Royal Mansour: By royal appointment

European Spa visits Royal Mansour in Marrakech to experience its spa’s new Wellness Cures and sublime spa journey


By Mark Smith

07 December 2020

Set within a walled, five-hectare private estate, Royal Mansour is a jewel in the crown of Marrakech. Commissioned by its owner, King Mohammed VI, to celebrate the very best of Morocco, the multi-award-winning hotel and spa opened in June 2010 and is a sublime showcase of Moorish and Andalusian architecture and craftsmanship.

A large outdoor pool leads onto the recently extended spa garden, gently fragranced by honeysuckle, jasmine and rose, which features an extensive medicinal herb plantation for the hotel’s wellness programmes, and organic vegetable beds, irrigated using traditional Andalusian techniques.

The hotel’s 53 private three-storey riads have been individually furnished by craftsmen from Marrakech, Essaouira, Fès and Meknès, using traditional wood panelling, Zellige tiling, tadelakt and plasterwork techniques. The ultimate in private luxury, they are serviced via hidden corridors and a series of underground tunnels and each one boasts a private plunge pool and roof terrace with views over the city or the majestic Atlas mountains.

The riads are connected by winding pathways, leafy courtyards and water features that punctuate the journey from the reception area to the gardens and the impressive spa.

“It’s an incredible concept, the way it’s designed as a traditional Moroccan medina to showcase everything that is beautiful in the kingdom – the arts, crafts, gastronomy and culture,” says Jean-Claude Messant, managing director of Royal Mansour, who has worked closely with director of spa and wellness Malika Rojhani and micro-nutritionist Valérie Espinasse to transform the spa into a world-class wellness destination.

The spa’s outdoor pool is surrounded by fragrant gardens

“The spa at the hotel is beautiful, from the design to the décor,” says Messant. “It is also a key marketing and commercial element for me. Our plan is to make it a destination spa. It has to be like our food – a gateway to the hotel.”

Jean-Claude Messant

Managing Director

A journey from spa to wellness

The Royal Mansour Marrakech Spa is the centrepiece of the hotel. Guests are greeted by birdsong, citrus groves and scented flowers before passing through giant handcrafted wooden doors into a reception area that takes the form of a stunning, light-filled, bird cage-like atrium decorated with geometric Moorish patterns. A luxury retail area situated to the left opens onto a refined tearoom and spa restaurant, La Table du Spa. To the right guests can book time at the hair and beauty salon.

An indoor heated pool, surrounded by loungers, is situated in the spa garden inside its own glass-covered atrium. On the lower floor, the sauna and gym ensure fitness fans are catered for, while the upper floors are dedicated to treatment rooms and a relaxation lounge, as well as a Pedi-Mani-Cure Studio by internationally renowned podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez.

Malika Rojhani was the pre-opening spa director at Royal Mansour and returned in April 2019 after working at Palais Namaskar, the Oetker Collection’s Moroccan hotel, and most recently at Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech.

“Our objective is to have a wellness destination spa;  something different from the other programmes you may find in medical centres or spa retreats where you just diet or detox,” she states.

Royal Mansour’s interiors were crafted by more than 1,500 artisans

Going with a gut feeling

The spa has partnered with Valérie Espinasse, a renowned Parisian micro-nutritionist, to develop a range of tailored Wellness Cures – programmes designed to help improve the digestive system or emotional and hormonal states. Espinasse offers a very personalised approach to nutrition by using food allergy tests, in-depth consultation and monitoring from the start to the end of each ‘cure’, concluding with advice on how to ensure long-term health goals are met and maintained. This focus on gut health and digestion is central to the programme’s philosophy.

 Blood tests for the food intolerance evaluation are taken by an on-site nurse and sent away for analysis as Espinasse delves deep into overall wellbeing to reveal the key health issues for each guest and improve their intestinal flora, which is essential for the immune system.

“My focus is on the microbiota, looking at food intolerance,” says Espinasse. “I aim to rest the guest’s digestion. This will help to reduce inflammation and increase energy.” In the long term, if guests follow her personalised advice, she believes this can also boost immunity and alter disease progression.

Working closely with executive chef Jérôme Videau, Espinasse has created a healthy gluten, dairy and sugar-free vegetarian menu that is served in La Table du Spa. Dishes include warm broccoli salad with blond grapes; avocado salsa and pine nuts; quinoa and parsley salad; local vegetables, lemon vinaigrette and tagine of lentils with spices.

Desserts are definitely on the menu, but feature fresh fruit and clever techniques to achieve dairy, gluten and sugar-free options such as profiteroles. Aquafaba, or chickpea water, is used to replicate the effect of egg whites, which are an essential ingredient in many recipes.

Guests begin their three and five-day cures with fresh, cold-pressed juices and the programme is supported by a range of organically grown herbal infusions (rosemary, thyme, geranium, lemongrass, peppermint, lemon mint, sage and verbena) prepared with fresh ingredients from the garden.

The apothecary and retail boutique at Royal Mansour

Therapeutic spa therapies

The spa’s Wellness Cures incorporate a series of therapeutic treatments designed to support the digestive process, reduce stress and promote wellbeing while educating guests about their own future health and wellness options. A consultation with a fitness coach further helps to assess their current abilities and future exercise options.

Guests can join complimentary aqua fitness classes, Pilates or yoga, or workout in the gym. There is also unlimited access to water therapy facilities, a sauna, a hammam, a water massage bath and a Watsu bath. A lymphatic drainage massage and exfoliating and body wrapping treatment is also included as part of the programmes.

A stunning traditional hammam reflects the best of the region’s craftsmanship and architecture

Participants also have the option to add on additional treatments, including the most popular therapy on the menu – the hammam. And, in a first for the spa, they can also experience the 60-minute Chi Nei Tsang therapeutic treatment – a blend of Thai and Chinese massage combined with ancient meditation techniques. This intense and highly effective form of bodywork acts directly on the abdomen, its organs and their associated emotions. The therapist works with elbows, arms and hands to release tension, anxiety and stress, while restoring natural energy flow to the area.

“Chi Nei Tsang is very unusual and can be painful,” warns Rojhani. “But if you let the therapist do the treatment you will feel the benefit as it works on the organs and the mind, and you feel the result immediately.”

To ensure the very best delivery, Rojhani recruited Suthada Chaitip, a Thai specialist in this treatment. With experience at Kamalaya, Koh Samui and Amanpuri, Phuket, Chaitip brings a wealth of experience as well as her Tibetan Singing Bowls. On the final day of the Wellness Cure, guests have a meeting with Espinasse to review their progress and set goals for the future, beyond the spa programme.

These are more than just three or five-day detoxes and their ultimate goal is long-term change. Messant concludes: “We are not a medical spa. When you come here it’s to work on your soul and your spirit. To feel good, to feel better.”

Spa Statistics

Royal Mansour

+212 52980 8080

Owner: King Mohammed VI

Managing director: Jean-Claude Messant

Director of spa and wellness: Malika Rojhani

Architect: 3BIS

Spa team: 32

Spa size: 2,500sqm

Treatment rooms: 13

Fitness equipment: Technogym

Treatment beds: Nilo

Sauna: Tylo

Sauna Textiles: Porthault

Pools: Bouygues

Product houses: Sisley, Dr Hauschka, marocMaroc, Leonor Greyl, Intraceuticals

Meet the expert: Valérie Espinasse

Valérie Espinasse

Valérie Espinasse is a French micro-nutritionist who specialises in food intolerances and digestive disorders, supplementing diets with the correct micro-nutrients to offer a therapeutic effect.

With a degree in micro-nutrition and a doctorate in pharmacy, her medical approach includes thorough consultations and blood analysis, which guide the pathway to good health.

Espinasse focuses on correcting the balance of microbiota and the micronutrient vitamins and minerals in the gut, along with oligo-elements (trace minerals).

“When I treat the microbiota, I treat food intolerance,” she explains. “This leads to health changes and the immunity is boosted. Gut health is now ‘à la mode’ but I have been saying this for 20 years. My expertise focuses on specific digestive diseases, but it can address everything from migraines to Lyme disease – indeed all chronic illnesses.”

The author of My Good Detox and Stop Eating Sugar!, Espinasse’s clientele includes some of France’s most famous actresses, sports stars and media personalities. She runs private clinics in Paris and London and has a regular residence at Hotel Lutetia’s Akasha Holistic Wellbeing spa in Paris. Further afield, Espinasse has developed detox cures for Hotel Guanahani & Spa, St Barths.

Brand spotlight: marocMaroc

Steeped in ritual and tradition, marocMaroc tells the story of Morocco, bringing its abundant nature and fragrant landscapes to life. The brand comprises a full range of face, body and haircare that is formulated with some of the best natural ingredients sourced directly from Morocco’s Royal estates.

marocMaroc infuses Moroccan rose, Argan oil, sweet almond milk, orange blossom water and clay from the Atlas mountains into its products and spa therapies to offer guests a taste of the rich wellness heritage of the country.

Malika Rojhani, Spa and Wellness Director, Royal Mansour

Its products are formulated free of parabens, silicone and mineral oil and the brand’s rituals and protocols are inspired by the traditions of the hammam, making it an excellent partner for Royal Mansour. “For me, marocMaroc is one of the best luxury cosmetic brands as it has facials, massages and body treatments,” asserts Royal Mansour’s spa and wellness director, Malika Rojhani.

The brand can found on the spa menu at Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech and Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay, and its reputation for excellence extends around the world, including at The Moroccan Spa marocMaroc, Harrods, London, UK; Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva Spa, Switzerland; Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, UK; Bulgari Resort Dubai; W Doha Hotel, Qatar; and Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi.


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If you would like to find out more about Sisley, please visit

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If you would like to find out more about Intraceuticals, please visit

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If you would like to find out more about Porthault, please visit

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