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Hotel Rose Sultan In Morocco: Make Everything Rosy

The hotel “Rose Sultan” is located in Morocco. Though open only since May of 2008, Rose Sultan has already welcomed high-profile guests like Jake Gyllenhaal. And true to its name, the hotel tries hard to make everything rosy.

You’re welcomed with rose-flavored tea, shown around lush grounds planted with rose bushes, then led to one of the nine rooms, each of which bears the name of a certain type of, yes, rose: White Crystal, Royal Gold and so on.


This is why vehicles have GPS systems. If you’re trying to evade paparazzi, creditors or the law, the Rose Sultan is for you. Located a good 20-minute drive from Marrakesh proper, the hotel is hidden behind anonymous high walls at the edge of a vast unpaved and unmarked dirt expanse roughly a quarter mile off the Route d’Ourika highway. The upside is a stellar view of the Atlas Mountains, fresh air and tranquillity — all in short supply in the city’s central districts. The downside is the hassle of getting into town, or even just across the bumpy sea of dirt. Don’t expect any taxis to be able to find it. You’re pretty much obliged to use the hotel’s driver; trips are 10 euros, $13.60 at $1.26 to the euro, during the day and 14 euros at night.


Like the rest of the hotel, rooms are rough-walled, elemental and minimalist. Mine was named for the Black Baccara rose and contained a low wooden table (black), two stylish low leather chairs (black), a flat-screen TV (black), a telephone (black) and a large, comfortable bed with leather frame (black). A pleasant front terrace looked out on the landscaped grounds (green).


It was even blacker than the bedroom — walls, floors, ceiling — with the notable exception of the Zen-cool white sink, deep white rectangular tub and red rose petals strewn romantically across the (black) marble countertop. A lovely back patio was lined with high walls for privacy and planted with an orange tree for an additional splash of color.


Though there’s no restaurant, the hotel’s kitchen can whip up a very good kefta tagine — basically a stew of meatballs in tangy tomato sauce — and a fine breakfast of Moroccan-style pancakes, hot breads and fresh orange juice. To unwind, there’s a hammam and a spa with two treatment rooms. But the marquee attraction is the cool and glassy outdoor pool, which has great mountain views.


Every rose has its thorns, and the Rose Sultan, alas, had plenty. Though it is beautiful to look at and well outfitted, a number of irritations marred my stay. The hammam was not operational, nor was the Wi-Fi system. Even the lamp in the bathroom didn’t work, and it fell apart when I so much as touched it. And though my room was heated, the rest of the hotel wasn’t, making for a very chilly breakfast and lunch on those December days. I couldn’t even commiserate with the other guests: there weren’t any. Perhaps it’s no surprise. With service like that, the bloom can fall off the Rose Sultan rather quickly.

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