Catherine Deneuve and Bianca Jagger were partying there the night before we arrived for the launch of the YSL museum, (the legendary late designer always stayed here before he bought his home in Marrakech); Cecil Beaton photographed The Rolling Stones here, Jeanne Dujardin stays here all the time and those chillingly exotic scenes in The Night Manager were all filmed in its glossy marble lobby. Es Saadi is a hotel steeped in stories, history and exquisite style.
What is it actually like to stay there?
Pretty damn great. A beautiful hotel just outside Marrakech's Medina, Es Saadi somehow manages to feel like a chic and understated boutique hotel but with all the trappings of five star glamour (excellent wifi, endlessly efficient staff (we're talking the kind who know you want a fresh towel/new bottle of mineral water even before you do), that can sometimes make hotels feel a bit corporate. Not this one. Divided between two hotels, one built in the 50s to accompany the first ever Casino in Africa in 1952 by the French owner (who also opened The Moulin Rouge). The other completed in 2002 with a 3000-sqm spa, the biggest swimming pool (we might as well describe it as a turquoise lake), 10 private villas and is aptly titled The Palace.
You mentioned a spa?
We certainly did. Although the marble floors, the 8 different steam rooms each scented to meet your different requirement (such as invigorating mint or relaxing lavender), the private spa suite, the water beds, the yoga suite with just a glorious 800 year old tree to look at are all pretty awesome, it is the women who work in the spa that makes this more than just somewhere to get a great treatment. All three of my travel companions agreed they'd had the best massage of their lives. Thoughtful, courteous and kind - it's this that makes the treatments so memorable. Plus they really do work. I felt an immense surge of wellbeing and positivity after our three day stay here.
Is it worth going in winter?
Absolutely. The hotel was originally built as a wellness retreat for the smart French set in the 50s. It's sunny all through winter - mostly in the 20's - 'hiver' according to its 70-something owner/daughter of the founder (the über chic Elizabeth Bauchet-Bouhlal) is the only time to visit Marrakech'. The hotel's renewed modern approach to wellness (with a morning wake up call with warm fresh lemon juice, plenty of fruits, herbal teas, an all you can eat salad bar at lunch, tons of gluten free options, exercise classes as well as the treatments and the climate) makes it perfect for a short winter spa break
Should I go with my girlfriends?
There's a reason why so many celebs are throwing their hen-parties in Marrakech. It's very stylish and very fun. Plus it's only three hours away but feels like your a zillion miles from anywhere you've ever been before. It's exotic but doable and doesn't feel dangerous whatsoever.
We haven't mentioned the shopping, but anyone who has been to Morocco will know that a trip to the souk is a truly exhilarating shopping experience.
What did you buy?
We bought: folksy ceramics, leather slippers, white pottery candles, silver jewellery, chic stripey cotton towels, glassware, a carpet bag hold-all and a massive pink basket and spent way less than £200 between us.
The Yves Saint Laurent museum - tell us all about it
It's another brilliant excuse to book your ticket to Marrakech now. As well as housing many of his finest pieces - many of which are inspired by artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Braque and Mondrian, the museum also houses work by Moroccan modern artists collected by Pierre Bergere. It's a stupendous piece of modern architecture and gives you a true insight into the godfather of contemporary fashion.