It’s hard to believe that Morocco is just over four hours flight time from the UK because it feels like another world. It's a hot spot (literally, with the mercury rising to a toasty 29°C in July) for newlyweds thanks to its mix of culture, food and sun.
Famed for wild deserts, delicately perfumed teas and the spectacular panorama of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is the best place to soak up the magic of the country. The city is full of beautifully tiled riads and palatial hotels, but our top pick is the Mandarin Oriental.
Set in 20 hectares of heavenly-scented rose gardens and olive groves, this is the chain’s first resort in Africa. It's made a great first impression, with 54 private villas, nine suites, three restaurants and an opulent spa.
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
Start with the breakfast buffet at Le Salon Berbère, which also serves Afternoon Tea and transforms into a champagne bar after dark.
Mes’Lalla is made for romantic dinners, serving an array of traditional Moroccan dishes with a modern twist - avoid food FOMO by opting for the tasting menu.
The Mandarin Oriental will soon open the doors to a third option- Ling Ling, a restaurant from the folks behind Hakkasan that reimagines traditional Japanese izakaya pubs in a modern Moroccan setting. Expect cocktails, sharing plates and high-energy tunes all night long.
Suites are full of light with views overlooking the mountains, pool or private courtyards. But what you’re really coming for are the signature villas.
Choose between the Mandarin or Oriental Pool Villas. All are arranged beside private pools and boast modern interiors with a walled courtyard that gets guests closer to nature.
The spa, at over 19,000sq ft, is a vision of tranquility with soaring cathedral-esque interiors, a jewel-toned pool and male and female hammams.
The six spa suites have private gardens, changing rooms and showers. There’s also a decent selection of men’s treatments on offer, allowing him to indulge with you.
The Fast Track service illustrates how the Mandarin Oriental goes the extra mile for its guests before you've even set foot on the resort. A member of staff will greet you at the door of the plane before whisking you off to a private lounge where you can enjoy tea and biscuits while filling out immigration forms.
Next, you’ll be taken to the top of the passport control queue and directly onto baggage collection before being fast tracked through customs and into a chauffeured car, stocked with ice-cold water, soft drinks, cold flannels and mints.
All this before you even arrive at reception! Now that’s what we call a welcome committee.
WHERE: Marrakech, Morocco
FLIGHT TIME FROM UK: 3h 45min
CURRENCY: Moroccan Dirhams (MAD)