The centenary of La Mamounia

The Centenary of La Mamounia? Shoelifer was there and had a blast. Missed it? Here’s our dance card, with all the latest news and society gossip.

The centenary of La Mamounia? Shoelifer had the pleasure of being invited, and we’re going to tell you everything. From October 4th to 8th, the one nicknamed the Grand Dame spectacularly celebrated its hundred years and…and went big. In total, it was four days of festivities, and we expected nothing less; La Mamounia is to Marrakech what the Ritz is to Paris. It is an institution and a flagship of hospitality, among the most prestigious establishments in the world, with a rich history dating back to the 18th century.

At that time, the Alaouite sultan, Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah had offered his son, Prince Al Mamoun, a sumptuous thirteen-hectare orchard. He turned it into a place dedicated to celebrations and botany. Two centuries later, the Railway Company decided to build a hotel there. French architects Henri Prost and Antoine Marchisio then designed a building that combines the ancestral traditions  of Moroccan architecture with the styles of Art Deco. In 1923, “La Mams,” as insiders say, was opened to the public. It was a meeting place for the world’s greatest, both stars and artists.  

The centennial lady, the masterpiece

But let’s get to the heart of the matter. On the occasion of the centenary of La Mamounia, the luxurious establishment revealed its exceptional renovations. In a few months, the establishment “underwent a real facelift,” carried out by internationally renowned designer and interior architect Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, respectively. Recall that the editorial team had already extensively covered their initial restoration work in some areas of the hotel in 2020.

The renovations, undoubtedly the most breathtaking, are displayed in the gigantic reception lobby, the beating heart of La Mamounia. In its center, the famous statue of a man on a camel pointing a spear at a jaguar (made in 1907) has been replaced by the Centenary Chandelier, extraordinary chandelier with pendants, designed by the Jouin Manku firm, inspired by traditional Tamazight jewelry. It’s an ode to the Berber woman, enveloping and sumptuous, like two necklaces suspended in space and time. It’s a nod to La Mamounia’s centenary, confirming its timeless character. 

A pure moment of history

Another novelty: the Alcoves. For this moorish-inspired reception area, the Jouin Manku firm has recreated an intimate atmosphere, reminiscent of the Saharan oases of yesteryear. Each alcove presents itself as a cabinet of curiosities (a flagship trend in interior decoration 2023/2024), highlighting craftsmanship and the art of living: tea, jewelry, saddlery, etc.Last but not least is the Salon d’honneur, now the small museum of La Mamounia. Inside, is a “Wall of Fame”, highlighting the dozens of personalities who have stayed in this iconic place, as well as guestbooks. It’s a pure moment of history in a redesigned, ultra-comfy lounge with blue tones, just like the attire of the Tuaregs and the desert nights.

Not to forget the typically Art Deco Majorelle Bar, worthy of the Orient Express, the Majorelle Lounge (formerly the Italian Bar), hyper luminous with its bay windows. Overall, La Mamounia now presents itself in balanced, playful light, playing with volumes and brightness. In short, you guessed it: La Mamounia’s centenary gave Shoelifer a true feast for the eyes.

Goodies and Delights

During the festivities, La Mamounia first had a special thought for the staff, who bring this mythical establishment to life every day. Of course, the first day of celebrations took place with a small group, bringing together “the Mamounia family” and all its employees. Above all, the hotel wanted to highlight this essential value: that of the doorman (bawab in Darija), the client’s first contact, be elevated to the rank of an icon at La Mamounia. The hotel decided to make him its mascot through a figurine incorporating the palace’s olfactory signature (cedar and dates), a goodie available at the Mamounia Boutique since October 6th.

Pierre Hermé, one of the most famous pastry chefs, who has been collaborating with La Mamounia for a long time, also went all out. Visitors have the pleasure of discovering and tasting the Eternal Mamounia Macaron (rose, jasmine, maquis honey, and saffron), the Amanlou chocolate candy, or the Centenary Wedding Cake (almond, orange, etc.). How would we describe  La Mamounia’s centenary in one word? Uum (yes, we keep it simple).

Now for the “Tell me about La Mamounia in six dishes” competition, organized by the establishment itself, which took place from November 2022 to January 2023. Among the 70 candidates, young Adam Amzadou from the Art’com Sup Casablanca school managed to impress the jury. An “innovative and poetic” design that will be produced by one of the world’s largest porcelain houses,  Bernardaud, and which will gradually become La Mamounia’s new tableware. The editorial team had the pleasure of dining with it: a real feast for the eyes! And of course we appreciate supporting luxury craftsmanship, which really needs it!


The sense of celebration

In addition to all these surprises, La Mamounia’s centenary offered unforgettable festivities. The editorial team (who thoroughly enjoyed it) can even tell you that the cream of Casablanca and Rabat attended, just like international personalities, whether new Marrakech residents or not (Laurent Lafitte, Marisa Berenson, Dominique Strauss-Kahn). On the fashion side, everyone was dressed to the nines, brilliantly embodying the dress code: long dress & black tie. Yes, really, we want to emphasize this effort, it’s rare! 

Special mention for the vibrant concerto of the famous pianist Sofiane Pamart, whose artistic sensitivity brought a lot of emotions to La Mamounia’s centenary. The “fiesta” peaked on the fourth and last day, with a drone show and an impressive fireworks display and, of course, Mika’s concert, always generous with his audience.

But because La Mamounia has Marrakech and Morocco at heart, this evening was first placed under the sign of solidarity with all the victims of the deadly earthquake on September 8th. The establishment even made a donation of 10 million dirhams. La Mamounia will never cease to amaze us– and we’re already looking forward to the next celebration!

Picture (c): La Mamounia

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed