Palais Dar Aziza, Marrakech, Morocco, Khalil Bennani
Somewhere between the oversized palace and the intimate guest house, there is Palais Aziza. The hotel, nestled in the heart of the Palmeraie of Marrakech, combines luxury and intimacy to invite its guests into an orientalist cocoon that exudes utmost comfort and tranquility in a private setting. Based on the expertise of professionals who have worked at the Ritz Carlton, the Four Seasons and Luxury Hotels of the World, Palais Aziza embodies a unique kind of boutique hotel. A five-star hotel with ideal proportions: 27 rooms and suites to welcome guests in a lush setting of five hectares full of trees. Jasmines, olive trees, palm trees and orange trees surround private pavilions where elegance is summoned. Courtesy, generosity, discretion, Palais Aziza gives the hotel industry its reputation. For this traditional-style Palace, Aït Manos created the iconic Moroccan zellige. Initially, the House focused on a Guest Pavilion before undertaking work on the rest of this intimate Palace. To meet the imagination of architect Khalil Bennani, the Aït Manos House delivered the essence of the purest Moroccan tradition in decorative arts. Indeed, for this Palace, Khalil Bennani designed a tribute to Moroccan architecture. Khalil Bennani, an architect with an atypical background, is ubiquitous to say the least. Whether it is an Arab palace or a film school, sublimating traditional arts or state-of-the-art technology, he stands out with his eclecticism. A fine aesthete, he cut his teeth with the whimsical Peter Marino. From Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, he moved to New York where he began working with designer David Anthony in 1986. From private residences in the Bahamas to luxury yachts, he meets grandiose requirements. Ten years later, he joined Peter Marino's team, where in three years he juggled between private residences in Manhattan, Nice and Palm Beach. He took part in the extension and renovation project of villa Brasilia, signed by Oscar Niemeyer. A patriot, he returned to Morocco where he designed the ESAV in Marrakech with Max Alioth, with a purist, functional architecture in mind.
He is also credited with the design of the George Washington Academy on Azemmour Road in Casablanca, the ultra-modern Metro hypermarket in Marrakech with optimized spaces, the private residence in Marrakech and the new aura of the famous bookstore, the Librairie des Colonnes in Tangier. One of the characteristics of his architectural approach is to think about the usefulness of space, its primary purpose and to give the space the appearance that reflects its use.
In Palais Aziza, there are references to Moroccan decor in its main palace. Zelliges, bejmats, tadelakts, painted or tataoui wooden ceilings, moucharabiehs, ogival openings, carved wood... A certain opulence, where the velvet of the tapestries, the organza of the sheers, are found in the lounge, smoking room, library and English bar. Here, comfort is not to be trifled with. The same spirit prevails in the rooms and suites before reaching the six private pavilions that narrate the aesthetics of cities in the Kingdom. Jacuzzi, swimming pools, fireplaces, private patios, large bathrooms with steam showers, luxurious bedding with Egyptian cotton sheets, real small palaces that invite guests to absolute rest. In these, Aït Manos has created traditional zellige cladding for fireplaces, terraces, walls, fountains and a multitude of spaces that reflect all the dexterity of Moroccan craftsmen and the beauty of the zellige tradition, an age-old art.