Fairmont La Marina, Rabat Salé: glamour unlocked in Morocco’s overlooked capital

The latest opening from Fairmont Hotels brings luxury travel to a whole new region in Morocco. Samantha Herbert checks in to explore the hidden delights of Rabat

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La Verrière bar and coffee lounge
Samantha Herbert9 June 2023

Offering absolute luxury and exquisite design in the often-overlooked Moroccan capital, Fairmont La Marina is the perfect location for your next city break.

Set at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg, the brand-new hotel takes inspiration from its surroundings — it is designed to look like a cruise liner ready to launch into the Atlantic Ocean it overlooks.

Inside, modern finishes are paired with traditional Moroccan design to create a striking feel of glamour and opulence.

Teamed with a highly attentive staff and second-to-none facilities, this is hospitality at its best.

La Marina looks directly on to Rabat’s Kasbah of the Udayas

Where is it?

Rabat has long been seen as an administrative capital to Morocco — a place for business, while tourists flock to Marrakech. However, it is a city which has undergone rapid transformation, making it a hidden gem with all the trappings of a tourist hotspot — but without any of the crowds.

Huge investment is evident in this region, with stunning new shoots of modernity puncturing the skyline. The Grand Théâtre de Rabat is an impressive architectural masterpiece, while the soon-to-be-opened Mohammed VI Tower has just taken the crown as the second-tallest building in Africa.

These recent additions sit in stark contrast to the centuries-old mosques and medinas more typical of Rabat; the landscape representative of the overarching approach to the recent development of Morocco — respecting and celebrating the old, while fully embracing the new.

Complete with a modern tram system to easily move around the city, Rabat is one of the cleanest and greenest places I’ve visited in some time. Streets are spotless, and new roads are beautifully tree-lined, with outdoor gyms and sport pitches featuring on nearly every corner.

On the coast, discover the rich history of the region wandering the Kasbah of the Udayas. A 12th-century citadel, after a walk uphill through the bright white, narrow streets, enjoy stunning views of Rabat and Sale. This is also a perfect viewpoint from which to see the city’s burgeoning surf scene.

The Kasbah is also home to the walled Andalusian Garden and Café Maure — one of Morocco’s most famous coffee shops serving traditional Moroccan tea and delectable pastries with a stunning view over the water.

Heading downhill, you’ll meet Rabat Medina, centring around the Old Market. Meandering through this colourful shopping district could not be further from the bustle of Marrakech. With minimal crowds and no shopkeepers jostling for custom, visitors can peruse jewellery, spices, art and homeware at their leisure.

The grand lobby of Fairmont La Marina


Art and design take centre stage at Fairmont La Marina, with precise attention given to every detail. Through stunning tiling, fabrics, light fixtures and tableware, the hotel shows an evident commitment to supporting and showcasing the best of local craftsmanship.

The hotel is also filled with an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures; none more so than the hundreds of glass wings hanging from the ceiling of La Verrière — the central bar — to represent the area’s migrating birds.

Fashion also plays a central role, with shimmering cabinets of local designer jewellery and textiles lining the main thoroughfares.

These local influences ensure the character of the region shines brightly throughout the property which, alongside the most luxurious of fittings, create a unique and elegant feel.

Guest suite living room

Which room?

Fairmont La Marina has 186 rooms to choose from, including 27 sumptuous suites. From standard rooms to the most deluxe options, all spaces are brand-new and modern while featuring authentic details from Rabat’s past.

Many feature balconies and beautiful views of the coastline, as well as helpful features such as USB plugs, night-mode lighting and Bluetooth-enabled TVs to cast your own music and shows. There’s no mod-cons missing here.

Nestled on the hotel’s top floor is the private Fairmont Gold — a hotel within the hotel which espouses absolute luxury and refinement for guests looking for an even more VIP experience.

The property also hosts 88 flats which sit right on the water’s edge and accommodate longer-term and business stays.

Dahlia Moroccan restaurant

Food & drink

Guests at La Marina are spoiled for dining choices, with three restaurants serving up a host of dishes fusing local specialities with inspiration taken from all over the world.

On a sunny evening, there is no better place to be than on the balcony of rooftop restaurant Le Deck. This serves up a mix of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine alongside expert mixology. Taking in the panoramic views of the twin cities of Salé and Rabat, we enjoyed made-to-order sushi, poke bowls and (on a different evening) tacos and delectable satay chicken.

Downstairs at L’ÉCume, executive chef Nicolas Warot brings influence from his French heritage to serve a near all-day service from breakfast to dinner.

And in Dahlia enjoy a blend of refined Moroccan food with a Mediterranean touch, amid grand and vibrant decor. Think rainbow dips, decadent handmade breads, and the hotel’s very own olive oil.

To drink, there are two distinct options. The rooftop bar — set adjacent to the hotel pool —  springs to life in the evening with vibrant dance music and a party atmosphere against the stunning backdrop of the bay.

Inside is La Verrière, a sun-drenched coffee bar by day, serving chef Hicham Khabata’s award-winning pastries under the glass-dome roof. When the sun goes down, the area spills into the orangerie where DJs play on the impressive patio.

Fairmont La Marina’s rooftop infinity pool


From a spectacular rooftop infinity pool, to a gym with floor-to-ceiling sea views that really might inspire you to work out on holiday, Fairmont La Marina has every facility you could hope for.

After the gym’s on-site trainer puts you through your paces, head to the marble-adorned basement wellness centre to enjoy some pampering. Treatment highlights include an indulgent full body de-stress massage and a whole host of skincare treatments by Natura Bissé.

For business travellers, there are nine meeting rooms as well as a grand ballroom and  private dining spaces for entertaining.


A visit to Rabat wouldn’t be complete without taking a local flouka (water taxi) across the river and around the Kasbah of the Udayas. For an even more memorable trip, La Marina offers a sunset flouka experience complete with a picnic hamper to enjoy on the water.

Staff can also organise curated museum tours, or borrow the hotel’s rental bikes and set out to explore the great city under your own steam.

Connected by a new high-speed rail line, there’s also great opportunity to explore more of the region, with Tangier to the north and Casablanca to the south both within easy reach.

Best for

A luxury city break which avoids the crowds. This is a hotel with character in abundance, where you can truly immerse yourself in the local culture. In a city that surprises, Fairmont La Marina Rabat is a great choice for those looking for a weekend away with a difference.

Booking details

Rooms start from £253 room-only per night. Learn more and book here.