Monday, July 19, 2010

Sweet dreams in Marrakesh

If ever there was a pleasant travel surprise, I got it when I entered my little hotel in Marrakesh, the Riad Altair. I had arrived in the middle of the night at Marrakesh airport and got somewhat concerned when my taxi driver, after entering through one of the gates in the wall surrounding the Medina, came to an upruptt stop and explained that we would have to walk the rest of the way to the hotel bececause the car couldn't enter. Small, dark alleys opened up but I had no choice than to trust him and follow. He stopped in front of a wooden door and banged the brass knocker. The door opened and I thought I had walked right into a movie set. The Altair, one of several converted riads scattered throughout Marrakesh's medina has only 6 rooms, but what rooms they are. They are arranged around an inner courtyard on two floors, spacious, airy and equipped with anything one could possibly wish for, starting with fresh roses, beautiful furniture, silver bottles filled with creams and gel and a silver hammered sink in the bathroom. Service is also impeccable, it was no problem to get a freshly squeezed orange juice and a (silver) pot of coffee at nearly 4 am. Breakfast is either served in the patio or on the roof terrace and it is copious, with a different egg dish every day. Pillow covered divans are placed in niches around the patio,and there is even a tiny pool where you can dip into or just cool your feet. An ideal place for honeymooners or travelers who want to experience Moroccan atmosphere and hospitality at its best and at a very reasonable price too.