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July 20 2019
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Dear Victoria,

I want to go on holiday to Morocco, but my wife thinks it is too dangerous. Is there a place we can go where she will feel safe and I will feel that I am in Morocco?

Bob
Winnetka, Illinois

Dear Bob,

I quite understand your wife’s reservations about Morocco. You do need to get it right and, in today’s world, feel safe. Morocco is the nearest, most “foreign” place to Europe, marvelous if handled right.

Left, Room 21 at El Fenn; right, a bath at the Royal Mansour.

SPLASH THE CASH: The Royal Mansour in Marrakech is a dream, one of the best hotels in the world and owned by King Mohammed VI of Morocco, so the craftsmanship is of a wonder beyond. You’ll feel you are in a foreign country and that they are doing things differently there, because you’ll stay in your own perfect little private riad with a swimming pool on the roof, open fires in the sitting rooms, a butler with a Jeevesian sense of predicting what you would like, and divine bathrooms. There is now a main pool in the lush gardens if you wish to be sociable.

CUT THE DASH: El Fenn is the Prince Charming among riads, owned by Richard Branson’s sister Vanessa, who restored it from a ruin before everyone thought they could make a buck with a riad. This is perfection, with the kindest service, a stroll away from the city heartbeat of the Djemaa el Fna market. Just 28 rooms and suites (some with plunge pools) punctuated by shaded courtyards. You want to eat? You can order food to be brought to you anywhere you like: your room, the rooftop pool, under a tree … breakfast is on the roof as the sun warms the Atlas Mountains in the distance. Cocktail? There’s a sweet bar. Argan-oil facial? There’s a spa. Posh-ish dinner? There’s a restaurant. Personally I’d just go for the family of tortoises who live there.

SURPRISE: Kill for a private tour of Villa Oasis, the home of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé off the magical Jardin Majorelle and Musée Yves Saint Laurent. It is a temple to genius, with a frisson as if looking in someone’s knicker drawer.

Yves Saint Laurent in the garden of his Villa Oasis, in Marrakech, 1983.

Victoria Mather is a veteran travel writer based in London.

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