Myself, my girlfriend and a close friend from university decided to book a last minute holiday to Morocco to experience it's culture in hopes of a greater learning and understanding for our university projects. It was very cheap for flights and accommodation as it was out of prime season. Upon arrival at Marrakech airport we got a taxi to the accommodation and we were all thrown back a little at how far the hotel was from the airport/centre of Marrakech. Our taxi driver did take us "the long way" (as he put it) as he wanted to show us off to his friends working at a market half way between the airport and the accommodation.
Upon arriving at the hotel we were truly amazed by the little money we paid for the trip as it was astonishingly beautiful but so pleasantly simple. Even out of season it is perfectly maintained and always a fire going in the fireplace to welcome you. Françoise the owner and her son (who I cannot remember the name of) were so incredibly helpful for the whole 10 days which we stayed. The rooms have air con so if you're not good with heat at night then fear not as my girlfriend and I slept very comfortably every night there. The surrounding area is very beautiful and the views you have are breathtaking. Staying here really makes you appreciate nature and appreciate the culture and its charming simplicity.
Françoise became our best friend during our stay as being students we had limited money and if I'm totally honest a little nervous about being so far from home, and her presence was so friendly and considerate we wanted her to adopt us as her own child. We were one of the only groups staying there at the time but Françoise still insisted on massive breakfast platters and large authentic dinners made every day which were both delicious and reasonably priced. Françoise was incredibly generous when it came to sorting out the bill at the end as she knew every little bit of kindness would help us. Although I'm sure this isn't something every guest will experience as, like I have previously said, we stayed in December which isn't prime season it just goes to show how much your stay means to her and the other staff members.
Communication was completely fine however other than Françoise and her son, the staff spoke little English, which was never really an issue as we knew simple French to get us by when they weren't around.
One thing I will mention is that we had a difficult day in Marrakech the morning after we arrived as we were conned out of a lot of money but this is something to expect if you try to remain quintessentially English and never say no to anyone. Once you get in the swing of things you feel a lot more comfortable walking around Marrakech and the other small surrounding towns and you can take full advantage of the hotel and rent free bicycles for the day and explore the area which was a personal highlight. Another thing which is a must is the Atlas Mountains which is simply a bus ride then taxi away. Both of which are very reasonable and everyone (by the most part) are so friendly you feel very welcome.
I think the one thing that you have to understand (without trying to state the obvious) is that it is it's own country with it's own customs which are so incredibly different to that of which I've experienced prior (UK and Europe) that I found myself a little nervous and cautious. This is by no means a bad thing but if you are unprepared for it, it can unsettle you a little which ultimately is very silly as everybody there is incredibly accommodating and trying to be friendly/helpful it's just a small minority which did no seem to appreciate the vast amount of tourism happening around them. You can't help but sympathise and feel a little disheartened by the severe Westernisation of Morocco (specifically Marrakech) because it's truly such a beautiful country being wrecked by greedy tourists and global business chains taking over large plots of land. On the car journey back to the airport Françoise's son was telling us all about the community and how it's drastically changing and how in a lot of cases for those in poverty it can be very damaging to their lifestyles; so do be aware of things like this when travelling by being sympathetic to the locals and respecting their customs.
If you wish to experience Morocco as it should be then I would definitely recommend this hotel as it was one of the best stays I've had in a very long time. Although a little separated from civilisation it is so simple and so tranquil you can't help but love every minute of it. I'm sure we will return in the future and I look forward to that day. Definitely choose this hotel over the hotels in Marrakech city centre as it is so much more genuine and you feel a lot more comfortable as the staff are polite and respectful rather than incessant with offering their services. Again Françoise was fantastically helpful and I would even say stay here just so you can meet her alone. Upon our final day of staying Françoise greeted us at dinner with two tagine pots she purchased as gifts which was a very nice parting gift and just shows that the people in Morocco are seemingly infinite in their kindness, particularly those of this hotel.
To sum everything up it is a beautiful country, with beautiful people, beautiful surroundings and beautiful architecture; and the Quaryati Ecolodge is a prime example of how all these things come together. As long as you are aware and respectful of the culture you will have the holiday of a lifetime.
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