A 20-acre Marrakech plot was being developed by an important business tycoon, Omar Kabbaj, whose roles have included chairing the African Development Bank. The story goes, the gal says, that he heard his friend Eduard Ettedgui had walked away from what Mandarin Oriental was doing in Marrakech so Kabbaj switched allegiance, and gave his development to Mandarin Oriental. The result is what could be described as the world’s most gorgeous rose garden that happens to come with 63 super-luxury villas, smallest size 3,000 sq ft. The impact of networking continues. It is Eduard Ettedgui’s sister-in-law who oversees the roses. Driving through the estate you come first to one whole bed of one type of rose, then to another, and another.
But the wonders do not cease with the gardens. Spa reception feels like a private house, perhaps in New England: wall art in public places features highly-enlarged black and white portraits of traditional national dress. Mandarin Oriental Marrakech is run by Jean-Philippe Moser, who was studying law when his father suggested he got a vacation job – he was hired by Disney, walked around in a bear’s uniform and from that moment on, he says, he truly understands what gives kids pleasure. Interestingly, as a result the kids club here is non-digital, and includes lessons in carpentry, pottery and weaving. They love it so much that their parents want to come along too.
And now kids of all ages, parents included, are having a great time with the hotel’s interactive Le Petit Chef dining experience (see the video below). You get a passport-sized book from the Kingdom of Petit Chef. It lists the dishes during what is a 3-D experience. Thanks to a ceiling-hung projector, Le Petit Chef cartoon character appears to walk across the tablecloth, turning the pages of a big book on your place setting. Interspersed with activities by Le Petit Chef are dishes from Marco Polo’s itinerary. From India, prawn masala; from the Himalayas, lychee, pineapple, ginger and lemongrass sorbet; from China, beef fillet wok and Cognac; to finish, saffron, cardamon and pistachio rice pudding. TAKE A TOUR OF ROSES, AND SEE LE PETIT PRINCE