Experience A Fusion Of Moroccon Elegance And Fashion History At The Villa Mabrouka

Perched on a hill overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, Villa Mabrouka offers breathtaking panoramic views of the sea and the historic cityscape. This historic home was once the residence of fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent, who meticulously crafted this haven to embody the essence of Moroccan beauty and hospitality. The house was later purchased by British designer Jasper Conran in 2019, who transformed the building into a luxurious 12-suite hotel that seamlessly blends Moroccan tradition and 1940s modernist architecture. 

With its vibrant colours, rich textures, and cultural tapestry, Morocco has long been a muse for creatives worldwide. Among them was the legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, whose connection to North Africa began when the renowned designer was born in Algeria, the neighbouring country to his future home of Morocco. At the age of 30, he rediscovered the allure of North Africa during a visit to Marrakesh. Drawn to the vibrant colours and textures of the city, he made it a ritual to travel to Morocco twice a year, in December and June, to design his collections.

By 1980, he purchased the Villa Oasis in Marrakesh with his partner Pierre Bergé, which now stands as a museum celebrating his extraordinary life and career, before acquiring Villa Mabrouka in Tangier in 1990. The Villa Mabrouka, translating to the “House of Luck,” became a sanctuary of peace and inspiration. Collaborating with French interior designer Jacques Grange, Saint Laurent and Bergé fused traditional Moroccan architecture with lush gardens, creating a unique blend of curves, archways, and high ceilings against a geometric exterior.

In 2019, fellow fashion designer Jasper Conran purchased Villa Mabrouka for £4 million, with the funds going to the YSL Foundation, contributing to the rebuilding of Morocco’s mountain villages. The house has been transformed into a 12-suite hotel with new guest rooms, garden cottages, restaurants, a rooftop terrace, a coffee bar, and dining pavilions being added to elevate it to a luxurious destination. Conran has also ensured the villa has undergone extensive modernisation, including upgraded roofing, electrics, plumbing, and underground services, elevating the property to the standards expected of luxury boutique hotels.

The interiors of Villa Mabrouka are a harmonious blend of tradition and contemporary style. Conran embraces the simplicity of the house’s modernist architecture, infusing it with the eccentric charm of an English country house and a touch of the romance from the Riviera’s golden era. The soft furnishings and linens in a chic colour palette of caramel, emerald, and rose to create a welcoming atmosphere, adorned with block-printed florals and Fez embroideries, with handmade glazed clay tiles, ancient Roman mosaics, and 16th-century Andalusian tiles contribute to the authentic Moroccan aesthetic. Equally, the Italian Murano glass chandeliers adorn archways, beamed ceilings, and monochromatic marble floors pay homage to Saint Laurent’s original design aesthetic.

Conran has added his influence on the interiors with flowing voile curtains, intricate fretwork, brass hardware, veined marble, rattan wall panels, headboards, and furniture, whilst Mother-of-pearl inlaid mirrors, Mauritanian leather, and reed rugs complete the look. Each suite is assigned a specific colour, from golden yellow in the Meknes suite to forest green in the Marrakech suite. The thoughtful use of colour, balanced with pure white elements, creates a serene and vibrant atmosphere in each room. 

Outside, the hotel’s grounds are a lush, floral oasis. Thanks to Conran’s vast restoration and replanting program, more than 6,500 new plants, shrubs, and trees have been added to the property’s gardens, including sweeping lawns, banana palms, ferns, bamboo, citrus trees, hollyhocks, roses, and bougainvillea. Amidst the flourishing greenery, guests will find two pools: one carved into the clifftop’s rocks and cascading with water, and the other a smaller hammam plunge pool, creating a natural sanctuary of calm.

In addition to its stunning design, Villa Mabrouka also features a restaurant and bar that provide a menu that will take guests on an outstanding culinary journey. The three dining destinations showcase menus highlighting fresh ingredients infused with unique blends of Moroccan spices. These meals can be enjoyed either at the elegant rooftop bar or, for a more exclusive dining experience, at one of the private dining pavilions, including one of the original pavilions designed by American architect Stuart Church. 

Villa Mabrouka is an exhibition of the creative talents of both Yves Saint Laurent and Jasper Conran. This Moroccan gem seamlessly marries history with luxury, creating a destination that not only honours the legacy of its past but also invites guests to immerse themselves in an oasis of style, elegance, and natural beauty. Conran’s sensitive restoration and modernisation to turn this building into a hotel have elevated the villa to a new level of luxury, preserving its historical charm while offering guests a refined and enchanting experience. Ranging from $360 to $1080 per night, the 12 suites invite visitors to immerse themselves in the colours, textures, and tranquillity that once inspired one of the best fashion designers of our time.