The Magical Kingdom of Amanjena
This year’s been a funny one with regards to trips so far. I try and do two proper adventures a year, and by adventure I just mean further afield and over 10 days to explore a few different places. We were close to booking Tokyo and the Philippines for May (still way up there on my bucket list) but sadly my boyfriend couldn’t get the time away so we canned that idea and decided on some smaller getaways until this winter when hopefully we’ll be able to get a proper long haul trip sorted and scratch my travelling itch while producing some great content and tips for you guys while at it. Given we hadn’t had a sun-filled springtime getaway, by the time it got to April I was gagging for some sun. I feel like every Northern European knows that thought that starts sinking in around March, only to start beating like a drum on repeat by April; I NEED SUN. You start imagining that warm, glowy feeling of sun on your skin on a daily basis, torturing yourself with thoughts of ice cold drinks, sand between your toes, freckles on your nose and wearing (*bites lip) linen. I’m the queen of holiday daydreaming at the best of times but this year I was quite literally pining for summer to descend. While the pictures might not have let on, we actually had really dodgy weather in Cape Town so apart from a few freckles from skiing with my family in April and a hike or two while in L.A for work before that, I’d seen very few rays since our kinda disastrous trip to the Maldives in January. Anyway, all this to say when it got to April I decided to take urgent action and sort out a short but sweet trip for myself and a friend and if you want guaranteed early summer sunshine, it doesn’t get more of a safe bet than Morocco and it doesn’t get more spoiling or decadent than an Aman.
Yep, I’m rapidly becoming an Amanphile and pretty much every Aman hotel is now on my bucket list. Like the best kind of chic social butterfly, Aman’s always manage to retain their signature minimalist, architecture-driven design aesthetic while perfectly blending into the surroundings and culture of the particular location. Having been lucky enough to go to a few in my time, I now really know I’m going to be in for a treat before I even arrive and that’s such a nice feeling before a trip. Amanjena in Marrakech is no exception. Having been to Morocco several times before and my travel buddy Phoebe even more times than me, we were indulgently after little else aside from sun, catching up on books and with each other and some nice dinners out in Marrakech, which was lucky seeing as by the time out trip came around at the end of May it was reaching 40 degrees in Marrakech which as far as I’m concerned is too hot to do anything apart from wallow in the shallows like a hippo. After landing in Morocco, the heat slapped us in the face like a hairdryer and we were whisked into a cool car and deposited in the serene, breezy halls of Amanjena 20 minutes later with a cold towel, minty fresh juice and buttery bitesize pastries presented to us in that order. Amanjena is palatial to say the least, but I hasten to add palatial in the most beautifully understated way. The grandeur comes from the vast bodies of water, pillared walkways and dramatic palm shadows and dome-like restaurants and rooms. You won’t find gold chandeliers or plush velvet curtains here, just refined elegance with all the green marble, pink terracotta and Moroccan tiles your instagram could wish for.
Our room was no less welcoming. In fact, ‘room’ always feel like an understatement at Aman, with every single one feeling more like a large apartment. One thing I really love about Amans is that aside from villas or two/three bedroom residences aimed at families, every single room is the same, it’s only the position and view that might vary. Bye bye hours of deliberating over the deluxe room, the superior suite, the garden suite or the sea view queen room and all their various pros, cons and prices (groan). Needless to say, half an hour into arriving, I felt my shoulders relax, my forehead soften and found myself ordering a gin and tonic and starting my book.It was just a three day break but was exactly what we were both craving. I read two books (the brilliant An American Marriage by Tayari Jones which moved me so much and the life-affirming true story The Salt Path that I’ve been recommending to everyone and anyone), marvelled at how everything we ate was the best we’ve ever eaten (chocolate croissants, gazpacho, olive oil, everything!) and generally tried to enjoy every second in this majestic place. The service is kind of out of this world and we felt like the most pampered when we were presented with our own private button at the pool with which to buzz for drinks or our umbrella putting up. Might try and implement that one at home I think… Outside of Amanjena, we had dinner at the amazing Plus 61 restaurant recommended to me by Boutique Souk. Run by an Australian ex-pat, this clean, modern restaurant feels like a little slice of chic Sydney in Marrakech with polished concrete floors, brass accents and delicious food using the best ingredients. I’m sorry to say I’m not a huge fan of Moroccan food and tagine so the modern, casual food at Plus 61 was a breath of fresh air for me. Saying that, we had dinner at Amanjena’s Moroccan restaurant on our first night and the whole roasted cauliflower and chicken tagine was game-changing. I also popped into LRNCE (pronounced Lawrence), a Moroccan design studio and ceramicist that makes the loveliest ceramics, rugs, wall hangings and more, all adorned with abstract motifs in warm, bright colours. I came home with a jug and a vase which I thought was pretty restrained given I wanted to buy the whole shop.
All in all the nicest, sweatiest few days that felt like escaping to a truly magical kingdom, far, far away, although handily only 3.5 hours from London… The perfect getaway for time-poor sun seekers craving some exoticism and desert heat while feeling thoroughly spoilt from start to finish.
Top | St Agni
Dress | De La Vali (on sale now!)
Dress | Les Reveries
All photos my own.