The jewel in Rabat’s crown

The jewel in Rabat’s crown

If you are considering a trip to Morocco this summer, don’t rule out cities like Rabat in favour of tourist favourites like Marrakech. The country’s capital, situated on the mouth of the river Bou Regreg, has plenty of culture and character, with the added splendour of grand palaces, parliament buildings, archaeological museums and art galleries to explore.

For a truly luxurious experience of the city, head to the new Sofitel Rabat Jardin des Roses. The huge 229-room hotel is set in the stunning surrounds of a 20-acre Andalucian park, with a 3,000 rose garden and a spectacular water runway. The entire building has been decorated in a fusion of classic French and Moroccan styles, with roses, water and amber acting as central themes throughout.

“The hotel I designed is the main palace in town and is where presidents and politicians stay during their official visit in Morocco,” the hotel’s interior designer Didier Gomez tells “The concept behind the hotel’s design was to do a very contemporary and modern hotel with a mix of Moroccan culture but with an allusion to this culture and not as pastiche of old Moroccan palace.”

Sure enough, in-room features include sliding wall panels – which part to reveal panoramic views of the beautiful gardens or of the stunning cityscape – are traditional, but sharp and modern in appearance. The hotel’s restaurants, too, reflect this effortless blend: El Patio serves a classic French menu, while Al Warda offers a menu of traditional Moroccan cuisine. Highlights include the So Spa, the grand tea room, and the gold-painted Amber Bar, which is already said to be a favourite of Jordan’s Queen Rania.

“This is a real, institutional palace and also a trendy place for local Moroccans to visit,” Didier concludes. “The highlight of the hotel for me is the lobby, then the bar terrace that overlooks the beautiful garden. The second is the water crossing the lobby through the end of the garden. It’s stunning.”

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