Posts Tagged ‘Moroccan Riads’

Must See, Top Rated Palaces in Marrakech, Your Morocco Private Tour Guide

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Must See, Top Rated Places and Palace in Marrakech offers the perfect Insiders Guide to travelers who are visiting Morocco on a Private Tour. Don’t miss out on some of Marrakech’s Best places that range for Palaces to ancient Mosques. Known for it’s magnificent palaces and old world decor designed by the Moors with Andalusian flavor, Marrakech is a must on every travelers bucketlist.

Marrakech is home to several magnificent, must see Palaces located in the historic district, also referred to as the medina. When visiting Marrakech on a Private Tour to Morocco these Top Rated Palaces are historically significant and offer a window into the former lives of royalty who built and managed these century old lavish homes. The palaces of Marrakech are essentially riads (courtyard homes) based upon the concept of Roman villas with lush interior courtyards, ornate architecture, hand crafted cedar wood and painted ceilings and succulent gardens. Marrakech’s palaces are typically surrounded by walls given this was a tradition of protection and to prevent those passing by from seeing inside. Many of the Marrakech palaces and riads have been been transformed into boutique hotels and guest houses.

Several of the palaces such as the Bahia Palace, El Badi Palace, Dar Si Said Palace, are historic landmarks, that have remained open to the public as to visit on a Guided tour of Marrakech. These palaces are also used by art organizations such as the Marrakech Bienalle and the Marrakech International Film Festival for both public and private events.

Bahia Palace, Marrakech

Bahia Palace, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bahia Palace

The Bahia Palace was built at the end of 19th century by Si Moussa, grand vizier to the sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abderahmane 1859 -1873, as his personal residence. The work on the palace was continued by his son Ba Ahmed who was grand vizier to Sultan Moulay Hassan and the powerful regent to the young sultan, Abdel Aziz. They brought craftsmen from Fes who created carved and painted and guided wooden ceilings and reception rooms and numerous courtyards. The haphazard warren of rooms is partly due the growing number of official wives and concubines with their children. The most imposing feature is the vast courtyard used for official occasions and decorated with a central basin. It leads onto to gardens and palm trees. When Ba Ahmed died all his possessions were seized by the sultan and the palace is completely empty of fixtures and fittings. The Bahia has an imposing entrance through the main gate, which is just up from the Jewish Mellah. It was the headquarters of the French military during the French Protectorate and the American novelist Edith Wharton stayed there as a guest of Marshal Lyautey in 1917. The Royal family still uses the Bahia palace for official occasions.

Ben Youssef Medersa, Marrakech

Ben Youssef Medersa, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Youssef Medersa

Visit the Ben Youssef Madrasa, an Islamic college in Marrakech, Morocco, named after the Almoravid sultan Ali ibn Yusuf (reigned 1106–1142), who expanded the city and its influence considerably. It is the largest Medrasa in all of Morocco.The college was founded during the period of the Marinid (14th century) by the Marinid sultan Abu al-Hassan and allied to the neighbouring Ben Youssef Mosque. The building of the madrasa was re-constructed by the Saadian Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib (1557–1574). In 1565 the works ordered by Abdallah al-Ghalib were finished, as confirmed by the inscription in the prayer room. Closed down in 1960, the building was refurbished and reopened to the public as a historical site in 1982.

El Badi Palace, Marrakech

El Badi Palace, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

El Badi Palace

The El Badi Palace was built in the 16th century by the Saadian Sultan Ahmad al-Mansour following his victory over the Portuguese at the battle of the three Kings in 1578. This epoch making event changed the course of history as King Sebastian of Portugal and his allies were defeated and Portugal never again held sway in Morocco apart from a few costal outlets like El Jadida, Essaouira and Azemmour. The Sultanate of Morocco was at the pinnacle of its power. Portuguese ransoms and captured booty as well as Sub Saharan African gold and the sugar trade paid for the construction of the palace.
Sultan Ahmad al-Mansour died shortly after the El Badi’s completion in 1603. He had asked his court jester what he thought of his palace and the jester replied that it would make a fine ruin. By 1690 this came to pass, as Sultan Moulay Ismail stripped the El Badi completely to adorn his palace in Meknes. What you see today is a mere shell but it does give a sense of the massive proportions involved along with sunken gardens and dungeons. As so often in Moroccan history buildings were destroyed by conquerors or successors building their own stately palaces. There are fine views from the towers of the Medina and the Atlas mountains. Storks nest on the ramparts as they do along the high walls of the Royal Palace adjoining it. The Marrakech Folklore Festival Son et Lumiere with Berber dances and music takes place in July in the grounds of the El Badi and its huge ramparts and walls provide an imposing historical venue. The El Badi Palace has a museum and exhibits of which includes and a 12th-century minbar that once stood inside the Marrakech Koutoubia Mosque.

The Royal Palace, whose high walls and gates follow on from the El Badi, is also known as Dar el-Makhzen, is part of the imperial grandeur of Marrakech. It was built on the site of the Almohad Kasbah, by the Almohads in the 12th century and underwent changes by the Saadians in the 16th century and the Alaouites in the 17th century. It was one of the palaces owned by the Moroccan king, and the palace employed the most accomplished craftsmen in the city. The rooms are large, with unusually high ceilings for Marrakech, with zellij and cedar painted ceilings. At the entrance is an ancient pulley fastened to the ceiling.

Dar Si Said Palace & Museum of Arts, Marrakech

Dar Si Said Palace & Museum of Arts, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dar Si Said Palace & Museum of Moroccan Arts

Dar Si Said, also known as the Museum of Moroccan Arts, is located to the north of the Bahia Palace, right from the Rue Riad Ziroun el-Jedid. It was formerly the house of the brother of Bou-Ahmed, Sisi Said. The collection of the museum is considered to be one of the finest in Morocco, with jewelry from the High Atlas, the Anti Atlas and the extreme south; carpets from the Haouz and the High Atlas; oil lamps from Taroudant; blue pottery from Safi and green pottery from Tamgroute and leatherwork from Marrakesh. There is also a fine small garden laid out in classic Moroccan style but the glory of Dar Said is the carved and painted ceilings on the top floor which are the finest example of painted ceilings in Marrakech. Some of the wooden screens and frames were recovered from the El Badi palace. Today in the Middle East, Moroccan craftsmen are sought after as creators of Moroccan carved and painted ceilings in palaces and corporate headquarters. Their craftsmanship was displayed in the New York Metropolitan Museum exhibition “The Moroccan Court” in New York in 2011 and in the following year at the Shangri-La residence in Honolulu as part of a promotion for Moroccan business and cultural exchange between Morocco and Honolulu.

Dar Menebhi Palace, Marrakech

Dar Menebhi Palace, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dar Menebhi Palace

The Dar Menebhi Palace close to the Medersa Ben Youssef was built at the end of the 19th century by Mehdi Menebhi. The palace was carefully restored by the Omar Benjelloun Foundation and converted into a museum in 1997. The house itself represents an example of classical Andalusian architecture, with fountains in the central courtyard, traditional seating areas, a hammam and intricate zellij tile work and carvings. The museum’s large atrium (originally a courtyard, now covered in glass and fabric) contains a very large centrally hung chandelier consisting of metal plates decorated with fine geometric and epigraphic cuttings. Several features of the original courtyard, including the floor-set basins and mosaics have been retained. The museum holds exhibits of both modern and traditional Moroccan art together with fine examples of pottery and ceramics from Fes and Moroccan Jewish, Berber and Arab cultures.
Dar El Bacha

The Dar El Bacha on the Rue Bab Doukala was the palace of the Pacha of Marrakech, Thami El Glaoui, who was Pacha from 1912-1956. He entertained the cream of western high society with parties at Dar El Bacha with Winston Churchill, Colette, Maurice Ravel, Charlie Chaplin and many others. As he collaborated with the French protectorate and contrived to remove Sultan Mohamed V into exile in Madagascar, he was and remains, unpopular to this day. Although Sultan and later King Mohamed V forgave him on his return from exile, all Thami’s properties were confiscated after his death in 1956. The Dar El Bacha is now a Royal Palace and a trade union federation occupies part of its imposing edifice. It was rumored that a museum was to open there but nothing has transpired. Many would like to visit this palace but it remains closed.

For more information about Marrakech’s Palaces on a Guided Tour

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Travel Exploration Morocco donates 5% of our proceeds to Berber Villages through our charity organization called Project Feed. We are an ASTA approved travel agency and has won several accolades for our travel expertise.

Travel Exploration Trip Advisor Winner 2016 – Morocco Private Tours

Monday, November 14th, 2016
Dades, Valley, Morocco

Dades, Valley, Morocco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Exploration Morocco Private Tours has been awarded the Trip Advisor 2016 Certificate of Excellence.

The Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award is a testament to Travel Exploration’s High Standards and Service provided for Morocco Tours. The Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence honors Moroccan Travel Agents and Tour companies that consistently earn top ratings from Trip Advisor travellers. With a perfect rating of 5.0 Travel Exploration Morocco Private Tours has earned a place among the very best.

This achievement is a direct result of Travel Exploration’s consistent great reviews from Morocco travelers who have shared their experiences on Trip Advisor’s website. The Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award is a testament to Travel Exploration’s High Standards and Service provided for couples, family, and small groups tours who have visited Morocco with Travel Exploration. The Trip Advisor award is given annually to exceptional travel agents and Morocco tour operators. TripAdvisor places a spotlight on businesses that are focused on delivering great service to customers.

As a potential Morocco Traveler you can read what travelers who have visited Morocco with Travel Exploration Morocco’s Private Tours say on our Testimonials Trip Advisor page.

For More Information About Travel Tips Before You Go to Morocco or To Receive an Itinerary & Quotation, Visit our BOOK A TOUR page. We are an ASTA Certified Agency.

Travel Tips Before You Go: Morocco Private Tour & Boutique Travel Experiences – From Travel Exploration Morocco Private Tours:

1. Make sure to Book Direct with Travel Exploration. Request a package that is inclusive of a Private, Mutlilingual Speaking Driver, Boutique Riads and Local Historical Guides. Ask for their hand selected options that have been curated by the owner. Our team of expert, licensed Multi-lingual guides and drivers will set in motion a memorable journey.

2. Research the tour offerings online as taking a Morocco Private Tour requires reserach and some planning on your own. Know what you want and decide whether you want an Imperial Cities or Imperial Cities and Sahara Desert Tour. Don’t miss out on the country wide site seeing options that are provided with the 1001 Arabian Nights 12 Day Tour, the Majestic Moroccco 2 Week Tour or if time is limited the One Week in Morocco Tour.

3. Take advantage of being able to book a Morocco Private Tour through a female owned company. Support a woman owned business. The owner of Travel Exploration, Alecia Cohen, is female, and a former magazine publisher, of Global Rhythm magazine and an executive who established Travel Exploration Morocco Private Tours with her Berber partner to show travelers the best of Morocco. Mrs. Cohen has lectured at the World Bank on Culture & Sustainable Development in Africa and has been featured in various print and television venues, including CNN Financial News, Entrepreneurial Edge, Crain’s, Entrepreneur, and The World.

4. Splurge when traveling to Morocco. Stay at Morocccan Riads, Moroccan Boutique Hotels and a Luxury Desert Camp. Don’t miss out on unique opportunities to take a Food Tasting Tour in Fes or Marrakech, a cooking class with a Daada Chef or cruise across the Sahara Dunes on a Quad. The extra spending you invest in on local activites will ensure a richer travel experience.

5. Ask about Restaurant, Shopping and Spa Recommendations. Travel Exploration has their finger on the pulse of all things Moroccan. They can arrange for local lunches with families in Berber villages, a special dinner where you can dine on the best, Moroccan cuisine with locals, or visit up market restaurants where you have an exclusive invite to a Moroccan wine bar. Shop locally or at upmarket boutiques and enjoy a wide range of Moroccan and Hammam/ Spa experiences. Travel Exploration has Insider Guides to Morocco Travel only available to those who book with them.

Morocco has much to offer with it’s wide range of Travel Experiences for Couples, Indipendent Travelers, Families and those interested in visiting for their Honeymoon.

For More Information about Travel Exploration Morocco’s Private Tours to Morocco

10 Experiences on a Tailor Made Morocco Tour

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
Moroccan Handicrafts, Shop the Souks

Moroccan Handicrafts, Shop the Souks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explore Morocco on tailor-made Private Tour. With the ability to fully customize, a Morocco Tour, a tailor-made experience delivers an authentic, private travel opportunity for couples, families and the indepdentent traveler. A tailor-made Private Tour also offers the flexibility to engage with locals, discover exotic foods, visit hertiage UNESCO Heritage sites, camp in the Moroccan Sahara Desert and stay at charming boutique riads and hotels.

10 Experiences A Tailor-Made Morocco Tour Offers:

#1. Visit Fes, A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Fes is the fourth largest city in Morocco and also known as one of the ancient imperial cities. It is separated into three parts, Fès el Bali (the old, walled city), Fès -Jdid (new Fes, home of the Mellah), and the Ville Nouvelle (the French-created, newest section of Fes. The Medina of Fes el Bali is believed to be the largest contiguous car-free urban area in the world.

#2. Take a Cooking Class with Daada Chef
Cooking Classes are conducted by a dada (traditional Moroccan cook) or a chef from and held at a kitchen in the medina or in a palmeraie garden setting. Classes are a total of 4 hours with an option of an add on of wines tasting accompaniment. At a typical half-day cooking class, travelers can learn to prepare an appetizer and a main dish, or a main dish and desert.

#3. Journey on a Food Tasting Tour
A Food Tour is a special opportunity to go deep in the heart of the a Moroccan medina and discover local delicacies. Food Tours are offered in both Fes and Marrakech, led by locals and serve as a replacement for lunch or dinner.

#4. Arabian Night Camping & Camel Trekking in the Sahara Desert
Camping in the Sahara Desert and taking a Moroccan Camel trek is the perfect to travel the south. Nomadic villages can be explored along with Kasbahs that are situated in palm groves, surrounding valleys, mountainous landscapes, gorges and sandy Saharan dunes.

#5. Casablanca’s Art Deco Tour of Architectural Sites
Casablanca is one of the most famous cities visited by first time travelers to Morocco and well known for the Hassan II Mosque. Lesser known are its’ Art Deco Architecture and Sites. Casablanca has long history of engaging architects who once built Anfa’s grandest buildings that have typical Deco features of wrought ironwork, vasilating arches and colored, stained glass in geomteric shapes. Visiting the Art Deco Historic sites of Casablanca is a rewarding and way to discoer the past.

#6. Breadbaking with the Berbers
Meet a local Berber family, partake in a cooking lesson of how to make traditional bread. Berber bread is baked in clay ovens or on volcanic rock and stuffed with a variety of local spices made from fresh, dried and smoked ingredients.

#7. Travel Morocco in a Private 4×4 Land Cruiser
Traveling by luxury, 4×4 Land Cruiser across Morocco will enable you to cover a vast amount terrain in the most enjoyable and relaxing way. This way of traveling is highly recommended to first time travelers to Morocco and also to those who want an intimate, personal experience that is seamless from beginning to end.

Boutique Riads & Hotels in Morocco, Photo of Riad Noir D'Ivoire by Elan Fleisher

Boutique Riads & Hotels in Morocco, Photo of Riad Noir D’Ivoire by Elan Fleisher

#8. Stays at Charming Boutique Riads & Hotels
Riads are restored palace style accommodations with courtyards, lush gardens, and traditional zellij tile work. Morocco is known for having the best, luxury riads that offer an Arabian Nights sensibility. The Best Riads can be found in Morocco’s old medinas. Riads offer a combination of traditional and modern decor with excellent service, luxury traveler amenities and local Moroccan cuisine.

#9. Visit The Roman Ruins of Volubilis
Volubilis also referred to by Moroccans as Walili (Arabic) was the administrative center of the province in Roman Africa called Mauretania Tingitana. The Mauritanian capital, founded in the 3rd century B.C., became an important outpost of the Roman Empire and was graced with many fine buildings. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the late fourth century AD and later reoccupied in the sixth century, under the Abbasids. Extensive remains survived and create now what is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Morocco.

 

#10. Shop in Morocco’s Souks for Handmade Crafts
Souks and markets are a major feature in Moroccan life, and among the country’s greatest attractions for Moroccan travelers. Each town has its special souk quarter, large cities like Fes and Marrakech have labyrinths of individual souks (each filling a street or square and devoted tone particular craft), and in the countryside there are hundreds of weekly souks, on a different day in each village of the region.

What Is Included In a Tailor-Made Private Tour
A tailor-made private tour includes luxury transportation in a 4×4, Viano or Minibus, accommodations at Boutique Riads and Hotels, a Multilingual Speaking Driver that is fluent in English, Arabic, French and Berber along with Licensed, expert Historical Guides. Whether you prefer Old cities, Roman ruins and the souks or the Sahara Desert, the High Atlas Mountains and natural wonders, a tailor-made tour will be customied to your personal interests.

For More Information or to Find Out More About Tailor Made Private Tours

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Visiting Morocco: 10 Things to Know Before You Go

Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Visiting Morocco, Traditional Riad Guest House

Visiting Morocco, Traditional Riad Guest House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1: Visas are not required to enter Morocco and most Vaccinations are not necessary. If you are an American citizen, Canadian citizen or citizen of the European Union, Japan, Brazil or South Africa you can travel to Morocco visa free. To be on the safe side, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends travelers be up to date on the following vaccations: Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid and Rabies.

Cooking Class Morocco, Make a Tajine

Cooking Class Morocco, Make a Tajine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2: Morocco is home to some of the world’s best cuisine and considered the culinary start of North Africa. Morocco is the perfect place to take a food tour or a  cooking class to learn how some of it’s favorite dishes such as Moroccan tajine, couscous, bastilla (pastilla) and Berber breads are made.

#3: Morocco is only 7 1/2 hours from Europe. With its relative proximity to Europe and increasingly easy to access from international airports, Morocco has long attracted visitors from abroad. A large part of its charm is due to its historical significance as a cultural crossroads between Arabic, Middle-Eastern, African and European cultures and communities.

#4: The Best Place to Stay in Morocco is a Riad.  A riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with a central courtyard restored to its original beauty. The word riad comes from the Arabic word for garden. As you tour with Morocco Traveler you will have the opportunity to stay in a variety of of riads ranging from renovated palaces to modernist kasbahs. A riad offers traditional accommodations for an authentic Moroccan journey.

#5: Wine is widely served and can be easily purchased in Morocco. While Morocco is a Muslim country it is a producer of its own award winning wines. Moroccan wine and beer can be enjoyed at riad, hotels and restaurants along with being widely purchased in small liquor stores and the larger French run grocery stores such as Carrefour. There is also a variety of European and South African wines available.

#6: Morocco dress attire for traveles is fairly liberal. During your visit to Morocco it is acceptable to wear most forms of clothing. Recommendations are to dress on the conservative side which indicates no shorts for men and women, low cut v-neck blouses or risque clothing. It is recommended for women to travel with a scarf for the sake of modesty and for both men and women to take off your shoes before entering someones home or a sacred space.

#7: Morocco is a cafe culture. All of the major cities, Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, Marrakech, Tangier and Essaouira have a repuation for having a popular cafe culutre. The new towns main boulevards are lined with cafes ranging from chic, to charming, boho to elegant and also the traditional “male cafes” frequented primarily by men, chatting or watching a food ball match. Cafe culutre in Morocco offers the opportunity to people watch and enjoy the local favorite “cafe nuss-nuss,” a small tea glass filled with half milk and have Arabic coffee.

#8: Mosques in Morocco are off limits to non-Muslims. Very few mosques in Morocco are open to non-Muslims enabling travelers to frequent the Hassan II mosque. The Hassan II Mosque’s, one of the world’s largest mosques, has a promontory that offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, Southern Morocco Region

Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, Southern Morocco Region

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#9: Don’t miss out on visiting Morocco’s Berber Villages and its natural wonders. Morocco is a vast country with 34 + million people. Make sure not to get stuck in large cities like Casablanca or Marrakech. Morocco offers so much more outside of its cities. Consider taking a private tour to Berber Villages, the Sahara Desert and exploring some of Morocco’s natural wonders such as the Dades Valley and Ait Benhaddou Kasbah. Southern Morocco is often referred to as the “real Morocco” and this region offers many site seeing opportunities for adventure travelers as does the North and the charming blue washed town of Chefchaouen.

 

 

Jewish Mellah

Jewish Mellah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#10: Morocco is safe for Jewish travelers and has a long standing history of Jewish Heritage. There are Jewish Heritage Sites in Casablanca, Meknes, Fes, Tangier, Marrakech, Essaouira and in the country side. Morocco lays claim to the only Jewish Museum in the Muslim worldMorocco’s history of Jewry and the co-mingling of Jews with Berbers and Arabs are a key factor in why Morocco is safe for Jewish Travelers today. Morocco is a country of Muslims, Jews and Christians. Jews first arrived in Morocco during pre-Christian times, accompanying the Phoenicians on their trade expeditions across the coast of Morocco.  In the countryside Jewish and Berber tribes tilled the soil side by side together for two thousand years speaking the Berber dialect. In the towns and cities  Jewish merchants and financiers were valued by successive Moroccan rulers who protected them.

For more information about Traveling to Morocco

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

5 Tips for Eco-Friendly Travel to Morocco & Abroad

Thursday, March 17th, 2016
Talassemtane Morocco-National Park Chefchaouen

Talassemtane Morocco-National Park Chefchaouen

Do you dream of taking a vacation to a place where there are wide open spaces? Magnificent desert landscapes, rocky gorges, ancient kasbahs sprawled across a mountain backdrop and bustling old cities? Are you also a nut for keeping conservation on your mind, being careful and conscious of the way you’re affecting the environment? Then countries like Morocco should be on your bucket list and there are plenty of ways to travel that don’t include messing up the planet (or at least having a lesser effect on it). They are all perfect for incorporating into your next great Moroccan or other travel adventure.

Whether you’re into green living at home or are just interested in the ways you can make this world a more sustainable, beautiful place, check out my tips for staying eco friendly on the road–you might be surprised how easy (and bespoke, and luxurious as well) it is to make yourself a travelling friend of the planet in particular when visiting Morocco.

Try a boutique riad, that is eco conscious, a work stay or eco lodge instead of a regular 5 star hotel.

There’s more to being environmentally friendly when you’re travelling abroad then having the maids not clean your room, or reusing your towel for your entire stay (although these are both good things!). If you really want to make a change in the way you travel, there’s two really great options that put the carbon emissions of staying in a resort or taking a cruise, and those options are work stays and ecolodges.

Spending a week in a riad in one of Morocco’s old cities offers the opportunity to know your host, be eco conscious and have the services along with comfortable amenities needed for your trip, whether it is a private tour or independent travel experience.

Work stays may be something you associate with a gap year or something students do as a study abroad program, but there are options available for people of all ages, and most of them are tamer than the Peace Corps. Try programs like the ones found on GoEco.org, you could be rehabilitating elephants in Thailand, providing medical assistance in Cambodia, helping out conservation efforts in the Great Barrier Reef or assisting with farms in Berber Villages in Morocco. Now what sounds cooler than that?

Sawadi Eco Lodge, Skoura

Sawadi Eco Lodge, Skoura

And ecolodges are no work and all play, just check out L’MaLodge, Les Jardins Des Skoura or in the Skoura Palmerie or Sawadi, a guest house located on an organic farm. The small, sleepy town of Skoura has a big market Souk every Monday and a small group of administrative buildings. Most impressive in Skoura are the many kasbahs that ripple through its dry rocky oasis. Skoura is referred to as the “Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs.” With the Valley of Almonds and Dades Valley nearby there are plenty of one-day excursions from Skoura. The eco lodges there serve organic cuisine from their gardens which guarantees a farm to table experience and all products used on their premises are bio/ organic.

Frequent places outside the norm.

New York City, London, Paris, Tokyo, Casablanca are all wonderful, destination hotspot cities, but once you get into them, the places that are really interesting are East End, Montmartre Shimokitazawa and Marrakech. Located in the same places as these hotshot places like Time Square, The London Eye, The Eiffel Tower, Majorelle Gardens and more, it’s the smaller, micro-communities within the big cities where you’ll want to grab a pint, shop for goodies, or book a reservation for dinner.

It’s not just because these places are outside the tourist bubble (though that’s a really great reason to stay away from them), but it’s because you’re putting money into the communities that support these bigger, larger-than-life tourist city centres and you’re getting a real look at how the people who live there, are actually living their lives. Perspective is pretty green, which leads me to my next point…

Buy only local, handmade gifts. Ditto for food and drink.

One of the greatest things about vacationing in general and in particular in Morocco, is going to a place and getting something handmade by artisans who live there; the wooden Kokeshi dolls show hundreds of years of folk art technique, Moroccan rugs show hundreds of hours of labor, and handmade leather sandals from Greek trace back before democracy. A shot glass isn’t going to get the same story.

Morocco Green Travel

Morocco Green Travel

When you buy cheap trinkets made in other countries and imported for the benefit of tourists, you undercut the local economy, driving down living wages, and making it harder for local producers to keep up. When it comes to tourist gifts, you’re also trading a silly shirt for something that was made with cultural consciousness and care; it’s just a better rule to shop and eat with the locals, it helps sustain their culture and keep your travel destination exactly how it is for years to come.

And please, for all that is wonderful in the world, don’t buy cheap electronics! Electronics overseas can be malfunctioning, made under terrible working conditions, headed for a giant, unhealthy dump, or are even potentially stolen (if it has an iCloud lock on it, you know it belonged to someone else first) and no one should go on vacation for an Android. Buy food, buy art, buy small doodads but never technology. Save those purchases for home.

Travel lighter.

Seems easy right, to take off the poundage when you’re travelling? Maybe not, but every pound counts, especially when you’re jetting all over the world. One of the best ways to cut down on excess weight is to just pare down to the essentials. Don’t take “what if” accessories, additional clothes for weather that is unlikely to happen; if it’s summer, no need to take a parka, although raingear is always a good idea.

Need help trying to figure out what to leave and what to take? Map out your itinerary, and consider what’s practical for your trip. A couple pair of shoes, interchangeable separates, and at least one nice outfit is a great place to start. If you’re still stumped, go through Travel Exploration’s A-Z packing guide for inspiration.

Ditch the water bottles.

There are very few things that everyone considers unanimously bad for the environment as water bottles (carbon emissions is just one of them). From containing dangerous chemicals to taking forever to decompose, water bottles are just about the worst thing that can end up in a landfill or in the ocean, choking the life out of an ecosystem somewhere.

How do you get away from this while travelling? There’s a couple of options. First, reuse the same water bottle over and over again if you have to; stop buying water in restaurants unless it’s tap (worried about clean water? take a purifying device or tablets along with you). Second, get a good water bottle that you can carry with you wherever your feet might take you. Avex Brazos is a good bet (it’s BPA-free plastic), as are the Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Vaccum (great for insulation, keeps cold cold and hot hot), and the popular, cheap favorite, Naigene.

Looking for more ways to make an impact around the planet and in Morocco during your visit or are you interested in sharing some of your green tips for travelling abroad? Leave a comment at the end of the article and I’ll try it out in my new travel routine. We’re always looking for better ways to connect with local communities and be a service -so please feel free to share your ideas with Morocco Travel Blog!

Bon voyage vert!

By Claire Lovesti – a self-confessed travel nut, traveling around the world since her mum farewelled her in a teary goodbye. For more information on Claire’s adventures through 48 cities in 26 countries on 4 continents you can read her blog at Traveltio.com

For more information about Eco-Friendly Travel and Tours to Morocco

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Morocco Boutique Hotels, The Insiders Travel Guide

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
Best Boutique Riads & Hotels, Marrakech

Best Boutique Riads & Hotels, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best place to take it all in on a Morocco holiday is to stay at one of Morocco’s Best Boutique Hotels or styish romantic retreats. Our Insiders Travel Guide offers a snapshot of some of the best places to stay on a Morocco vacation. Boutique Hotels and Riads in Morocco are known for their elaborate courtyard gardens and intimate spaces. Lush with leafy green flora, dry tolerant plants and colorful fauna, Morocco’s boutique hotels are filled abound with rose petals and orange trees perfectly arranged and candy to the eyes. Each boutqiue riad and hotel differs with some having extraordinary Andalusian or Moorish, Spanish Architecture,  hand carved marble fountains, elaborarate decor and traditional Moroccan tilework fit for a King or Queen. Morocco’s boutique hotels offer a wide range of design options for travelers ranging from very traditional to hip, chic modern and ultra contemporary.

Travelers to Morocco are guaranteed an Arabian Nights sensibility and to be taken back in time during their stay at a boutique hotel. Morocco’s boutique riads and hotels are where elegance is matched with Moroccan hospitality at its best. Morocco is the  land of mint tea, sugary pastries and  tajines, where the glorious Atlas Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for travelers visiting on a honeymoon, family adventure or private travel experience.

Best Boutique Riad Marrakech Terraces

Best Boutique Riad Marrakech Terraces

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Insiders Guide to Morocco’s Best Boutique Hotels and Riads offers a hand curated selection of places to stay. Our impressive list of Marrakech Riads, Fes Riads, Chefchaouen, Essaouira Riads, High Atlas luxury guest houses and the Great Southern Desert Camps are perfect for a sunset cocktail, a Moroccan meal and down time when vistiing Morocco.

Insiders Guide: Morocco’s Best Riads and Boutique Hotels, Where to Stay:

Where to Stay in Marrakech:
Riad Kniza is one of Marrakech’s most prized Riads and offers a captivating experience for travelers. Owned by a family of Moroccans for over 2 centuries this restored Riad boasts traditional décor with elegant Moroccan fabrics, Moorish architecture, open courtyards, a library, drawing room, a dipping pool and magnificently arranged rooftop terrace. From a warm welcome of mint tea and Moroccan pastries to rose petals and fresh flowers poignantly placed. Well attended by celebrities such as Bill Gates and Garry Kasparov, this un pretentious luxury Riad is the place to stay. Property Amenities: Hammam, Massage, Restaurant, Dipping Pool, Laundry Service, Wifi. We suggest dining on their rooftop terrace at least once.

La Maison Arabe is Marrakech’s first restaurants and original Riads is a leading boutique hotel with the essence of traditional Moroco meets old world Italy. La Maison Arabe has endured the test of time. This traditional boutique riad is ideally situated in the Marrakech medina. It offers a combination of stylish and intimate luxury with hotel amenities. La Maison Arabe has old world architecture and a romantic interior making it one of Morocco’s most sought out places to stay. Each room is uniquely decorated with antiques and ancient artwork, Moroccan carpets and a combination of local and imported fabrics. There is an elegant Piano Bar on site that sets the tone for a late afternoon or early evening aperitif. Property Amenities: Spa, Gym, Swimming Pool, Laundry Service, Wifi, Cooking Class. Try their luxurious massage or cooking class with a Dada Chef.

Riad Idra is an elegant Moroccan, riad located in the Dar El Bacha region of the Marrakech medina. Riad Idra is a luxurious cocoon shielded from the commotion of the ochre city and a well-hidden jewel. A contemporary house full of light and jewel-like decor it offers an outlet to the world of sight and sound for a magical stay.  Property Amenities: Spa/Traditional Hammam, Rooftop terrace Wifi.

Best Boutique Riad Courtyard Garden, Marrakech

Best Boutique Riad Courtyard Garden, Marrakech

Riad Samarkand is a 19th century riad renovated by a Parisian couturier; with terraces, a small garden and oriental decor. This is a secret hideway frequeneted by those who are interested in staying in a peaceful place away from the souks with wide terraces and a laid back vibe. Property Amenities: Dipping pool, sun terrace, Hammam, Laundry, Wifi.

Riad Tzarra is a traditional riad close to the souks, located in a typical neighborhood in the Marrakech medina. Newly restored by the celebrated architect Christophe Simeon, Riad Tzarra offers guests discreet charm in a traditional environment and first class service in the very heart of Marrakech. Property Amenities: Spa / Traditional hammam, Dipping Pool, Wifi and Laundry services.

Best Boutique Riad Villa Rabat

Best Boutique Riad Villa Rabat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Stay in Rabat:

Villa Mandarine is a boutique garden hotel nestled in the heart of an orange grove on three hectares of land. Villa Mandarine perfectly marries comfort and hospitality. The property and garden filled with bouganvilla, succulents and other plantation offers a peaceful hideaway that is close proximity of Rabat’s city center. Property Amenities: Spa, Gym, Swimming Pool, Gardens, Fireplaces, Shaded terraces, Billard Room, Laundry Service, Wifi

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Riad Kalaa is a boutique riad dating from the Almoravide dynasty that was built by the Ermir Ben Tachfine on the banks for the Bouregreg river. This well appointed charming Riad in Rabats historic district is just steps away from the ocean. Property Amenities: Dipping pool, Spa, Fireplaces, Shaded terraces, Laundry Service, Wifi

Riad L’Alcazar is a luxury boutique Riad with designer décor and grand elegance. This well appointed Riad is the perfect place to overnight during a visit to Rabat. With wonderful roof terrace and views of the medina charm awaits you. Property Amenities: Hammam, Terraces, Wifi

Best Boutique Hotel Fes, Luxury Amenities

Best Boutique Hotel Fes, Luxury Amenities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Stay in Fes:

Riad Fes is a Relais & Chateaux Property and the premiere luxury boutique hotel with class and authenticity in the heart of the historic medina in Fes. This charming, now sprawling Riad has been restored with impeccability and combines traditional Spanish Moorish architecture with Modern touches. The decor has been designed with inspiration of a serene atmosphere reminiscent of Arabian Nights by the owner who is an architect. A stay at Riad Fes will allow you to travel back in time and enjoy the splendor of the lifestyle of Fassi nobility. The garden offers moments of freshness under the shade of orange, lemon and bay trees. Property Amenities: Swimming Pool, Terraces & Panoramic Garden, Traditional Hammam/ Spa, Gourmet Restaurant, Wine bar, Wifi and Laundry services.

Palais Amani is a fourteen bedroomed opulent Riad in Fes that offers refined dining with magnficent views. This Art Deco influence riad with a melange of traditional and contemporary decor has a wonderful Moroccan salon, a library, rooftop bar, extensive terraces, a traditional hammam and spa and all of this close to the Golden triangle in the ancient medina in Fez.  Property Amenities: Moroccan Salons, Terraces, Restaurant, Wine Bar, Traditional Moroccan Hammam, Garden, Wifi and Laundry services.

Best Boutique Riads Moorish Architecture

Best Boutique Riads Moorish Architecture

Dar Roumana, House of the Pomegranate, is one of the leading traditional boutique riads  in the Fes. Framed by lush olive groves and the ancient ruins of the medina walls, Dar Roumana offers a richness and comfort typical of a traditional Fassi guesthouse. Relax with a book and a glass of Moroccan mint tea on the spacious sun-drenched roof terrace with a spectacular view of the entire medina and Atlas Mountains. After dinner prepared by their Cordon Bleu chef, retire to the library for a fire-side game of chess or choose a movie from our video and DVD collection. Each of Dar Roumana’s suites contains the work of local artisans: original mosaic tile floors, intricate carved plaster, rich cedar ceilings and doors, and hand-crafted furnishings. Property Amenities: Terraces & Panoramic Garden, Gourmet Moroccan and International cuisine, Laundry Services, Wifi

Karawan Riad is a sophisticated, luxury, boutique hotel of seven, chic suites that are set within a glorious 17th century home. Harmony is key at this magnificent courtyard property where the combination of texture, motif and artifacts create unique hand curated interiors. All seven suites have king sized beds, exquisite bed linens and writing desks. Trickling fountains are surrounded by flora and fauna for cozy dinners that of local Fassi cuisine offered up by Chef Outhmane’s and Chef Mahmoud. This boutique riad has the amenities of a hotel and design that sings the name of Archiectural Digest. Property Amenities: Rooftop Terrace, Restaurant, Wifi
Best Boutique Hotel in Skoura

Best Boutique Hotel in Skoura

Where to Stay in Skoura:
Les Jardins Des Skoura is unassuming converted farmhouse nestled in the Skoura palmeraie, not far from the High Atlas Mountains. Blissfully off the beaten track, Les Jardins Des Skoura is an oasis of stylish accommodation. It is set in huge gardens crammed with sunflowers, vines, and apricot, olive, and pomegranate trees.  The Berber Chef offers a wonderful dining experience with farm to table cuisine using the organic incredienets made with olive oil produced on the Skoura palmerie. A must when consdiering a stay in Morocco’s Great South. Property Amenities: Swimming pool, Panoramic garden views of Skoura Palmeraie, Wifi

L’Ma Lodge is a boutique, chic guest house in the heart of the Skoura palmeraie owned by Vanessa and Xavier. It is named after from the Arabic word for water. A true Oasis in this verdant, green region, L’Ma Lodge is a hidden jewel perfect for honeymooners and those searching for an intimate stay in Skoura. Created from a traditionally built adobe house, complete with kasbahs, the main lodge is surrounded by an outdoor garden and glorious palms along with fruit trees and flowering plants. Meals combine Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine with local Berber speciality dishes.  Property Amenities: Heated swimming pool, Restaurant, Fireplace, Wifi

Best Boutique Riad, Chefchaouen

Best Boutique Riad, Chefchaouen

Ryad Lina is an upmarket, elegant Riad centrally located in the blue washed city of  Chefchaouen. It features several layers of rooftop terraces that offer magnficent views. There is an onsite spa, indoor private heated pool, hammam and Jacuzzi hot tub. Decorated in Chaouen and Riff decor this boutique hotel of suites is spacious and the perfect spot for an intimate and luxury stay.   Property Amenities: Private Swimming Pool (Heated) Spa/ Hammam, Roof top Terrace, Traditional Moroccan cuisine, Lounge, Laundry Service, Wifi

Dar Eschaouen is situated in front of the medina near the River “Ras El Ma” this is one of the funkiest hotels in Chefchaouen. A blend of traditional Moroccan architecture and modern comforts Dar Eschaouen offers rooms and suites that are decorated in a Arabo-Hispanic flavor. Fully decked in bright colors, colors fabrics and furnished with paintings the local touches of Moroccan culture come alive.  Property Amenities: Swimming Pool, Spa, Roof top Terrace, Restaurant, Lounge, Laundry Service, Wifi

Casa Perleta is a traditional Chaouen guesthouse tucked in a small corner not far from the Bab Souk entrance of the Medina. While the rooms are small they are comfortable and decorated with local textiles, paintings and furniture. There is a small roof top terrace that makes for a great place for reading a book. Property Amenities: Rooftop Terrace, Laundry service, Wifi

Dar Meziana is a charming B&B style riad is an example of the age-old traditional places to stay in the Chefchaouen. While a bit dated, Dar Meziana is an authentic Moroccan guesthouse filled with Chaouen furniture, paintings and a most artful décor. One could even refer to it as “this old house” with its wood interior and breakfast bar which serves up traditional tea and some of the best pastries in the town. Property Amenities: Rooftop Terrace, Wifi

Best Boutique Hotel, Essaouira

Best Boutique Hotel, Essaouira

Where to Stay in Essaouira:
L’Heure Bleue Palais is a luxury boutique hotel that is built into the medina walls of the coastal town of Essaouira. An oasis of calm in laid-back Essaouira it serves as the ideal place to stay for those interested in luxury hotels. Dripping with heavy carvings, fabrics, lamps and wooden-shuttered windows, rooms are cavernous, and luxurious. Owned, by Andre Azult, the Jewish Secretary of the King, L’Heure Bleue is also ordtained with the hand carved Star of David which is configured richly across the entrance salon.  Property Amenities: Spa Services, Traditional Hammam, Swimming Pool , Cinema Room, Rooftop Terrace, Bar, Gourmet Restaurant, Laundry Services, Wifi

Villa De L’O is a former almond storage depot is one of Essaouira’s most charming luxury boutique hotels. Hidden behind the medina walls and just across from the Portugese ramparts, this 18th century elegantly furnished traditional boutique riad offers colonial style elegance. Villa De L’O is decorated with Moroccan and European antiques. It has a wonderful French salon, caged birds that chirp, elaborate bathing areas in each room with sweeping views of the Atlantic from the roof terrace. Tea service on arrival with pastries is a must along with sunset cocktails with a sea view. The roof overlooks ramparts, souks and the Essaouira beach. Property Amenities: Rooftop Terrace, Restaurant, Laundry Services, Wifi

Where to Stay in the Sahara Desert:
Best Luxury Desert Camp, Sahara Glamping

Best Luxury Desert Camp, Sahara Glamping

 

Travel Exploration offers a Private Sahara Desert Luxury Camp that is well siutated southeast of the village of Merzouga in the heart of the Erg Chebbi Dunes. Located just one-hour drive from the city of Erfoud, this Luxury Desert camp is in the heart of the impressive sand dunes, away from the areas visited by tourists. The luxury tented camp consists of large bedroom tents and a big restaurant tent. The bedroom tents offer hotel room comfort and can comfortably accommodate a queen size bed, a spacious double bed, or three wide single beds. En suite facilities are comprised of a private washing area within each luxury tent. The restaurant tent has five tables, and offers traditional meals prepared by our chef, and served by candlelight with local Moroccan wines.

For more information about Where to Stay – Boutique Riads and Hotels in Morocco

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.  We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.