La Maison Arabe, one of Marrakech’s leading historic properties have been sold. Previously owned by Prince Fabrizio Ruspoli since 1994, the hotel’s deed has been transferred to Property Group Bonvests Holdings’ wholly-owned subsidiary Goldcove Pte Ltd. It acquired La Maison Arabe and several properties for a total sum of about S$29.93 million ($21.65 Million USD). These include La Maison Arabel’s 32 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a wellness center, swimming pool, cooking school, hotel operations building, and a country club located 15 minutes from the Moroccan Medina center.
The Prince or Fabrizio, comes from one of the oldest aristocratic families in Italy. In an interview with Swiss Universe, Fabrizio described feeling excited when he discovered the legendary property was for sale.
“The restaurant that had been shut for 20 years…I had the idea of opening up the house for friends to stay and possibly for paying guests, too. I wanted to give people the opportunity of living in the medina, at a historic site that would also be my own private house. The renovation work took more than two years. There were eight rooms, no restaurant, no central heating, neither a swimming pool nor air conditioning.”
Beyond the uniqueness and location of La Maison Arabe, what really caught his interest was the property’s story:
“Back in 1946, the Pasha of Marrakech had given permission to French mother and daughter Hélène and Suzy Sébillon-Larochette to open the first foreign restaurant in the medina. A lot of famous people came to eat there: Charles de Gaulle, Ernest Hemingway, the Queen of Denmark, Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Jackie Kennedy and even Winston Churchill…..(when I heard it was for sale)… I went along and knocked on the door. An old lady opened it and asked me what I wanted.” I said, “Madame, I would be interested in buying your house.”
Since Fabrizio acquired La Maison Arabe, his goal was to crate a charming and luxurious boutique hotel. It’s interior sets the standard of elegant Moroccan decor and is known for attracting interesting people. Its strong reputation has also been built on the legs of loyalty and consistency. Since day one, it has been run by the same team. One of the most important people in the hotel is the dada. Originally La Maison Arabe did not offer cooking classes, however, “Guests would always come in to watch the cooking. Later we created an onsite cooking school. The dada is a Moroccan head chef who introduces our guests to the secrets of Moroccan cuisine. Traditionally, dadas are highly respected women who look after the children and do the cooking in families. Their cooking is based on age-old traditions that are passed down from mother to daughter.”
Parent company Goldvein Holdings Pte Ltd, is a Singapore based, Chinese led company. It owns and manages various prime commercial and hotel properties primarily in Singapore and Australia. It has a large stake in a waste management and contract cleaning company.