End May 2014 visit for 1 week - 2 x 50-somethings on yet another anniversary/birthday jaunt.
Simply, Riad Smarkand provided a great base for sampling both the old and new in Marrakech plus a day out to the coast (Essaouira) - our driver (Haj) was excellent throughout the day.
Staff at Samarkand are polite, helpful and superbly managed by Pierre, who is always available to advise and assist but has the happy knack of simultaneously allowing privacy in this lush oasis !
The plaudits could go on for a while but to skip through it :
- room (Mazagran Suite) was spacious, clean, air-conditioned and mysteriously tended to/made up every day (we were never disturbed and didn't see the staff once!) - the terrace on this suite catches the late afternoon sun at the best time of the day - why am I telling you this ??!
- in-house evening food was excellent, traditional Moroccan salads, tagines etc; breakfast is a must and 'bespoke'
- Pierre always on hand to advise on local restaurants, cocktail bars, arrange transport, directions etc - fantastic help !
- the pool nestles unobtrusively in the gardens and provides welcome cooling during the mid-afternoon.
- the tortoises in the garden are entertaining in a very laid back way, although the morning chorus of birds at first light (6am) provided a more startling introduction to the day (if the distant call to prayer didn't nudge you an hour earlier). We certainly felt caught up in the sights and sounds of Marrakech - which is really why we came !!
- finally, and perhaps critically, all staff must have been rigorously trained in the production and presentation of THE BEST GIN AND TONICS this side of Harry's Bar ! They were 'epic', as Mr Winner would say.
Although our bill paid testament to the lure of the G&Ts (Hi Tariq), value for money is excellent and we had a sometimes relaxing, sometimes intrepid, sometimes cultural immersion into Marrakech and its environs - cannot fault it !
Thanks again to all at Samarkand (I did tell Pierre that I wouldn't write this - these discoveries should really be kept to oneself !!).
Paul & Judith