A legend reborn

by SUZANNE MIAO on Jun 17, 2011 in Architecture , Interiors , Lifestyle
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La Mamounia, one of Winston Chuchill’s favourite places to stay, has been restored to its former glory

Morocco’s legendary La Mamounia hotel has long been a favourite playground of the rich and famous since 1923, with a guest list of names ranging from Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin to Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise and Catherine Deneuve. Following a US$176 million three-year restoration, the ‘grande dame of Marrakech’ has been restored to its original palatial grandeur by designer Jacques Garcia. “La Mamounia evokes a modern-day fairytale, reminiscent of a far away time and place. Such a haven is often sought after but rarely found,” he says.

The spearhead of the renovation was to lend credibility to the local handicrafts, and a total respect towards the Moroccan artisan. In his vision, Garcia recalls the opulent mood of the oriental palaces of 1,001 Arabian Nights, creating a perfect match with the Moorish architecture of La Mamounia with its abundance of light, colour and beautiful perspectives.

“The determining factor that prompted me to take care of La Mamounia came from my first glimpse of the place when I was 20 years old,” he says. “Unfortunately, the La Mamounia of the 1980s had been enlarged and enlarged some more… It wasn’t what I was expected of the Orient. When I was offered the chance to lead the renovation, I thought of going back to an authenticity that would fit an Oriental cultural ideal.”

Read the full story in the July 2011 issue of Perspective magazine!