Mövenpick Hotel Mansour Eddahbi — Marrakech, Morocco
The Mövenpick Hotel Mansour Eddahbi in Marrakech was once by-passed by tourists. Its 503 rooms and its location next to the Palais des Congres makes it the largest conference hotel in North Africa, but a $100,000m renovation by French practice Studio MHNA is now drawing leisure-seeking visitors. Saudi businessmen in dazzling white dishdashas and Ghanaian ministers in Kenke prints still have power lunches in the hotels many restaurants but now families and tourists lounge in the spa, the outdoor pools and the lush gardens created by American landscape designer Madison Cox.
Assigned the tricky task of combining business and leisure, Studio MHNA set out to create showcase of Moroccan savoir-faire a rather than ‘a touristic perception of Morocco’. ‘It’s a dynamic country in terms of art and fashion so the hotel had to be contemporary,’ explains MHNA co-founder Nicolas Adnet. With his partner Mark Hertrich, Adnet has spent more than 20 years designing hotels, many of which are in Morocco.
Most of the hotel is bespoke, made using local techniques and materials. The black marble is from Kenitra; Adnet sourced bejmat and zellige tiles and techniques such as tadelakt – a traditional chalk wash – appear on walls which are decorated with equestrian artefacts (referring to the past grandeur of the sultans), pottery from Fez and Safi and ancient kaftans. Finding craftspeople was not difficult, says Adnet; the challenge was to ‘combine fantasy and elegance’ in a large, bustling hotel.