The Strange, Wonderful Marrakech Manse of Ambassador F. Vreeland

If Frederick Vreeland’s famous Marrakech estate has long been a private-jet-set enclave, the public now has its chance to get an inside glimpse. The property has just been put up for sale, with an asking price of $2 million. Like many of its guests over the decades, the earth-colored house (official hue: “Marrakech la Rouge”) has an outsized, idiosyncratic personality. The Vreelands commissioned Anglo-French solar architect Dominic Michaelis to create the building, with the instructions that it should be designed with an elaborate game of hide-and-seek in mind. “We insisted that it should be almost impossible to find one’s way around,” says Vreeland. “People had to be able to get lost.”

Invitations to this sprawling 12,000-square-foot desert fortress in the Palmeraie, outside Marrakech, have long been coveted by luminaries and pleasure-seekers on at least three continents. The Vreelands’ giddy entertainments and days-long house parties are the stuff of legend in certain circles. (The house sleeps 16, but, Vreeland notes, more guests can be easily stashed away on the myriad veranda-and-living room couches and chaises.)

Mick Jagger used to let his offspring ride the Vreelands’ resident camel, Jamila; the rock star himself could occasionally be compelled to hop on the animal’s back for a ride around the house’s camel-racing track, nicknamed the “Chamodrome.” King Hassan II took an interest in the house’s grand eccentricities. Society photographer Slim Aarons shot the Moroccan-door-shaped pool for his book Poolside with Slim Aarons.  Read more about the home and the Vreelands’ world in this Vanity Fair story.

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