Have you ever tried getting into Fort Knox? No? Well, neither have we. That is why we were absolutely perplexed when we came across its twin brother in Marrakech – the legendary hotel La Mamounia. Called by Winston Churchill “the most beautiful place on earth”, it is heavily guarded to stop any onlookers from taking a glimpse inside. However, the samandthedunes team couldn’t just take no for an answer. We had long wanted to see the famous hotel bar where Churchill and Hitchcock hanged out and where Sarah Jessica Parker probably had a few Cosmos while filming Sex and the City 2. So, our team in the best traditions of Ocean’s Eleven decided to develop a full-proof plan to get in. Everything had to be meticulously taken into account, nothing left to chance.
Attempt #1: Look as relaxed as possible, avoid eye contact, talk jovially and briskly try to pass the guards as if we owned the place. FAILURE. Face control figured us out faster then Sir Winston can down a cognac (back to the drawing board).
Attempt #2: To book one night at La Mamounia at very, we mean very short notice. This way we could easily squeeze in a dinner at the restaurant and a drink at the Churchill Bar. FAILURE. Hotel was fully booked (we hear that after this story was posted, Woody Allen was looking for our phone number).
Attempt #3: Ask the concierge at our hotel to book us a table at the bar. FAILURE. She called back in 2-3 seconds: “sorry (losers) it’s fully booked”.
Attempt #4: (last try before Sir Winston starts giggling in his grave) To attach ourselves to a group of hotel guests, mingling, laughing at their jokes while trying to sneak by the Fort Knox honchos once again. The group we leeched unto eyed us as if we were Freddy Krueger and Morticia Addams (an interesting pair, we have to admit) but BINGO, we were in!
Once we found the restaurant “Pavillon de la Piscine” we were told rather sternly (pupils rolling, how did these bozos get in!) that guests from outside were not served either lunch or dinner and that if we wanted something nourishing we should proceed to the terrace “snack bar”. Now, a snack bar usually is associated with a sandwich or two, maybe a pizza. This one had waiters that would easily fit in the Buckingham Palace and a menu that would shame most bistros on Champs Elysées. We can honestly say, hand on heart, that for the first time we have eaten a hamburger for 40 dollars.
On the way out (snickering how we outdid the security detail, heh, heh), we were passing by THE legendary bar. Unfortunately, it was not open. But we saw the closed doors. They looked heavy. Very heavy.
Sir Winston, Cheers! Have a drink for us upstairs, since we seem to fail down here.