Rocking the Kasbah in Morocco

Whenever anyone mentions Morocco to me it always conjures a wartime image with furtive glances and covered mouths whispering as Humphrey Bogart scuttles through the streets of ancient Medinas. Indeed when I first stayed in Morocco I stayed at La Mamounia where Winston Churchill wrote many of his second world war memoirs. This time it was different though…..

This time I stayed at the Royal Palm Marrakesh. This is a hotel that up until 12 months ago was simply rocks and desert. Purposefully located 20 minutes outside Marrakesh the Royal Palm is set apart from the whirling cauldron of the town and instead lies near the tranquil foothills of the Atlas mountains.

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Despite being modern in age it is very traditional in style. Not unlike the Medina there are corridors and passages throughout the hotel that allow you to find that perfect spot to whisper your next secret or plot your next expedition. Wine racks, wooden paneling and log fires really do make you feel like you have stepped into a black and white movie. But unlike a movie set this is real. The quality of the finishing, the authenticity of the materials show that this hotel has substance as well as style. All of the modern facilities ranging from the spa and gym to the tennis court and 18 hole golf course are all tastefully done and fit into the historic style perfectly.

The location of the hotel is just right for people who would like access to the centre of Marrakesh but who do not want to be overpowered by it. A simple 20 minute taxi ride gets you into the madness and the same gets you out.

We had a fantastic time in the old town with our guide taking us through the 4,000 small side streets that make up the centre. Going into “one man” shops and being persuaded by a smile and extended arms to buy something whose use and purpose you are not quite sure of, is always a fun experience. You then venture into the food market where unlike the gifts in the shop, it can be all too apparent as to where the item in question has come from!

 

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Then from the old market in the old town you can walk to the new town. With every pace you step forward a decade until you are in the most modern of cities.

We found a local restaurant that occupied three floors and we enjoyed a traditional Moroccan meal  with the obligatory lamb tagine. Strong flavours, tender meat and a lively atmosphere made us stay until the early hours. Perhaps the  frequent introduction of belly dancers throughout the evening helped, but I couldn’t possible comment.

Had I rocked the Kasbah as the Clash so famously challenged?

Well at my age and with time constraints it was more like a pebble dash, but I look forward to coming back to create some proper stories for the alleyways to whisper about……….

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