Soul Escape: La Mamounia, Marrakech
Since 1925, La Mamounia is a jet set hot spot. The legendary luxury oasis within whose twelfth-century ramparts lies a large park, clay tennis courts, enormous swimming pool, vegetable gardens, and even a quirky freestanding ice cream parlor for hotel guests.
La Mamounia is named for its 200-year-old gardens, which were given as an 18th century wedding gift to Prince Moulay Mamoun by his father.
British director Alfred Hitchcock loved the place so much that he decided to shot there The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1956.
Winston Churchill loved it here, he called it, “the most lovely spot in the whole world.” He spent many winters at La Mamounia painting the Atlas Mountains and surrounding countryside. Churchill and Roosevelt came to La Mamounia when they met for the Casablanca Conference in 1943, and were said to have grappled with their responsibilities from the roof of the hotel while gazing out at the snow-covered mountains and terra cotta walls of the old city. A plaque in front of a fifth-floor suite bears his name.
La Mamounia was also the place Yves Saint Laurent first set down his bags when he arrived in town as a visitor in 1966. After a three-years makeover, the legendary hotel celebrates its reopening in 2009.
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