Sunday, September 14, 2008

Morocco Part I: Accommodations

This has been quite a week. Last Friday, I was promoted to a new position, so my days have grown longer and more intense. As a result, I have not had as much time at night to write here. But I am going to do my best to get back into a rhythm! Now, as I promised last weekend, I am going to start coverage of Michael's and my trip to Morocco last November for our honeymoon.

Why Morocco for our honeymoon? "How did we come up with that crazy idea?" Michael and I take a moment to ponder. Well, we decided pretty quickly that we didn't want to go to any of the typical honeymoon destinations. We wanted to go some place exotic...but it also had to be relatively close (no more than one day of transit time). It also had to be some place that neither of us had been to before, which ruled out some options in Latin America and Europe.

I found a package trip online for a trip to Marrakesh, Morocco that looked very interesting. It included a stay in a riad (a traditional Moroccan house or palace that has interior courtyards or gardens), candlelight dinners on the rooftop overlooking the city, a daytrip to the nearby Atlas mountains, a visit to a fancy hamam (steam bath spa), and more. I showed it to Michael, and he said, "Let's go!"

Now, this was a rather expensive package, so we decided to put together our own trip, using the web and Lonely Planet. TripAdvisor led us to a French-owned riad, Dar Silsila. At that time, it was the #1 rated hotel in Marrakesh (it's since slipped to a still exceptional #4 out of 309 properties).

The hotel looked great, and it was very reasonably priced -- no small feat, we found out, in surprisingly pricey Marrakesh. The reviews were all glowing, and reviewers said that the best part of staying there was that the owner helped his guests put together their trips: making reservations at some of the best restaurants in town, planning daytrips, and recommending the most interesting things to see and do. Ah-hah! A hotel that can help us create our own package! And the top of the TripAdvisor list to boot!

I got in touch with Jean Patrick, the owner, via email, and we quickly made our reservation for the Junior Suite. When we went, Jean Patrick was just finishing up some additional guest rooms. Originally, the place had 4 rooms, but now there are several more to accommodate all the people who want to stay.

But enough with the description! Here are the pictures we took!

Our room, the Junior Suite -- not an actual suite, but it was very romantic and it did have a sitting area. We sometimes would return to our room and find red rose petals strewn on the bed.

The sitting area of our room -- the narrow doors are to closets

Tiles at the threshold of our room. The tilework everywhere was amazing!

One of the courtyard sitting areas. There were candles at night, and the sofas were very comfortable.

Looking down at the courtyard from our room -- water feature to the left and a table set for dinner to the right. We had dinner here twice.

Breakfast in the courtyard: coffee, fresh orange juice, local bread, fresh yogurt, honey, preserves, and butter were included in the room rate.

Dar Silsila is along a narrow, unassuming alley. You have no idea what beauty lies inside!

Next up: our first taste of Marrakesh!


mom said...

Holly, looking at your photos and reading the accounts that accompany them make me feel as if I'm right there in Morocco. What a wonderful "virtual" travel experience! Thank you!

Rebecca said...

How beautiful Marrakesh (sp?) is! Well, actually your accommadations in Marrakesh! Hopefully I'll get to visit there someday. . .and, congrats on your promotion! Much deserved I'm sure!

Holly said...

Thanks for the well wishes, Rebecca! I hope you'll get a chance to visit Marrakesh someday. You'll love it!

Mom, I'm glad you're enjoying your virtual trip to Morocco! Stay tuned for more!

Payal said...

Hi Holly,
My name is Payal, I also live in the heights. Thanks for your posts, my finacee and I are also planning on going to Morocco for our honeymoon, we're getting married in June. It's been great reading your posts, we've already gotten some great ideas for our trip!

Holly said...

Hi Payal,

That's fantastic! I've got some more posts about Morocco coming up, so stay tuned. If you have any specific questions, feel free to drop me an email at gonnamakeachange at gmail dot com. I wish you all the best!