The lowdown It's fabulously fitting that a hotel dreamt up by the current king of Morocco lays out the regal treatment the moment you hit Marrakech. As a guest of the Royal Mansour, say goodbye to hot, noisy arrivals halls, and hello to being ushered off your flight (BA have handily started flying direct to Marrakech to cater to the monogrammed LV luggage elite) into a private room and greeted with fresh mint tea and Mhancha (devilishly calorific almond pastries) whilst your passport details are swiftly dealt with by uniformed flunkies. A private limo whisks you past the bustling central square of Jemaa el-Fnaa to a quiet lane where a pair of imposing bronze gates slowly open to reveal a breathtakingly beautiful courtyard with glittering mosaic details (left), imposing Moorish arches and gently cascading fountain.
The hotel The word hotel doesn't really cover it. Instead think fairytale oasis, an incredible eight hectare private little city with winding paths decorated by orange blossom trees which lead not to hotel suites but 53 entire individual houses, or riads (the traditional Moroccan abode). "Is this all mine?” I gasp in very uncool fashion, to my suited butler who smiles discreetly, as we approach a vast three- storey residence. An azure tiled courtyard with softly trickling fountain opens onto an insanely opulent lounge with terracotta ottomans, groaning with plumped silk cushions. My butler brings me chilled champers as we glide upstairs into the palatial bedroom complete with ornately carved walk-in wardrobe - it's a major Carrie Bradshaw moment. There's an ensuite, with a bath big enough for an entire hareem, framed by shimmery white muslin curtains. As I examine the contents of a baby pink silk toiletry bag (cute hairbrush, darling slippers, MarocMaroc nourishing hair mask - shall I even bother to unpack?) the butler ushers me upstairs. We're not done yet - there's a luxury private terrace with plunge pool and my very own Bedouin tent area for entertaining. I make a mental note to start rustling up some Jade Jagger style pals here fast.
Eating and drinking You have a private kitchen at the Royal Mansour, but you're not likely to be cooking up tinned soup on the hob. This is for the 500 staff - that's about 10 per guest - who silently enter your apartment via secret doors leading to underground passageways. This system means that you wake up to find plates of fresh fruit and piping espresso, already laid out on the roof terrace and fresh robes appearing post bath as if by magic - it's like having your very own fairy elves. You can also venture into one of the hotel's three restaurants, all overseen by three-Michelin-starred Parisian chef Yannick Alleno (of Le Meurice fame), which offer up traditional French and Moroccan food all served by white-gloved waiters on Limoges plates. I never thought I'd want seconds of Pigeon in Crispy Pastille but it was delish. Afterwards head over to the hotel's fabulously chic bar which is all smoked mirrors and Great Gatsby cocktail tables - there's even an 1888 Armagnac but I stuck to V and Ts.
Perfect for... If only Wills and Kate had been on my Facebook friends list, I could have posted a link to the Royal Mansour on the wall as a dream honeymoon destination. Lavish but immaculately tasteful, discreet but relaxed, and like nowhere else you've ever been on earth, the Royal Mansour is the closest you'll ever get to living like royalty, without any of those bothersome fetes to open.
The spa Hundreds of flickering candles in ornate silver holders lead the way up marble steps to the vast white lattice effect spa area - it feels like stepping into an enormous state of the art birdcage. It’s one of the few Sisley spas in the world, so try one of their facials or go for a traditional Hammam - you'll get exfoliated, soaped down with orange blossom and given a massage you'll never forget.
InStyle recommends It's tempting to stay cocooned in your royal hideaway but Marrakech is an awesome place to explore. Head out to the main square and navigate your way through the snake charmers to browse the legendary souks, with scores of stalls selling spices, kaftans, tagines and henna tattoos. The street sellers are mercifully polite and un-pushy so you can window shop at leisure but do expect to bargain with your dirham. Wander up to the Koutoubia Mosque in the town centre, and pose by the tall Minaret spire, Morocco's Eiffel Tower, or be brave and take an early morning balloon trip (www.cieldafrique.info) - as you glide peacefully over the Atlas mountains you'll never want to come down.
Details Royal Mansour, Rue Abou Abbas El Sebti, 40 000 Marrakech. Tel: 00 212 5 29 80 80 80. Prices start from 1,650 euros per night for a one-bedroom riad. Visit www.royalmansour.com
Getting there British Airways (www.ba.com) flies to Marrakech from London Gatwick three times a week. Prices start from £159 return, including taxes and charges.