Mr. Charles Boccara is a Tunisian architect who grew up in Morocco. He completed his architecture training at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1968. He returned to live in Morocco permanently in 1971, and established his private practice in Marrakech. Mr. Boccara's body of work draws on local building traditions while aiming to create a modern architecture appropriate to Morocco.
The client wished to re-create the spaces and atmosphere of a 19th century Moroccan Palace and avoid at all costs the lack of character found in most contemporary hotels. The architect, in conjunction with the interior designer, were briefed to adapt local craftsmanship to a contemporary building design. The hotel comprises: 146 rooms and 8 suites, a conference hall, landscaped garden and swimming pools, a restaurant, a bar and ancillary services.
The main axis of the L-shaped hotel runs southwest to northeast, diagonally across the rectangular site. The entrance hall, hotel lobby, public reception areas as well as the garden and the swimming pool are symmetrically planned along this axis. The architectural treatment is based on a series of carefully defined medium-scaled spaces that each bear a unique character from the elaborate and colourful interior decoration they display. The building is spatially and visually broken down by calm patios, riyadhs (gardens), shaded retreats and narrow passageways alternating with high-ceiling, larger spaces. The entrance hall, a four-storey high octagon covered by a pyramidal roof, provides vertical circulation and gives access to both wings. The hotel is isolated from the street by two shopping arcades, and its gardens with fountains, pools, trellises and kiosks are reminiscent of those found in traditional residences.