With its temperate winter climate, its wide range of scenery, culture, colours and fascinating cities, Morocco is an alluring and exotic holiday destination at any time of year, and the beautiful red-walled city of Marrakech encompasses all this and more. With the snow-capped landscape of the impressive Atlas Mountains as its backdrop, this city of arts and crafts, magical souks, palm oases and magnificent palaces, mosques and gardens, is a sheer joy to the senses.
From morning to dusk, through its colourful souks to the centre of the main Jemaa el Fna Square, carts loaded with fruit and grains, mountain folk selling their wares, fortune tellers, potion vendors and snake charmers; providing a magnet for travellers of all ages and contributing to the slightly unreal, mysterious and exciting spectacle that is Marrakech.
In total contrast to the lively hustle and bustle of the souks, The Villa Book offers guests the opportunity to luxuriate in the peace and quiet of their own private riad, where every need is anticipated by butlers, in-house chefs, and massage therapists! The Villa Book’s recently expanded programme of Marrakech riads caters for couples wanting smaller, romantic accommodation to spectacular, larger properties, catering for up to 16 people and ideal for special celebrations for extended families or groups of friends.
Examples include the charming two bedroom Riad Wasfi, situated in the fashionable Laksour quarter of the Medina, literally minutes from the main souks and Jemaa el Fna square. The pretty central courtyard, with seating area, is full of character, ideal for relaxing with a morning coffee or evening glass of wine. Leading off from here is a separate dining room and the kitchen, where the maid prepares breakfast and traditional Moroccan dinners (served on request). The atmosphere is very much one of a very hospitable, private home, with elegant furnishings, traditional Moroccan carpets and ceramics, plus a library of the owner’s favourite books. In addition, there is a roof terrace where guests can enjoy some splendid views of the nearby Koutoubia Mosque. Prices are from £600 for 3 nights.
At the other end of the scale is the 6 bedroom Riad Massarah, also tucked away in the heart of the Medina yet within easy reach of the souks and main square. Here, a delightful central courtyard with its graceful towering arches, palms and orange trees is designed according to the traditions of Moroccan architecture and creates a wonderfully tranquil atmosphere. Its centrepiece is an inviting pool surrounded by alcoves with low tables and seating, providing cosy corners in which to rest after a day out in the Medina. The interiors have been decorated with exquisite taste and great attention to detail. Leading off the courtyard, there is an attractive dining room ideal for candlelit dinners, plus a separate lounge with an open-fireplace. Upstairs, the elegant bedrooms overlook the courtyard and are tastefully furnished with colourful local fabrics, crisp Egyptian cotton sheets and duvets, while the en suite bathrooms offer double hand basins, walk-in showers and state-of-the-art fittings. An attractive roof terrace offers further space for sunbathing or dining ‘al fresco’, and has distant views of the Atlas Mountains; whilst a tented area with low tables and comfortable seating offers shade. Riad Massarah is fully-staffed and is an ideal venue for a celebration party. Their talented young Moroccan chef can prepare delicious meals and canapés and he also arranges cookery lessons.