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Monday, May 14

Riad Porte Royale: An Oasis of Simplicity

I have to be honest: I am picky about where I rest my head at night.  Poor quality bedding, a bad shower and towels the size of postage stamps just don’t cut it for me. Camping isn’t exactly my thing.  Sadly, my budget doesn’t always allow for the finest establishments, so it forces me to be more creative and resourceful.  In discussing my trip to Morocco with a dear friend, we came to the conclusion that it was key for me to really get a REAL Moroccan experience and that perhaps renting a riad (a private house that has a central courtyard) was the way to go.  But where to start?  Literally hundreds of options on the Internet.  I had heard great things about  I spent hours and days communicating with different riad owners until I came across one that stopped me in my tracks:  a recently restored riad, with crisp white walls, beautiful antiques from all around the world and two tortoises residing on the private roof deck.  How was all of this possible and within the budget?  Something had to be off.  I was suspect for sure, but I went ahead and booked it anyway.   

Philip (the owner) and I exchanged dozens of emails over a few months.  All of my questions were always answered and everything that I wished for he arranged.  A pick up at the airport, a traditional dinner at the riad, etc.  Philip lives in Portugal with his wife and 2 daughters.  A few years back fell in love with Marrakesh.  He decided to purchase a dilapidated riad, which he spent over a year restoring and creating a oasis from the chaos of the bustling medina.

Upon arriving  we were greeted by Mohammad and Hajiba - the house manager and house keeper.  Mint tea and birds singing in the courtyard.  Instantly it felt like home.  Their service could not have been more wonderful.  They took care of everything and were indispensable in navigating the ways of Marrakech.

Waking up to breakfast in the courtyard with hot coffee, breads, grapefruit marmalade (made from the tree in the courtyard), yogurt and Moroccan pastries (like Moroccan donuts and crepes).

The riad was slightly off the beaten path – in a residential section of the medina – I thought it would be a relaxing retreat after being out all day. The riad exceeded my expectation and I am hoping to come back again to stay.

What were the only down sides?  Not that many - wifi is a bit spotty (but hey- you are meant to be relaxing and not so connected, so really not a big deal), and you might want to pack your own blow dryer (I did!) and a bar of soap for the shower.

Other than that, I thought it was perfect and absolutely charming.   I would suggest it to anyone traveling to Marrakech.

Riad Porte Royale- Marrakesh


the modern sybarite ™ said...

sounds dreamy! Have noted the suggestion :-) Thanks.

BosMom said...

I am a big fan of your blog, specially having lived in SF for a long time myself before I moved to Boston. You blog in a way keeps me in touch with the city I still miss terribly although I left it 14 years ago! Thank you for sharing! BEAUTIFUL!!!

Would you mind sharing what editing software you used to get that effect on your photos?, both to make it look "old" and with the film strip?

Grant K. Gibson said...

Hi BosMom.

This is Instagram.
A great app.
I am going to blog on it soon- as it is great tool and makes photos look really great!

Hope that you have fun with your photos.


Anonymous said...

Magnificent! And dreamy! I love following your journey.


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elizabeth said...

We are chums of Philip and Maria's and used to live in Marrakesh where we had a little old 500 year old mud brick house off Djemma Elfna.
Of all our various friends who were doing up places, the one you picked was the loveliest --most authentic and gorgeous.
You obviously have excellent taste!
As for the hair dryers -- whenever I tried to use one in Marrakesh the whole house fused so I gave up.
If you want more eye candy of the magic city, you might enjoy
my blog all about our life there.
Glad to discover another Marrakesh lover.


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