While Marrakesh has historically been the tourism capital of Morocco, Rabat has in fact been the nation’s capital since 1912. And it’s a relatively undiscovered gem, in terms of the mainstream city break. Yet lying on the shores of both the Bouregreg River and the Atlantic Ocean, it’s an idyllic setting, with super swimming beaches. Add to this, fascinating Islamic and French-colonial landmarks, such as the Kasbah of the Udayas and the 12th-century minaret of Hassan Towera and it provides a diverse holiday opportunity. Here are the most exquisite places to stay while visiting Rabat.
Fairmont La Marina Rabat-Salé
274 forms of accommodation range from chambers, to three-bedroom residences at this ocean-side abode (including rooms adapted for people with reduced mobility). All come with La Bottega toiletries, 50-inch flat-screen HDTVs, Nespresso machines and twice-daily service. Decor has a Morrocan feel, but with a modern design. The Fairmont caters ably for families (including four-legged friends) and has an immersive spa, as well as boutiques for a spot of retail therapy. Dining takes place at The Deck, The Foam and Dahlia, the latter specialising in contemporary Levantine cuisine. And La Verrière with its apex glass ceiling is a stunning spot for cocktails.
Recently rebranded from Villa Diyafa, STORY’s new design concept blends Moroccan architecture with Andalusian accents, inspired by the life and work of musician Zyriab. Guests are accommodated across 27 bedrooms, 10 suites and a private villa, all with Tchaba tea and coffee making facilities, minibars and a balcony or terrace. This is complemented by leisure facilities incorporating a traditional spa with hammam, a state-of-the-art gym and a 25-meter swimming pool, as well as Le Safran Restaurant, where Taliouine Saffron is the headlining spice. The hotel is part of the UAE based STORY Hotels & Resorts, with four sister properties.
Sofitel Rabat Jardin Des Roses
Having launched in the mid-twentieth century, this 229 bedroom hotel was taken over and redeveloped by the Sofitel chain in 2009 – its stunning 16 acres of gardens are its namesake. The city’s Moroccan and French heritage is reflected in the plush styling. More a resort than a hotel, it has three restaurants, two bars, two palm-flanked outdoor pools, one indoor pool, designer boutiques, a designer spa with a hammam, sauna and hot tub, a yoga and pilates studio and a Technogym. Families are well catered for, with a kids’ club, special menus, welcome gifts and a children’s spa menu.