New life for Yves Saint Laurent Mabrouk's beloved villa in Tangier

 Villa Mabrouka, Tangier, Morocco

Interior Design: Jasper Conran
Photos  ©  Andrew Montgomery

English stylist and designer Jasper Conran – the new owner of Villa Mabrouka, opens its doors as a new boutique hotel in Morocco, featuring twelve rooms wrapped in one of Tangier's most beautiful gardens.

Jasper Conran:

 “I had initially traveled to Tangier to purchase a tent to be used for excursions by clients staying at my other hotel in Marrakech. Stepping through the doors and into the garden, I knew immediately that this could be my second hotel project. I will never forget that first feeling of stepping out of the narrow streets of Tangier and into the villa's shady green courtyard, filled with banana trees and palms, before emerging into an oasis of large lawns and an incredible garden looking out to the sea.”

Jasper Conran:

“I have always admired the way Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé worked so diligently to draw attention to Morocco and to encourage its people and culture. But working at Villa Mabrouka has made me even more aware of its importance as a landmark and a place of historical significance.”

The architecture has a 1940s modernist layout, and it gives off all that bucolic tranquility and English Romantic eccentricity that Yves Saint Laurent was after. The updates includes much-needed retrofitting of the facilities and structure, addition of new rooms and garden cottages, three restaurants and kitchens (where the menu emphasises market-fresh Mediterranean ingredients and Moroccan spices), a rooftop terrace and cafe, a second pool and hammam, as well as three beautiful dining pavilions.

Jasper Conran:

“My goal has always been to preserve rather than reinvent. The house is still in its original form, with the original tiles on the floor, the rooms are still the same shape, the ceilings are all just as high. The spacious rooms have terraces overlooking the greenery, the sea and the Tangier sky, the whitewashed walls reflect the whiteness that connotes the Moroccan city.”

Jasper Conran:

"All the furniture was made in Morocco, with an emphasis on simple, graphic silhouettes. Almost everything in the hotel was custom designed and made locally, from the tableware and linens to the fabrics, furniture and lighting. I drew the blueprints for most of the pieces. I'm also immersed in perfecting each experience: how the coffee will be served , how the croissants will have been made each morning in the kitchen, how the gravy boat will feel in your hand. It's all about the details.” 

Jasper Conran:

"My goal has always been to protect the magic of the house and its beautiful gardens. In this I have been very touched by the kindness and encouragement shown to me by Madison Cox, president of the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation (who also designed the original garden) and the Moroccan authorities, whose enthusiasm for the project has been invaluable."

Jasper Conran:

 “I want to keep the air of Yves Saint Laurent alive around the villa. Ever since I can remember, Saint Laurent has meant an immense amount to me—where some children worshipped footballers, I admired Saint Laurent. He was a genius: a man who loved his craft and was so brilliantly articulate at putting his finger right on the pulse, at the right time, in the right way. So, for me, becoming custodian of Villa Mabrouka is purely serendipitous and accidental but a very romantic story.”

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