La Mamounia, the Grand Dame of Marrakech returns in all its living glory

After six months of renovations, the Moroccan excellence has reopened. General manager Pierre Jochem tells us what's new. Starting from the two restaurants signed by Jean-Georges

24-03-2021

Six months. This is the length of the renovations signed by architects and designers Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, who renovated the majestic La Mamounia in Marrakech. The Grand Dame reopened on the 16th of October 2020, «as splendid as ever», with renewed and more dynamic spaces, with a contemporary touch, new rooms and prestigious partnerships.

Among the novelties, the two restaurants signed by French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, at the helm of restaurants all around the world, in Miami, Las Vegas, London, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo. Part of The Leading Hotels of the Worlds, the new Mamounia welcomes guests in an even more elegant atmosphere and offers even more exclusive experiences and services, while the charm and the artistic heritage of the hotel remain the same. The hotel has charmed figures like RooseveltChurchillAristoteles Onassis and Yves Saint Laurent. Therefore, a new challenge begins for what has been for almost a century (it opened back in 1923) an icon of traditional Moroccan hospitality, and one of the unquestionable emblems of global luxury hospitality. We've discussed this with general manager Pierre Jochem.

Pierre Hermè and Pierre Jochem (photo Alan Kehoane)

Pierre Hermè and Pierre Jochem (photo Alan Kehoane)

The swimming pool of Mamounia

The swimming pool of Mamounia

By reopening in a very difficult moment, last October, you gave a strong signal.
The crisis was for us an opportunity. We could focus on the restyling of the hotel during the closure that we had already planned, and which coincided with the pandemic. Having said this, the emergency has hit every sector, and in particular hospitality and travel, but we decided to continue with our plans and restyling projects. At this historical moment, we're all dans le même bateau, in the same boat, and we must show ourselves helpful and proactive, in the hope that the market will recover soon. Speaking of which, to welcome guests safely, we took every measure, on top of preserving social distances and wearing masks, of course, everyday-gestures these days. Every single employee was trained for a few months on how to systematically adopt these actions both among staff members and with clients. They have even learnt how to show they're smiling behind the mask!

What makes La Mamounia special?
On top of the timeless luxury, for sure its important history, the charm of its spaces, the artistic and architectural heritage. It's basically a “destination within the destination”, one of the most exclusive places in the world where to stay. And then there's the unique quality of the service and the attention to detail.

How did you transform the indoor spaces?
The renovations preserved the timeless charm of the place, preserving its priceless artistic heritage and the typical architecture, which have made La Mamounia famous for 97 years now. Jouin and Manku have made a significant and detailed plan and renovation. Some areas were improved, made more functional with reference to new needs. The changes have given new vigour and life to historic parts of the hotel, while preserving its original personality. La Mamounia will also have a multi-functional cinema, seating 21 people, where guests will be able to have fun and relax watching films, or host a business meeting or create small launch events.

Restaurant Asiatique

Restaurant Asiatique

L'Italien par Jean Georges

L'Italien par Jean Georges

What are the news in terms of food?
To widen the food & beverage offer, we've created new rooms: next to Galerie Mamounia, there's now the Salon de thé by Pierre Hermé, a new space for breakfast, afternoon tea and gourmet snacks, all designed by Pierre Hermé, the world renown French pastry chef. Pierre Hermé also directs Bar Italien, which has always been a very popular place and will offer a new take on French cuisine.

How about the partnership with Jean-Georges Vongerichten?
Vongerichten will direct the new L'Asiatique. The menu will include the best dishes from southern Asia, and L'Italien, which will be transformed into a trattoria offering, among other things, the best pizzas in Marrakech. Even the lounge rooms and the spaces for parties were renewed: the Churchill Bar, for instance, will become an intimate place seating some 20 people, where guests will be able to taste the caviar maison, created for La Mamounia by Kaviari, one of the most ancient caviar producers in Paris.

There's more.
The rooftop of the prestigious Le Morocain will be transformed into a lounge with a resident DJ. Plus, outside, Le Pavillon de la Piscine has been completely renewed and enriched with elegant gastronomic stands and a sweet corner by Pierre Hermé, to offer guests a unique experience. The new Bar de la Piscine instead will offer exceptional cocktails. Finally, in front of the terrace of L'Italien and in the basement, we'll introduce a unique and innovative concept: Oenothèque will have a table seating 12 people surrounded by over 2 thousand exceptional bottles of wine. An intimate experience.

Pavillon Piscine

Pavillon Piscine

The Ville des-Sens spa 

The Ville des-Sens spa 

Will you be open year-round?
Yes, nothing will change. We will continue to be open year-round and we will be happy to go back to hosting prestigious events, from music to fashion and cinema, where every year key figures in the world of art, culture, artists and actors meet.

Do you feel responsible in this delicate time?
La Mamounia has always acted like a locomotive, for Marrakech and all of Morocco. We're proud to have reopened. This way, we have re-started an ecosystem of collaborators, managers, architects, suppliers, artists, professionals who give their life and soul to this place, every day. Not to mention its strategic position. La Mamounia allows guests not only to reach the Medina, thus giving new oxygen to small businesses, but also new touristic areas, from galleries to museums. Having said this, we're sure nothing will change because we will continue to offer the highest standards of service and hospitality, just like we have in the past 97 years.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso 


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