La Mamounia, one of the oldest and grandest hotels in Marrakech, has welcomed everyone from the Queen of England to Winston Churchill through its doors. In 2009 this grandest of grande dames underwent a controversial (and, at $176 million, fairly expensive) reinvention courtesy of famed French designer Jacques Garcia. Out with the art deco and in with the nouveau Moroccain – complete with colonnaded courtyards, perfectly conceived Andalucian passages, tiled reflection pools and an immense 2,500 sq m spa. It’s a fairly startling renovation for a venue so steeped in tradition (it opened in 1923), but Garcia has been smart enough to maintain enough grandeur and style to reassure its high profile guests. The 209 rooms now include a trio of ultra-secluded riads (with private pools) and the four restaurants include two by Michelin-starred chefs Alfonso Iaccarino and Jean-Pierre Vigato (the Moroccan is now housed in its own riad with a smoking room and roof terrace). The gardens remain unchanged and are still a highlight of the hotel. You can enjoy an expensive Mediterranean buffet at weekends (650dh through the week, 1200 dh for Sunday brunch – that’s without use of the pool). There are also clay tennis courts, the Churchill bar and shops like Gucci and Chopar to browse.