Morocco – The Angsana Riads of Marakech

Ok. Take a break from your trowel and potting mix, oven and stove and let me take you on the adventure of a lifetime.
This is the breakfast room at our hotel in Marakech, Morocco – The Angsana Si Said Riad. Heavenly isn’t it?
The Angsana Resort Group has a collection of 6 riads in Marakech ( former aristocratic homes) in the Old Medina which have been exquisitely converted into luxury accommodation while preserving their historical features.
Each riad has a central courtyard, spacious rooms, pool, a fireplace, and roof terraces.  There are beautiful zellig (ceramic art) tiles, gabbs (picked honey comb plaster work) and tagguebasts (cornices of sculpted plaster) all restored by local artisans.
I Dream of Jeannie meets Arabian nights…..
Being a former French colony, breakfast is a combination of croissants, pastries, eggs and jams or traditional Moroccan breads, rotis and cheeses. And the perfumed filtered coffee and mint tea will leave you in raptures.
Service is 5 star. Your every indulgence is seen to efficiently and discreetly.
Each riad has a menu of local Moroccan dishes including of course a wide variety of tagines. They feature the local ingredients of goat, lamb, chicken, almonds, dried fruit, saffron and paprika.
intricate mosaic floors

The bedroom suites are adorned by tadelakt, a Moroccan plastering technique, and have local antiques, hand-woven carpets, and contemporary artifacts and textiles.

Outside, the Old Medina is buzzing with motorbikes, noisy crowds and loud merchants spruiking their wares. But in our room it is an oasis of calm.

The bathrooms are mesmerising, magical places consisting of curved plastered walls, flickering lanterns and relaxing body treatments.

You’re transported to another world…

And then you experience your first hamman – the Morrocan weekly spa and massage ritual.
You lie on stone slabs in warm softly lit treatment rooms and are washed down with strong jets of warm cleasing water. Then you are scrubbed down with desert crystals, rubbed with exotic oils extracted from lavender, rose and argan and lotions made from orange and lemon peels.

And after an hour’s massage you won’t recognise yourself. I literally floated out the room.

then some mint tea and Moroccan sweets….

and a relaxing drink on the roof-top terrace. While Morocco is a Muslim country, all the Angsana riads have terrific wine lists serving surprisingly excellent local wines. The Romans first introduced wine-making to the region and France developed the industry into a thriving export business until the French relinquished control of Morocco in 1965. My favourite was a Chateau Roslane white from the Les Celliers de Mekenes winery. It’s a pity more Moroccan wines don’t find their way to Australia.
The Koutoubia Mosque built in the 12th Century. The amplified call to prayers 5 times a day across the city takes a little getting use to.
donkeys and carts are still the best way of getting around in the narrow streets and souks.
The Angsana resorts are all situated a short walk from the busiest square in Morocco – the Jemaa el Fna.
This is one crazy place that has to be experienced to be believed. You’ll find snake charmers, monkey-sellers, food stalls, acrobats, dancers and musicians.
And if all this isn’t enough the Angsana’s managers will arrange tailored tours for you. We enjoyed a guided walking tour through the city with our brilliant guide Ismail. We also drove East through the deserts and oases to the white-washed seaside resort of Essaouira.
On our way we saw what looked like an hallucination. But it wasn’t. There were goats in this tree. Apparently the fruit of the argan tree are delicious and the local goats often clamber up to the top branches for a feed!
And the next day a breath-taking trip over the snow-covered Atlas mountains to the 12th Century fortress city of Ait Benhaddou.
Marakech is a dizzy exotic whirl of colour, excitement, romance, and adventure.
It will leave you breathless.
Saucy Onion stayed as a guest of the Angsana Morocco Riads Collection

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