I came, I saw, and was not conquered - I was bowled over. As you come off the main road and start the three kilometre drive to this hidden gem be prepared to drive along a long dusty road until you reach this hidden haven. Be prepared to be amazed and do be prepared to speak some French! I was welcomed with open arms and because I can speak the language I was immediately invited to join the family who had gathered to celebrate a birthday of one of the children.
Armadine is a pretty, lively, warm and welcoming lady. Her husband Nicholas is delightful and both have better looks than Branjolina - maybe this is the new Nichomandine as they both have movie star looks. This couple are adorable. You are made to feel at home and join in . It was still a tad cool for lounging by the pool - but that was because there was a little wind. By late March that will not longer be an issue. This place is quiet - very quiet and after 3 days of noise and hussle in Marrakech it was like balm to the soul. With the snow capped Atlas mountains in the background, the whole place looks like a stage for an elegant movie shot. The apartments - they cannot be called rooms are spacious and airy and clean as a whistle. I breakfasted and dined well on delightfully cooked meals that tasted as though they were prepared for a family rather than a hotel guest. There is wine or beer on request and breakfast is washed down with freshly squeezed juice and it was delicious. They clearly have access to an excellent Boulanger as the bread and Petits Pains were of excellent quality. You will never leave the table feeling hungry.
As others have said (mostly in French!) the design is a beautiful pool surrounded by a few pavilions. I had a large sitting room and a small kitchenette. Water was left out with glasses - There were two rooms - one with a fair size double and the other with two single beds. The shower and toilet completed the suite - there are lashings of extremely hot water so a little testing is needed to make sure that it is not too hot. Wifi is available - but you need to do this from the restaurant as the signal does not reach the room. I would add that Expedia had booked me in as two people - Armandine charged me less than I had been quoted as single occupancy was cheaper. I was impressed at the honesty as I would never have known had she not mentioned that as my confirmation said - single traveller. Full marks to Armandine.
Let me stress this is genuine family home - they have two rather sweet children and dog who rejoices in the name Baloo (as in The Jungle Book). I was taken under the wing of their lovely friends who were also staying and found that by a remarkable co-incidence we have mutual acquaintance! Nichomandine will drive you anywhere you need to go.
I could go on and on - the only word of caution to people who do not know the locality is that this is out in the wide blue yonder - this is not a place where you can just wander over to the Post Office or the chemist - outsde the gate there are just fields - but that is what is wonderful to me - the isolation and yet the note of comfort and luxury. Do note that they cannot accept cards as they just do not have the throughput to get a card machine -so cash is required - just be aware.
The highlight of my stay was waking one night - I am unsure of the hour and it matters not - and seeing the entire pool area bathed in moonlight. I will never forget that for the rest of my life.
If you get the impression that I fell in love with the place - you are right. I'll be back sooner if not later. Do not hesitate - you will be enchanted in this palace in the desert.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A garden of Eden in the middle of one hundred year old olive and date palm trees with flourishing rosebuds and bougainvillea all year long. Le Domaine de l'Ourika creates a peaceful environment situated only a few kilometers from the exciting city center of Marrakech. The estate is extended around a lovely swimming pool and there are three villas that have been architecturally designed in a Moraccan style that has 10 suites to welcome and accommodate you during your stay. ... more less
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