The grand entrance to the Sofitel Jardin des Roses is perched on a hill near Rabat’s Hilton forest. It’s a bit out of the way from downtown and the Medina, but once you step inside you’ll forget about all of that.
When I first walked into the Sofitel lobby and waited to check in, a glorious wall of rose scent wafted over me, which smelled absolutely terrific. I felt like I had entered a sultan’s palace. The lobby is full of eclectic shops where you can buy luxury handicrafts at Saydart, decorative items and flowers at Rokaflor, and Moroccan antiques and pottery at Yazamane.
Outside, the hotel’s Andalusian grounds seem to be straight out of a fairytale and make for a serene walk. There are hammocks and daybeds lining the paths, and of course the huge garden where you can literally stop and smell thousands of roses. Orange trees can also be found all throughout the gardens. When I saw them I thought they simply looked too delicious to resist, and luckily guests are free to take them — once I noticed the small rubbish bins underneath intended for discarding peels, I promptly ate several. The pool is also large and elegant, and sunbathers hang out here throughout the day. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to jump in as the pool closes fairly early (at 6 pm), even when there is still plenty of daylight out.
The rooms are decorated in a modern Moroccan style. The bed is adorned with royal purple tapestry and vivid orange pillows, and the rest of the room follows a similar color scheme. You’ll want to dive right onto the bed, which is like a giant fluffy marshmallow that you can just sink into. It’s surrounded by hanging vintage-style glass lamps and reading lights on both sides. The minibar is stocked with wine, water and snacks, though of course its a bit pricey. Bathrooms are covered in sleek white marble, glass, and black screens that can be pulled back for privacy. The bath tub is even long enough even for a tall guy like myself. Dozens of switches are available around the room and on both sides of the bed to allow you to control every single light in the room.
Service at the hotel was impeccable, and the concierge was helpful with getting taxis. As mentioned, it’s a bit far from the medina and there’s not much nearby to walk to, meaning you’ll either need to rent a car or catch taxis whenever you want to go out. (For those interested in history, the incredible Roman ruins of Chellah are just a 5-minute drive away.) But it’s also easy to stay onsite, as there are several restaurants in the hotel featuring a mix of French and Moroccan cuisine, a night club, and even a cinema.
If you want to treat yourself to a fabulous weekend in Rabat, do yourself a favor and stay at the Sofitel Jardin des Roses. The only drawback is that once you’re ensconced in the hotel, you may not want to venture into the city at all. You can spend hours lounging around in the luxurious room, the over-sized garden beds, the hammocks, or around the pool. I found it hard to make myself get up, as I was so comfortable.