel can arrange a full itinerary for you. They’ll arrange for you to go into the Medina with a guide, they’ll arrange evenings out, adventures into the desert or private dinners on the grounds. Never have I met such a welcoming team, from the moment we arrived, and were given an extended tour of the property to the wonderful conversations we exchanged between the staff during our stay, I would recommend Amanjena to be the perfect weekend retreat.
Amanjena, Route de Ouarzazate, Kilometer 12, Marrakesh, Morocco
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Pictures ℅ LWSY & Hill&Dean PR