Classic Art Deco: Villa Makassar
Both Anna and I decided that we preferred the idea of a city break to celebrate our wedding, rather than lying prone on a beach somewhere. Given that it was spring, a review of potential locations at the Kuoni office led us to Marrakech and the Villa Makassar. The weather would be a pleasant 26°C or so, and there would be plenty to do.
We elected to spend our first 5 days at a riad in the oldest part of the city, the Medina. The Villa Makassar is the owner’s homage to the 1920’s Art Deco period, and is filled with some of the most amazing pieces in tribute to this you could imagine. I believe the owner took it upon himself to salvage the myriad unique pieces when La Mamounia (more on this another time), Marrakech’s original luxury hotel, was refurbished and its contents auctioned off. There is no secret to this either – look carefully and you will see ‘Mamounia’ inscribed onto the side of the coffee pots at breakfast.
The Villa Makassar features 10 individually crafted rooms, a spa, two pools – one indoor, one out, a restaurant, and a roof-top terrace with a bar. The weather conspired against us, unfortunately, so we weren’t able to take advantage of the roof terrace and bar. We did have a quick look up there during a brief respite in the rain, and it was really wonderful none-the-less.
We stayed in the ‘V. Sassoon’ suite, which was extremely well decorated, with a four-poster bed and free-standing black bath in the bathroom. I have only two slight complaints with the room – firstly, there wasn’t very much light, which was further exacerbated by the dark furnishings. Secondly, it was a little strange to me that for a junior suite there was no overhead shower. The freestanding bath had a showerhead attachment, but it was far from easy or convenient to use. Small gripes, really.
The staff were attentive, and very friendly. As the weather was appalling and we were more exhausted from the wedding than we had anticipated, we spent quite a bit of time just lazing about the hotel. As a result, they got go know us quite well, and we started to become part of the furniture.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner is all served daily. The food is excellent, with a range of Moroccan and brasserie-fare. Top recommendations go to the pastilla, which is a sweet-savoury pastry parcel filled with meat; and to the beef fillet, crusted with almonds, which was cooked to absolute perfection.
All-in-all, 5 nights of bliss – we didn’t spend too much time in the city, and the riad proved a welcome oasis from the chaos of the medina. You honestly wouldn’t believe it was out there if you didn’t step out the front door.