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    LA MAMOUNIA – MARRAKECH

    Carolina Verde

    The name of La Mamounia can be traced back to the eighteenth century. Its story starts with the King Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah who was customary to offer his sons, as a wedding gift, a house and a garden located outside the Kasbah. This is how Abdessalam, Mamoun, Moussa, and Hassan were to become the place names of the gardens that the king would offer them. These gardens “Arsats” are still known today, but only the arsat al-Mamoun was destined to become famous and inspire the name of La Mamounia. It is said that the prince used to hold extraordinary garden parties (named “nzaha” in Arabic) in the park for entertainment, which is now a popular amusement in many Moroccan cities. The magnificent remaining garden of such royal registrar combined with its 8 acres of ground and marvellous flora has the effect of leaving guests utterly delighted with all that they see. From the beginning, La Mamounia proved itself to be a true monument combining the traditional Moroccan architecture with the Art Deco style. From the beginning of its story, La Mamounia has never been large enough to satisfy all the guests who wanted to be accommodated. Until the end of thirties, the hotel had only fifty rooms. But it was expanded in 1946 to include 100 rooms, then refurbished successively in 1950, 1953, 1986 and finally in 2006 for a reopening with 210 keys on September 29th 2009.Throughout the years, visitors from the four corners of the globe come to La Mamounia. Many famous people have visited La Mamounia. Winston Churchill stayed through many winters. He liked to wander along the balcony, following the sun on its daily route in order to render the colour of his painting as realistic as possible. Several of his paintings of La Mamounia’s gardens hang in the Churchill museum in England. La Mamounia also received several celebrities of Hollywood, just after the reopening in 2009. We quote from it Said Taghmaoui, Salma Hayek, Orlando Bloom, Eva Mendes, Miranda Kerr, Jennifer Aniston, Gwineth Paltrow and Juliette Binoche  With the film stars came the fashion world, and designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Balmain who bought nearby homes and frequently continued to use the hotel. In 1968, with the explosion of rock groups, Marrakech welcomed the Rolling stones, while the group Crosby, stills, Nash & Young wrote the hit song “Marrakech Express”. Other stars from the world of music have included Jacques Brel who said: “La Mamounia remains the civilized dream that one wishes to meet more often…”; Dalida, Barbara Hendrix, Andrea Boccelli, Julio Iglesias, Julien Clerc, Johnny Halliday and Elton John.

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