Hotel operator: The Leading Hotels of the World
Architectural and interior design: Patrick Jouin e Sanjit Manku
Lighting design: Voyons voir
General contractor: CMS
Furnishings: Cassina (custom made), Ethimo (outdoor)
Chandeliers: Lasvit, Véronèse (custom made)
Lightings: Brossier Saderne (custom made)
Craftsmen: Pietro Seminelli, Cédric Peltier, Marie Hélène Soyer (Emaux Métaux), Pierre Frey
Photo credits: Alan Keohane
Known as the Grande Dame, La Mamounia is a legendary hotel hidden in a secret world of courtyards adorned by columns and Moorish friezes, age-old olive trees, rose gardens, orange groves and a thousand other types of plants. The structure stands amidst 8 hectares of gardens, which were the wedding present of the king to his son, Prince Al Mamoun, in the 18th century. In 1923 the oasis was transformed into La Mamounia, a hotel that blended Arabian and Andalusian architecture with Art Deco influences.
The latest major renovation has been assigned to a duo of architect-designers, Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, who have made a major contribution in terms of contemporary style, backed by the widespread, striking use of design pieces that bring greater dynamism to the settings in the hotel. The existing charm has been conserved intact, however, that “reassuring sensation of time standing still” that has made this 5-star facility a true legend over the last 97 years.
The project has introduced new convivial spaces and other prestigious services, especially in the area of fine dining. For example, next to Galerie Mamounia, the Salon de thé run by Pierre Hermé has been developed around the principles of its Moroccan counterparts, with sofas arranged to face each other along the walls, oriented towards a central fountain.
The water seems to burst from the marble floor, and reflects an enormous glass chandelier, a captivating “objet extraordinaire” that is also clearly visible from the hall, seducing the gaze.
The experience continues in the adjacent courtyard, where architectural eloquence is enhanced by a riot of decorative patterns: the Moroccan riad in all its splendor. A peaceful, perfect place in its geometric design, to which seating and lanterns have been added to encourage guests to linger, enjoying the creations of Pierre Hermé.
Nearby, the former Le Français restaurant becomes L’Italien, again run by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, but expanded to take on the form of a winter garden with large windows offering views of the vegetation. The kitchen is open to view, placed at the center of the space below an enormous glass installation. A green frieze that runs for over 20 meters along the back wall seems to reflect the garden, bringing a dreamy atmosphere, a magical effect.
Completely redesigned, the existing Churchill Bar is like an intimate “sanctuary of smoked oak” that functions as an entrance for a new feature: the cinema.
The stylistic encounters run parallel to gastronomic variety at the Asiatique of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, taking the place of what was once an Italian restaurant. Here the traditional Moroccan furnishings blend with the spirit of the menu, taking on Chinese, Japanese and Thai influences.
A true must of the hotel is represented by the two swimming pools. The outdoor pool, immersed in the garden, and the indoor unit inserted in Moorish architecture with vaults, columns and multicolored mosaics.