An Event Planner’s Notes from Marrakech
Located about 15 minutes outside of Marrakech and set in a lush grove of olive and palm trees, The Amanjena (Peaceful Paradise) is one of the super-luxurious Aman properties offering all of the 5 star amenities and services for which they are known and to which repeat customers (Aman Junkies) are accustomed. It is the first Aman resort on the African continent.
I visited the Amanjena in the early evening and witnessed, as the sun set, the magical transformation from elegant, minimalist buildings and deep perspective walkways bordered by reflecting pools, to a property bathed in amber and rose sunlight. Hundreds of candles flickered – the only sound being soft traditional Arab Andalusian music played by three musicians and a vocalist. The music floated gently over the immense tidal basin around which sit guest villas and pavilions, many with private pools. Breathtaking.
The Amanjena requires that event planners rent the entire property (30 rooms, suites and villas) for any event and because of the open planning of the hotel, I understand why. The whole atmosphere is laid back chic and this explains why the Aman resorts are so popular with celebrities and political figures. There is plenty of security and a vetting process to enter the property for non-guests, but once in, guests can relax and rest assured that their privacy and anonymity (if desired) will be honored.
Because of the open design, there are only a few areas and buildings on the property where an event or different parts of an event can take place including a large salon bordering the swimming pool which can accommodate 80 seated guests. The main feature of this hotel is the immense, perfectly square tidal basin – traditionally a reservoir to gather excess water at high tide, but here, a stunning visual centerpiece central to the main property and villas. I immediately envisioned a bride, wearing her couture Monique Lhuillier gown and veil, enthroned on the deck of a white sail boat with tall, pale blue and cream silk organza sails, being rowed across the basin to meet her future husband while guests lounge on Berber rugs and huge, down-filled cushions watching the spectacle as they sip pink champagne…the Flower Duet from Lakmé beckons… Ok, enough.
The hotel offers a “Traditional Moroccan Wedding” with pink rose petals scattered and floating in fountains, Arabian music and traditional hammam – marble clad steam rooms followed by rinsing, gentle scrubbing and massage for the bride and groom before the ceremony. The hotel allows a maximum of 100 guests for events and only non-legally binding ceremonies are allowed on the property, meaning, the bride and groom can go through the motions with an officiate, exchange rings, kiss etc. but the actual wedding, the legal part anyway, must be performed elsewhere – at city hall, in a church, synagogue or mosque, or in Las Vegas.
Route de Ouarzazate
km 12, Marrakech, Morocco
tel (212) 5 24 399 000
fax (212) 5 24 403 477