A throwback to the discovery of the breath-taking palatial hotel.
The rumours of the long-awaited Sex and the City reboot is finally confirmed, I couldn’t help but reminisce about a beautiful hotel that reminds me of the successful show.
A very long time ago (2013), a dear friend and I had been in search of a short weekend break to a location we had never been before, so when we stumbled upon Taj Palace Hotel, Marrakech (now renamed Sahara Palace Hotel via Secret Escapes, the package deal was unbelievably too good to ignore.
We arrived at the hotel at night but the entry to the hotel was still visible and breath taking as depicted in the movie. Driving 25 miles an hour from the gate, it took a whopping 1 minute 37 seconds to get to the main entrance of the hotel as the reflective white domes (not shiny gold as shown in the movie) erected on top of the hotel draws nearer. We felt like the character Carrie Bradshaw driving up to the entrance, except Carrie and co arrived each in a white Maybach courtesy of the Sheik and we were in an airport transfer van, albeit a nice one haha.
From the moment we stepped out of the car, the staff welcomed us with so much hospitality and we were treated like princesses. We were led through the foyer, to a waiting area the size of a football field whilst our reservation and room were being confirmed, in the meantime served with hot tea, cool refreshing towels and fresh mocktails.
Every inch of the hotel which felt more like a palace, oozing opulent luxury infused with traditional Indian & Moroccan decor. Tall high ceilings dripping with exquisite chandeliers, heavily beaded lamps, long wide corridors, thick rugs, wall paintings that tell a story, a jaw dropping guest waiting area that could comfortably seat 200+ people and immaculately kept grounds and gardens.
We stayed at the Riad room which was extremely spacious, beautifully decorated and had a big private terrace with comfortable seats that overlooked the main entrance to the palace hotel. It almost makes you feel like you own the palace and you can see your guests as they arrive. The hotel has a spectacular view of the pool, the hammam spa amenities is one to try for their glorious treatments and the food options were varied and tasted lovely.
The hotel was gracious enough to allocate us with a driver and a car when we wanted to visit the Medina (market haven) to browse and get some shopping down in the local markets. On the way to the Medina, we came across camel trekking tour group, in which the driver stopped the car for us so we could get out and film this fabulous experience. We visited the Medina and had a hotel chaperone that took us directly to the factory that produced and sold pure 100% cold press Argan oil made on the spot by the local women and access to many other oils, herbs and natural products. A fantastic opportunity to purchase in large quantities for the fraction of the price in the UK.
We had sole access to so many parts of the hotel and even got a private tour of the Royal suite where the Sex and the City 2 ladies stayed and also filmed the most iconic scenes in the movie! The staff were very friendly, attentive and nothing was too much for them to do for the guests, they went out of their way to make us feel comfortable, happy and relaxed.
To say it was an unbelievably amazing experience with staff being extremely attentive, welcoming and being treated like princesses would be an understatement! It was a priceless moment staying in a beautiful palace literally fit for a King and/or Queen.
If you are looking to for a peaceful, luxurious place to stay for a bit of adulting, relaxation and self-care, Sahara Palace, Marrakesh is an amazing option. If you want to party and love the night life, there are many lovely restaurants like Maison K and L’Annexe to try out or it’ll be best to stay closer to the city centre, you can always take a taxi to the nearest local bar/restaurant. Going into town for shopping, excursions and night life and the comfort of coming back to a palatial hotel with your needs catered to, will always be my option!
The newly improved Sahara Palace hotel is definitely on my radar of one of the places to revisit once lockdown eases.
The following year (2014) the hotel was under new management when we decided to revisit and took our partners along for birthday celebrations. Unfortunately, the great customer service experience we thoroughly enjoyed during our first visit was totally lacking during the second stay. We found out the next day that the hotel was in the middle of its new management reign so they were still trying to find their feet. Since then, the initial company that took over in 2014 has now sold to the Park Hotels Collection who took over in 2015. I hear the level of service has very much improved under the new management. I will definitely be willing to give the hotel a second chance and will be providing an updated blog after my next visit once things return to normal post COVID-19.
SAHARA PALACE LUXURY HOTEL (FORMERLY KNOWN AS TAJ PLACE), MARRAKECH MOROCCO