Five years ago, Marrakech added another luxury property to its collection of world famous hotels. The Royal Palm is a 15-minute drive – and a world away – from Marrakech's busy city centre. Surrounded by hundreds of acres of olive groves, it is the perfect spot for a second home. Luckily, there are an additional 39 properties currently being built on the site, to add to the 90 properties built in the first phase of development.
These new villas have the advantage of being tied in with Fairmont, the hotel management company that took over the site 18 months ago. It gives owners of the villas the best of both worlds: your own private sanctuary, with touch-button access to all the services that the five-star hotel provides. ousekeeping, babysitting, gardening, pool maintenance and in-villa dining are all taken care of, on request. Then there is the added bonus of the hotel's facilities, which include a kids' club, tennis courts, a large spa, several restaurants, a golf club and a farm that will keep little ones entertained.
M1 is one of nine villas on the south-facing Oliveraie site, with views of both the Atlas Mountains and the golf course. The designer, Studio KO, which has just completed the impressive Yves Saint Laurent Museum in town, has created a home that is flooded with natural light, thanks to an interior plant-filled patio that connects the living room and dining area with an exterior gazebo. Large picture windows and French doors face out towards the landscaped gardens.
The one-story villa offers a contemporary take on traditional Berber architecture and design. The walls are constructed with traditional plaster, using cement, earth, straw and lime, and are decorated in warm, earthy apricot tones. All the finishes are in stone, marble, terracotta, lime and plaster.
The interior doors and wardrobes are finished in natural oak, and the external doors and windows come fitted with aluminium frames and double glazing for heat and sound insulation. There is also under-floor heating throughout.
The four en-suite bedrooms have their own private terraces and two look out on to the infinity pool. The master bedroom and sitting room feature statement fireplaces. The kitchen is very much a working room, with adequate space to cook but with no real views or seating area, suggesting that the owners are likely to leave much of the cooking to others.
There are electric gates into the parking area and a separate rosemary bush-lined path to the front door. This is a villa where the occupiers are expected to spend as much time outside as in. The main room opens up on to a large patio, shaded dining area at the front and a poolside terrace to the side. At the other end of the pool is a pretty gazebo. The pool itself is heated with a motorised cover to keep the heat in and ensure safety. Energy at the property includes solar and other eco-friendly heating and cooling systems.
House prices in Marrakech have been going up recently, but this offers a lot of house and garden for the basic €2.5 million (Dh10.5m) price tag. You can also add extras. For an additional €1m (Dh4.2m), you can do what the neighbours, a French couple with 15 grandchildren, have done. They got the developers to include a second pool (so adults need not share with children), a tennis court, a fifth bedroom (with eight inbuilt bunk beds) a playroom and staff quarters. They also opted for a separate two-bedroom guest annexe, and a spa and hammam.
The property is for sale exclusively via Sphere Estates. And if you really want a hassle-free move, you don’t even have to buy your own furniture and furnishings. Fairmont will kit it out (something that is compulsory if you want to rent the property out through them). Which means that the day you move in, you need only bring a suitcase of clothes, and dial the hotel to get them to bring you your dinner.