Foreword: I would have given 5/5 for the place, or even 6/5 if I could, but I brought it down to only 3/5 because of the way pricing was handled.
When looking for a place to relax for a few days as a single woman in the vicinity of Marrakech, one of my options was this Country Club. The person with whom I had interacted by mail to make the reservation (Naima), had let me know that I would not be able to benefit from any double-room-single-use price modulation “because the rooms were in great demand”. Having decided to take it at full double-room-double-use price anyway to just stay half the time I had anticipated (*), I was kind of surprised to find there were not even 10 other hotel guests staying … However, I was also immediately and totally a blown off my socks by the absolute beauty of the place. The layout of the grounds was gorgeous, disorientating with surprising views around each corner, and cosy sitting arrangements everywhere (with local woodcarved furniture). Ironically, the beauty of all these cosy corners made it even more apparent how deserted (as in, empty of people) this place was. It was also deserted, as in, in the middle of nowhere, but that is exactly the point : dépayser within a country that is already tailored to depaysement in its own right. Then I was escorted to my room, and there my vocabulary runs short : the room was just breathtaking. Not in an opulent way, just breathtaking because of the simplicity and authenticity of the furniture and decoration. I retrospectively empathized with the interior decorator faced with tough choices when having had to incorporate modern time electronic features (doorkey; airco; waterheater for tea) to blend in with the otherwise antique look and feel of the room. My room (Mamoun, nr 23) had close to no WIFI signal, but I didn’t ask to change rooms for fear of getting a room that would be a fraction less enchanting. There were alternatives to sit elsewhere to get in touch with the outside world, or in the very cosy homecinema room beaming either TV channels or a selection of DVD’s. The private terrace with two chaises longues and a bath I would have probably appreciated more if Bjorn had been able to join me on this trip, but in my double-room-single-use setting, this was less appealing. We are very eclectic travellers, ranging from youth hostels in Napels with the kids, to Oberoi just the two of us with a view on the Gizeh Pyramids, but this hotel has this “je ne sais quoi” charm that I’ve not come across before. While making a remark about it for the benefit of other travellers who may be better at negotiating, the pricing of the room was what it was, non-negotiable in a very un-Morrocean tradition. For one person, without anything salty for one of the 2 breakfasts (“no cheese in the house”), without WIFI in the room, without poolheating which makes swimming impossible end of october, the quality-price was probably off, but in Morroco it is difficult to know what is the right price for anything (unless you’re a member of one of the tourist selfhelp groups online like this one). But if there is a next time in Marrakech with Bjorn, we’ll definitely be back to stay here.
(*) see my review of the place I stayed at the remainder of my time in Marrakech (Club Eldorador Marrakech Palmeraie).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Just 10 minutes from the center of Marrakech, The Hotel by Beldi sits in the magnificent 14 hectares of the Beldi Country Club. Here you will find a charming blend of Moroccan tradition and French chic. A green oasis of charm, ancient olive trees, stylish swimming pools and restaurants with views across the rose gardens to the Atlas Mountains. The 28 suites, exquisitely and individually furnished in the Beldi style, have been built to resemble a Moroccan village, with its narrow alleyway's, shady court yards and riads. The hotel has a swimming pool reserved for residents only, surrounded by olive trees and gardens. There is a garden restaurant and an indoor winter restaurant with a fireplace. There is one tennis courts and a delightful small 'home cinema'. During the winter, the swimming pool in the orangeraie of the Beldi is heated. ... more less