MOROCCO – Morocco’s national state-owned railway company ONCF (Office Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Maroc) is planning to sell the luxury La Mamounia hotel in Marrakech.

The company’s General Director, Rabbi Khlie revealed that ONCF intended to sell the hotel to another state institution to get rid of a US$1 billion of debt.

ONCF owns 60% shares in hotel La Mamounia which is regarded as one of the most prestigious buildings in the Maghreb country.

 In February 2019, Morocco’s government privatized several public institutions. The Mamounia Hotel, built in the early 1920s by French architects Henri Prost and Antoine Marchisio, is one of a number of public institutions that will be part of the privatization initiative.

The hotel with more than 150 rooms has hosted businessman and renowned figures throughout its history including Winston Churchill, Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, Mick Jagger, Edith Piaf, and Jacques Chirac.

The hotel which includes Moroccan salons, riads, and more than 60 suites recently announced key plans for renovation, with a closure expected from May 25 to September 1, 2020 to complete the projects.

The refurbishment which will be conducted by Parisian firm Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, will see a full overhaul and reimagination of the culinary spaces and a structural facelift of the rooms and public areas.

The hotel noted in a statement the refurbishment will ensure a smooth transition of eras and a delicate rebalancing of the energies.

“The new-look property will deliver a new contemporary concept, whilst maintaining the traditional taste recognised at La Mamounia,” the statement noted.

La Mamounia hotel’s General Manager Pierre Jochem said, “We look forward to the challenge that will see La Mamounia refurbished, both representing the current day and a 95-year-old property that has maintained its charm and heritage through the decades”,

This will be the second time that La Mamounia is being given a face lift. The hotel was first renovated in 2019 by World-renowned French architect and hotel designer Jacques Garciain.