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Ksar Char-Bagh, La Palmeraie, Marrakesh 

La Palmeraie
Morocco 40000
Tel: 212 24 32 92 44
view web site ›'s insider take:

Extravagant and extravagantly expensive (suites start at just under $1,000), Ksar Char-Bagh lies beyond the Medina walls in La Palmeraie, a vast oasis ten minutes' drive from town where luxury hotels are currently springing up like palm trees. The main court is an outrageous take on Granada's Moorish palace, the Alhambra, while the extensive gardens laced with flowing water are designed along more Persian lines. The black tadlakt pool surrounded by a lush green lawn and the sexy red-marble hammam are both stunners. Middle Eastern and local treasures (Syrian chairs inlaid with camel bone, sculpted stone Turkish fireplaces) decorate the 12 sumptuous guest rooms—the smallest of which is 750 square feet. Each includes a living room as well as a private garden or terrace. Antoine Gonzalez presides over the restaurant and turns out French cuisine that some consider among the best in town. It's all quite beautiful and popular with the French upper class and haute bourgeoisie, but we've heard reports of haughty and often lackluster service, especially toward guests who do not speak French. You may wish to look elsewhere if vous ne parlez pas français.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Earthen walls surround this lushly landscaped 12-suite compound in the middle of a vast, uninhabited, palm-planted plain 20 minutes outside Marrakech. Guest quarters are immense, with sunken bathtubs, Porthault sheets on beds in cozy alcoves, and either a terrace or a porch. A luxurious hammam is the setting for first-rate Moroccan massages and beauty treatments, and a young French chef who trained with Joël Robuchon does new lunch and dinner menus daily. Most guests will spend their time lounging in the shade of the huge palms around the stunning stoned-faced pool, strolling the beautifully planted gardens, or reading in the fumoir. Tellingly, Ksar Char-Bagh is often booked in its entirety by the Moroccan royal family.—2005 Hot List

When to go: Skip scorching July and August in favor of May, June, September, and October.

Which room to book: Second-floor suites afford the most privacy

Amenities: Gym, Pool, Spa, 24-hour Room Service

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